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

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

Monday, 22 May 2017

Materials, materials, materials!

Last week our team was fortunate enough to have a tailored session with Jo Knox about about assessing and teaching maths in Year 7 & 8.  While the whole session was very useful the part I found most helpful was Jo's take on teaching decimal place value knowledge.

For my CoL inquiry I'm inquiring into how I can significantly develop the math knowledge of my children. This term I am focussing on developing their decimal place value knowledge.

When I asked Jo how she goes about teaching decimal place value her response was 'Materials, materials, materials' She said using materials such as decipipes, decimats, chocolate bars and bundles of 10 ice block sticks are imperative in developing conceptual decimal understanding.

The idea of using materials to develop decimal knowledge is also supported by NZ Maths which states "In developing an understanding of decimal numbers and their relative size, it is important that the students themselves use equipment to create a range of physical representations of numbers". With this in mind I will be endeavouring to create rich learning experiences using materials to further develop my children's knowledge of decimal place value. I'll keep you posted on how I get on.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Hearing from the children.

In order to better support my maths children in their learning I wanted to find out more about their own level of mathematics confidence and how much support they receive from home. Below is some of the data from a survey given to the children.

1 - I don't enjoy it at all         5 - I love learning maths at school

This result surprised me. I assumed that most of the responses would have been around 2 & 3. It is encouraging to see that most of the class do enjoy learning maths at school. Further investigation will be needed to find out what I can do to help the 2 students who don't enjoy learning maths at school.

1 - Not confident           5 - Very confident

Again these results surprised me. It was encouraging to see that 38% had some confidence in their maths ability and it was pleasing to see that none of the children had no confidence.

Interestingly while 65% of the children could think of two adults in their life who had encouraged and supported them in maths only 42% said they get help with their maths from anyone at home. On further investigation for most of those children who indicated 2 adults support them in maths, one of those adults was a teacher.

There are a lot of takeaways from this data. I am yet to work out how this data will affect my teaching and lessons however it has given me much to think about.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Maths PD with Jo Knox

Today we had Jo Knox taking us for Maths PD. These are notes taken from my colleague Hayley Judd who kindly shared them with me and allowed me to post them.

 The objectives of the PD were to

- Identify clear links between Number framework with national curriculum levels and National standards

- Know how to use assessment data

Knowledge and strategies intertwine.

Number Id
Number sequence and order
Grouping and place value

IKAN is a tool to assess knowledge


GLOSS is a toll to assess strategy

"The primary purpose of assessment is to improve students learning and teachers teaching as BOTH student and teacher respond to the information that it provides"

- How is this assessment informing our planning and teaching?

Formative or summative assessment?

Exploring Number Knowledge:
Numeral ID, Sequencing and Ordering, Grouping/ Place Value, Basic Facts:

Important pieces of information we should know instantly- or so the Ministry says. Jo disagrees, so took away the time limit on certain sections of the IKAN
Advantages: It is quick
Disadvantages: time pressure, chn have to look up and down, questions go too quick.

Reflection: Maybe IKAN is just to be used for specific chn to provide a snapshot
Maybe give chn to option to sit back with their marked test and they can fix up the ones they know (not wasting time learning what they know) and then pick two things they want to learn based on their mistakes.

Spider graphs for GLoSS and IKAN
These are great to show the glaring gaps, where students are aiming for, and their strengths. Be careful if the kids are working well below, as their lines will all be in the middle and might discourage them.

How do I use the data to inform my planning?
IKAN class summary sheet: shows gaps (highlighted)
Highlight all data, including names
Data: sort range: column d. 
This will sort from lowest to highest stage. Will show some common gaps in knowledge that you can fill as the Teacher.

PAT tests:
Individual reports give stanine, where the children sit on the bell curve, black correct answers, light is incorrect, transparent is omitted. Red line is the average. The key will show you whether the test was too hard or too easy. 

Below is the presentation that Jo went through when speaking to us.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Independent and dependent clauses - Google Class OnAir episode

The Video
There were two learning intentions for this lesson.
1) Identify independent and dependent clauses.
2) Identify the subject and the predicate

This lesson was precursor to a lesson on complex sentences. In order to understand complex sentences kids had to have a good understanding on independent and dependent clauses.  The episode starts with the kids spotting the difference between two different clauses. This then leads into a whole class lesson about clauses in particular independent clauses. The video wraps up with footage of the children participating in the subject/predicate activity and also features children working on their presentations. Please visit my Google Class OnAir site for a detailed  lesson plan, reflection and examples of the kids work.