Tuesday, 22 November 2022

Brust and Bubble 2022

 This year I sadly could not make Burst and Bubbles in person due to health reasons. I did however record my presentation. I hope you enjoy my reflections on my 2022 inquiry. 

 This year we hoped that everything would go back to normal, but of course there is no sure thing as normal. Being a year 3 and 4 class most of us hadn’t experienced much normal school, school without lockdowns, masks and illness. 

Our Teacher Mrs Carruthers was aware of this and particularly worried about the impact this had had on our learning, understanding and attitudes towards Mathematics. 

Mrs Carruthers asked us what we thought about maths, she gave us a little test and looked at the data from the maths test we did on our ipads. She noticed our many strengths in counting and how lots of us had learnt cool things when we were learning at home. 

She also noticed that we were not very confident or quick with recalling maths facts using them to solve problems. 

Our teacher is a learner just like us and she wasn’t 100% sure of what to do. 

She looked at research on her computer, she asked other teachers and thought really carefully about what would help us the most. 

Mrs Carruthers had lots of cool ideas but time was not on her side. She gave us daily basic facts to work on and talked to us about them. She made sure we had opportunities to work with our friends when we were doing maths. She even helped us make some fun videos to practise our facts. 

What helped me most with my maths was…

”Using my maths booklet every day, from there I practised division” 

“My fun activities helped me learn my times tables by putting them into groups.” 

"My teacher is she the best maths teacher, The maths in year 3 is harder and you made sure I understood." 

Mrs Carruthers can see what we have learned a lot this year. She sees it in the way we happily join in in maths, the excitement we show for maths Kahoots, the way we can now use our basic facts and knowledge to solve problems and in our blog posts. 

We know the changes we have made in our class helped us, the consistent practice of facts has been a big help to us. Mrs Carruthers and Room 23 are sure that it was our can do attitudes that made the biggest difference for us this year.

Looking forward to 2023

As I reflect on 2022 as a year I look back to see many positive, many Challenges and many possible next steps forward for myself as a teacher and the learners I teach. While Literacy as not been an inquiry focus for me this year I realise that critical and collaborative literacy are areas that has not been as central to my practice as I would like. 

What achievement challenge are you considering as an area of focus in 2023 and why? Include in your WHY both evidence and your own passion/expertise? 

As a result I would like to focus again on Achievement Challenge 3:  Lift the achievement in Reading for all students, with a particular focus on boys and Māori students (both genders) years 1-13 with a specific focus on critical literacy and collaboration. 

While I have many able reader in my class this year the area in which they struggled most has been making connections between text, connecting what they read to their own experiences and asking questions about the author and reliability of the texts they read. This was reflected in group discussions. 

I am passion about this as I know that being inquisitive, critical, collaborative and thoughtful helps children to create and share in a way that is meaningful for them and help them to build a strong understand of the world around them. 

What learnings from the 2017 - 2022 CoL teacher inquiries have informed or inspired your thinking.

There have been so many wonderful inquires into the area of reading and within the cluster there are many amazing resources. 
Two inquiry on Robyns inspired me and provide a great spring board. In 2019 she looked into comprehension strategies in reading and this year the enjoyment of reading. 
Another inquiry that has influenced my thinking has been Hannah West inquiry looking the at impact of vocabulary last year. This connected closely to my own inquiry in 2020 and we both found that vocabulary played a huge role in literacy achievement. 
This year Jo Gormly inquiry around vocabulary was also inspiring for me. It puts into perspective the ideas that teachers have a responsibility to gift model and support the language they expect from learner, Which I believe could be a key fact in forming the collaborative and critical in the classroom and way of engaging with each other. 

How would your work support Manaiakalani pedagogy and  kaupapa?

There ware many ways this focus would connect and support the Manaiakalani pedagogy:
  • It reflects the values of learn, create and share. 
  • It connects to the valued reading practices that a known to get shift for learners. 
  • Skills for learning that are transferable across the curriculum. 
  • Collaboration 
  • Most of all it focus on supporting connected and empowered learners. 

Which elements of the extensive Manaiakalani research findings inform or challenge you as you think about this?
This is support by the research from Manaiaklani surveys around reading and high leverage practices. Both Collaboration and critical thinking are points that have regularly been discussed drawing on Manaiakalani research but also wider research. 
Some examples of this research are:

How would you like to be supported in 2023 as you undertake this inquiry?

In 2023 I would like to connect more in my inquiry. It has been great being back together this year and having the time to talk and discuss. In 2023 I would like to actively collaborate in the creation of tools to access progress and interventions with others who have a similar interests and whose learners have similar needs. 
I also great value and will continue to rely on the many experts in the Manaiakalni team. 

How would you plan to support your colleagues in your school with THEIR inquiries and/or teaching in the area you are exploring?

I and I feel anyone who know me would agree love to share and discuss. I think this is the way in which I will most benefit and support others in my inquires in 2023. I also love to listen to others ideas and have in my years in as a CoL leader heard many ideas of others and pointed people to research, blogs or other teacher who might support them. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Celebrating Academic Shift

 This year has been the first in a while with consistent time at school for some children. This has made the opportunity of accelerated shift. 

As part of my Class Onair Application for 2023 I have been reflecting on my academic achievement data from term 1 to end of term 2 for maths and writing and from term 1- term 3 in reading. 

As a teacher I have done a number of inquires into reading in the past and feel quite confident teaching reading. I have found that I can make accelerated shift for a number of children in my literacy class. 

Across the class there is only one learner who has not made 1 year or more of shift in the last 3 terms. 

However maths and writing a yet to show the same shift after two terms. 

I know that for writing and maths I need to keep working on my own practice and developing new strategies for supporting and growing learners knowledge in maths and writing. 

I am interested to see if this shift changes at the end of the year as terms 3 and hopeful term 4 are more stable in attendance than terms 1 and 2 were with isolating children and families. 


Tuesday, 27 September 2022


It has been a strange few years for the children in my class but also for myself. We have noticed a widen of gaps in all curriculum areas. In order to address these gaps especially in maths I have been looking at simple things we can do each day to make mathematics facts more memorable. 

One way I have done this started early in term 2. Once the class were settled. We started doing some maths revision everyday. This was an opportunity not only for children to practice but to ask for help and for me to constantly assess their developing knowledge. 


Another way we did this was by creating some songs to help us. My intention was to make more of these but this term has been so busy and my focus has been spilt with time spent working on writing as a focus for my Manaiaklani Class Onair lessons and time spent focused on reading and reading fluency for this also. 

We are all at different stages with our knowledge and to help each other we are making dances to some cool songs we found online. 

First our teachers helped us to select some facts and songs to sing. 

We choose this song about bonds to 10 and this song about doubles

Then we worked in 3s and 4s to come up with some cool moves to help us stay fit and learn our maths facts. 

We hope you like our dance moves and would love a comment in you try it out in your class. 

Bonds to 10 




Friday, 16 September 2022

Creativity, Collaboration and Music

A huge part of my inquiry this year has shifted away from the elements of mathematics to the elements of collaboration and creativity. 

My hope is that by providing these activities for collaboration and creativity the children will be able to apply this learning across the curriculum. 

This lesson focused on building these skills and it was incredibly positive the way in which my class engaged with each others. 

Through this activity the children worked on expressing the values of our class as they see them in a song. 


Thursday, 21 July 2022

Causal Chain

This year my inquiry focus is year was on Mathematics and trying to support learners to gain basic facts knowledge in a meaningful way. 
I believe if I focus children on developing basic facts in a number of ways while building a collaborative classroom learners will be more confident and collaborative in maths. See the Causal chain for the process I hope to take. 

Thursday, 7 July 2022

Creating, Collaborating and Coding

Mathematic can often be seen as a right or wrong type subject. Well there are many ways to solve problems the goal is the find and answer. This often makes it hard to get excited or collaborated. 

One things we have done this year to try and build this collaboration was finding ways to integrate. This lesson was a good example of this. Feel free to check it out. 


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