Monday, 19 March 2018

Focus Group Data

As we wrap up testing for term one I wanted to take a closer look at the  Gloss Data for my inquiry focus group.

This is a Gloss results by section compared with the end of the year Jam results. The red shows areas where the students score has gone down and the green where it has gone up. This illustrates that an area of need is in fractions. Some students also need support in multiplication and division.

Language and Gloss

During Gloss testing I noticed that the learners often said "I counted",  "I thought it", "I just knew it" or "I added it" They often needed prompting to explain what they added, counted or thought. They also required prompting to explain how they added or counted.

For this learners it often took two to three prompts before I had a full picture of how they solved the problem and even then they often reversed to a picture or objects when explaining. "I did this one, then this one" Rather than using words to explain what they had done.

This supports my hunches and teacher judgements that vocabulary is a need for these learners.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Ideation-crazy 8s

One of my favourite activities from our MIT Hui was the crazy eights. In this activity we were encouraged to think big and explore many different approaches to solve our identified problem. We were encourage to put aside the possible barriers and think big while focussing on our problems and ways in which we might effectively address this problems of the learners who face it.

I found this activity challenging as we often become stuck in our thinking as educators particularly when we have spent a lot of time developing one approach. It is however the ideas that come from thinking outside the box that are often the most innovative and effective. So give crazy eights a try for your inquiry and see what wonderful ideas you come up with to solve your problem.

This were my crazy eight ideas. I then reserved feedback from the group I was with in the way of stickers. You can see from the photo below that the feedback was mixed leaving me perhaps with more question than answers but this made is necessary for me to go back to the problem and consider which of these approaches will be best for my learners in my context and of course with the resources I have.

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Who are my team?

As part of our MIT Hui we talked about inquiry and how as with any innovation that it is impossible to achieve great things on our own.

As a starting points for our inquiries it was important to consider the WHO.
WHO- is the problem for?
WHO-has a say in how it is address?
WHO-are experts in the field, who can support me in my inquiry?
WHO-are my sounding boards?
WHO-is on the same journey I am?

One thing that I learnt from this experience was not to be to general. Writing things like Someone who codes does not help you, but writing down specific names of people you know or even people you would like to know allows you to have a real clear picture of who to ask when you need help.

This is my startings of WHO I will ask for help as I continue on my inquiry journey.

After we had thought about who would help us we did the BAR Activity. 

In this activity you had to think. 
B-Bigger, if you had unlimited money and could be connected to anyone what would you do? 
A-Add someone who will help you. 
R-Remove someone. 

This was a big challenge for me but also helped me to open up my thinking and consider the wider world as resources for solving my challenge. 

My Bigger
I would extend my inquiry to include a larger number of kids and teachers in the junior school. 
If I had unlimited money I would connect with Google, Apple swift creator, Rocket Lab and Space X. I would also connect with big thinker in mathematics including Jo Boaler and Bobbie Hunter perhaps even more people I just haven't come across yet.

This would allow for a program that looks at how maths connects to the real world and create internships where students could engage with people and google and rocket lab and learn about maths in connect.

Through the BAR process I had to think wider and not confine my thinking to myself, my hunches and my context.

Why MIT, The Escalator Metaphor

Over the weekend I was privileged to be part of the first Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher Hui. During the weekend to talk a lot about our inquiries, the problems our learners face and the people who may help us on our journey to finding new innovative ways to tackle these problems.

As we started our journey we talked a lot about the WHY.

Our first why was the why Manaiakalani and the why MIT (Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher).

I am extremely lucky to have had the wonderful Dorothy Burt as a mentor throughout my teacher Journey so far and this is how she explain the importance of innovative practices that support learners from years 0-13.

She describe education as an escalator or rather a set of escalators. The first is the the one on the left. It is going up. Learners on this escalator normally have a settle home life, support, parents who value education and assist them. The right hand escalator is the down one. Learner on this escalator have a number of circumstances beyond their control that mean they are constantly running up and escalator that is going down and if they stop learning for any reason they slide back down and have a longer distance to climb.

As teachers we are the cheer team support these learners running up the down escalator. Providing them with a helping hand and support as they face challenge after challenge. Innovative thinking and targeting problems is one way we help these learners climb that escalator.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Vocabulary in Mathematics

Every teacher who teaches mathematics wants their learner to understand and connect with mathematical concepts and big ideas. 

As I think about this for my inquiry I am reflecting on the challenges that learners faces when it comes to engaging in mathematics and what I as a teacher can do to help them. 

This week I read a wonderful article called: The Language of Mathematics: The Importance of
Teaching and Learning Mathematical Vocabulary

It was by Paul J. Riccomini, Gregory W. Smith, Elizabeth M. Hughes & Karen M. Fries. 

The article discussed the significant role that vocabulary plays in supporting learners mathematical understanding and some of the challenges faced by students and teachers as we look at mathematical language in the classroom. 

-A stand out point for me was that mathematical language often has multiple meanings. If we take the word product for example in mathematics in mean the solution of a problem while in other contexts it can mean an item that is created and can be purchased. 

-We also must consider the many specific terms in mathematics and how we as teachers develop students understanding of these word. 

The article suggested a number of ways to support learners in developing Mathematics vocabulary and I have created an image to show this way. 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

DMIC-Our Journey So Far

Starting any new journey is hard. You often feel unsure especially when you are unsure of the distantation is. 

As we look at the how we have started I noticed that across the school we have many of the same questions, experiences and concerns.

Things we are thinking about?
-Where to pitch the problem so that it works for all learners and extends all learners.
-How to get talking happening.
-How do we build routines for DMIC when we are developing new spaces.
-Listening to each other.
-Setting up norms of talking and setting up values of family has worked really well in years 7/8.
-They are not use to searching their thinking.

This goes against everything they are use to so there is a lot of norms changing that needs to occur.

Bobby suggest that student who are confident in mathematics may push back as they felt success in doing their work and this is a different and they may not feel as successful in this approach. While students who were less confident may feel a lot of success as they feel a part of a group.

Bobby suggest that snappy maths, launch a problem send them away bring them back share and re-launch and send them away to do another similar problem.

Social groups are who is going to work well with each other and support each other these are not always friends.

Year 4 up Setting up a lesson

-Social and strengths grouping that does not mean friends. You want to make sure learners are in group where discussion and arguments are happening. 
-Class slit in half or near half, seen on alternate days, students can be pulled in because they need more support, they have a great idea to share with a class or maybe for management reasons. 
-Grouping should be thought about really carefully. You can group all the quite kids together or group based on cultural strengths. We need to keep thinking about the groups all the time. Put the kids together who take over all together. 
-Groups of four at this level. 
-One challenging task, if a student can solve it on their own it is not challenging enough. We want children to learn that their a multiple steps in solving a problem and that at each level you are learning something new. 
-Multiple representations and recordings.  

If we take the example
There are 9 people at church and 23 more arrive. How many are there all together. 
Most children will flip that around 23+9. Some will make it 22+10. Some will then count on others will use base ten. 
By thinking carefully about this we can pull out a number of big ideas and all learners will learn. 

Lesson pattern
Years 4-8

Years 1-3

We need to talk about the norms every day. Talk about working as a family and provide examples of who family work together. Everybody sharing in the making of something together that no one persons owns it. 

In the sharing you have select someone who can extend the learners and support the big idea. 

The explicit teaching occurs during the sharing back. This happens through taking the learners ideas and lifting them up. 

When learners are doing independent work. Make it purposeful by making sure it is tired to the big ideas or pervious learning. 
-This could use a rewinding of student learning. Provide tasks that are similar to student previous problems and use videos of the first problem to support revision learning. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Seeing Behind the Code

I have been thinking a lot about how to make to connections to coding in mathematics in a meaningful way for my learners that builds Vocabulary and supports collaborations. 

As a result of this question that has been sitting on my mind I did what I have become so good at doing... I researched. Often when I go out looking for inspiration from literature I struggled to find something that really makes me think and gives me ideas, but today I was in luck. 

I can across some research conducted in Dutch primary school that focused on an event called "the Big Mathematics Day." In 2016 this day had a theme of "Let's have a look behind code". 

It talked about how they used CS plugged activities to help learners develop computational thinking, through understanding patterns, algorithms and use and compression of data. They found that this day inspired learners and gave them an opportunity to inquire collaboratively to develop their understanding of the concepts behind coding. 

One activity they describe was using code to create images by showing which pixels are turn on and off. Then building to create more detailed images. 

Can you see the squares I have missed?
Understanding patterns and identifying errors are a big part of coding and these are also skills central to mathematical thinking. 

My takeaways from this article:
  • This article has some great activities that are designed to get kids thinking mathematically while creating and following process. 
  • The collaborative nature of coding, we often think of computer program as something that someone does, but this article looking at the way "the Big Mathematics Day" was run and the social skills required would may anyone rethink that. The task required learners to support each other by checking their programs and discussing in meaningful ways the big ideas behind the code. 
  • "Realistic Mathematic Education" this was a pedagogy discussed in the article that talked about the importance of human activity, student being the centre of mathematical thinking inquiring and  testing concepts that are meaningful to them. 
This article re-enforced my thinking around my Inquiry. I believe that starting with these hands on tasks and developing and understanding of concepts in a way that links mathematical thinking and development of social skills is an important starting place for my inquiry.  

Thanks Mieke Abels, Vincent Jonker, Ronald Keijzer & Monica Wijers for this wonderful article. You can read it here