Thursday, 19 October 2017

Observing modelled lessons with Jo Knox

I have really enjoyed and found all our PD sessions with Jo Knox very valuable and applicable in the classroom. Today, Team 5 have been fortunate enough to observe 2 modelled sessions using a stage E6-6 group and a stage 7 group of students. Our area of need we asked to be addressed was how to deliver a lesson around finding decimal equivalents for fractions (e.g. expressing 1/5, 3/4, 1/3 as a decimal) using decipipes as materials.

There were so many treasures and learning points I took away from our sessions that I've tried to condense it down to 5 main points that I hope you will also find useful. 

1. Sharing/Co-constructing the WALT at the end of the lesson
As we observed Jo, we noticed that both times, at the end of the lesson she closed it off by encouraging the students to verbalise (exactly as they've been doing all session) what they have been doing. The first group had some trouble keeping the vocabulary consistent when explaining what they been trying to achieve. But the second group (Stage 7 group) were able to say exactly what they were doing. "We are learning to add decimals by taking some off one number and add it to the other to make whole numbers." I found this quite a good change of practice and as long as I have it clear in my head where I'm wanting the lesson to go, con-constructing the WALT at the end of the lesson is a great way to end off a lesson.

2. Decipipes magic

Every class needs them! They are the perfect tool when dealing with fractions, decimals and place values with numbers less than one. I watched students experimenting with tenths, finding out how many tenths you needed to make one whole. Students also used decipipes to show how a half and and quarter is written as a decimal as the only columns on the place value houses are 1/10, 1/00 and 1/000. Students used tenths decipipes to find a half, then needed the hundredths decipipes when they were trying to show a 1/4. This made it so much easier to record as they could clearly see they had 2 tenths pipes, and 5 hundredths pipes which looks like 0.25 = 1/4.

3. Teaching Model
We all know the teaching model, but at times in our haste to accelerate our students, we can sometimes miss out crucial steps in ensuring students reach that 'new knowledge/strategy' you've been aiming for. I saw these steps clearly happening in Jo's lessons and students left with 'new knowledge' and understanding. Student were given the opportunity to use materials if they needed to, or work out 1.98 + 0.65 using a strategy they knew (imaging).

4. Share/ Model/ Record
videoI love this method of sharing! While one pair is sharing how they solved a problem, the other pair is modelling it using the materials (in this case the decipipes) and the other pair is recording what they hear (equation format). This way, it ensures everyone in the group is paying attention, participating and forming their own understanding while others are sharing. Below is a short snippet of one group sharing while the group recording is trying to understand what they did and the modelling group is moving decipipes around to show what was shared.

5. Double number line - Equivalent fractions
This was a very effective way to show equivalent fractions as you teach your group. One of the things we've been reminded to work on to expose students to fractions that are greater than 1. This double number line was the perfect way to show 1 and a half is equivalent to 3/2. This is definitely something I will be using more often with my groups.

I have much more to share but I hope this summary can be of some help to others for now. My next steps would be to try these in my lessons and video the session to see how students respond to the learning and whether the learning is embedded for them. This would also be useful watching how patient I am in a normal class setting, with wait time, and trying to encourage student to use the correct mathematical vocabulary when explaining their learning. This should be interesting!

Thursday, 28 September 2017

CoL Inquiry - SHARE checklist

I will be adding to the SHARE labels more next term as I work towards the end of year goals for my target students, extension students and my maths class as a whole.

One of the areas I need to be more explicit about is the Model/Guide section as this is split into 2 separate labels in the framework.

What happened as a result of the changes? Share evidence (artefacts of student learning, DLOs) and effective strategies.

What if my plans didn’t work? Are there different approaches?Who can help me? Peer observations, video analysis of my practice.

Model / Guide
How can my findings and experiences support my peers? How is this shared?

Feedback / Feedforward
What are my next steps? How will I sustain effective practice? Learner feedback? New goals?
“Inquiry into the teaching–learning relationship goes hand in hand with formative assessment, in the cyclical evaluation process that goes on moment by moment, day by day, and over the longer term.” Assessment-in-the-classroom/Teaching-as-inquiry

CoL Inquiry - CREATE checklist

Organising my blog posts into our Manaiakalani Teaching as Inquiry Framework has enabled me to identify the gaps in my inquiry which I have not addressed. The table below clearly identifies this for me as being the Create - Innovate part of our inquiry cycle.

Create - Innovate: 
Are we capitalising on the affordances of the technology to support the Five Affordances of Learn Create Share (Engagement, Teaching Conversations, Visibility, Cognitive Challenge, Scaffolding) identified by the WFRC

Reflecting back on my inquiry, I can confidently say these things have been happening and overlap with some of my other topics discussed in my blog posts under the label "Ctry" - try new things. So I will try and distinguish the differences between the 2 labels next time and be more specific to ensure I cover this aspect of the framework.

Make a plan
What can I already do and  what do I need help with?
Who are the learners? Group/class
What are the goals for my practice and student achievement?
Set up processes for capturing evidence about whether the strategies are working for my students.

Try new things
It is a constant state of action, monitoring, reflection, and adjustment - and then more action.
Failure may occur.
Feedback from learners - how will I engage them with new learning? Do they know we’re trying something new?  

Are we capitalising on the affordances of the technology to support the Five Affordances of Learn Create Share (Engagement, Teaching Conversations, Visibility, Cognitive Challenge, Scaffolding) identified by the WFRC

Just do it!
“Inquiry into the teaching–learning relationship goes hand in hand with formative assessment, in the cyclical evaluation process that goes on moment by moment, day by day, and over the longer term.” Assessment-in-the-classroom/Teaching-as-inquiry

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Reflection on Geometry

As I take a look back at what we've covered so far for Geometry, and the types of hands-on activities we've been able to experience, I feel a sense of accomplishment. My goal was to try and 'create' more experiences involving movement and materials that would help imbed knowledge into learners so they would remember it further down the track. My gut feeling, based on observations and the learning conversations I've had with students , is that this has been achieved. We've still got our post test to do and mark next week, so keep an eye out for the results coming soon.


There is a BUT to this. As I reflect and think about my 'where to next' steps, I realise, strand only makes up a small part of where students need to be at in terms of National Standards by the end of the year.

So how can I transfer these kinds of experiences, to teaching number, strategies, ratios and proportions?

I've got a plan forming in my head, after talking with members of our team, involving making punch to help with ratios. Will keep you posted on how this pans out. But for now if you have any ideas, I'd love to hear about them please.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

It's the little things that matter

My inquiry has come to a point now where its the little things that matter. The small steps we take, the teachable moments in class, and the 'warm-ups'. These are the things that matter and I (and we - as a class) need to do well. Attending to these, and planning well for these will really help towards my goal of embedding knowledge into learners - for the long haul.

As part of this, I've been trying to think of engaging warm-up activities which require students to move around in order to create experiences which will help them remember the learning better.

Here is a warm-up activity we did for Geometry - Transformations last week.
Outcome - This activity really helped students to complete their set tasks and activities manipulating shapes by rotating them, flipping them or sliding them side by side. Students were able to use the warm-up activity to help them sort out what their shape will be doing based on the task they had to do. Check out some of the poses we had. 
So although we don't give warm-up games in maths too much thought, let me tell how useful it can be, as that 5-10minute game (especially if it relates to your lesson for the day) can do a world of wonders!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

CoL teachers leading staff meeting @ Pt England

Monday nights staff meeting was led by our CoL teachers. We had Matt and Andrea lead the intro for the whole staff before we split up into teams and each of us 5 CoL teachers were allocated a team to lead. I was with Team 4 who are 5 teachers from years 5&6.

Team 4 were very responsive towards what I had to share and the task they were to complete. Some of the things they found interesting were: Some of the blogs they read about Maths from other schools resonated with them as it was the same situation they are experiencing in class. Another commented about now nice it was to be given PD time to read and learn from other teachers as it gives them ideas to try out in their class or triggers other ideas rather than being stuck in their own world of inquiry.
It was great to hear this feed back and feel how grateful the team felt that there are teachers who are putting themselves out there in terms of their teaching practice for others to learn from.

Thank you to Team 4 and my fellow CoL teachers for writing such reflective and detailed blog posts.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Hands on Geometry

Still following on with my inquiry:

Will providing more opportunities to 'create' learning in maths help to embed strategies and mathematical concepts for students?. 

We tackled geometry this week and I spent a lot of time thinking of how to deliver the learning so that it was hands-on and engaging for students - but still getting the outcome required for level 3 or 4 of the curriculum. I ended up with a task similar to one found on the NZ maths site. Here is one of my students slides she posted on her blog -

I was quite impressed with how students responded to the activity. Students were ALL on-task and they all managed to complete their task before the end of the week. In terms of embedding knowledge, I addressed this by going through key ideas and learning at the start of every lesson and at the end of every lesson. Now students are able to say what they have learnt without any prompts and use their slides to explaining what they are talking about.

One of the things I could definitely do better next time would be to be more specific with my instructions and work space to do this kind of activity so students are not hitting each others models over due to lack of space on their tables. Otherwise overall, a very successful outcome and I am really eager to see what I can cook up for my students for next week. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Manaiakalani Annual Hui - Kahui Ako

As part of the Manaiakalani Annual Hui on Friday, CoL teachers were invited along as part of the poster session at the end of the day. Here we created 'science fair' type display boards about the main parts of our inquiries and made sure it was 'easy to read' and follow for others. Teachers and education facilitators who attended the Hui took part in a bingo game which required them to travel around and take interest in the boards/ screens being displayed. In order to get their card stamped, they had to look for key words in our blogs or boards such as the labels we use as part of our own 'learn, create, share' Manaiakalani Teaching as Inquiry framework.

I really enjoyed myself and while explaining to the various viewers the twists and turns of my inquiry I was also quite surprised to realise new ideas taking form from seeing it all displayed on a board. Some of the feedback I received from people were that they really liked my reflections - documenting not just the good parts but also what didn't work out and what I had to change as a teacher in order for my inquiry to move forward. I would have loved to get around and see more of my fellow CoL teachers and their displays but we sure were kept busy in our Achievement Challenge #4 corner (which was a good thing too!). I will definitely be keeping an eye out for their blog posts to see their displays too! Here are a few snap shots of bingo players leaving messages on my blog.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Term 3 Checkpoint - Staff Presentation

One of our roles as a CoL member is to keep our staff informed of the progress we make in our inquiry and our findings so far. Here is my presentation giving an overview about the different phases my inquiry has gone through. I also shared some of the successes I've had with my students as well as the failed attempts at trying new things.

So right now in my inquiry, I am looking at how I can provide more opportunities for 'create' activities in maths that can be completed within a reasonable amount of time. This is in the hopes that providing such opportunities would create experiences students would remember and recall the learning that went along with it.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Strand data - Pre test

One of my 'points of interest' that came out of one my previous post about MidYear GLOSS outcomes was: 1) Parents pointing out that STRAND work in maths was one of the weaknesses when they got to high school. 2) We had no formal way of measuring how much progress students actually make in strand.

To address this Team 5 (Year 7 & 8 block @ Pt England) decided to create our own asTTle test which covered curriculum levels 2-4 about geometry and measurement. We used this as a pre-test for the start of this term and the plan is to create a similar test for the end of the term to see how much progress students make.

Here is my Year 7 and 8 data as well as data for my 'target group' and my 'extension group'.
A closer analysis of students Individual Learning Pathways will help to target areas in which they need support in. But this is a great starting point for my teaching and I look forward to comparing it with my end of term data.