Thursday, 9 March 2023

Collaborative Inquiry Group Meeting

 Today we had time in our staff meeting to meet and talk about our inquiries. Clarelle, Danni and I discussed what the challenge of learning was that we wanted to focus on. We realised that there were more than one challenge and we wondered whether dividing and conquering would be the best approach to tackle more than one of these challenges.

The challenges to student learning:

-Inability to apply knowledge 

-Not choosing the most efficient ways of solving problems

-Knowledge of gaps and next steps. (children being aware of these) 

-Self efficacy, learning from each other. 

We wondered whether tackling different challenges and then coming together collaboratively may be the best approach to our inquiry. For example, I will only be seeing a group of extension maths children so it would make more sense for me to focus on the first challenge (Inability to apply knowledge OR Knowledge of gaps and next steps).

We also heard from Rob Wiseman who is the Year 7&8 team leader. He is looking at the challenges in reading and discussed a challenge the children have when inferring.

Friday, 3 March 2023

Creating surveys to start painting a picture of the challenge school-wide

 While Clarelle and Danni have been gathering data from the students in their classrooms, I started creating some surveys to be sent out to Senior management, Teachers and Students from across our school. The three of us then sat down to add some more questions, make a few tweaks, simplify the surveys and then send them off. Our focus was to find out what our colleagues own views are around challenges in maths for their own students as well as their own teaching. 

Here are the surveys that we created.

Student Survey:

Teacher survey:

Senior Management Survey:

Monday, 27 February 2023

Inquiry as a collaborative process

 This year, Clarelle Carruthers, Danni Stone and myself have decided to undertake a collaborative inquiry with a focus on raising achievement in Maths. 

We met on Friday to discuss our inquiry:

Inquiry Focus: How do we accelerate achievement in maths when students have a range of maths abilities with various gaps in maths knowledge? 

Possible strategies/ hunches (What might work? What can I try? Ideas to investigate): 

-Understanding the subtraction addition relationship, multiplication, division. 

-Fractions of a set, order fraction, fraction to decimals. 

- Maths as a real world skill. 

-Discuss in maths. 

-Maths as a collaborative skill. Multiple parts to a problem, individuals working in parallel. 

The start of an Action Plan


  • Gloss
  • PAT
  • IKAN
  • Knowledge check lists.
  • Asttle- Read to the kids
What does Maths Whizz add to the data? 

We also discussed the Manaiakalani Data that I pulled out in my last blog post. We shared a concern of what this data showed and agreed that this inquiry is essential for our school. We are keen to survey our senior management team to figure out why they think this might be the case and what they think of maths in the school.

Since Clarelle and Danni are in the classrooms, they will be spending the next couple of weeks Gloss testing and undertaking the Maths PAT tests. I will then go in to support Clarelle with undertaking Asttle tests on children we identify as our priority group of students. We want to read this test to the children so remove any barrier that reading may have for these students. While Clarelle and Danni focus on the testing, I am going to put together a survey for our teachers as well as our senior management to start painting a wider picture of the challenge we face.

You can find more out about our inquiry by visiting Clarelle's and Danni's blogs.

Clarelle's blog

Danni's blog:

Friday, 24 February 2023

Reconnaissance - student inquiry foci (Part 3)

The Challenge: How do we accelerate achievement in maths when teachers are tasked with teaching a classroom of students with a range of maths abilities and with various gaps in maths knowledge?

Possible inquiry focus in terms of student learning: Working collaboratively to accelerate achievement in maths for all Year 3 to 4 children.

Reason why I judge this to be the most important and catalytic issue of learning for this group of learners this year:

We can see from the Manaiakalani data (in my last blog post) that the achievement levels in maths are right down compared to the national norm. We need to be accelerating the learning of our children so their maths achievement gets closer to this norm.

In Manaiakalani, a lot of work has been done to create a 'common language' for teaching of writing and reading across the cluster, however this has not yet been done for Maths.

As a school, we have used a number of maths pedagogical strategies however have not yet reached a strategy which supports ALL of our students at their range of different maths levels. I am going to be working alongside two other Kāhui ako teachers from my school to address this challenge of student learning as well as the challenge of teaching.

Our initial plan: We are looking at identifying a group of children from across Year 3 and 4 who show evidence of being strong mathematicians. Once a week, for about 45 minutes, I will work with this group of students to extend them mathematically (the structure of these lessons is yet to be determined however initial thoughts are that these will be project-based and possibly follow a DMIC lesson structure). When these students go back to their own classrooms, Clarelle Carruthers is looking at ways she can utilise the learning of these children back in her own maths classroom to support the maths learning in her class as a whole. While Clarelle and I are working with the Year 3s and 4s in this way, Danni Stone (Across school teacher) is looking at spending time extending children in Year 6 to 8 mathematically. Clarelle and I will work collaboratively with Danni so pedagogically, we are using similar strategies and a structure which can then be replicated by other teachers if it is to be successful in accelerating achievement.

Tuesday, 21 February 2023

Reconnaissance - student inquiry foci (Part 2)

The Challenge: How do we accelerate achievement in maths when teachers are tasked with teaching a classroom of students with a range of maths abilities and with various gaps in maths knowledge?

Possible inquiry focus in terms of student learning: Working collaboratively to accelerate achievement in maths for all Year 3 to 4 children.

Why I have selected this challenge of student learning and possible inquiry focus: 

School data:

As you can see from this graph, there is a common trend in maths at our school where across a year, our children are achieving appropriately in maths, however they are doing it at a level much lower than the NZ norm. Therefore, the focus of my inquiry needs to be on accelerating the achievement. 

Cluster data:

You can see from this graph that at our school, the challenge is more pronounced than that of the Manaiakalani cluster.

Manaiakalani Programme data: 

Manaiakalani Programme data has a similar trend however across the Manaiakalani cluster as well as the whole of the Manaiakalani Programme, achievement in maths is closer to the NZ norm. This emphasises that accelerating maths achievement is definitely a need at our school. We need to be getting our children's maths closer to the norm. So how are we going to achieve this?

Sunday, 19 February 2023

Reconnaissance - student inquiry foci

Through conversations with members of my school's leadership team as well as colleagues, I have decided to address the following Manaiakalani Achievement Challenge for 2023:

At the end of last year, I had in my mind that I was going to address the achievement challenge : Improve the achievement of students with additional needs in the learning areas of English/Key Competency using symbols, languages and texts. In particular, I had in mind that I was going to focus on supporting children who were challenged in staying focussed in class and as a result, lacked experiencing the feeling of success. Creative Space is a place which allows children to find their strengths so I thought this would be a great inquiry focus. However, how I would assess progress in this would be a challenge.

After discussions with my colleagues at the beginning of this year, we discussed how our children don't have many opportunities to be extended in Maths. This got me thinking as I teach the school extension programme. I also manage the gathering of assessment data for our extension children throughout the school. Our current school extension programme is more literacy focussed/weighted. With my colleagues we questioned: could we start up a school extension maths programme and what could this look like? Between myself, Clarelle and Danni (both also CoL teachers), we wondered how we could all support this getting up and running. We discussed how we could run it with Year 6 to 8 children OR we could run it with Year 3 & 4 children. The Year 3 and 4 children have a less busy schedule so a programme with them would be more manageable and successful. 

After my discussion with my colleagues, I thought more about the WHY. Why do we need to run a school extension maths programme? What is the challenge we would be trying to fix? 

Having taught in the classroom, the answer to this was obvious: a typical classroom includes a range of mathematics levels. How do we as teachers realistically support the children who find maths really challenging while also extending those who find the logic of maths more natural? It is challenging, that's for sure! We have a really unique opportunity here where we can run an extension programme for those children who we identify as gifted in Maths, allowing the classroom teachers to spend that session focussing on building the knowledge for the rest of the class. The extension group can then return to their classroom and use their new knowledge and skills to work alongside their other classmates to build their maths knowledge.

After talking with my colleagues, I had conversations with members of our senior management team. In their conversations, I got a really positive response - a programme like this would hugely benefit our school and our students' learning as our current school extension programme is very literacy heavy, mostly as a result of time restraint. Creating an extension mathematics programme would allow extension opportunities to more children. There can be children in the extension maths programme who wouldn't typically be in an extension class when literacy assessment data is taken into consideration as well.

I am really excited about inquiring into lifting achievement in maths as a collaborative inquiry this year!

Thursday, 9 February 2023

Going forward: 2023!

This year has started with a potential deviation in my inquiry direction! After talking with Angela Moala, Clarelle Carruthers and Danni Stone, we asked ourselves how we are currently extending our children who are strong in mathematics. I currently run the school extension programme however this is more heavily literacy weighted than maths. We wondered whether we could begin an extension maths programme for some of our children. Back when I was a Manaiakalani Innovative Teachers, we collaboratively worked through the initial inquiry direction brainstorm. One element of this was to begin an inquiry by thinking 'pie in the sky' - as big as you can! Even if you think it is impossible! I considered this:

What if, during my CoL release time each week, I took an extension maths class of year 3 and 4 students?


  • Great use of my time to benefit the children and the school.
  • Allows time to really extend these children who are strong in mathematics.
  • Once a week, allows time for the classroom teachers to teach to the needs of the other children in their class while I can extend a smaller group.
What would it look like?
  • 1x 45 minute session each week
  • Either number-based, strand-based OR project-based (integration of both)
  • Utilise DMIC values/strategies/structure of a lesson
  • Extending the children beyond what they already know
Why Year 3 & 4 children?
  • These children are not out of class for any other groups so they won't be losing valuable class time - in fact, it will be benefiting everyone involved.
  • These children are down the same corridor as me this year so it could be look at as an extension of their classroom - easy to manage transitions on this day.
  • Lots to still extend these children in number knowledge to support their success in project-based learning experiences. 
  • Preparation for going into Year 5 to 8.
There is obviously still a lot to think through if this is to be my CoL inquiry for this year - first of all, I need to consider the WHY. Why would I be doing this? How would I measure change? What would be the criteria of success? Would this be a collaborative inquiry along with the other teachers involved? What would this look like?