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.


Sunday, 13 August 2017

New target students

Initially I didn't have a target group for my COL inquiry into raising the achievement levels of my kids in maths. I was looking at my whole maths class as a target group. However, as I'm sure many of you would agree,  this was a very ambitious (maybe even dumb) move on my behalf. I have found targeting the whole class makes it very difficult to track any progress which in turn makes it tricky to know if what I am doing is worthwhile/effective or not. With this in mind I now have a target group for my inquiry.  These children are below where they should be and also happen to be my maths target group. Below is a table of their data.


I will be working with and tracking these beautiful's achievement over the next two terms.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Decimal Place Value - Jumping the gun

It has been so great to see my kids develop their decimal place value knowledge (and fraction knowledge) by using materials. This has concretised it for them and helped them connect with the knowledge. Having had success with this I thought great they've got it and I gave them an activity that would see them solving addition and subtraction problems that includes tenths and hundredths...without using materials.


This was an epic fail on my behalf.  In my excitement I jumped from using materials straight to using number properties totally by passing imaging. As you can imagine the kids found this too hard (although some managed). We ended up working through the problems altogether in their group in order to complete it. I learnt a valuable lesson. Wishing and hoping my kids will get something doesn't work. I need scaffold the next steps more effectively in order to get further growth. Lesson learned.

Book Da Teacher Update

Back in June I initiated Book Da Teacher. This is a system where the children can book in time with me one on one or in groups of up to three to work through something they are struggling with or want help with. This came about after data I received from a student survey that indicated the children would like more time with me to help them with their maths.

Initially Book Da Teacher got off to a rocky start as none of the children booked in. After some clarification about it soon a trickle of booking started coming through. However, now in Term 3,  one and half months on Book Da Teacher is still struggling to take off. Week two, term three and I have no bookings despite my best efforts to remind the children about it. This makes me think that maybe the data was wrong and the children don't really want more teacher time or  I need to scaffold the system more so the children feel confident about using it. I suspect the latter is more likely.

Going forward I will be endeavouring to scaffold Book Da Teacher discussing it daily with the children and booking them in myself. My hope is that this will get the ball rolling. If you have any ideas please let me know.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Fraction Challenge - Google Class OnAir episode

The learning intentions for this lesson was to participate 100% as a member of a group and to visually represent a fraction of a whole. I chose this create lesson/activity as a way of concretising my kids fraction knowledge. Click here to go to my Manaiakalani Class On Air site where you will find a detailed lesson plan, a reflection of the lesson and an example the the kids final product.




This lesson highlighted to me how effective create lessons are in engaging the children. I was delighted to see one boy who struggles with maths and often disengages really light up when doing this activity. It was the first time I had seen him genuinely engage in a maths activity.