Thursday, 13 April 2017

CoL inquiry - Term 1 Highlights

The end of Term 1 is actually here!! As the term draws to an end, I have been trying to take stock of what changes I have made in my teaching and how I deliver mathematics to my students. Not only that, but also making week by week behavioural and learning observations in trying to find out what is making it so difficult for students to retain number knowledge as they move up through their years at school.

In my previous post, I shared a slide outlining the outcomes of my CoL (and school) inquiry. Some of the main points were:

  • YES! - devoting class time to practising number knowledge makes a difference
  • Students need a repetitive cycle of maths vocab, materials and use of scrap paper in their daily learning of maths.
  • Students are stuck at the 'imaging' stage for fractions of numbers. They always revert back to drawing a fraction then sorting out the numbers into that fraction. (This is instead of using timetables knowledge to find the missing numbers)
  • Familiar context of questions helped students understand questions better - therefore they can focus what is happening with the numbers more.
  • A mixture of engaging activities (both hands on and online) are needed for my lower learners - even though they were not in my priority group.
So for the last two weeks of school, I have been trying to gauge what have students have picked up so far and where do I need to go to from here. One of the things was an IKAN test which was shared in my previous post and as I commented, although not everyone of my priority learners made a shift, you can easily tell by talking to them in their group that they have a better understanding of place value and fractions.

Now the big test was to see if students were able to transfer this knowledge by using it in strategies to solve questions in the Gloss test. Here is an example from one of my students and the gaps we are looking to address throughout the year.

This student is still going with his test, but already I can see where I need to address first - Proportions and Ratios - Fractions. Our work on fractions in class obviously hasn't made any shift for this student so I need to analyse why that is and pose more similar word problems for him to practice over the break. This is good for me to find this out now so I can plan for it next term.

Highlights for Term 1
  • Maths PD by Jo Knox
  • Priority learners engaged in their learning 
  • Compiling evidence of students learning on video and on paper
  • Making learning REWINDABLE for ALL my learners!
  • Using digital affordances to support my teaching and helping to scaffold student learning
  • Sharing our inquiries in staff meetings as well as CoL meetings so we are held accountable for what we say we are going to do. 
  • Learning conversations about what's worked and new things to try from PES staff
Where to next?
  • Collate learning evidence & data to analyse
  • Plan according gaps and learning needs identified - Look back at PAT data
  • How else can I help to 'increase the achievements of Year 7&8 learners in maths, as measured against the National Standards and agreed targets.'

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

End of Term 1 - Inquiry reflection

Yesterdays staff meeting was really useful as we got to share and listen to each other reflect on our inquiry so far this term. Our talking points were to share what worked, what didn't work, and what changes will we make or where to next.

My presentation I shared with my group looked at how my focus question kept changing slightly as the term progressed as I realised my question could be answered with a yes or no. 

What I wanted to find out was by providing class time for number knowledge practice, will students be able to pick up strategies faster, and therefore accelerating their learning.

As my students carried this out in their rotations throughout the term I took note of what worked and what lessons didn't work. I had to ensure I had materials on hand for my lower groups to manipulate and record their learning as they talked about it. Scrap paper was also essential as students needed to map out their thinking when it came to fractions by drawing fractions using pictures and numbers and trying out different ways. 

Our main focus for number knowledge according to our IKAN data was our fractions and place values. So we conducted a post test to see if my priority students made any improvement from February. 

Data Analysis:

Fractions - Out of the 6 students (3 boys & 3 girls)
  • 2 boys & 2 girls moved up a stage
  • 1 boy & 1 girl stayed the same
  • 4 students on stage 5, 2 on stage 4
Place Value - 
  • 1 boy & 2 girls shifted up 1 stage
  • 2 boys & 1 girl stayed the same
  • most stuck at stage 5 for place value knowledge
  • 4 students on stage 5, 2 on stage 4
Conclusion: Although I still had some students who stayed the same, I know for a fact from the way they talk about their learning that students have a much clearer understanding about what fractions and place value are and their knowledge around whole numbers and decimals has improved. 

The last slide of my presentation has more of my observations. One interesting point I did note was how we discussed place value in class - talking about place value columns and houses, but how they are presented to them on the IKAN test is slightly different. So we will aim to change the way we present these to students so they are using the same language and questions as testing situations.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Making learning rewindable through digital affordances

As my inquiry is coming towards our end of Term 1 check point, I have practiced using more digital affordances to support the "Learn, Create and Share" in maths. Initially my understanding of this was very narrow/ black and white and thought that it excluded using pen and paper for maths. I felt constrained to thinking only towards "Teaching above the line". This is referring back to Dr Reuben Puentedura's SAMR model shown below. Teaching above the line looked at the second picture shown below.

This lead me to have discussions with my peers. In this example of students in groups "learning, creating and sharing" you will see the use of hard materials to learn and share understanding. Digital affordances such as videos showing tutorials, and learning made rewindable through presentations are integral supports to our learn, create and share practice.

In guiding my students towards a learning goal together with trying to accelerate the rate in which they are learning, I have found that hard materials, captured digitally by students through photos and videos, shared digitally empowers the learner. It empowers them in that they can rewind and reflect on their learning well after small group work including hours outside 9am - 3pm.

So check out some of our learners in Room 5. Here are Tape Measures group mapping out their thinking using pen and paper. Now it's also part of their learning, made rewindable on our class site. The engagement levels and progress made were sky high!! 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Number knowledge framework - PD

Last weeks Maths PD by Jo Knox linked really well to what I am inquiring into in my CoL inquiry. To recap - my inquiry is looking into whether providing class time to learn and practice new knowledge will help students pick up/acquire the strategies faster. What I have tried to observe and look into while doing this inquiry is what barriers are preventing students from acquiring the necessary knowledge as they progress through their schooling years to reach us at Year 7&8.

Jo Knox clarified the progressive stages of development in number for our whole staff. This proved really useful especially when teachers are so used to just sticking to their area/stage they teach most of at their year level.

One of the main points I took out of the PD was clarity around stages 4, 5 and 6 and what it looks like. Jo presented this by showing a question and prompting us to think what would kids do if they were at stage 4, 5 & stage 6. What would it look like and what knowledge they need to know next in order to learn the next strategy.

Here are Jo Knox's slides which were very useful and can be used again and again to refresh and clarify what we are teaching our students.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

CoL inquiry update - 3 weeks in...

The current vibe in my maths class at the moment is great! Students are eager to learn and looking around at other groups wondering when they'll get a chance to move up to the next activity. With our focus being on number knowledge, students are starting to pick up on the purpose for each activity they are taking part in. The realisation that the games are not just for fun but for the purpose of learning their place values or fractions.

After meeting with our CoL group last Thursday, I've managed to clarify in my head where I want my inquiry to go. Here is my slide I presented to my CoL group. 

Although my question is looking at measuring how much knowledge students do pick up, as a side note, I will also be observing and making notes on 'barriers'.
What barriers are preventing students from picking up the knowledge as they move through school. 
For the time being, I will be using my observations notes in class as a means of collecting data/evidence for this. This will help my address my actual inquiry question and finding new ways to accelerate learning for my priority students.

According to the Manaiakalani Teachers inquire into the CoL achievement challenges matrix, my inquiry question will be addressing: 'Increase the achievement of Years 1-10 learners, with a focus on Years 7-10, in maths, as measured against the National Standards and agreed targets.

So 3 weeks into the start of my inquiry, and I can already see students developing an awareness to the knowledge they need to have, in order to understand the strategies taught at the next level. My next steps will be measuring how effective it has been. Has there been any acceleration? how much? how do you know?

I look forward to what the next 3 weeks show up!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Inquiry 2017 - Accelerating learning for our priority learners

Kicking off our inquiry for 2017, many of us teachers are eager to make a difference in shifting student data out of the below and well below category. But how? What can I as a teacher do to help? How can I change my teaching to cater for them? What is a priority learner? - How do I identify them? Where do we start?

Here is my starting point for my inquiry for 2017. Priority learners - Who are they? and what makes them a priority? I have identified my priority learners as that group of students who are sitting 'just' below the National Standard. I've identified these as my 'priority learners' because they have the best chance, with particular focus at filling the gaps, of achieving the standard. 

Having identified who my priority learners are, now I needed to decide what to do with them. Our school wide focus for inquiry is around mathematics. So looking at student data from 2016, I've identified a group of students who are 'AT' for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, but are just below standard for ratio/proportions. My thinking is, if I target the learning needs of these students, the rest of the students who surround them in their groups (and will be getting the same targeted teaching/learning) will benefit from it too and therefore (hopefully) make a shift in their learning too!

Now I've reached the stage where I look at my own teaching, and inquiry into what approach I take with this group of learners that will accelerate their learning so they make more than a years progress within a normal schooling year. 

This is what I have come up with:

"Will devoting more time to number knowledge, accelerate the rate in which students pick up strategies and mathematical concepts?"

I have identified 2 areas already, based on the results from students IKAN test. Areas of concern are their place value knowledge and fractions. 

This year I have also picked up a new role as a CoL (Community of Learners) within schools. As part of my role along with "teaching as inquiry" I am also looking into what digital affordances we can provide for students which can't be done without chromebooks. 

So along with my inquiry into maths - targeting number knowledge, I also want to create activities which involve our "Learn, Create, Share" model rather than substituting activities which students can still do without the use of a chromebook.

It is no small feat what we are trying to do, but as I delve more into my inquiry and start putting things in place, I hope to update you with positive progress during this process. So watch this space!!

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

WHAKATAUKI - "Living local, learning global"

Manaiakalani Orientation Day 2017 - Learnt heaps more second time round and this would be my little gem (amongst many) that I really loved from today. "Living local, learning global" Anyone of our tamariki here in our cluster learning, creating and sharing their work around the world. How cool is that?! Great start to 2017!