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? 


- 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.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Beginning of year Inquiry Action Plan

This year, I am continuing to focus on the 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 will be on year 5 learners.

My focus this year is going to be on how I can lift vocabulary knowledge through mixed ability grouping by encouraging maths discussions. This will fit in well with our school-wide PD with Dr. Bobbie Hunter on DMIC (Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities) maths. I am interested in seeing how DMIC can support those learners who are beginning to develop multiplicative thinking (working towards E6).

It will be important to teach the learners talk moves which they can use in their groups. I want to think about how I can encourage these children who are developing multiplicative thinking to be both teachers and learners (supporting those who are yet to develop multiplicative thinking, and learning from those who understand and are confident with higher level multiplicative-proportional part-whole thinking). 

What am I doing so far?

Currently I have been exploring the use of DMIC maths in class and have really enjoyed it. I have been creating problems which are meaningful to the learners and launching these to ensure all learners understand the problem. 

Learners are then placed in to groups of four where they work on one piece of paper to solve the problem. The rules are:

- Everyone in the group should contribute in some way.
- The group is not finished until everyone in the group has some understanding of what has been done and can contribute to the explanation. 

I found it interesting that in many groups, one person often did the work and the others sat back and took the opportunity to switch off or get off task. I have therefore began teaching the children to be able to step in and say 'Can you please explain that to me? - I don't understand what you have done' to begin encouraging them to talk about their learning without a teacher stepping in.