Improving our reading power
A new year full of new momentums and motivational drives. For me, this brought the changes of a new grade (now fourth) and new awesome colleagues.
With all these changes, what a great time to use this opportunity to work with our lovely primary pedagogical coach, Fiona (@Fi_Hurtado).
Fiona's coaching style is beautifully summed up in the diagram below, which she constructed:
My goal was to improve reading practices in my homeroom so our coaching relationship tends to lean on the "dialogical" side. The "why" came from the data in standardized testing last year. It's just one data point, sure. It may have been just my cohort, may have been related to my pedagogy, but if there was one area that the data suggested my kiddos could've been more "above average", then it would be in reading.
From all of this, an inquiry began to happen. Some of my key driving questions were:
From these questions came answers:
After this initial inquiry, synthesis of the books, and mentorship from Fiona and Corie, a game plan was created!
Step one: A collaborative inquiry into powers that reading gives you in life.
Wanting to know what my kids knew already, I was thoroughly impressed. We added a few things to this list as time went on, but this powerful collation of ideas would serve us well in step five below.
Step two: Introducing CAFE through a slow unpacking and inquiry into all the strands of the acronym.
I'm sure the suspense is killing you by now - CAFE unpacks to... Comprehension - Accuracy - Fluency - and... - Expanding Vocabulary. Each of these can be broken down further, which my learners and I took the time to inquire into the meaning, represented in the following slides.
Step three: Co-constructing an Expanding Vocabulary Practice
This was a bit of a curve-ball in terms of the timing (would've introduced it just a bit later) as it was student-initiated action. After unpacking CAFE, one of my learners came to me with an idea about how to work on our vocabulary, which led to a discussion, and we co-constructed success criteria. What we came up with is the following:
Step four: Student self-assessment of the CAFE criteria
Using a traffic light system, students self-assessed where they thought they stood with each criteria. Afterwards, they conferenced with me. As is often the case, students are brutally honest and self-aware, when given the opportunity:
Step five: Creating a student-centered approach to identification, goal setting documentation and evidencing CAFE growth
This built upon what I had previously been doing in Studio 5 last year, however with use of CAFE, it allowed for a more explicit and student accessible focus. Having Fiona offer some critical feedback (e.g. like forgetting to add an example - Doh!) before pushing it out to students on Google Classroom was super helpful.
Here is the EVIDENCE LINK in the example pictured below:
Step six: Student cycles of improving their "Reading Power"
Success and expectations were co-constructed. We came up with two week cycles, which is definitely an appropriate amount of time for the next while. Ideally, I told my learners that I'd like this to be weekly, so we'll keep having check-ins to see whether or not this is a reasonable and fair expectation.
Each day (mostly), we do a unit-related read aloud, of which I draw out specific goals that my learners are working on explicitly. They are free to use these examples in their evidence. I usually follow this up with a CAFE related skill-building lesson that ties in with the writing genre we are currently working on.
In addition, most days of the week, we have a silent reading time where learners read independently for twenty minutes after lunch. Students are encouraged to acquire evidence from these books as well. After this time is when students work on achieving their goal and I get to conference and check in with how they are going.
There's been plenty of tech upskilling for the evidence part and round one took a little longer than two weeks, but I'm confident we'll get there. The kids are super excited to get "crushing" their next CAFE goal and it's so awesome to see the buzz on their faces after overcoming all of their resilience battles. I'm proud of these nine and ten year olds.
Here are a couple examples that I have permission to share (if you click on the photo - it will link you to the evidence):
So what's next in this coaching cycle?
What are your thoughts? / A call to action...
I leave you with a quote from this favorite poet, naturalist and philosopher...
PYP educator | Father | Husband | Life-long learner | Nature lover | Technology enthusiast | Sports hobbyist