Sunday, 1 October 2017

Flexible workshops

This term I decided to change up the learning groups and instead create needs based workshops. The reason why I made this change was because the learning groups were too big (with a large class size, we reached up to 8-9 people in each group). It became too difficult for students to share their thoughts with each other in the large groups, let alone hear me while I was teaching. The range of abilities in the groups had also changed a lot over the year. Students were varying too much in the stages that they were working at, so, it was time to mix it up!

Each week, the workshops changed - it has been very flexible. For example, if the focus that week was fractions, I would group up students based on the stages they were currently working at. My class also enjoyed this because it gave them to opportunity to work with people that they didn't usually get to work with. The current workshops are now smaller than the learning groups that I had in the beginning of the year. The one issue with this, is that it means I have more groups to see, which can make it difficult to see each group enough in the week. I will be working on this next term as I need fair time with each group!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Term 3 Maths Inquiry: What's my plan?

At the end of term 2, my team had a PD meeting with Jo Knox. Jo was working through maths OTJ's with us and explained how much weight strand knowledge has when making an OTJ. It was at that point that I realised I hadn't covered anywhere near enough strand yet. So, I set a new inquiry goal for maths: to teach strand maths at least once a week.

This term, we definitely met that goal! I spent several weeks working on measurement with room 6 and saw a lot of lightbulb moments! Learning about measurement is great because there are so many different ways to use materials and get creative. My class found it quite refreshing and really enjoyed learning. What I loved about measurement, was that we could integrate it with multiplication and add/sub strategies. My students didn't realise they were using these strategies because they were having so much fun!

Needs based workshops: 
Strand maths went so well that I didn't realise how fast time flew by! I sat down this weekend and made a maths plan for the rest of the year. We have very little time left until testing in term 4! Yikes. I've thought about what I'd like my students to achieve by then and decided that workshops might be the best way to help them to get there. At the moment, our maths groups are very diverse in terms of knowledge and the strategies that my students use. Therefore, the workshops will be needs based and I will choose which students I will need in each workshop. I realise that I not only need to focus on the strategies in these workshops but also context. My students need a lot of practice with word problems as this will help them to understand the strategies. I'm hoping these workshops will be helpful!

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Term 2 Inquiry Reflection

Here's an update on my inquiry for maths. This term, my key focus was fractions. I am happy to say that we had a successful term learning fractions!

I want to have an honest chat about Maths Whizz. Last year, as a new teacher, I was introduced to this maths programme. I didn't know how useful Maths Whizz was and sometimes used it as a time filler. I didn't focus much on the progress that students made on this and didn't pay enough attention to what my students were learning on it. As a result, my class wasn't very motivated when using Maths Whizz and possibly didn't make as much progress on it as they could have.

This year, however, I learnt that Maths Whizz is an amazing learning tool! I've been tracking students' progress daily and make sure to show their progress on our screen so they can see how they're doing. I often set focus tasks for the class on Maths Whizz, depending on what we're learning at the time. I find this really useful, as it gives them another opportunity to practice what they have recently learnt with me. Maths Whizz is also very useful when I'm trying to find the gaps (and strengths) in students' learning. It shows me everything they have learnt so far and highlights what they have been struggling with.

Every Friday we have prizes for the students that make the most progress on Maths Whizz and I encourage my class to aim to get the 'green tick' by Friday. As you can see on slide 4, my class has made great progress on Maths Whizz this year! They began the year with making an average of 0.9 progressions a week, and in June they made an average of 3.6 progressions a week. Very proud of them and happy to see that they're excited to use Maths Whizz.

My goal for next term is to spend more time teaching strand maths. After a PD meeting with Jo Knox, I realised that strand is a huge gap in my teaching. I also realised how much weight strand maths has when making a maths OTJ for our year 5 and 6 students. I plan to begin by teaching measurement, and am currently trying to think of creative ways to do this!

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Teacher Inquiry 2017

This year, our school wide inquiry focus is maths. I was so pleased when I found out we would be focussing on maths this year, as this is the curriculum area I need the most work on!

This term there are two main areas that I would like to focus on. Firstly, I'd like to identify the 'holes' in my personal maths teaching as well as the holes and patterns in my focus group's summative data. My focus group this year are students whose OTJ's for maths are 'below'.  My goal is to tackle these learning holes so that I can help my focus group shift from below to at.

After analysing the room 13 maths data from last year,  I realised that I became confident in teaching add/sub, however spent less time teaching mult/div and fractions because I didn't realise that these were areas that my students were struggling with. I also had the tendency to go deeper into add/sub because that was an area that I felt stronger in. These are some holes in my own teaching that I can see right now, which, I hope to change straight away.

This week, I will begin by gloss testing my focus group of 8 'below' students. I will look out for any patterns amongst the group  - such as concepts or strategies that they are all stuck on. I will also identify area in maths they need the most work on (add/sub, mult/div or fraction/ratio). I will then use the Gloss data to make a plan well ahead of time so that I can cover the key 'learning holes'.

After speaking to my team leader, I came to the realisation that I may need to just strip everything back and focus on one strategy with my group for a long time. I have the tendency to introduce a new concept or strategy but spend a very limited time practicing it. It could simply be one strategy or concept that this group missed out on a long time ago that needs to be solidified before they can understand other concepts. Solidifying just one strategy could be enough to move this group up to 'at'.

Other steps I plan to take are:
  • PD in teaching mult/div and fractions. I need to do research as well as ask colleagues for help with these areas
  • Using materials more often for follow up activities rather than only being on devices - or just to get creative! I realise that this will really help with engagement for mult/div and fractions.
I look forward to sharing my inquiry journey this year. I will keep you posted!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Welcome to 2017

I can't believe we've already been back at school for an entire month. Time flies so quickly, especially when so many new things are happening around you! That's right, this year has been an exciting year of change.

Last year, I began my teaching journey in a year 4 class with 28 students. Throughout the year I was always so intrigued by the shared spaces in our school, so when the opportunity came up to teach in one, I was stoked!

This year, I am teaching in a modern learning environment along side two other teachers - Matt and Kelsey. We now have about 100 energetic, bustling students in our space! Some people may think that's crazy, but I'm absolutely loving it. There have definitely been some challenges so far whilst I've been adjusting to a different type of learning environment. For example, getting to know so many more students (as we have different classes for maths and literacy) and learning how to engage my class whilst there are other things happening in the same space. However, I'm not at all stressed about these things as I know that everything happens in time and I now have so many more opportunities to learn from my fellow teachers since we share the same students! I am also thrilled as I have a large number of my students from last year who moved from year 4 to 5. It's super helpful as we've already built solid relationships and I've learnt how to engage them in their learning.

We've had a great start to the year and have set some solid routines. Next up, year 5/6 camp! It's going to be awesome.

Part of our shared space - my class (room 6) is in the corner.