Monday, 29 May 2017

Success Criteria & Self-assessment

As a continuation of 'where to next' in my inquiry, I have been focusing the past 2 weeks on the Learn-Scan part of our inquiry framework as this is where I had gaps. 

This 'scan' area looked at how engaged students are with their learning. Can they articulate what they are learning about? Can they monitor their learning? Do they know what their next learning steps are?

To help me with this was the Assessment for Learning power point on TKI
Above is one the slides I found most useful and made me reflect on my classroom environment and how well I communicate with students how they are doing in their learning. Some of the things I felt I did well were:
  • Creating a learning environment in my classroom
  • Using assessment information to feed back into teaching
  • Provide timely focused feedback
Some of the things I needed more work on were:
  • Co-constructing clear learning goals with students
  • Involve students in self and peer assessment
  • Clarify learning outcomes with students.
Upon reflection, it prompted one of the readings from Michael Absolums' book 'Clarity in the Classroom' (2006).

"For students truly to be able to take responsibility for their learning, both teacher and students need to be very clear about what is being learnt, and how they should go about it. When learning and the paths towards it are clear, research shows that there are a number of important shifts for students. Their motivation improves, they stay on-task, their behaviour improves and they are able to take more responsibility for their learning." 
From this, I focused students in on Success Criteria's. HOW will you know you have achieved the learning intention? So as I worked with each group, we broke down the learning intention and worked out what this will look like. Our discussions around the success criteria as a group gave me insight into whether or not students actually understood what learning was expected from the learning intention. It was great being able to co-construct the success criteria with each group. We tried to make it very specific so it was easy to self-assess. Here is an example of our final outcome for one group.

WALT (We Are Learning To): Interpret information from a pie and bar graph
Success Criteria: I will know I have achieved this when:
  1. I can say what the x and y axis show
  2. I can give 2 facts from each graph

Thursday, 18 May 2017

CoL inquiry - LEARN checklist

During our first CoL meeting for Term 2 we were introduced to a new Inquiry Framework. It followed our Learn, Create, Share pedagogy and so I have made a summary page for the 'Learn' part and matched it up with my inquiry posts in Term 1. This is focussing the inquiry - "What is important? (and therefore worth spending time on) given where my students are at?"

As you can see, one of the areas I need to work on is 'Scan' - what outside factors are contributing to students not being able to retain number knowledge well in their heads.

This term, I will looking at the 'Share' part of our framework.

Gather evidence
Student achievement data eg. standardised tests, OTJs, internals and externals
Anecdotal evidence eg. observations, formative assessment tasks, student voice,  parent voice, previous teachers, surveys,  learning walks and reciprocal visits

Wider perspective on learning not just aspects that are easily measured eg considering perspectives of our young people and their whānau. How engaged are they with learning? Can they describe what they are learning and why it is important?  (AfL) Links to Key Competencies

Identify Trends
Looking at all the evidence, thinking hard about its “shape”. Noticing where there are cohort trends that extend out beyond the class, to the team or department, maybe even for this school across schools in the CoL
Clearly identifying the common learning challenges or problems.
Looking for and identifying strategies that are known to have the greatest impact on on this/these challenges

Analysis and interpretation often take place in the mind of the teacher, who then uses the insights gained to shape their actions as they continue to work with their students. These theories for improvement should connect with the inquiries related to the Achievement Challenge of the Department/Team, the School and the CoL.
“This involves asking questions about how well current strategies are working and whether others might be more successful. Teachers search their own and their colleagues’ past practice for strategies that may be more effective, and they also look in the research literature to see what has worked in other contexts.”

“Inquiry into the teaching–learning relationship goes hand in hand with formative assessment, in the cyclical evaluation process that goes on moment by moment, day by day, and over the longer term.” Assessment-in-the-classroom/Teaching-as-inquiry

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Weighting of OTJ's

As part of our school PD around mathematics, each team met with Jo Knox for further PD specific to their teams needs. Team 5 met with Jo on Tuesday afternoon and the first part of our session was clarification around OTJ's and how much weight each  of the different assessments and observations are when forming your OTJ's.

One of the main points that came out of this was: To meet the standard, a student needs to be working at that standard independently and most of the time.

One of the 'must have' documents you need to form an OTJ is the NZC Mathematics Standards Poster
Together with the Standards book and if need be, the NZ Maths books with illustrations.

Some of the questions we had as a team were around the weighting of assessments such as IKAN, GloSS, PAT and normal classroom/group observations - which do we put more emphasis or weight on when making our OTJ?
To clarify this for us, we took part in an activity practising how to make an OTJ based on some pieces of evidence she had gathered. 

We then circled which standard we thought the student best met based on the different data. From there we made an OTJ based on not just 1 piece of assessment, but several and always referring back to the NZC maths standards poster.

Of course you were not expected to do this for every single student in your class, but was a great way to moderate across the teachers of your year level and also the students who sat just on the edge of being either below/at or at/above the standard and needed a closer look at work samples.

There were so many clear and useful tips around number knowledge that I felt, even after 10+ years of teaching, served as a good reminder/ clarified some of my own misconceptions when making OTJ's. Here are a list of some points I found useful and hope they can be of use to you too.
  • Number knowledge is for facilitating problem solving
  • IKAN test is great for identifying how to support students with number knowledge to help them access more sophisticated strategies
  • Knowledge does not have to be a tick box 
  • Knowledge is never mentioned on its own in NZC poster - but HOW students are using knowledge to solve problems


Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Maths PD with Jo Knox - Part 2

Our series of PD's we've had with Jo Knox have been really useful in terms of content knowledge and also a reminder for all the things we need to consider when planning our maths lessons for our students.

One of the 'gems' I got out of the PD was the use of the IKAN test. Hearing from Jo that the 3 second rule was a bit unfair to measure students knowledge against put my mind at ease. Jo also shared how using the IKAN test papers after being marked was a useful activity. Getting students to revisit the questions they got wrong and quickly see why, and whether they need more help with it or it is something that can be corrected easily.

Here are some more highlights from our PD:

  • Mathemagic time! - Have a go!
  • Aligning NZ Number Framework, Curriculum and National Standards
  • Explaining formative and summative assessment using the garden analogy
  • Using a Spidergraph for GloSS and IKAN
Below are slides Jo Knox shared with our staff.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Number Knowledge vs Strategy

Last night was our first CoL meeting for Term 2. One of the highlights for me was listening to others share about their inquiries in our small groups. We were also given the opportunity to respond to prompting questions about our inquiries also received useful feedback from our colleagues. One of the prompts was 'What are possible next steps for planning my teaching inquiry?'. This has lead me to reflect on my Term 1 observations when my focus was mainly on teaching just number knowledge.

This lead me back to the NZ Maths Site. Delving into its numerous resources and research has helped me get a better understanding for what I need to target when teaching my priority students. In my haste to try and push for number knowledge I haven't adequately balanced the scales to account for the back and forth teaching of strategy too! Here is an excerpt from the online numeracy PD - Number framework.

So I will definitely be keeping this in the forefront of my mind when planning for my students. I was also reminded of some slides shared by Jo Knox in our first PD in Term 1.


Thursday, 13 April 2017

CoL inquiry - Term 1 Highlights

The end of Term 1 is actually here!! As the term draws to an end, I have been trying to take stock of what changes I have made in my teaching and how I deliver mathematics to my students. Not only that, but also making week by week behavioural and learning observations in trying to find out what is making it so difficult for students to retain number knowledge as they move up through their years at school.

In my previous post, I shared a slide outlining the outcomes of my CoL (and school) inquiry. Some of the main points were:

  • YES! - devoting class time to practising number knowledge makes a difference
  • Students need a repetitive cycle of maths vocab, materials and use of scrap paper in their daily learning of maths.
  • Students are stuck at the 'imaging' stage for fractions of numbers. They always revert back to drawing a fraction then sorting out the numbers into that fraction. (This is instead of using timetables knowledge to find the missing numbers)
  • Familiar context of questions helped students understand questions better - therefore they can focus what is happening with the numbers more.
  • A mixture of engaging activities (both hands on and online) are needed for my lower learners - even though they were not in my priority group.
So for the last two weeks of school, I have been trying to gauge what have students have picked up so far and where do I need to go to from here. One of the things was an IKAN test which was shared in my previous post and as I commented, although not everyone of my priority learners made a shift, you can easily tell by talking to them in their group that they have a better understanding of place value and fractions.

Now the big test was to see if students were able to transfer this knowledge by using it in strategies to solve questions in the Gloss test. Here is an example from one of my students and the gaps we are looking to address throughout the year.

This student is still going with his test, but already I can see where I need to address first - Proportions and Ratios - Fractions. Our work on fractions in class obviously hasn't made any shift for this student so I need to analyse why that is and pose more similar word problems for him to practice over the break. This is good for me to find this out now so I can plan for it next term.

Highlights for Term 1
  • Maths PD by Jo Knox
  • Priority learners engaged in their learning 
  • Compiling evidence of students learning on video and on paper
  • Making learning REWINDABLE for ALL my learners!
  • Using digital affordances to support my teaching and helping to scaffold student learning
  • Sharing our inquiries in staff meetings as well as CoL meetings so we are held accountable for what we say we are going to do. 
  • Learning conversations about what's worked and new things to try from PES staff
Where to next?
  • Collate learning evidence & data to analyse
  • Plan according gaps and learning needs identified - Look back at PAT data
  • How else can I help to 'increase the achievements of Year 7&8 learners in maths, as measured against the National Standards and agreed targets.'

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

End of Term 1 - Inquiry reflection

Yesterdays staff meeting was really useful as we got to share and listen to each other reflect on our inquiry so far this term. Our talking points were to share what worked, what didn't work, and what changes will we make or where to next.

My presentation I shared with my group looked at how my focus question kept changing slightly as the term progressed as I realised my question could be answered with a yes or no. 

What I wanted to find out was by providing class time for number knowledge practice, will students be able to pick up strategies faster, and therefore accelerating their learning.

As my students carried this out in their rotations throughout the term I took note of what worked and what lessons didn't work. I had to ensure I had materials on hand for my lower groups to manipulate and record their learning as they talked about it. Scrap paper was also essential as students needed to map out their thinking when it came to fractions by drawing fractions using pictures and numbers and trying out different ways. 

Our main focus for number knowledge according to our IKAN data was our fractions and place values. So we conducted a post test to see if my priority students made any improvement from February. 

Data Analysis:

Fractions - Out of the 6 students (3 boys & 3 girls)
  • 2 boys & 2 girls moved up a stage
  • 1 boy & 1 girl stayed the same
  • 4 students on stage 5, 2 on stage 4
Place Value - 
  • 1 boy & 2 girls shifted up 1 stage
  • 2 boys & 1 girl stayed the same
  • most stuck at stage 5 for place value knowledge
  • 4 students on stage 5, 2 on stage 4
Conclusion: Although I still had some students who stayed the same, I know for a fact from the way they talk about their learning that students have a much clearer understanding about what fractions and place value are and their knowledge around whole numbers and decimals has improved. 

The last slide of my presentation has more of my observations. One interesting point I did note was how we discussed place value in class - talking about place value columns and houses, but how they are presented to them on the IKAN test is slightly different. So we will aim to change the way we present these to students so they are using the same language and questions as testing situations.