Sunday, 13 August 2017

New target students

Initially I didn't have a target group for my COL inquiry into raising the achievement levels of my kids in maths. I was looking at my whole maths class as a target group. However, as I'm sure many of you would agree,  this was a very ambitious (maybe even dumb) move on my behalf. I have found targeting the whole class makes it very difficult to track any progress which in turn makes it tricky to know if what I am doing is worthwhile/effective or not. With this in mind I now have a target group for my inquiry.  These children are below where they should be and also happen to be my maths target group. Below is a table of their data.

I will be working with and tracking these beautiful's achievement over the next two terms.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Decimal Place Value - Jumping the gun

It has been so great to see my kids develop their decimal place value knowledge (and fraction knowledge) by using materials. This has concretised it for them and helped them connect with the knowledge. Having had success with this I thought great they've got it and I gave them an activity that would see them solving addition and subtraction problems that includes tenths and hundredths...without using materials.

This was an epic fail on my behalf.  In my excitement I jumped from using materials straight to using number properties totally by passing imaging. As you can imagine the kids found this too hard (although some managed). We ended up working through the problems altogether in their group in order to complete it. I learnt a valuable lesson. Wishing and hoping my kids will get something doesn't work. I need scaffold the next steps more effectively in order to get further growth. Lesson learned.

Book Da Teacher Update

Back in June I initiated Book Da Teacher. This is a system where the children can book in time with me one on one or in groups of up to three to work through something they are struggling with or want help with. This came about after data I received from a student survey that indicated the children would like more time with me to help them with their maths.

Initially Book Da Teacher got off to a rocky start as none of the children booked in. After some clarification about it soon a trickle of booking started coming through. However, now in Term 3,  one and half months on Book Da Teacher is still struggling to take off. Week two, term three and I have no bookings despite my best efforts to remind the children about it. This makes me think that maybe the data was wrong and the children don't really want more teacher time or  I need to scaffold the system more so the children feel confident about using it. I suspect the latter is more likely.

Going forward I will be endeavouring to scaffold Book Da Teacher discussing it daily with the children and booking them in myself. My hope is that this will get the ball rolling. If you have any ideas please let me know.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Fraction Challenge - Google Class OnAir episode

The learning intentions for this lesson was to participate 100% as a member of a group and to visually represent a fraction of a whole. I chose this create lesson/activity as a way of concretising my kids fraction knowledge. Click here to go to my Manaiakalani Class On Air site where you will find a detailed lesson plan, a reflection of the lesson and an example the the kids final product.

This lesson highlighted to me how effective create lessons are in engaging the children. I was delighted to see one boy who struggles with maths and often disengages really light up when doing this activity. It was the first time I had seen him genuinely engage in a maths activity.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Book Da Teacher

As a part of my inquiry scan I asked my children via a google form: "Is there anything your maths teacher could do to help you improve more in maths? If so what?

20 children responded to the survey question but only 7 answered the question in it's entirety. The others opted to simply answer yes or no without explaining what I could do to help. Out of the 7 who responded in full 4 of them said something along the lines of "spending more time with the teacher". This surprised me as the introduction of the maths tumble meant I was seeing each group regularly. I asked those four children to elaborate on what the wanted and they all mentioned they wanted one on one or smaller group time with me. As it turned out when I asked the class to close their eyes and raise their hand if they would like to have more teacher time in a smaller group setting 4/5 of them raised their hand.

With 20 kids indicating they would like more time with me to help them in their maths learning I have initiated 'Book da teacher'. The children can book in a 10 minute time slot with me using a google sheet via our team's website. The 2 conditions are: A maximum of 3 people per session and the children must come to the session with something to work on or a problem.

'Book da teacher' is now in it's second week of running. To my surprise in the first 2 days no one booked in. When I questioned the kids about what was going on it turned out they were confused as to what they should come to me with. After some further elaboration the booking sheet started to fill up. It is still early days but I am hoping that this initiative will be a small step towards lifting the maths achievement of my kids.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Defining success

I just finished watching a video of  Graeme Aitken who presented to the Manaiakalani school leaders about collaboration and teaching as inquiry. His presentation was full of wisdom and he had a great way of explaining things so that even the simplest of teachers (myself included) could understand.

Graeme stated that as teacher's we are only trying to achieve 3 things:

1 - More interest/enjoyment of learning
2 - More confident children
3 - More achievement success

While I agree (as I'm sure the Ministry of Education (MOE)  and many others do) with these three goals I think the education sector has a long way to go in regards to recognising all of them. In my opinion there is greater weighting to goal number three. At the end of the year I'm not reporting to senior management or the MOE about the interest/enjoyment levels of my children or how confident they are. I'm reporting back on their achievement levels.  As a teacher I really want to have children who are interested in/enjoying learning and children who are growing in confidence however it's really easy to focus solely their achievement levels as this seems to be what matters most and what defines success.

Listening to Graeme was a great reminder for me to not forget about goals one & two. Graeme said real success is when you get an intersection of the three goals. When you get children who are interested, confident and achieving. I really like this definition of success and it is one I will be adopting. While it's not an easy task it takes into account the wellbeing of the children which can only be a good thing right?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Decimal Place Value - Popsicle Decimals - Google Class OnAir episode

Below is a video and reflection of a place value lesson I recently did with my children. As mentioned in an earlier post I was challenged to use materials as a way of building the children's decimal place value knowledge. This was my first attempt. To see examples of the children's finished work please go to my Class OnAir site.

I found this lesson a bit of a struggle. Some of the children were reluctant to engage, maybe because they thought they were beyond this however evidence from their classwork and GLOSS test indicates otherwise. This lesson highlighted to me how important materials are for teaching decimal place value. With using materials the children quickly latched onto the idea that 1 popsicle stick represented 1/10 so 3 popsicle sticks represented 3/10 and so on. It also made it easier for them to add decimals together. The next steps involve removing the scaffolds and getting the children to work with tenths without the popsicle sticks