Mathematics - A balancing act?
2016 mathematics became whole school focus because results showed a gap between English and maths achievement. The first IR rounds supported this decision. Data indicated that there is a mismatch between the confidence of our students and their mathematical skill. Our kids love maths and think they are good at it, but NAPLAN results indicate a majority of our students in years 3 and 5 are not ‘Proficient’ in numeracy (they are not in the top 2 NAPLAN bands).
In 2017, TEN training K-2 was implemented to improve teacher understanding of the continuum of learning in mathematics and highlight the importance of establishing strong foundational skills in numeracy. Positive feedback from the teachers has seen a modified form TEN training being implemented with 3-6 teachers in 2018.
As a result of 2017 IR findings and recommendation the whole staff created a vision for mathematics at OGPS. We held a twilight session and asked our staff where to next? This process indicated that many of our teachers had the strong belief that students need the "basic skills" before they are able to/or given the opportunity to attempt working mathematical tasks. Therefore we changed the focus of our PL to collaboratively in stage teams design and implement tasks where students had to use mathematical reasoning. Teams shared their tasks and what they'd learnt from them at a whole school staff meeting. The purpose behind this was to show that our students ‘can do it’ if given the opportunity. As a result each stage now has a working mathematically focus.
In 2018 OGPS has been working with Anita Chin to strengthen staff understanding of the mathematics syllabus and the language of maths K-6. We want to understand how students progress from K to Year 6 -not just within a stage. This will lead to the development of a refined whole school scope and sequence.
Some questions that we are still considering are:
How do we get a balance between teaching the skills and providing opportunities for students to apply their skills in open ended problem solving situations?
How do we successfully incorporate working mathematically into the TEN framework?
7/29/2018 06:17:37 pm
Hmm Interesting question. I'm thinking that it all should be quite seamless. I'm wondering how teachers see teaching the skills? Are there opportunities for students to experiment, communicate with other students and use a variety of methods.
8/2/2018 08:55:43 pm
I found the article by Jo Boaler very interesting and relevant. It made me really think about my students at the moment and how they engage and interact with numbers. Using TEN in my classroom it allows me to explicitly teach students the fundamental skills of number, addition and subtraction for problem solving. I am able to teach various strategies that students can use to solve addition and subtraction problems. But I wonder...Am I giving them the opportunity to take risks in their learning and to experiment with various number problems and to choose their method of solving the problem?
7/30/2018 10:59:38 am
Yes Barbara, K-2 staff have been discussing number talks for a while now & their potential impact on developing & refining number sense. Stage 1 have implemented informal number talks into our introductory section of number lessons & this term are introducing a literature-based, conceptual focus during allocated "Maths Literacy" times. Through the library we have purchased a wide range of quality literature with a maths theme (covering many strands) which we have used to develop a teacher-modelled read-aloud /number sense program to be implemented across our seven stage 1 classes. Our four ES1 classes have integrated number talks into their number programs.
8/1/2018 10:31:57 am
Amanda, Zeinab and I have just had a fabulously intense conversation prompted by the comment about skills and applying them should be seamless.
8/2/2018 03:12:56 pm
In preparation for creating the pre-task, we had a lot of discussion around the importance of communication in the maths classroom. In our context we have a strong EAL/D focus and we believe teaching maths vocabulary is as just as important as teaching English vocabulary. We believe the same approach should be used to teach maths vocabulary in order to deepen student understanding. Students need to be able to apply the vocabulary when solving open ended maths questions.
8/2/2018 06:49:22 pm
Love your thinking Burwood PS. It makes sense that teaching vocabulary for maths is just as important as teaching vocabulary for English. You might like this blog from Mark Chubb, "The smallest Decisions Have the Biggest Impact". (https://buildingmathematicians.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/the-smallest-decisions-have-the-biggest-impact/)
8/2/2018 08:31:18 pm
Another great blog post by mark chubb!
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