Thursday, 18 October 2018

Using 'because'

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.
WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

As mentioned in a prior post I'm not seeing the progress I was expecting to see at this stage of the year.  Discussing my frustrations with Dr Aaron Wilson he assured me that inquiries which involve a culture and behavioural change are often slow going and can take a long time to see change. So that was reassuring.

The main frustration I have is that my kids struggle to use vocabulary that effectively explains and justifies their thinking. They will to some degree explain and justify their thinking using their own vocabulary however, the person trying to understand their thinking is often having to infer meaning and join the dots.

Among other unused vocabulary and phrases the most common unused word in helping to explain and justify is the word 'because'. Despite having introduced it earlier this year as part of the waka paddle prompts and insisting the children use it while explaining their maths problems the word 'because' is not yet common place in the classroom.

To combat this I'm going to introduce some activities/games where the kids have to use the word 'because' in order to successfully participate/complete the activity. My hope is that by using the word more frequently and highlighting it in a fun way prior to a maths session the children will transfer the use of 'because' to their mathematical explanations and justifications. I'll keep you updated.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Patience Young Grasshopper

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.

WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

I recently presented my inquiry to a group of people at the Manaiakalani hui. While presenting I was asked what have I learnt about myself throughout this process. My response was that I didn't have as much patience as I thought. It is taking much longer than I would like to see a change in my kids which is really frustrating. At times I see glimpses of significant shift in their ability to explain their mathematical thinking then at other it times it's like it's week one, term one all over again.  I'm assuming that this is par of the course however it's still frustrating. I long for the day when those glimpses of effectively explaining and justifying are no longer glimpses but the new norm.

So where to from here? My advice form others has been to keep persevering and keep doing what you know works. The latter part is a good reminder as it's easy in the moment when it's not going well, when I'm feeling frustrated/tired etc to put aside the things you know work. For example using the waka paddle discussion prompts or requiring the kids to speak in full sentences and use the word because in their explanations. So,  I'm going to keep implementing that things that work, persevere, keep the long game in mind and get back on the horse.

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Data, Reflection & Next Steps

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.
WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

Below is the current data taken from a recoded maths session of my target group.


It's great to see the children explaining their thinking more freely however unfortunately they're not using the word 'because' often enough. They say things like "so you go 20.3 x 2 which is ...." but they don't explain why they multiplied 20.3 by 2 therefore, not justifying their thinking. It is also evident that the children are not asking questions of each other off their own bat.



So what can do or change to further develop their dialogic discourse? Although I've introduced the waka paddle prompts, had the children participate in talking activities and modelled dialogic discourse I'm not seeing the results I thought I'd see. This has me wondering do I just need to be more patient or do I have to try something different? Maybe it's a bit of both.

Recently, on my blog, I was challenged by Dr Jannie van Hees to look at incorporating real world maths into my class, to get my kids out of the class to explore the maths around our local environment. She suggested that using "... relevant, motivating, authentic contexts will generate much talk and figuring out....and when suggestions are shared, and justifications expected, rich maths and maths language dialogue will occur." This makes sense to me I guess the challenge lies in incorporating it in my DMIC lessons but I'm sure it can be overcome.



Thursday, 26 July 2018

Going into Term 3 Reflection

As term 3 kicks off I've been reflecting on my inquiry this for this year. In this reflecting I was reminded of the inquiry that I did last year. I found that I have been so focussed on my inquiry this year that I have forgotten about the things I discovered the previous year.

Things like:
- How effective materials are for learning new mathematical concepts and knowledge.
- How hands on follow up activities are effective in concretising new learning.
- How combining create to learn tasks with hands on follow up activities and materials is effective in    consolidating new mathematical concepts.

Problem
How do I keep inquiring into this years inquiry while still applying the things I learnt last year? The simple answer is to 'just do it' however when you're engaging in a whole new maths pedagogy (DMIC) this is easier said than done.

Possible solution
DMIC maths sees myself working with half the class while the other half works on independent activities. My plan is to incorporate my learning from last year into the activities the children are doing when they are not with me. I haven't quite worked out what this will specifically look like however I'm determined to put something into place so that my learning from last year doesn't go to waste.


Sunday, 1 July 2018

Quick Inquiry Update

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.

WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

Anecdotally my target group are making progress in their ability to explain and justify their mathematical thinking. They are speaking with greater confidence and are using the word 'because' more frequently. They still often need teacher prompts but I'm finding they don't need as many teacher prompts and are more willing to share their thinking.

The waka prompts have been helpful in giving the kids something to launch from and they they are using them more frequently without me reminding them to use them. Unfortunately the kids still like to play with them and they can be a distraction but they are more useful than not. It has been great to see some of the kids request to not have waka prompts as they are confident they don't need them.

This week I will again be recording and measuring the mathematics discourse of my kids. I just hope the data reflects my anecdotal notes.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

First run with the waka paddles

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.

WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

This week I used the waka paddle prompts for the first time. As they were a novelty the kids were eager to use them. At first they weren't using them meaningfully. They viewed it more like a game to get rid of their waka paddles. After some more discussion around the purpose of the paddles and how the prompts needed to be used appropriately and meaningfully the paddles started to be used more effectively. One annoyance is that some kids were more focussed on playing with the paddles than the maths task however, I'm hoping that once the novelty wears off this won't be much of an issue.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Waka paddle prompts

PROBLEM: My kids struggle to explain and justify their thinking and reasoning in maths.

WONDERING: How can I develop the mathematical dialogic discourse ability of my children?

The data I collected confirmed my suspicions that my kids struggled to explain and justify their reasoning in maths. My hunch is that the kids don't know how to do this effectively. To help them learn I have made prompts of the kind of things they should be saying when explaining and justifying their thinking.


The idea is that each kid holds a few prompts in their hands and their goal is to meaningfully use the prompt in their maths session. Once they have used it they can discard the prompt. My hope is that over time using these prompts will become second nature and they will no longer need them. I used the symbol of the waka paddle as we often talk about how we are one whanau and we are all in one waka. We need to all paddle in the same direction if we are to get anywhere.