Friday, 30 June 2017

Screen casts that 'Explains and shows' my understanding

Following on from our staff meeting led by Dorothy Burt we had our own Pt England group inquiry session.  In this session we are invited to share and reflect on progress today with our own individual inquiries.

I will share about the findings of a colleague around the use of capturing screen casts that display a student working through a problem.  In this you will see their working out with a voiceover that is captured at the same time.

The idea I plan to implement with my target group is this very activity of having students capture their explanation of maths problems they tackle.  

Plan of action:
1. Demo working out a problem they find easy using screen capture
2. Demo working out a problem that is challenging for their maths group

I will need to support this process well with helping students to  identify specifically a problem to solve.   Also the skills needed to capture their explanation/working out well so that their example is a clear example of 'Rewindable Learning' for their peer group.

Screencastify - tutorial video

Friday, 16 June 2017

Whanau engagement a big part of solution

Whanau engagement is a fundamental part of student achievement and well being at school.   Our efforts to understand one another is significant in not only engaging students but maintaining the levels of motivation and interest from the students AND their whanau over years of schooling.

Families@PES is what we now call our 'Home school partnership' meetings.  In this post I will refer to the Families@PES night June 14th 2017.  The special focus of this meeting was achievement in maths for all our students.

Toni Nua one of our assistant principals led this evening.  Starting with the good news - any support we can offer as whanau around maths matters!  This was great as there have been some miscommunications over the years of the 'old way' not being good for our students.   Instead - it's another strategy to offer our children.   Greater to this was the fact that we all - teachers, parents and whanau need to 'talk' a lot more!  For example - when we're doing chores around home, travelling to and from shopping trips - there's so much maths talk we could be having.

I had the chance to work with parents of year 7 & 8 parents who attended this night.  I shared my findings after having completed a set of gloss tests with students.   Language is greatly lacking.  Gloss is a test that uses 'Word problems' for students to show their ability in the three following areas:
Addition and Subtraction
Multiplication and Division
Proportions and Ratios

I showed parents an example of a gloss question.  They were very interested and were keen to learn what their children face in an assessment.   I was able to explain with the test in hand the challenge our children have with interpreting word problems.
'Andrea can fit 5 basketballs into one sports bag.  How many bags will Andrea need to store 40 basketballs?'
Some students will become stuck - yet when showing them the number sentence 40÷5= they could say the answer immediately.  So how can we all help?   Heaps and heaps more 'talk'.  Gifting of language to our children is needed.  Research relating to the time some of children enter school show very low word knowledge compared to children the same age in other parts of NZ.  Let's get talking - explaining with our children!

This will be an aspect of the maths I will address with my maths class in the new term.

The evening closed with parents feeling more empowered to support their children and helpful reminders that in the busyness of home life we can plant many more words/phrases and conversations that will better support their children towards achievement in maths.   All parents left with a maths activity pack that was explained and used prior to leaving this evening.

We've since received feedback that it was a useful evening and the packs are a great help!   Another great resource in our whanau to support achievement for our tamariki.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

I can understand IKAN's

Update!  In my most recent post I shared my:
Next steps for my inquiry: CREATE rubric and templates that support the following:
1. Carry out the 'SECOND' step as outlined in Jo's presentation
2. Plot results out of Spidergraph
3. Implement activities that prompt reflection on data
4. Decide WITH student what our next steps are in learning in the number strand
5. Implement support this choice in follow up activities and home learning

I have completed step 1 where my all my students were given the opportunity to sit the IKAN differently to how I have administered it.  Most steps being those that Jo in our staff PD outlined.  I have also completed step 4, students have published this on their blogs.


  • Students sat in their maths groups
  • All with own chromebook and earphones
  • Went through the IKAN test twice over
  • Marked own test with teacher and group
  • Circling those answers that were 'silly mistakes'.  This meaning mistakes that were made in the haste of test setting.  They could see what they did wrong and could prove themselves by answering a similar problem.
  • Scoring the stages and various domains
  • Blog post results and their own reflections that explained this different process and how they felt they performed using this new process
Students have made improvements overall.  Place value has not shifted as much as I had hoped for.   It has improved for approximately half of my class - the other half achieving stage 4 at the highest which still means no progress for a some students.   Target group as displayed: 6 same level, 4 shifted upwards.    
Identify the problem:  This statement stumps majority of my class: 'How many tens are in all of the number 782?  Answer 78 or 78.2.  Students answer '8'.   I can see that my lack in variety of questioning and activities of 'All of the number'.  Time to create a task that will help embed this!!  Look below for a draft of this.

The shift in attitude and 'can do' attitude has increased positively in students feeling more ownership over their learning, conversations with each other about how they made the mistake through to how to correct have been evident when marking in our small groups.