I am a class teacher for Year Four and five students and a team leader for the middle school. My class and I are a part of the Manaiakalani Google ClassOnAir.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

My Inquiry

This year for the first two term we will be focussing on Maths and so my inquiry is for Maths.
After considering my school targets, the end of 2016 assessments and the Woolf Fisher feedback from 2016, my inquiry for this year will be on Student Voice.

I have 5 students who will be the target students. All these students are sitting below the national norms.
My Inquiry Question
Does encouraging students to regularly reflect on and articulate their numeracy goals and explain their mathematical understanding help them to accelerate their learning?

What does this look like?

Students will receive explicit teaching through their own data. They will be made aware of the their strengths and weaknesses. They will be able to articulate their learning. They will know why they are at a certain stage, what is it that they can do and cannot do. What skills and strategies do they need to attain in order to achieve their goals. At the end of each lesson, students will be asked some questions that will be based on what they have learnt which in turn will empower them to express themselves about their learning.

What does “AT expectation” look like for these students? What will we focus on?

All students at the end of their academic year need to be at stage 5 and above for Add/ sub, Mul/ div,  measurement, algebra and statistics

What are our hunches about what has happened for the learning of these students?
  • Through my day to day observations of these students I have felt that these students are not aware of their goals and expectations. They hold themselves back from participating in discussions about their understanding and thinking. These students are not very confident to achieve in Maths and feel that they do not have the necessary skills and expertise to solve problems. 
  • All these student may not have the necessary mathematical language to explain their thinking.
  • There may be gaps in their understanding of mathematical concepts
So what action will we take? What will we focus on in our cycle of inquiry?
What will I do differently?

'Students who participate and contribute in communities have a sense of belonging and the confidence to participate within new contexts. They understand the importance of balancing rights, roles, and responsibilities and of contributing to the quality and sustainability of social, cultural, physical, and economic environments'

For authentic student voice, there needs to be a high level of trust within the classroom. These students but have not really had opportunities to communicate and make a contribution to class learning. I will have to make a deliberate effort to channelise the learning of these students through careful planning and teaching.
For this to happen I will need to:
  • Understand the preferred ways of learning for each of these students and this will mean working alongside them to understand how learning can be made accessible to them. 
  • Facilitate the development of mathematical language to communicate. 
  • include them in my planning and assessment process so that there is clarity around their goals. 
  • create a class environment where students will be free to ask and answer questions without any hesitation. 
  •  support and encourage my students so that they feel confident in reviewing their learning and teaching of Maths
  • Make Maths learning fun for my students. 
How will I gather evidence to see that I have made a difference?

I will gather evidence of my students learning through 
  • Questionnaires
  • Collective brainstorms
  • Interviews with individuals or groups
  • By finding out their knowledge and beliefs
  • What kind of teaching they find the most effective
  • Knowing about their backgrounds and their prior knowledge and the experiences they bring to class.
  • How interesting or challenging they find the subject.
  • Their aspirations at and beyond school.

Resources that I will need
  • Nz Curriculum
  • Continuous feedback from my critical buddy teachers

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Multimodal Literacy - Digital age

Multimodal Literacy focusses on the task designing of the discourse by investigating and contributing to various resources like - visual, aural or written. Mainaiakalani research says that it is important too use strategies that will motivate students to think critically and to use wide and deep teaching to raise the achievement levels of the students. For this purpose I deliberately chose a topic which was recently in news as it was bound to raise student interest

Click here to get an idea of the news item that I shared with my students.

Multimodal and multimedia texts - videos, short films and news articles helped students to make evidence based interpretations and the systematic task designing and teaching allowed a balance of explicit teaching of parts and developing critical thinking.

As most of my students have learnt to decode text, an attempt was made to help them construct meaning and think critically about the topic of their study. The multimedia texts that were made available to students through their chrome books played a big role. I could share videos, short films, news items etc. at the click of a button. They could research about the questions that raised their curiosity, discuss it with their mates and then share their new learning with the rest of the world through their blogs.
Having said that I feIt that some of the texts were too hard for my students and I had to create some easy to read texts for them. This involved simplifying the texts that I found on the net.
Students were engaged right till the end of our inquiry and were connected to their audience in a more meaningful way as they received correspondences from people like the Mayor of Nelson. Opportunities were provided for extended student conversations so that they could clarify meaning and understanding of what they were reading. As we used multiple sites and resources, it helped in bringing the ideas together. Students shared their presentations and google drawings which in turn provided opportunities for creativity and sharing their knowledge. It took me a longer time than usual as it was the first time that I had introduced the multimodal approach to this group of students. I will try this again as the learning that happened at the end of the inquiry was very satisfying and rewarding.

Click here to see my students in action.

Click here for the student voice

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Critical feedback from Buddy Teachers

Today at syndicate meeting we received feedback from our critical buddies.



WALT use tens frames to learn our basic facts
SC: I can use the tens frames and quickly add my numbers.
I can explain how I solved my problem.
I can interpret my working in an equation.

T models how to read the ten’s frames.
Dots on the Tens frame represent a number.
How do Tens frames help us to do mathematical calculations quickly in our heads?
Prompt students to solve an addition problem using tens frames.
Prompt students to use an equation for the problem.
Prompt students to share their mathematical thinking around solving a problem.
Solve addition and subtraction problems using Tens Frame
Taking to fluency using place value cards through imaging.

Use the tens frames to add or subtract two numbers.
Get quicker at solving problems.


Using materials from lesson for follow up task. Great way to allow children the opportunity to practice what they have just learned.
Rich discussion. In depth explanation from children about their understanding.

More use of materials in follow up tasks.
Sitting at same level to students encourages discussion

Having students respond to the frames.

“How did you know it was four?” Students having to explain in their own words.

Great that you can have students explaining their different strategies.
I know that 4+6 = 10

It is a clever cognitive strategy flashing the cards and having them remember.

Having students explain understanding is awesome.

Why do you think these ten frames are important? - putting it back on the students

“Can I have an equation for that?” - great opportunity for showing strategies and learning

“So tens frames teaches you what?” - bringing it back to them and showing them the importance

Great follow up task - shows imaging and how they can combine their learning.

Using talk moves to have different students answer and grow in confidence

Using positive framing of questions “You are still learning about tens frames” for student voice.
Having students use cognitive strategies by recognising patterns

Using names of the material - tens frames.

How did you know?

I like that you showed them quickly - encouraging instant recognition instead of thinking and analysing.

Subitising is an important mental strategy.

Good that you built on from the Youcubed lessons about maths thinking - multiple ways of thinking are accepted and encouraged.

Making connections.

Awesome follow up - still using materials but in a different way.

Could extend by getting them to write 6+4=10 for each one.
-Getting student voice - what were you learning to do today? Do you think you achieved it?