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. 

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Some Baseline Data

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 recorded my target kids collectively solving a problem. My goal was to capture and measure their ability to explain their thinking and inquire about other's. I noted done each time each child used any of the phrases, or similar phrases below. The kids worked on the problem for 15 minutes and this is their results.It's worth noting that two of the target group were not there that day. Their row has been marked with a -. 






It's interesting to see that the children did try to express what they are thinking however it often wasn't backed up with a reason. The word 'because' was seldom used and the others were left to infer the mathematica thinking and process from what was said e.g "You add 20 to 100 and then you....". Equally interesting is that only one child asked for further information/explanation from others as they expressed their thinking.

This married up with what I have been seeing anecdotally so it's nice to have some actual data. We clearly have a long way to go in developing a community where kids can confidently express their thinking and inquire of others. My next steps involve explicitly teaching the kids how to express and justify their mathematical thinking. My kids need to view each other as both a learner and teacher. They need to connect with the idea that they can learn from their peers and that what their peers have to say is valuable.






Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Inquiry update: Let the recording begin!

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?

While I had every intention last term of recording my students in order to measure their mathematical dialogic discourse ability, due to the business of school life and external factors (a baby being born 5 weeks earlier than expected) this did not happen. 

However it's now week one of term two and I will be recording this week! It's going to be great to have some baseline data on my kids, a reference point to build from. I only wish I had done this earlier as anecdoatally I have already seen my target kids become more confident in their ability to engage in mathematical dialogic discourse.