Monday, 21 May 2018

A Catalyst for Inquiry

The MIT-2018 cohort took time out today to share progress with our inquiries and collaborate at our second meeting at KPMG's headquarters in Auckland.

Our focus was digging deeper into our inquiries through Catalyst, a collaborative inquiry game created by Core Education. This board game has been developed around the OECD's Seven Principles of Learning. Each person was allocated a different questioning role within the game which proved an effective way for the group to drill down and ask those tricky questions of each other to challenge ideas and current thinking.

I found that the game created a supportive structure and environment in which to articulate and clarify my thinking about my inquiry.  The scanning and focusing stages of the game were particularly potent for me as they highlighted and reaffirmed the importance of learner well-being and engagement as we strive to optimise achievement. This may sound like common sense but it has strong connections to the goal of our school-wide professional Maths learning, Developing Mathematical Inquiry in a Learning Community.  Through the careful selection of Maths problems with contexts that relate to the immediate world of our learners and our community, I believe we are strengthening the balance and connections between well-being, engagement and achievement.

Catalyst image retrieved from:

Saturday, 5 May 2018

DMiC: Reflecting on a mentoring session

At a recent DMiC professional development session, images were explored as a medium for  creating culturally-responsive problems for Maths.  This siapo image was highlighted as an example of a problem which is accessible to all.  As Pt England had celebrated Fiafia 2018, its bi-annual cultural festival, at the end of Term 1, this image was selected as an authentic opportunity to begin our Maths problem-solving in Term 2, which coincided with a visit from our DMiC mentor.

Planning prior to sharing this problem with learners considered what learners might notice in the image and how this might connect to conceptual understandings about patterns:

Working in groups of four, students shared and discussed their ideas and thinking about the image while only one of these learners was allocated the role of recorder. 

It was wonderful to listen to the rich discussions taking place within the different groups.  I noticed a range of both everyday words and precise Maths vocabulary being used to describe the shapes and patterns within the image.

Having reorganised the groupings for Term 2, I also observed positive progress in attitude and engagement as students took more time to listen to each other and took turns to share their thinking within these social groupings. There is still much to work on within our DMiC Maths journey but in these early days there were plenty of reasons to celebrate the small successes, notably amazing individual learners who stepped up, took the lead in their group by showing empathy to enable the group to approach problem-solving in a positive way.