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VIT Project for Full Accreditation

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Tahnee Allen

on 26 October 2013

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Transcript of VIT Project for Full Accreditation

observing the practice of others
Professional Learning
VIT Project for Full Accreditation
Step 1: The Context
YEAR: Prep
SUBJECT: Writing
Within the class of twenty students there are varying learning abilities. I am finding that the demands of their learning needs are becoming harder for me to manage.
For my inquiry question I have chosen to work with a small group of students that range in Literacy abilities. I have chosen to work with one high achieving student and two low achieving students in this specific area as they all have demanding learning needs but at different learning levels.
Step 2: The Students
Student C:
Student C is a female student with suspected undiagnosed ASD. She is the youngest of four children and has a twin sister in the same class. Her learning ability differs from her twin sister and she struggles with controlling her emotions. She is on an Individual Learning Plan (ILP) to manage her behaviour as she has difficulty with social behaviours. She struggles to make eye contact when talking to her classmates and myself and does not cope well with change in routine or losing things. C enjoys writing time but often copies what is written on the board and struggles to write independently.

Step 3: Learning Outcomes & Unit Plan
By the end of AusVELS Foundation students should be able to do the following in writing:
* Independently write a simple sentence using sound and letter knowledge, word list words, toolkit and helpful wordbook
* Writing the most common sounds made by all letters of the alphabet, including consonants and vowels
* Can check their writing makes sense by rereading and editing spelling, capital letters and full stops
* Read aloud their writing
* They correctly form known upper- and lower-case letters.
During Term 3 the class began doing Rocket Writing. A writing idea where the students could write as many words as they knew (spelt correctly) in a set period of time. The idea is for students to be writing familiar words, that they are confident in writing to help them write more. This proved to be a success for the three students involved as they were able to write as much as they could which gave them confidence when writing sentences. Each time they improved on their previous score.
My inquiry question has helped me further develop my knowledge and understanding of catering for a group of students with diverse learning needs. I feel confident now in supporting students with high and low needs and adapting lessons to cater for everyone's needs. I am looking forward to next year when I will be able to put in place my knowledge from this year to support my students and meet their needs in the classroom.
Throughout the year I have learntmy teaching and about the best ways to teach my students. There have been challenges I have faced with the great support of my mentor Kylene and the Prep Team. This year has driven my passion for teaching and I can not wait to continue learning a great deal more in the years to come.

How do I cater for the diversity of learning needs, during writing, with a small group of students?
The inquiry question will help me to cater for the learning needs of high and low achieving students in the area of writing. Currently I am struggling to cater for the diverse learning needs of my students. The students needing extra support are requiring more explicit teaching and one on one support, which is making it hard to support and extend students who are capable of creating and writing several sentences. By working with this question I am hoping to have an improvement in the chosen groups writing construction and extended sentences and have students be more confident and independent during writing time.

Student A:
Student A is a female student who started school at age 4. Her parents were divided on sending her to school but believed she had nothing more to learn at kinder and therefore sent her along. Student A is young and immature, compared to her classmates. She enjoys school but struggled at first to adjust to school rules and classroom behaviours. Her ability to stay focused on a task is short spanned and she disrupts her peers when they are working. Her behaviour has improved throughout the year but her academic performance is not improving. I have found it hard to accommodate her learning needs with the rest of the class and find one group suffers because of this in writing. Student A does not know her letter names and sounds which makes it hard for her to stay focused and on task during writing. She is able to copy things when they have been written for her, but struggles to understand what she has written or why. She does not understand the difference between letters, words and sentences.
Student W:
Student W is a male student who has great literacy and mathematics skills. He is a confident worker and often is first finished in writing, because he rushes. I have been observing that I need to work more closely with him to ensure that his writing is filled with the important features I have asked it to be eg) capital letters, full stops, editing his work etc. Student W would benefit from more teacher directed time to help him with rereading, punctuation and editing but I find it does not happen as Students C and A require more of my time.
The students have been focusing on different writing genres and what they look like. We have focused on persuasive writing, procedural writing, narrative writing, recount writing and now beginning to focus on writer’s notebook.
These lessons have given the students the opportunity to experience different writing genres and have a go at writing a response to it.
By the end of the unit I would like to see
confident in her writing and working independently. I would like to see her having a go at constructing her own sentences and starting to use appropriate capital letters, spaces between words and full stops. I would like her to be using her ‘tool kit’ and MIOOW spelling words during her writing time.
needs to be independently recording beginning sounds and having a go at constructing words or sentences on paper and not copying from the board or needing one on one assistance.
needs to be able to use the resources around him to support his learning and help him take his writing to a higher level. He needs to be able to reread his writing back and find mistakes and begin to use editing strategies when rereading.

What will be done for students who need extra support to go further:
Challenges to extend on their writing - editing spelling, rereading to make sense, punctuation
Students who need extra support to meet learning outcomes - modelled writing, peer support, sentence starters, tracing of letters

What will be done for students who do not write independently:
Explicit teaching
One on one writing time with teacher/parent/aide
Small group writing rotations
Writing Goals
Date: 6/8/13
I observed a 3/4 class literacy block that catered for diverse learning needs. The lesson was on Popcorn Reading and catered for all the students learning needs in the room. The experienced teacher had students grouped in abilities and specific texts chosen for each group. The students knew what was required of them, as they have done it several times before.
The classroom environment was positive and the procedure worked very well. The students thoroughly enjoyed the task and it was great to see reading done in a different way.
From observing the class with diverse learning needs, I was able to see how a different teacher is able to cater for all students in an open environment. Different groups had different texts to read and different areas to work which broke up the learning space. One group of students worked with an aid on a simpler text and were supported when they did their comprehension task on the book. It was great to see how the class was broken up and how the teacher catered for all individual needs, while still catering for higher achievers.

From this observation it helped me realise that I can cater for the diversity of learning needs within my own classroom and facilitate each individuals learning by changing the learning environment.

Date: 12/8/13
K came into my class of Prep’s and modelled a Writer’s Notebook session. K did a whole group focus to begin with as she was introducing a new writing genre to the class. She asked for all students’ participation and invited students to share their ideas with her. She recorded these on the board around the photo she had chosen. Student C was able to create a writing piece about the ocean and wrote several sentences on the topic.
I had never seen or taught a Writer’s Notebook session before and was surprised to see how it can cater for students with diverse learning needs because of the varying genres the students can choose from to write about. Considering the lesson was run on a Monday, most students chose to write about their weekend. It was great to see though some students having a go at writing about the Aquarium picture that K had brought in. I am now looking forward to having a go at teaching a Writer’s Notebook session and catering for the diverse learning needs by giving students the opportunity to choose a writing genre that they are familiar with and confident to write about.

Talking to Colleagues

Date: Ongoing
Teaching a class with diverse learning needs.
K, J, N and K have all been teaching for several years and have all had experience catering for children with diverse learning needs. K is my mentor and has provided excellent support and ideas for me to use with the children. We have had discussions about how hard it is to cater for all students in a Prep classroom with diverse learning needs and how it is hard to fully support and extend each individual student's learning, especially with writing.
J, N, and K have also spoken to me about the challenges that arise when teaching a specific writing genre to a class of mixed abilities.
We have been working in workshops to help cater for the learning needs of all children. The workshops have been running for Reading and has allowed us as a team to group students together across Prep and specifically teach to their learning needs.
I have learnt that this has helped significantly for reading abilities as students are getting more support and explicit teaching and learning time.
During writing, J has said that sometimes students will be more creative and responsive if they have the opportunity to use the computers to type up their response or story.

Sue Larkey PD Day
I was fortunate to go to Sue Larkey’s Aspergers Day recently where I learnt a great deal about the different ways children learn and different techniques and strategies that could be used in a mixed ability classroom. I now have a greater understanding that some students are unable to complete work and others need time restrictions to complete the work in. I discovered that students need new ways to do activities, for example typing up their handwriting and writing using different materials like sand, paint and shaving cream.
Contemporary Learning PD
We had a whole school Professional Learning Day on Contemporary Learning. We focused on personalised learning for students and how to best cater for and personalise their needs. I now am trialling new seating arrangements in the classroom, are conducting more workshops with the Prep Team and are looking at new ways to teach writing.
Red Cat
We had a staff meeting recently where a Leanne Rose-Munro came to talk to us about using the Red Cat system. She explained to us that the speaker system enhanced students learning and enabled them to stay focused on the lesson. The Red Cat system optimises the learning space for everyone and blocks out surrounding sounds from other classrooms and outside noise. The Red Cat in the Prep area has enhanced our Star Learning Time by allowing all Preps to gather together in our open space and be able to hear instructions clearly and students make good use of the technology when presenting and sharing information themselves.

We had a PD Day on meditation and were encouraged to involve meditation more in our classrooms as meditation is proven to help students calm down and be ready for learning.
I have started to do two sessions of meditation, one before a writing session and the other after specialists. I am finding that it gives the class time to settle down and relax and helps them to forget any problems or worries and focus on the next task. They are much more alert after participating in meditation.
has struggled to further develop her writing as the term has gone on. She struggles to stay focused and on task.
Throughout the year her writing has not improved. She is confident that she is writing words and sentences but most of the time it is letters she is familiar with. She enjoys copying sentences from the board and is able to verbally retell her story.
She will need assistance and extra support at home as she moves into Year One.

has improved significantly in her writing over the year. She is confident in recording sounds and enjoys Rocket Writing time. She knows what she needs to work on and has improved her letter identification and letter sounds which has given her confidence when writing independently.
still has room for improvement but knows what she needs to do to get there. Now she is taking pleasure in her writing and is writing independently and she is requiring less attention and assistance.

Star Learning Time
Throughout the year the Prep Team have been using 'Star Learning Time' to explicitly teach students across a range of different learning abilities. We have been focusing on Reading and Maths and are able to teach a specific strategy to a group of students with the same need.
Currently we run Reading workshops four days a week and Maths workshops two days. The 'Star Learning Times' has helped provide students with more explicit teaching based on their area of need. It has been a very successful way to cater for the variety of abilities in Prep, given that our reading levels range from 0-30.

Writing Goals have also been another way to ensure the students are being challenged in their writing. Students know what they are to be working on and can choose a new goal to work on when they have completed the one they are on.

It has been both a delight and an honour to mentor Tahnee in her graduate year. From the very first day, she has displayed impressive commitment, enthusiasm and a very strong work ethic. Tahnee has also enjoyed the support of our great Prep team at OLSOS, utilising our different strengths as she goes about finding ways to meet students needs and address where they are at in their varied stages of learning. It is a challenge we all face, experienced or not and Tahnee has really embraced the learning opportunities available to her. This is evidenced in the time she spends preparing, engaging, consolidating and evaluating the learning journey she has taken with her Prep students on this year.

• Program of learning is coherent and well structured

Tahnee is a perfectionist in how she presents her planning, lessons and displays. She has assisted the team in designing graphic organisers and planners, utilising them well in her documenting of lessons and assessments. She looks at what her students need next in their learning and plans accordingly. We plan together as a Prep team and this has supported Tahnee as she finds her way through this graduate year.

• Uses effective verbal and non-verbal communication strategies

As the year has progressed Tahnee has developed her own style of verbal and non-verbal communication with the students, not only in her own class but across the whole Prep year level and wider school community. She is very positive in her approach and sought advice when faced with some difficult student behaviours earlier in the year. These children have responded well to the strategies she implemented, including behavioural plans and agreements. She continues to trial different strategies and adapt her teaching strategies over time. Tahnee is much-loved by the students as she cares greatly for them and is interested in each one and their families.
• Parents/carers involved in their children's learning

Tahnee has embraced parent helpers in her teaching and they feel welcomed and valued to assist in her classroom. They have been on excursions, helped out in the classroom with a variety of learning activities, including Reading, Maths, Art, PMP, Library and our Star Learning Time, where students benefit from the extra assistance of another adult. Their feedback has always been positive on Tahnee's availability to them whenever they need to see or speak to her.
Step 4: Evidence
Throughout the year we have been focusing on different genres including Narrative, Persuasive, Recount and Report writing. These genres have given the class opportunities to explore new ways to be creative and challenge themselves in their writing.
During writing time, I have modeled examples on the whiteboard and smartboard which has given students who are not confident in their writing guidance and a visual support that they are on the right track.
Children who need extra support or who cannot work independently have been supported by working with a teacher, parent or aide and have been given fine motor skills to practice while I work with writers who need extending.
•Ensures student's well-being and safety

Tahnee has displayed a very high level of responsibility for the students in her care at all times, both in their health and well-being and will spend time resolving conflict or problems when they arise. She has a detailed knowledge of the medical needs of her students and has the appropriate medications with her whenever we leave the school. Tahnee has developed strategies using our Restorative Practices model and regularly uses Circle Time and Meditations to enhance her student's well-being. Tahnee recently organised a Prep Excursion to the Melbourne Museum for our eighty-one students. She liaised with the Museum and the other teachers/parents on the excursion, ensuring student safety and well-being at all times.

•Uses strategies to promote safe, responsible, ethical use of ICT

Tahnee is highly skilled in the use of ICT and proficient in her use of many applications and programs. She has displayed sensitivity in her approach to learning in this area and shown herself to be well aware and on top of the issues teachers now face in using this great learning tool.
• Demonstrates professional ethics and responsibilities

Tahnee started the year displaying impressive professional
ethics in her dealings with students, parents and colleagues. She has continued this high standard throughout the year and dealt with some difficult parent meetings in a sensitive and calm way. Tahnee goes above and beyond her responsibilities, showing a willingness to take on whatever she can for the good of her student, colleagues and the school itself. She has attended social functions and got to know parents at our school, whilst maintaining professionalism at all times.
• Complies with legislative, administrative and organisational requirements

Our Prep team has helped Tahnee to keep up with her requirements in this area and she seeks advice whenever she is unsure. She has kept comprehensive records and assessments and met all requirements with diligence and attention to detail.
• Engages with teaching colleagues, professional networks or the broader community

Tahnee has been a great asset to our school. She has made a real effort to engage with all staff in her own bubbly, quiet way and taken on board suggestions and advice from other colleagues, whilst contributing her own skills and ideas, especially in ICT. Tahnee has sought ideas and strategies through PD days, the VIT and CEVN sites and involved herself in the wider community through planning local excursions for the students and joining local sporting clubs. She has really embraced the Ocean Grove community since relocating here for this teaching position and I commend her on this as it is not easy to adapt to such great change in both your private and professional life at once.

has strengthened his writing. He carefully constructs his sentences and is working towards his writing goal of writing neatly on the lines.
has a stronger understanding of punctuation and has applied to his writing what he has learnt in workshops. He is able to re-read to see that his writing makes sense and underlines words he thinks he has spelt wrong.
enjoys writing time and understands that he must re-read and edit his work before coming to the teacher.
and I have discussed future goals he can focus on once he has achieved his current goal.
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