Monday, 17 September 2018

End of term 3 inquiry

I started using the idea brought to me in our new inquiry groups earlier this term which was to give learners the opportunity to choose the group norm which they wanted to work on. Even though this was a great idea, I don't feel it was benefiting those learners who find it challenging to share their ideas in their maths groups. I also don't believe that many learners were putting much thought into why they were choosing a particular norm. Many learners were choosing a norm because a friend had chosen it.

I have ensured that children who find it challenging to share their ideas in their maths groups are paired with confident and patient learners who are able to share their learning and who are thoughtful about others in their group. I am expecting that this will encourage these learners to ask more questions and participate more confidently. Attempting this had interesting results. The first day I attempted this with one group of children, there was hardly any discussion between the children. I found out that some of these children had never worked together before and felt very unsure about working together. When I explained why I had made them a group and why I thought they would work well together, they assured me that even though they felt uncertain, they wanted to persevere and continue working together. The next time this group met, we had one of our DMIC mentor teachers with us. This teacher had no idea about the previous dynamics of this group but made a comment about how well this group were working together and how well they were supporting each other. 


Currently, we expect learners to create 2 DMIC reflections per week (one for each DMIC problem they do). I have created a template blog post of what this should look like:

_________________________________________________________________________________

This week in maths I worked with ___________ to solve this question:



This is our working. We had to ________________. I was proud of myself as ____________Next week I want to get better at __________________.


_________________________________________________________________________________


The next step will be to encourage learners to also include a webcam video or screencast to support their blog post.

In literacy this term, I created a rubric for peer editing. This has been highly successful in encouraging discussions and editing independent of the teacher. My next goal is to create a similar rubric which can be used in maths whilst learners create DMIC reflections on their blog.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Inquiry into reading

We met as a team to discuss how we can better plan for explicit teaching in reading. When teaching reading, it can be difficult to make strong links between what you teach in a guided reading group and what the children do as a task when they are not with you. Therefore, we worked together to discuss how we currently do this, and how we can improve our practice.

Here are some notes towards a potential reading plan for a group learning to infer and understand different points of views:

WALT make an inference about the author's purpose and their point of view when they don't state it explicitly.
[Make connections/ inferring/ applying knowledge]

Direct instruction idea: Questioning/ prompting the children to discuss.

Learning experience idea: Ask ourselves: Do they need the text to be able to complete the task - if not, it's not achieving what it should. Video contrasting two scenarios which are present in the text (teamwork vs. not showing teamwork).

Cycle rate idea: 2x a week guided reading + 1x check in.

How will I know what difference it made? Do similar WALTs for 2 lessons then tweak learning experience ideas. Seeing how they answer relevant questions in guided reading sessions.

Things to watch out for: Children who are mid-way through year 5 and reading at around 9 years need to be getting enough mileage so we need to ensure that enough texts are being read in a week.

Thursday, 16 August 2018

Promoting use of Oral Language and reflection in Writing

This term in Ako 3, we have been promoting use of oral language through purposeful collaborative learning experiences. During writing, we have incorporated this into our weekly schedule through peer editing. The tool which we have introduced to the children to support them in the peer editing of their writing is a rubric. This rubric has been highly successful with our year 5 learners.

Click the rubric to open the google drawing in a new tab (and make a copy if you would like to). Any feedback on this rubric and how it could be made better is warmly welcomed!
Each Thursday morning, the children pair up. These groupings change from week to week. Together, the children decide whose writing they are going to focus on first. Once decided, that child opens their writing doc on their chrome book while the other child opens the peer editing rubric on their chrome book. 

The rubric is broken into four sections: punctuation, correct sentences, vocabulary and organisation/structure. The nice thing about this rubric is that it is accessible for ALL learners. Together, the children have to agree on where the piece of writing fits on the rubric (for each of these sections). Once this is decided, there is a clear 'action' for the children to follow in order to improve their writing. 

Although it is early days using this rubric, we have been really pleased with how the children have responded to using it. It is clear that as the children become more familiar with the rubric, they will begin having more and more quality learning conversations with their buddy. Already, we are seeing the potential that this tool has for the ākonga in our space.

I don't believe that this rubric would be as effective if it didn't have the action prompts. These prompts give the children a clear direction so that they can be critical of their own and their classmates' writing.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Beginning of term 3 Inquiry

This term we changed into our new inquiry groups. I introduced my inquiry to the group by explaining how my focus had changed to the children who find it challenging to share their ideas in group situations which is not teacher led.

One idea that was brought to me was to begin giving learners the autonomy to choose which norm they want to focus on for the week. I printed off and laminated a template which listed a number of norms (for example, listening to others ideas, asking questions, sharing own ideas) with space for the children to add their names under the norm they wanted to focus on.

I also began this term by printing off a number of prompts (from talk moves, here) (Conceptua math) which the children could refer to while working in their maths groups:



Source of the prompts: http://teach.conceptuamath.com/talk-moves

Friday, 1 June 2018

Language Acquisition in maths

What have I done in my Inquiry this term?

- Targeted students who tend to be quiet in group learning.
- GLOSS for these students showed limited progress in number.
- For these students, I assessed their use/ improvement in maths (through maths-whizz): 4.7, 4.3, 3.2, 2.2, 2.2, 2.0, 1.0, 0.4 progressions per week.
- I was concerned about those who had a progress of 2.2 progressions and below, particularly with the amount of time these students were spending on maths-whizz.

This suggests that those learners (2.2 and below for maths-whizz) required small group support, rather than independent work when not with the teacher. Therefore, from this target group, there are two clear groups which I can be meeting with every second day on top of DMIC problem solving. I will also work to ensure these learners are with each other in group problem solving.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Language acquisition through DMIC maths

For learners to participate in DMIC (Developing mathematical inquiry communities) maths successfully, they require the language to be able to understand a story which launches the mathematical problem, they require the language to be able to participate in discussions (through listening, asking for clarification, and sharing their own ideas) and they require the language to be able to understand the thinking of their classmates or the teacher. Finally, learners require the language to be able to successfully work independently for a length of time when they are not working with their DMIC group and the teacher.

Up until now, my focus for inquiry has been on those learners who are working towards Early Stage 6, where they are beginning to use a wider range of strategies and are beginning to use multiplicative thinking to solve mathematical problems. Over the last couple of weeks of term 1 and into the first 4 weeks of term 2, I have started to notice that those learners who are working towards Early Stage 6 are able to learn in two distinct ways. They are able to be the teachers of those who are using lower level strategies and they are able to be the students by learning from those in their group who are using higher level strategies.

However there are a group of learners (at a range of different levels) who do not talk much in their problem solving groups. They may not be talking for a range of reasons. Maybe they do not understand the story or maths problem so don't know how they can contribute. Maybe they see the other students as more knowledgeable so don't see the point in contributing. Perhaps they are quite happy sitting back and allowing the others to do the work for them. Or perhaps they want to contribute but don't have the language to be able to do so. In any of these ways, there is a problem. As the teacher, I am finding it challenging to know how to best assess these learners and keep track of their maths learning when I am not hearing them talk. Moreover, it tends to be these same learners who are challenged to complete their learning independently when they are not working with me so often I am not seeing much independent learning to gauge how they are doing. 

This compares to previous years where I have had a strong gauge on these learners through meeting in small ability groups. Through these small ability groups, it was possible to distinguish varying levels of ability to mathematically reason and share thinking with an explicitly more differentiated teaching strategy. 

Links:
- This booklet gives an idea of the amount of vocabulary we are expecting learners to know.
- This booklet gives a lot of ideas around vocabulary acquisition in mathematics

So where to from here?

- I need to be making a note of the key learners who I want to target in terms of developing their language acquisition so that they can successfully contribute to the maths learning through DMIC maths.
- I need to be deciding on a way to assess these learners. At this moment in time, these are the learners who I will be testing through GLOSS so I have a clear idea as to where they are and any progress they have made.
- I need to be thinking of how I can better differentiate for these learners to support them. Perhaps I could be placing these learners into the same DMIC group to encourage some of them to talk. That is, I should ensure I am not putting these learners with a very vocal student otherwise they may not get a word in.
- I need to be encouraging these learners to explain their thinking during independent learning time through such tools as screencastify.
- I need to be gifting vocabulary for different areas of maths.


Friday, 20 April 2018

End of term 1 Inquiry Update

Manaiakalani CoL Achievement Challenge: To lift the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13. As I am in a Year 5 space, my focus is on year 5 learners.

As stated in my previous inquiry blog post, my focus this year is going to be on how I can lift vocabulary knowledge through mixed ability grouping by encouraging maths discussions. This term has involved trying many new ways of teaching maths. I have really enjoyed it and have seen learners be both challenged and have the feeling of success.


What did I learn from my DMIC mentor? 

Suggestions:

- Sit learners in a semicircle, already in their group so this reduces the transition time to begin working on the problem after the launch.
- Remember to set up the group norms every day.
- Leave learners as much as possible to problem solve independently of the teacher in their groups.
- Based on what I, as the teacher, have observed, choose a couple of groups who can report back to the rest of the whole group (about half of the class) - use of student voice. Plan the groups that report back intentionally so the follow up makes sense to learners and follows logical steps.

What isn't working yet?

- General classroom noise has made it difficult to launch the problem quickly and successfully for all learners.
- A lot of time seems to be spent organising the groups before we have even started. It is challenging to set up the rest of the class (who will be working independently) so they will remain focused for the whole time I am with the other half of the class. This could require some rejigging of the way maths is run. Perhaps we start with a whole class warm up task then I meet with the children who will be learning independently whilst the children who will be learning with me on that day are completing their 15 minutes of Maths-Whizz. In this way, those children who will not be with me on that day will have the opportunity to ask any questions they may have about the learning they are to do.

How am I going to measure vocabulary knowledge/ acquisition in maths discussions?

- Screencasts - recording group discussions which can then be put onto learner blogs. This could either be done during the problem solving or as a follow up task as a group.
- Learners leading the Connect. Pick groups which can follow on from each other to explain strategies to solve the problem.
- Rubric - learners to mark themselves on how well they worked as a group/ contributed to group discussions.
- GLOSS test (term 2) - how well can learners explain their thinking to a problem. Compare this in term 4 to see if the level of explaining at a certain mathematics stage has changed.
- As I walk around, I could be noticing any vocabulary which I am hearing. These could be written down on a word wall and then discussed at the end of the DMIC session.