Thursday, 19 October 2017

Fractions to decimals: try this out!

This morning we had the privilege of observing Jo Know in action with some of our target group learners. These students are working at standard 6 in maths. This places just below the national standard in maths. Normally a very talkative group they were very quiet. A number of differences for these students
1. New teacher
2. Not in the normal class setting
3. 5 teachers watching their every step
You can see that it was a hard task for our students to relax at first and get into things. Once they did we learned so much! We could see a clear need to develop language and understanding around the focus of session. This was on converting fractions to decimals and vice versa.

Things we can try:
1. Give students the chance to try the following on their own bit of paper, reassure them it's not a matter or right and wrong. It's a matter of trying out any strategy they have.

2. Have students fold paper strip into halves, lable, the same again for quarters then eighths. This seemed straight forward to our students. However once asking to go back to identify now what 3/4 were AFTER paper was folded into eighths, this really threw them. The became indecisive. The prompt for decision making was made when made to use a scissors to quickly cut quarters with a countdown from 5. This action seemed to plant more understanding, some very nervous to decided where to cut!

Here's how it all started:
Teacher could ask the following (to check where students are at)Can you write 0.27One tenth?Three fifths?Five quarters?One tenth as a decimal?0.27 + 0.2 =?

We discovered a number of work ons and were led by Jo to the following the next steps when in class in next with target group:
** Next step going back to improper fractions
Use double number and more line for this.  3/2….the 3 is the ‘COUNT’ of how many halfs.
Lines would be:
  • Whole number line
  • ½ line
  • ¼ line
Materials, push the imaging

Where they can’t work things out...go back to materials then back to imaging

Below is an example of a number line to develop understanding of equivalent fractions and to work with in use of improper fractions.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Preparing for Term 4 - time to reflect

A neat aspect of our blog posts is the use of our labels. This I have used to reflect with in preparation for term 4. Create continues to be a focus we talk about with colleagues, we create and share whether successful or not so.

On clicking on my labels from the 'Create' area we can look at what I've tried out and discovered. It's also very helpful to ensure I start off where I left off!

CReflect - click to see related posts

Focus of most of my reflections have been on my use of language in maths.  In this section key phrases are important for me to be mindful of in my planning.    Being 'explain ready' as a teacher AND student.    This means being prepared with the activities AND language that will promote learning.  When 'Creating' - I am promoting the correct use of mathematical terms and processes to best support my learners.

CTry - click to see related posts

What I have tried is the use of students data to empower learning.  This has proven to be successful in
1. Gaining greater buy in from learners
2. Learners are empowered and feel more in control of their results and data
3. Learners are more reflective when seeing their own data
4. Students are making comparisons and conclusions for themselves around learning and goal setting

CPlan - click to see related posts

The COL staff meeting we led prompted the following thoughts for me.  Am I sharing clear enough steps in my practice here on my blog?  Are they good enough for another teacher to pick up and work from.  If the answer is yes - then my plans are useful as a COL.  Planning for me to date needs to include what key words and phrases I will promote.  What vocab will be best support learners when having to various assessments and working with maths in day to day life.

Labels to be covered more in Create are: innovate and implement.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Staff meeting focus on COL teachers within and across community of learning

Pt England based COL teachers had the opportunity to visit the blogs of COL teachers within and across schools.   It was kicked off by a short presentation by Matt Goodwin outlining the different achievement challenges and COL teachers involved.

In our groups we had the chance to look again at the Manaiakalani model of 'Teaching as Inquiry'.

This model is very similar to that found in the NZ curriculum.   Thanks to Karen Ferguson of Tamaki College who created this graphic for us.  This format helps us to align our learn, create and share.

As a COL teacher myself it was good time to see what we have and haven't provided for collectively as COL teachers at Pt England School.   Below are some points I've made for myself to check over with myself and fellow COL teachers.   Some are already covering these things well!

  • how can we present our data and findings more succinctly?
  • need to ensure that we are presenting the big picture AND the little bits that make it up.  For example what we are actually doing day/week/month/term with our students in our target groups
  • what have we provided for a teacher who wants to try out our ideas and processes in our achievement challenge area?
  • shorten the posts!  Include better detail to support the classroom teacher.
  • labels are great - when used consistently
  • navigating through our blogs helpful or challenging for our audience?
  • what evidence are we sharing to say things are working or not?

Friday, 1 September 2017

Data analysis in action - data to empower learners!

We've completed another round of IKAN's and here are our results for our target group.   I have moved one in and another out of this target group.    My target group are made up of students sitting a level below the national standard in maths.

We carried out the process as explained in previous posts.   Sitting test by going through IKAN twice, on own chromebook and earphones and then our discussion around our new set of results.

Points of difference:
1. Entering data together: 
This time I had the data on the big screen with the group.   I added this months results next to data collected earlier in year in front of the whole group.   Each student shared which stage they were at for the various categories:
a. Number sequence and order
b. Fractions
c. Place Value
d. Basic Facts

2. Colour codes: Green - shift made, orange - same stage, red - back a stage, yellow shifted more than one stage.  Student by student they needed to look at previous data and tell me if it was 'Green, orange, red or yellow'.   All this from the big screen as shown in image above. This meant the students looked closely at the data making comparisons for themselves - some looks of happiness and disappointment.  In reflection all students agreed that it was good useful information to help them.
The adding of colour helped students see more clearly how to track our data as learners and the teacher.

3. Setting the next steps for self: 
From this data analysis students posted on a doc - as shown below of what their problem areas were and how they planned to tackle the learning needed.  You can see some understand the purpose of this workbook others - well I'll need to coach them.   They were directed to say 'How' they were going specifically  try to improve  OR whether they needed help from me.  They attempted this exercise with the answer sheet in hand to see if they could comprehend further their path of error.

We plan to share our own reflective posts soon.  Watch this space!

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Manaiakalani COL teachers share teaching inquiries

What a great afternoon sharing alongside all CoL teachers!   We all presented in a session to showcase our inquiries at the Annual Manaiakalani Hui.  It was great to share our inquiries with a whole range of people.   The audience I shared with were from a range of places:
  • old teachers friends from across the cluster dating back over 10 years!
  • core education representatives
  • members of the Woolf Fisher Research 
  • Manaiakalani Outreach Team
  • new teachers to our cluster
  • members of our Manaiakalani Hackers Team 
A few standout points for me was finding out from colleagues a common goal of having students AND teachers 'Explain Ready'.  Meaning:
a. students are ready to explain how they might solve a problem in maths.  
b. they are able to interpret what a word problem is actually asking
c. the need for educators to be more aligned in the terminology
d. the need think carefully of  the style of questioning and processing we need to promote.  
e. teacher choice of language and modelling will develop mathematical understanding to the point of being able to transfer knowledge and practice into other strands and curriculum areas.

As I shared in my recent post my inquiry falls under achievement challenge #4: 
Increase the achievement of Years 7-10, in reading, writing and maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets

Here is the presentation I shared..  I must say it was fun setting up the 3 panelled board - really made me think about what really needed to be shared given the limited space to display.  Thanks to the Manaiakalani team for their leadership in setting up this valuable opportunity for us all.  You are very welcome to visit my professional blog to read and see more.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Preparing and refining - Manaiakalani Hui 2017

Here's sneak peak at one piece from my presentation.  Come along and find out what it's all about!  Friday 25th August, Panmure Yacht Club 2 - 4pm.

Tomorrow we get to share our COL inquiries with the whole Manaiakalani Cluster. This will be taking place at the Panmure Yacht Club. Opportunities to share in such forums prompts to check and look again at the components that make up your teaching inquiry.

The team I am in are targeting the '#4 Achievement Challenge' which reads:
4. Increase the achievement of Years 7-10, in reading, writing and maths, as measured against National Standards and agreed targets.

My focus is specifically maths with a target group of learners who are sitting below the national standard, combination of boys and girls, year 7 and 8.   Our COL team for this particular achievement challenge are going to use the following headings to organise our presentation.
  • What the inquiry is about
  • Hunches
  • Actions taken
  • Successes
  • Failures or setbacks
  • Changes in the learning 
  • Changes in our practice
I'm looking forward to being there the whole day where we will hear from our MIT Spark teachers, our student ambassadors from every school in the cluster, feedback from WF Researchers team and more.    Always a valuable time of learning and reflecting.  Kia Manuia!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Teacher talk is so important! Being 'explain ready'.

This afternoon was time well spent with Jo Knox and colleagues from year 5 through to 8.   The focus for our group PD was on the teaching and learning of fractions - ratios and proportion.   As the workshop unfolded it highlighted the following

- How we set problems to solve
- How we phrase our prompts and questions
- Which parts of a word problem to we spend time on teaching
- Which parts are redundant - not useful

This links to what I have found in parts of my inquiry.  The teacher's ability to articulate mathematical operations through to problem solving is significant in the learner's ability to advance in maths.   Where a teacher creates tasks effectively, use of correct terminology and mindfulness of scenarios learners may come up with - the thinking process of students is set up with greater stability.  The thinking process taken will prompt a transfer of skills across strands.  

Again I find myself reflecting on my own methods of setting up maths learning.  The language and phrases I use in maths to prompt the solving of various maths problems.   Jo Knox referred to the basics of how we describe fractions - what works and doesn't.   The part that doesn't work - showed thinking processes that were very limited and did not support the transfer of knowledge into other strands.   PD for myself - get explain ready for whatever scenarios students come up with in their efforts to problem solve.

The following are some helpful tips from Jo Knox's session.
  • Some students in ratios use additive - stage 6
  • We want to move into multiplicative
  • ‘Launch’ of question. Ensure all students have access to understand the question. It’s not meant to trip up students. Explain different parts to allow students access to the question.
  • Whatever your problem area. Do a 5 minutes piece with class daily. Maths wall could show the processes you want to teach.  
    • Who can find keywords? etc
    • Where are the key numbers?
    • Redundant? Who can find words that are NOT useful
  • Do exercise to picture what you’re trying to ask WITHOUT numbers. E.g. ‘I have money in this pocket and some in this much do I have’. 
    • Students will understand what operations you’re after BEFORE dealing with the numbers.