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Learning Log/Items of Evidence

THE (*) SYMBOL INDICATES WHERE A CHILDS NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED.
Cycle 1
Planning & Observing (Thursday 23/4 4hrs)
Description:
Today I went into the classroom and started my first cycle. With planning in mind, I met with
the children I will be working with and observed current routines. I had discussions with the teacher
and spent some time during activities and outside play observing the focus childrens behaviour and
listening in on their conversations. As there are only eight pre-primary students, I have decided to use
them all. I do not want any of them feeling segregated and I have been told that two of the students
within the group are often absent from school. Within the group, there are two ESL students, a student
with possible verbal dyspraxia (he is in the process of being assessed) and a student who never
attended kindergarten. All 8 students have very little sound and letter knowledge and have limited
writing skills. I also noted that all eight students required a lot of prompting and guidance during the
day.
Planning & Literature review:
After the discussions with the classroom teacher and reviewing literature, I understand that
phonemic and phonological awareness are fundamental concepts to enable children to read (decode)
and write (encode) (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2012, p. 72). It is also my
understanding that these skills need to be taught explicitly and systematically (Winch et al, 2012, p.
72) with opportunities for students to demonstrate their comprehension. The classroom teacher has
pointed out that group of children I will be working with require extra time to complete tasks and to
ensure I provide that time to avoid frustrations on both ends. My timeline has been amended to
reflect the longer sessions for every day I go in. My concepts will also need to contain explicit
instruction followed by a small hands-on activity where I can try other teaching strategies such as
questioning and modelling. The use of ICT as a tool may also be beneficial. According to the English
Teachers Association NSW, ICT is a valuable tool to enhance teaching and learning and can be used
as a professional resource as well as a mode of lesson delivery. ICT provides students with
opportunities to develop their literacy skills and can be a valuable and effective method to assist
children to communicate (2011).
Acting & Observing (Tuesday 28/4 3hrs)
Description:

To get a feel for how students react to ICT and hands-on activities, I introduced the letter /M/, /m/
sound using a video called Get Squiggling by Kids Area. Students needed to follow the
prompts/instructions given by the character. All students showed enthusiasm and responded well to
the video. When questioned, students were able to name objects beginning with /Mm/.
This picture shows the
students engaged in the
video, waiting for
instructions from the
character.

After talking about the letter /Mm/, we played a game of letter bingo. I provided each child with a bag
containing laminated letters of the alphabet that they had covered so far in the year and an A4
laminated sheet with those letters on. I worked with all 8 students and demonstrated how the game
worked. We went around in a circle taking turns. *Anna, *Steven, *Angela and *Harry all required
encouragement with additional prompting (assistance) and questioning.
Abstract from the voice recording during the game:
Me: *Anna, what letter have you taken out of your bag?
*Anna: (Shrugs shoulders), Dont know
Me: Thats ok, I will give you a clue. Have a look on the wall and find me a picture next to the letter
that looks like the one in your hand, it is somewhere on that side (I pointed to the wall on the
opposite side of the room).
*Anna: That one (Anna pointed to the laminated sheet with /D/ objects on; there was also a craft
duck next to it which they had made).
Me: Great spotting *Anna, can you tell me what that letter is now and what sound it makes?
*Anna: Its a duck, they go quack, quack.
Me: Yes, it is a duck. What sound does ddddddduck start with?
*Anna: d.

Me: Well done *Anna, now can you remember the name of the letter? We can go through the alphabet
song on the chart, A B C D (*Anna interrupts me).
Anna: D, D, D, its a D.
Acting & Reflecting (Wednesday 29/4 3hrs)
Description:

Today was my last day of cycle 1. Students were given a box of tangible objects to match with the
letter/sound that it begins with. Only the letters/sounds that they have covered so far were used
(S,A,T,P,I,N,D,E & M). *Eileen is an ESL student and from previous activities during the cycle, *Thomas
can remember most of the letters/sounds that have been done so far. I decided to use a co-operative
learning strategy called a think, pair, share method whereby the students worked together and had
to pick up an item and tell their partner what they thought it was (name the object), say the beginning
sound, i.e. /s/ for snake and match it with the letter against the wall. I was pleasantly surprised at how
well it went and at one stage, *Eileen recognised /n/ for necklace where *Thomas did not know what
the item was or where to put it. *Ben and *Anna were also paired and required some assistance. I then
used a one-on-one technique with *Leo, *Angela and *Steven where I demonstrated what needed to be
done and asked them to complete the task. *Leo was able to complete it independently. *Angela (ESL)
and *Steven (low attendance) required assistance where I also used laminated picture cards (provide
information NAEYC teaching strategy) as cues.
Reflection:
Extensive literature review has helped me gain a better understanding of action research and allowed
me to shift my focus to my practice. Although I only used ICT once in this cycle, I do believe that it was
a successful element in the lesson and I would like to try incorporate ICT into my other cycles, i.e.
interactive games. Literature review has also shown that play-based experiences need to be

intentional (DEEWR, 2009 and Kennedy & Barblett, 2010). As my knowledge of intentional teaching
strategies is limited, I needed to research it and managed to find two documents which explain how to
use intentional teaching strategies. I believe these documents, one from the Early Years Learning
Framework; Educators Guide and the other from the National Association for the Education of Young
Children will be valuable tools to assist me during my interactions with the students and allow me to
reflect on the used strategies.
The photo on the right: the Intentional
Teaching Strategies suggested by the
National Association for the Education of
Young Children. This document will assist
me in choosing appropriate strategies in
the classroom.
Checklist below: Allows me to assess childrens learning based on the strategies that I used during
the tasks.

CHECKLIST
MARKING KEY:
Demonstrates:

DATE: 29/04/15

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Working towards:
Does not demonstrate:

NAMES

VERBALISES
LETTER
NAME &
SOUND

PROVIDES A
WORD
STARTING
WITH /m/

Olivia
Shana
Eva

Oliver
Cooper M.
Jahvis

Needed help to think of a word, she looked at


the pictures on the wall and gave the word
mouse.
ESL, Independently gave the word mat.
ESL, Independently gave the word moon.

Diyon
Max

NOTES

Needed help to think of a word, asked him to


think of something he might eat/drink that
starts with /m/. He gave the word milkshake.
Independently gave the word Max as that is
his name.
Independently gave the word monkey.
Did not go to Kindy. Independently gave the
word Money as he recognises it as his
surname.
Does not recognise sounds or letters. Said /m/

is for apple. With assistance he was still not


able to demonstrate.
*Evidence transcribed from voice recording dated 29/04/2015.
Cycle 2
Planning & Observing (Friday 22/5 4hrs)
Description:
Due to being on placement, I have not seen the students for almost a month. I spent time today
observing the current program in the classroom and having discussions with the children. I took out a
sound/letter and picture matching puzzle and used the opportunity to play with the students and ask
them questions or prompt for further thinking. *Steven amazed me!! Considering he was not able to
recognise/recall any letters/sounds when I last saw him, he has sprouted beautifully. During the
game he was able to verbalise a letter, the sound it makes and match it with the correct picture. With
further questioning he was able to tell me other words that started with that sound (/j/ for Joshua, /t/
for ten).
While outside, I noticed that the students were playing with sticks and drawing doodles in the sand. I
went over and asked them what kinds of activities they like doing. All of them said that they like
playing outside and other suggestions included things like painting, drawing, games, songs and story
books. *Thomas said that his favourite, favourite, favourite thing is story time.

In the photo, *Steven and *Ben are discussing


the letters that they recognise, the sound the letter
makes and finding a picture that matches the sound.
I asked students *Ben and *Steven to give me their
own words that begins with that sound and assisted
with prompts/questions/hints.

For planning purposes, I would like to incorporate


the students interests/suggestions. I will use the intentional teaching strategies document found in
cycle one to assist me in reflecting on my practice while still providing the students with meaningful
play-based phonics focused activities.

Acting & Observing (Monday 25/5 3hrs)


Description:
Todays teaching took place outside. I read Dr Seuss ABC book with the intention of engaging
students to think about letters and sounds and then we played a game of I spy with my little eye.
Students had access to laminated A4 cards which contained a variety of pictures starting with a
particular sound. I split the group of 8 into 2, working with 4 students at a time. I decided to place
students who need additional cues together and the students who have some phonological
understanding together. I demonstrated to the groups how the game works and played a few rounds
with them to ensure they had an understanding. *Angela, *Steven, *Eileen and *Ben chose pictures
from the cards. For example; *Steven said, I spy with my little eye, something beginning with /g/. The
rest of his group then went through the items on the card until they guessed grapes. *Thomas, *Anna,
*Harry and *Leo used environmental sightings to play the game. We spotted things like sand, trees,
sun, grass, door, sticks and gate. The laminated cards were still available if students struggled.
After playing the game, I demonstrated the following activity using paints. I finger painted an object I
had spotted while playing I spy and then painted the sound/letter it starts with, also using my finger.
Students then needed to finger paint their own item and write the letter. The classroom teacher
expressed to me that she was most impressed at how engaged the students were and found their
excitement fascinating as most of them had never done finger painting before. Besides the phonics
that was being discussed, it was really sweet to see the children squishing the paint between their
fingers and discussing how it felt. *Leo even said that the paint was squishy and then said, squishy
starts with /s/. I asked if anyone had another word to describe the paint and *Harry said cold, /c/
for cold. Super impressed moment!!!

The above photo on the left shows *Leo and *Anna discussing their painting and describing the
paint. The photo on the right is *Annas /s/ for seal and /a/ for ant.
Acting & Reflecting (Tuesday 2/6 3hrs)
As writing forms from the fundamental phonological skills, I decided to incorporate a craft activity
into a phonics and writing activity. With explicit modelling in mind, I placed a big alphabet chart in
front of the group of children and said that we will be using it to find the letters based on the sounds
they can hear in the words. They needed to make a simple sentence I live at. After discussions with
the classroom teacher, it was agreed that we would not introducing the rule of the /E/ at the end of
the word and therefore only wrote the letter we could hear, i.e. (I) (L I V) (A T). I said the word and
asked children what they could hear and which letter they thought it was. As we went through the
sentence, I wrote it on the whiteboard. Students then had to write the sentence, I liv[e] at on their
sheet of paper and then copy my writing for their address that I had written on a whiteboard. This
strategy is called modelled writing where you work with children to encourage their writing skills
(Fellowes & Oakley, 2012). Children then worked in pairs to construct their homes and had
discussions with each other about what features their home had. *Thomas & *Leo did particularly
well, *Thomas named 5 features and the sound the feature started with. He had /c/ for curtains, /w/
for walls, /f/ for floors, /d/ for door and /w/ for windows. *Steven and *Ben needed extra assistance
and prompting. They were each able to tell me what features their home had but lost interest when
prompted for the sound the word makes. *Eileen and *Angela needed help naming the features. They
pointed to it and I slowly said they word which they repeated. When we had gone through 5 features, I
asked them to name each one on their own. They recalled the features well. When they were finished,
students were allowed to do a writing activity called Red Writing on the iPads where they choose a
character and follow instructions to write letters.

Photos from left: *Anna and *Eileen sounding out the letters as they write their address. 2) Red
Writing activity on the iPad. 3) *Anna showing her house that she built. Her features included a door,
cat-flap, roof, chimney and walls.

Reflection:
Feedback from the students was positive. They said they thoroughly enjoyed the iPad game and the
house building but said that they dont like writing so much. During my literature review I discovered
that while writing can be made fun with games and paint, it is vitally important for students to
complete the same writing tasks allowing the teacher to develop childrens ability with particular text
forms (Fellowes & Oakley, 2012). Demonstrating tasks allows for children to see how a task should be
conducted and gives children an opportunity to seek clarity or ask questions if they dont understand.
Theory suggests that learning outcomes regarding reading, writing and phonological awareness are
increased when children are exposed to demonstrations and models (Fellowes & Oakley, 2012).
Cycle 3
Planning & Observing (Wednesday 3/6 4hrs)
As my last day for cycle two was yesterday, I was able to utilise my time today to make resources and
play with the children. I set out play-dough with laminated alphabet sheets and moulds with animals
and shapes and items beginning with specific sounds. The students sat around the table with me and I
asked them what kinds of thing we could make that start with the /f/ sound (they had the laminated
cards to give them clues). *Steven, said he was going to make a fox, *Harry said he was going to make a
frog and the girls said they would make flowers. *Angela struggled and wasnt sure so I gave her a
laminated /f/ card and asked her to make her play-dough into the big letter /F/ and the little /f/. Once
we had done it once with the help of the laminated cards, I asked the students to think of their own
letter/sound and something they can make.

In the photo, we are discussing the letter /F/ and the sound it makes. We are going through the
pictures and coming up with other words beginning with that sound. Students were prompted to look
around the room as well and try and spot something that started with the /f/ sound. i.e. fan, floor,
fairy, fruit.
Acting & Observing (Monday 8/6 3hrs)

As part of emergent and social practice, todays activities were planned around the students interest
in games and ICT. Working in pairs, children played a fishing game with magnetic fish that all had a
letter on the back. Children would see which team of pairs could catch the most fish and place them in
the basket after telling their partner what letter/sound was on the fish and a word beginning or
ending in that sound. I had two pairs of students playing the game and then I had interactive
whiteboard games by PBS literacy for the other pairs to take in turns. The games included things such
as alphabet letters, sounds, rhyming, letter and picture match. The game was demonstrated to
students first and then assistance was given to help prompt students and to give hints. Feedback from
the students was once again positive, they said they thoroughly enjoyed the games and enjoyed
playing with their friends. If I had to change anything, I would rather have had the interactive
whiteboard game as a separate activity so that I could observe students more closely and record notes
from their conversations. I do see now (as stated in a previous reflection) that ICT can be used
successfully when planned well and it gives students an alternative to help them communicate their
ideas and thought processes.

In the photos above the children are fishing and whichever one they pick up they need to show their
partner, say which letter it is, the sound it makes and give a word that starts or ends with that sound.
Acting & Reflecting (Wednesday 10/6 3hrs)
Description:
For my last day, I decided to play two games. The first was an introduction to rhymes by reading Dr
Seuss, Fox in Socks and then we did a matching game. I chose to do this task individually with students
as it gave me an opportunity to hear their perception of rhyming and what they think rhyming is.
From there, I moved them onto an assessment task which covered all the letters and sounds that they
have been explicitly taught. Each week, the classroom teacher chooses a letter and provides themed
tasks around that letter/sound. To reflect further on the teaching strategies during the activities, I

chose for some to do it individually and others in pairs. I started *Angela in a pair as I thought it might
help her as she is an ESL student however her partner was going through the task too quickly and I
felt she wasnt benefiting from it as she was unable to participate at that pace.
The photos below show the document I recorded the students input on, a picture of *Angela working
one-on-one with me, the resources used for the initial sound assessment and the rhyming task.

Reflection:
Overall, I think that I have been very surprised at how literacy outcomes can be incorporated in so
many different ways. I have learnt that play-based activities can be simple, yet they need to be
intentional for learning outcomes to be met (DEEWR, 2009). I had never tried co-operative pairing
before and found it quite interesting how the students enjoy sharing their ideas with one another. I do
believe that I will need to find more strategies and learn more about catering for students who are
learning English as a second language. Winch et al (2010) states that ESL students need to have
experiences with a wide range of speech activities in order to develop their confidence and that using
visualisation, concrete objects and pictures as tools when teaching can increase their chances of
internalising the patterns of the English language.