Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Gathering information

Mathematics is a huge topic and covers a wide range of knowledge. To help me understand where the learners are at in some of this knowledge I created 3 levelled Explain Everything activities. 

These Explain Everything activities asked learners to respond to a range of voice prompts. 

These were drawn from Maths progressions I located when searching from another school. See here. 


From these assessment I noticed that some learners:
-Struggled with Teen and Ty numbers 
-Find remembering specific facts hard
-Struggle counting backwards 
-Struggled with fractions  
-Struggled to motivate themselves when working on a longer piece of maths. 

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Reflecting back and developing knowledge.


Mathematics has been an area in which I have seen a lot of change in values and perceptions during my 6 and a half years of teacher and even prior to this in my training. 

Looking back through my blog and earlier Inquiries I saw that impact of this quote:  

"Mathematics research is marked by debates over how to define mathematics, and these debates influence how maths is taught. Some schools of thought define maths as a set of formal rules and procedures that must be mastered to the point of automaticity, while others see it as a creative endeavour and a space for discovery." Education Hub 

DMiC which we focused on in 2019 had a strong focus on maths as discussion, as argument and creative thinking. It suggested that by solving problems concepts of mathematics would become known and develop and build student skills and ideas. 

Earlier in 2017 we focused on  the skill set required for mathematical understanding. How do we assess specific skills and teaching to develop from one stage of knowledge to another. How do we make sure children know where they are at and where they are going? What facts do they know and need to learn. 

Since then I like many teachers I am sure have struggled to find a balance. The curriculum for mathematic is wide reaching and covers so much ground each year with year 1 building into year 2 and that building into year 3 and so on. 

The Education Hub suggests that we don't let these ideas knowledge vs creativity become dichotomous but rather look at how they support each other. 

We all know that effective mathematics teaching is central to developing well rounded children who can grow to take an active role in society but what does effective maths teaching look like. 

Teaching and learning mathematics at primary school written by Fiona Ell and Dr Lisa Darragh for the Education Hub in 2021 suggests it is: 

  • In Mathematics one size fits all approach can be the easy way out for teachers, a text book or web sit. This however does not address the needs of learners and teachers are better placing themselves as adaptive experts using data and observation to carefully plan for learners needs.
  • Teacher knowledge is central to the teaching of mathematic. There are often sticking points that teachers and learners struggle with that can lead to confusing down the line. 
  • Readiness or teacher perception of readiness can impact what they cover with learners. 
  • "Ability" can become a limiting factor for  teachers and students 
  • The idea of a trajectory while useful can also mean learners get stuck because it is seen that one piece of knowledge is needed for moving on. 
  • Engagement and understanding that engagement in central to all learning including mathematic is important for teachers to have. 

So what now. I fully understand that mathematic is a context area of teaching and learning and that I need to examine my values, ideas and skill as a teacher in Mathematics. I plan to look at more literature that discusses how mathematics can be best taught.  

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Term One Data: A first look

As Term 1 approached I was filled with excitement for what my inquiry might be and the benefits it might bring to my teaching and the learning of my students. 

I had seen the positive impact that movement and song had had on learning in the past and during lockdown I again saw the excitement and eagerness of the children to engage in Jump Jam and other physical activities even from home. I began to wonder if this could help to combat the challenge we were having in Mathematics were children were struggling to retain the key facts and ideas needed to solve more challenging problems. 

As you can see I got excited and may gave jump the gun a little bit. 

Coming into term one things were not normal (if normal is even a thing anymore). The omicron wave swept through our community bring down class numbers and meaning constant change. Luckily my team planned together reducing stress but as limiting the amount of data collection I could do for my Inquiry. 

In mid February I collected some data with the learners in front of me. I looked at their Mathswhizz Levels from their placement tests. 

I also asked the 9 learners present at that time to complete a survey about their feels towards maths and how they view their ability. 

Majority of the learners stated that they always or often enjoy solving maths problems. Only one of the 9 children said never and one said sometimes. 

We asked about their use of counting and ability to remember facts. Most said that they count to solve problems with only one learner saying they never did. They had a more positive view on their ability to remember facts with 3 stating always, 2 sometimes, 2 occasionally and 1 never. 

What this shows is from this small sample they are aware that while they enjoy maths there are areas that they struggle with. 

I hope to redo this survey and a parent version in early term 2 when more learners are at school.  

Thursday, 10 March 2022

Challenge of student learning

This year I wanted to look at a different challenge for my learners and something that would be impactful for learning now and into the future. 

As such I looked at what the Makanaialani data showed. What I noticed was that for all year levels our cluster and school data was tracking similar to the norm but between it. 

This shows the data some of which is matched data for 2021-2022 year for PAT Maths in Manaiakalani and for our school. 

It is clear from this data that the children are across the board not reaching the level we aspire to in mathematics. But why?

I have had a number of discussion about this and while this has always been a challenge it is made larger bu the inconstancy of schooling over the past two years. 

I believe that memory of facts and ability to recall and use these to build mathematical knowledge. This seems and is a huge challenge but I believe that increasing knowledge of facts will have a huge impact for all learners but specially those stuck at a counting on level. 

Monday, 28 February 2022

Teaching As Inquiry 2022

My 2020 CoL Inquiry Focus:
How might physical movement and music support the learning of maths knowledge and will this impact on children's overall attitudes toward, confidence and ability in maths?

Manaiakalani Community of Learning is working together on this task using the expertise existing in of our community of learning. I have selected the achievement challenge of:

Lift theAchievement in Math for all learners years 1-13. 
The teaching as inquiry framework I will continue to use in 2020 has been specifically co-constructed for Manaiakalani schools using our familiar Learn Create Share structure.

Throughout the year, I will be labelling my blog posts to reflect our Learn, Create, Share structure.

Learn - Gather Evidence
Create - Make a plan
Share - Publish
Learn - Scan
Create - Try new things
Share - Co-teach
Learn - Identify Trends
Create - Innovate
Share - Model
Learn - Hypothesise
Create - Implement
Share - Guide
Learn - Research
Create - Reflect
Share - Feedback
Learn - Reflect

Share - Reflect

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Planning for the future-Col 2022 Interview

What next, This is a look at my possible 2022 inquiry 

Which  Achievement Challenge are you considering as an area of focus in 2022 and why? Include in your WHY both evidence and your own passion/expertise

Lift the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13, The last two years have made consistency a challenge and I have noticed not only with my own class but across our school teachers discussing the challenge of children remembering and retaining knowledge of key mathematical fact needed for advancing in their problem solving. I think this is a good area for me to focus on as it is an area I have not inquired into for sometime. I also know now from over two years of inquiring into reading what is working for me and my class and accelerating many learners. See my burst and bubbles for more. Manaiakalani data also shows that mathematics is not accelerating at the same rate as writing. 

What learnings from the 2017 - 2021 CoL teacher inquiries have informed or inspired your thinking?
I looked at a range of blogs including most blogs from the CoL teachers from the year 2017-2021 who focused on this achievement objective. What I found was firstly that this was not an achievement object with a large number of Col Inquiry and that most focused on talk related to problem solving rather that foundation mathematics skills. 

How would your work support Manaiakalani pedagogy and  kaupapa?

We all know there is a need in mathematics across the country but we have data to show this need. Have a systematic, fun approach to developing and maintaining key knowledge required in mathematics that could be shared and that embraced learn, create share would benefit everyone. While I do not want to jump ahead an make assumption about my particular learners for this year data and observations across our current year 3/4 learners suggests that many benefit from movement and songs this is a widely seen cultural practice in most cultures. This also fit with what some Engage games are trying to achieve. 

Which elements of the extensive Manaiakalani research findings inform or challenge you as you think about this?
I like to think the the ideas what we have found work in writing and reading might be the key to support and challenging our thinking in mathematics. The idea of mileage if something we come across in both areas as a key to success in these curriculum areas. As is the ideas of wide and deep or T shaped literacy. I think drawing on these ideas and seeing how they might apply to mathematics could be of read benefit

How would you like to be supported in 2022 as you undertake this inquiry?
I believe the best support I can get in this inquiry is drawing on the experts in and across our schools already doing great things in mathematics. I also think conversations with Fiona, Aaron, Rebbeca and others have been key to my inquiries in the past and will I hope continue to support my inquiry next year. This year I worked more closely with others inquiring into similar topics and I think this collaborative inquiry style could support me again next year.  

How would you plan to support your colleagues in your school with THEIR inquiries and/or teaching in the area you are exploring?
SHARE, has always be a huge part of what I do. Ask for help, share what I have noticed ask what they are noticing and be a sounding board. You don't know what someone needs help with until you are asking. I pride myself on being available to help others whenever I can and will continue to be no matter my role in 2022. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Burst and bubbles

 This year my inquiry focus was initially on, How will using a variety of high interest texts and providing open tasks impact students critical thinking?  

This was fulled by a few areas of student learning I was worried about. Firstly in my class of 27 learner at the start of 2021 only one was reading at their chronological age, of those not reading at their chronological age all were at least a year behind with many being two years or more behind their age. 

This raised concerns for me but also prompted the question why? What is holding them back. 

I identified critical thinking as a focus when I noticed children across the class were not thinking about what they read, not asking questions about new words or ideas even though they expressed an enjoyment of reading. While critical thinking stayed as a focus vocabulary also became and area of need. 

To build a rich picture of these areas of need and strength each learner had I looked at a range fo data. 
-Running records
-PAT reading
-Star Reading
-Student voice interviews
-Vocabulary based Arbs task
-Picture description

This highlighted again challenges around vocabulary with students expressing frustration over not understanding what words meant. 

After collecting all this data I asked so what am I doing? 
I have focused my inquires on reading for some time now but have continued to take a very differentiated  approach to reading task and with groups not working on similar text and ideas. After doing some wide reading and connecting with the idea of wide a deep for juniors I decided to focus more on whole class teams. Using the same open task for all texts with the hope this would allow for more collaboration across reading groups and more exposure to vocabulary on a theme. 

Changing the activities was an easy but huge change that shifted the responsibility from me to the learners to do most of the thinking.

Overall I would rate the change in learning as huge, for many of the learners in my class reading as not come easily. Given term 3 shift data I feel confident that many learners have made great progress in reading. However I do state that this may not have all been from this intervention as many attended Quick 60 reading also. 

For me the most important learning from this inquiry was that making more work for ourselves and less work for the children doesn't help anyone. Children need to be the ones thinking, creating and doing for true critical learning to happen. I also want to note that never in this inquiry did the children say they disliked reading even given it was such a huge challenge for most of them. Their positivity I believe played a huge role. 

I also want to note that this reflection does not take into account the impacts of lockdown as I would have had to talk for way longer than 3mins to include that information. Please see my blog for more about that.