Friday, 20 April 2018

End of term 1 Inquiry Update

Manaiakalani CoL Achievement Challenge: To lift the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13. As I am in a Year 5 space, my focus is on year 5 learners.

As stated in my previous inquiry blog post, my focus this year is going to be on how I can lift vocabulary knowledge through mixed ability grouping by encouraging maths discussions. This term has involved trying many new ways of teaching maths. I have really enjoyed it and have seen learners be both challenged and have the feeling of success.


What did I learn from my DMIC mentor? 

Suggestions:

- Sit learners in a semicircle, already in their group so this reduces the transition time to begin working on the problem after the launch.
- Remember to set up the group norms every day.
- Leave learners as much as possible to problem solve independently of the teacher in their groups.
- Based on what I, as the teacher, have observed, choose a couple of groups who can report back to the rest of the whole group (about half of the class) - use of student voice. Plan the groups that report back intentionally so the follow up makes sense to learners and follows logical steps.

What isn't working yet?

- General classroom noise has made it difficult to launch the problem quickly and successfully for all learners.
- A lot of time seems to be spent organising the groups before we have even started. It is challenging to set up the rest of the class (who will be working independently) so they will remain focused for the whole time I am with the other half of the class. This could require some rejigging of the way maths is run. Perhaps we start with a whole class warm up task then I meet with the children who will be learning independently whilst the children who will be learning with me on that day are completing their 15 minutes of Maths-Whizz. In this way, those children who will not be with me on that day will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the learning they are to do.

How am I going to measure vocabulary knowledge/ acquisition in maths discussions?

- Screencasts - recording group discussions which can then be put onto learner blogs. This could either be done during the problem solving or as a follow up task as a group.
- Learners leading the Connect. Pick groups which can follow on from each other to explain strategies to solve the problem.
- Rubric - learners to mark themselves on how well they worked as a group/ contributed to group discussions.
- GLOSS test (term 2) - how well can learners explain their thinking to a problem. Compare this in term 4 to see if the level of explaining at a certain mathematics stage has changed.
- As I walk around, I could be noticing any vocabulary which I am hearing. These could be written down on a word wall and then discussed at the end of the DMIC session.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Beginning of year Inquiry Action Plan






This year, I am continuing to focus on the Manaiakalani CoL Achievement Challenge, to lift the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13. As I am in a Year 5 space, my focus will be on year 5 learners.

My focus this year is going to be on how I can lift vocabulary knowledge through mixed ability grouping by encouraging maths discussions. This will fit in well with our school-wide PD with Dr. Bobbie Hunter on DMIC (Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities) maths. I am interested in seeing how DMIC can support those learners who are beginning to develop multiplicative thinking (working towards E6).

It will be important to teach the learners talk moves which they can use in their groups. I want to think about how I can encourage these children who are developing multiplicative thinking to be both teachers and learners (supporting those who are yet to develop multiplicative thinking, and learning from those who understand and are confident with higher level multiplicative-proportional part-whole thinking). 

What am I doing so far?

Currently I have been exploring the use of DMIC maths in class and have really enjoyed it. I have been creating problems which are meaningful to the learners and launching these to ensure all learners understand the problem. 

Learners are then placed in to groups of four where they work on one piece of paper to solve the problem. The rules are:

- Everyone in the group should contribute in some way.
- The group is not finished until everyone in the group has some understanding of what has been done and can contribute to the explanation. 


I found it interesting that in many groups, one person often did the work and the others sat back and took the opportunity to switch off or get off task. I have therefore began teaching the children to be able to step in and say 'Can you please explain that to me? - I don't understand what you have done' to begin encouraging them to talk about their learning without a teacher stepping in. 

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

End of year Inquiry Summary


Here is my inquiry summary. This year, my inquiry has revolved around finding common teaching and learning approaches which are important for a number of students in year 5.

- Thinking multiplicatively (learning and understanding times tables).
- Giving students lots of opportunities to reason mathematically.
- Mathematical vocabulary - gifting this to students and exploring it as a new language (just like we do with coding).
- Reflecting on their learning - getting students to realise when they didn't get something right and encouraging them to ask the 'why' and make changes.

Noting these common approaches has resulted in a strengthened understanding of the pedagogy, deeper thinking around how to teach students in effective ways, and exploring different tasks and approaches to engage students and strengthen connections between prior knowledge and new understandings.

I look forward to beginning the 2018 school year with this new knowledge to effectively support students in their mathematical development.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Music and fractions

Music lends itself nicely to learning about fractions. In fact, rhythm and beat is all about fractions! Therefore, I decided to teach fractions through music.

- Lesson Link
- The task


It took a while for some students to grasp the concept of this, however when they did, they were able to make strong connections between music and fractions. Many students were really motivated with this problem solving task and persevered until they correctly answered task 1 and 2. 

I think the turning point for students grasping understanding of this was when we played a clapping game and students realised that the total always had to be the same length of time. That is, 1 semibreve had to last the same length of time as 4 crotchets.

Monday, 23 October 2017

Beginning of Term 4 Inquiry Update

Being a 9 week term, end of year (summative) assessments begin for students from week 3, which is next week! I have been thinking a lot about how I can be preparing students for these upcoming assessments. In addition to the next steps, set out in my last inquiry blog post, it is going to be essential to prepare these students for the assessments. To do this, I am continuing to encourage students to demonstrate mathematical reasoning through screencasts and through collaborative problem solving. I will be encouraging students to practice their times tables with their classmates as much as possible throughout the next week. This will be through times tables flash cards, Salute, and through times tables grids (including a permanent one which is now on the class whiteboard). I am also going to spend this week before testing begins, giving students learning experiences which go back to place value (and into decimals for students who are ready for this). In groups, we will go through specific questions which students have, and we will go through some practice questions to discuss how best to approach them. 

It is important that students are feeling confident to share their reasoning as they go into testing, so that they have the best chance of demonstrating their developing knowledge which they have shown throughout the year. 

When assessing these students, it is going to be really important to triangulate data, rather than just make judgements from one or two assessments. This is clearly explained through this diagram by the Ministry of Education. I need to be using a range of data from throughout the year, rather than just through formal testing.

Possible assessment through observations:
- Group work
- Collaborative problem solving (presentations on blog)
- Screencasts
- Maths books

Formal assessments (other than EOY assessments):
- Maths-whizz data
- Xtramath data

Learning conversations are going to be really important too (MoE, 2011). This was really important in creating mid-year OTJs, when I felt that other assessments types were not giving me enough information. 

Monday, 16 October 2017

Student voice through google forms

I have found that student voice is a great way for me to learn what additional support a student requires, how they want to learn, as well as a way a student can give me feedback on the effectiveness of my teaching for them. I have used student voice in a number of ways through literacy and maths. In maths, I have used a google form so students can let me know when they need support on a particular area of maths. We can then conference 1 on 1, or in small focus groups to develop understanding and confidence in that area. I can keep track of this additional student support on a google sheet.

The maths form:



In writing, I have created a similar form. This form allows students to be metacognitive about what area of writing they need most support. As is suggested as a strategy in teaching of maths, from this, I can then create flexible focus groups to support multiple learners at once, in an area which is purposeful for them (Chapin, O'Connor, & Anderson, 2009).

The writing form:



More recently, at the end of term 3, I created a form for students to share their ideas about how they enjoy to learn.




Reference:
Chapin, S.H., O'Connor, C., & Anderson, N.C. (2009). Classroom discussions: Using math talk to help students learn. California, USA: Math Solutions

Thursday, 28 September 2017

End of term 3 Inquiry Reflection


In this post, you can see my reflection for the term, as well as thoughts about where to next, leading up to end of year assessments. The writing in pink shows the changes I have made to class teaching/ learning, to support these students.