Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Teaching As Inquiry: Student Voice

To kick off my MIT-2018 inquiry and the Teaching As Inquiry cycle for 2018, I have explored learner attitude to Maths to gain student voice through oral language. The result is Room 11's movie contribution to Pt England School's daily news network, PENN, for Term 1 in which learners share what they like about Maths, with a few examples of when they use Maths outside school.

While listening to these Year 4 and 5 learners share their ideas and thinking about why they like Maths, I was struck by the common words and themes of "cool" and "fun". While their genuinely positive attitude was evident and heart-warming, many learners found it difficult to expand upon their one word or short phrase answers to articulate their thinking further. Through questioning, scaffolding and some paired or small group discussion, some learners were able to add to their ideas to share the "because" part of their thinking.

What does this mean for my inquiries for 2018?

  • Using the structure of the Talk Moves for oral language to create a safe and positive environment in which learners focus on ideas, thinking and friendly argumentation.
  • Ongoing oral language activities to allow all learners to feel more confident sharing their thinking with others.
  • Activities to build student capacity to use the language of Maths.
  • Oral language and Maths problems that strengthen student understandings of the connections between Maths at school, home and in the real world.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

MIT-2018: Challenging My Thinking

An Achievement Challenge identified by the Manaiakalani Community of Learning is the need to lift achievement in Maths for all students in Years 1-13. This is the challenge I have selected for my Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher inquiry during 2018. My initial thoughts were that I would approach this challenge by creating a toolbox of rewindable, visible video resources to support student understandings about number strategies and Maths concepts in a Manaiakalani context. However, as we begin to explore Dr Bobbie Hunter's DMIC approach to teaching and learning in Maths at Pt England, I have been challenged in my thinking to change, alter and expand how I might approach accelerating achievement in Maths for my Year 4 and 5 learners. After a "Crazy 8s" design thinking activity, the following graphic shares how much my thinking has shifted:

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Teaching As Inquiry 2018: Where do I start?

I am inquiring into accelerating Maths achievement as part of MIT-2018 and through Teaching As Inquiry 2018.  My inquiry focus is using video DLOs to create rewindable, visible teaching and learning opportunities.

My initial hunches are that Bobbie Hunter’s DMIC approach will support this goal through:

  • Social groupings to build self-esteem about Maths and Key Competencies
  • Culturally-responsive contexts
  • Selection of rich problem-based tasks that are worth spending time on
  • Vocabulary acquisition:
    • Technical Maths terms
    • Positive face-to-face language of friendly argumentation

What can I try? One idea that I have just introduced in the classroom is a word journal to record Maths terms to support/expand/explore language of Maths.

Some ideas to investigate at the beginning of the inquiry cycle:
  • Integration of strand and number within the DMIC problem-solving approach for greater curriculum coverage.
  • Acceleration workshops for target students, ie needs-based prior to socially-grouped problem-solving 2-3 times per week @ 8.30am or at lunchtime.
  • Students sharing their thinking about Maths and their attitude to Maths with surveys to determine how this changes over time.
  • Record student explanations of Maths terms to (hopefully) show increased oral ability and confidence to share their understandings.
  • Record students sharing their thinking about big Maths ideas (strategy/solving problems) which can be used as rewindable, visible DLOs for others.

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Challenging the status quo

To kick off our whole school PD for 2018, Dr Bobbie Hunter shared her research and expertise on Developing Mathematical Inquiry in a Learning Community (DMIC).

The latest data quoted by Bobbie reveal that only 26% of Māori students and 11% of Pasifika are achieving curriculum standards at Year 8.  Consequently, when students are not achieving at this level, it is difficult for them to engage with or achieve at Maths in college.  She put forward various reasons why this comes to pass: deficit theorising on the part of both teachers and students; a mismatch of Pasifika values and teacher values; barriers created through levelled ability groupings; and the lack of value given to Maths by students because they don't see how school maths relates to the real word and life after school.

According to Bobbie, we can address these alarming statistics by adopting into our practice the DMIC approach to teaching and learning in Maths: high expectations within an inclusive, culturally-responsive learning environment;  co-constructing Maths inquiry learning in social groupings; connecting rich mathematical thinking and reasoning with worthwhile tasks through explicit and expertly-framed mathematical practices.

To embark on a way forward, Bobbie began by unpacking the values central to Pasifika culture:

How do these match our own values?  In what respect do these differ from our own values?  What do we understand by the notion of service in a Pasifika context?  How does current Maths teaching and learning in our classes connect with DMIC?

As we launch into a new academic year, challenging the status quo in Maths presents itself as a goal for Teaching As Inquiry and a path to accelerating achievement.  I’m so looking forward to our future PD sessions with Dr Bobbie Hunter and dipping my toes into her DMIC sandbox to support this teaching and learning journey.