Thursday, 19 October 2017

Further PD with Jo Knox

Today Team 5 teachers had another PD session with Jo Knox.  She modelled two lessons using our our kids. There was a lot of great stuff that I took away from the session. Below are some of my top takeaways/learnings.

Decipipes are an amazingly effective tool for teaching fractions and decimals. I had never used or seen them before but I will be from now on. Jo used the Decipipes in a number of ways from physically modelling a decimal number to adding decimal numbers to converting fractions into decimals. Decipepes were great for the kids to physically see how 1 can be split into tenths, hundredths and thousandths and how fractions can be converted into decimal numbers for example 1/8 into 0.125.

Jo split the group into three smaller groups of 2s or 3s and got them to complete a task. When the smaller groups shared back to the larger group she got the two other smaller groups to either model with the materials what was being said or to record what was said on paper. This was a really effective way of getting the others in the group not to switch and to hone in on what was being said.

Co constructing the WALT at the end of the lesson
Usually I start my lessons by highlighting to the children what we are trying to learn today. To my surprise Jo didn't do this. Instead she co-constructed it with the children after the lesson. She asked them what they were learning about today/what the focus was etc and when the children responded she recorded it in kids language e.g WALT add decimals by taking some from one number and add it to the other to make whole numbers. Clearly Jo had an idea about where she wanted to take the lesson however co-constructing it with the children after the fact made them reflect more on what they learnt and enabled student agency.


Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Term 4 is here!

It's crunch time! In two weeks time we will be starting our final round of testing and I'll be able to see how much progress my kids have made and how effective my teaching has been. In order to prepare my kids for their tests I won't be covering anything new but I'll be consolidating what we have covered this year. Hopefully in consolidating their knowledge and strategies any small gaps or misconceptions can be addressed.

Post testing I will again be looking at fraction and decimal knowledge as this is an area that needs further development for my kids. We will be looking at converting fractions into decimal numbers and adding/subtracting decimal numbers.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Perfect Punch - Ratio Lesson

The learning intention for this lesson was to solve word problems involving decimals and to justify your thinking. The video shows snippets of the whole teaching process from the introduction of the problem to the children explaining their thinking to the class. Check out the full lesson plan and child generated content here.

An interesting issue that arose was the children didn't read the question properly. The question asked was,  'How much of each drink would Jack need to make punch for 30 people' but the children read it as, 'How many batches of punch does Jack need to make to serve 30 people'.  Once the error was highlighted they were able to join the dots and do the maths but the problem was they didn't realise the error themselves.  This is a common issue for our kids, they struggle to understand either the vocabulary in the word problem or knowing what it is asking them which then has a detrimental effect on their maths. My next steps involves  unpacking the word problems with the children and guiding them to make sure they fully understand the problem before proceeding with solving it.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Quick Maths Update

Life at Pt England has been full on recently. We have all been busy making movies for our film festival and practising for our school production Live Stream. In the middle of this we have been trying to continue on with normal lessons which is easier said than done but we're getting there.

This term in maths we have been focussing on measurement and geometry. I really like measurement as it works with number really well. It is practical and the kids generally get excited about it which is nice to see.

I have also been GLOSS testing my target kids to get a gauge of how successful (or not) my inquiry has been in regards to raising their achievement. I'll let you know the results once I've done.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Maths Vocabulary Retention

A common trend I'm seeing in maths but also other learning areas is that my kids are struggling to retain new vocabulary. It is evident form conversations with other teachers from within our school and cluster that this issue is wide spread.

An example of this was when looking at area and perimeter no child could tell me what either were, however, I knew last year I had covered it with half of them. The kids recognised the words but were unable to explain what they meant or were. Once I explained what each word meant many said things like, "Oh yeah that's right we did this last year" etc. Unfortunately this is not an isolated issue. The kids recognise vocabulary but cannot connect to it's meaning/definition. As a teacher seeing children get questions wrong in tests because they don't connect with the language even though you know it has been covered is really frustrating.

So this begs the question: What can I do to help my kids retain new vocabulary? How do I make it real for them? How do I help them make connections between the words and their meaning?

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Manaikalani hui

last Friday the CoL teachers had the opportunity to present their inquiries to leaders and educators within Manaiakalani at the annual Manaiakalani hui. 

It was a great opportunity to discuss our inquiries with other educators and to hear their own thoughts and opinions. It was through one of these discussions with Fiona Grant that I realised part of my inquiry is about merging non-digital and digital learning to provide better out comes for my kids. Until that point I hadn't connected the dots.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

A challenge with create tasks

This term my maths class has been studying measurement. This lesson involved the children estimating and measuring distances then comparing the difference between them. It aligns with my CoL inquiry as it has a hands on/materials and a create element to the lesson. Being a hands on and a create based task made for high student engagement which was great to see. Unfortunately high engagement doesn't always mean learning. One challenge I find with create activities is the children get so caught up in the create aspect of the task and neglect the actual content of what they are creating. Often leading to videos with mathematical examples that are not accurate or clear.

This was a Google Class OnAir episode. For a full lesson plan, reflection and examples of the children completed activities please go here.