Monday, October 29, 2018

Spiral of Inquiry: Analysing an oral language session.

As mentioned earlier, I have been enjoying Oral Language PD with Jannie Van Hees. In my last post, New learning about oral language I wrote a list of actions that I wanted to achieve by the end of the year. 

The first of these was to video a session of me working with a group of children. I then wanted to use the Vocab Profiler analyse the vocabulary I used with my students.

Today I recorded a session with my class, 16 students in a multi-cultural class (many of which are emerging bilinguals). You can read the full transcript here.

Here is a summary of that analysis:

The data shows that in this 12-minute children were exposed to 1393 words and 314 different words. 

Of these 1393 words, 86.07% of the words were in the first 1-1000 frequency words, and 4.95% were in the 1001-2000 words. Only 0.50% of these words from the Academic Word List (AWL) which appear with high frequency in English-language academic texts. As you can see in the image below these words are analysis_[1] author_[2] contact_[1] demonstrate_[1] partner_[2] There were 8.47% in the Off-List Words these were allen_[3] alright_[1] ch_[1] cheep_[7] chicks_[2] chirped_[1] clues_[1] cock_[2] cockle_[3] crowed_[1] disrupting_[1] disruptive_[1] distracting_[1] doo_[5] doodle_[5] fluffy_[1] gingers_[3] hen_[10] hens_[3] ikihele_[4] illustrator_[1] leghorn_[12] leghorns_[2] neighbouring_[1] nikau_[2] nooooo_[1] okay_[17] oral_[2] pamela_[3] preened_[2] preening_[4] redhead_[1] rooster_[1] session_[1] shed_[3] sided_[1] sill_[1] ta_[2] um_[2] yeah_[3]. Children were exposed to many of these words through the read-aloud story. Our Junior team has committed to reading aloud to children every day, and you can see in the transcript this is having significant benefits to children's understanding of various words. For example;
Teacher: So the little red hen carefully stretched and preened one wing, then carefully stretched and preened the other wing and when she was quite sure she was neat and tidy. Remember what preening looks like? Child T: Yeah. Teacher: Show me, show me with your body preening when the Little Red Hen is preening. What's she doing? She's doing it like this….preening.Child Ta: She’s covering it.Teacher:  Yeah, it looks like this.That’s  a great way to demonstrate that for us D.


  • What can I do to ensure that ALL children a contributing to dialogue?
  • The most common word in this text is "and, are, a" - what do I need to do to introduce a range of other words?
  • What makes some children more confident to speak up than others?

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