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.