Thursday, 17 August 2017

Teacher talk is so important! Being 'explain ready'.

This afternoon was time well spent with Jo Knox and colleagues from year 5 through to 8.   The focus for our group PD was on the teaching and learning of fractions - ratios and proportion.   As the workshop unfolded it highlighted the following

- How we set problems to solve
- How we phrase our prompts and questions
- Which parts of a word problem to we spend time on teaching
- Which parts are redundant - not useful

This links to what I have found in parts of my inquiry.  The teacher's ability to articulate mathematical operations through to problem solving is significant in the learner's ability to advance in maths.   Where a teacher creates tasks effectively, use of correct terminology and mindfulness of scenarios learners may come up with - the thinking process of students is set up with greater stability.  The thinking process taken will prompt a transfer of skills across strands.  

Again I find myself reflecting on my own methods of setting up maths learning.  The language and phrases I use in maths to prompt the solving of various maths problems.   Jo Knox referred to the basics of how we describe fractions - what works and doesn't.   The part that doesn't work - showed thinking processes that were very limited and did not support the transfer of knowledge into other strands.   PD for myself - get explain ready for whatever scenarios students come up with in their efforts to problem solve.

The following are some helpful tips from Jo Knox's session.
  • Some students in ratios use additive - stage 6
  • We want to move into multiplicative
  • ‘Launch’ of question. Ensure all students have access to understand the question. It’s not meant to trip up students. Explain different parts to allow students access to the question.
  • Whatever your problem area. Do a 5 minutes piece with class daily. Maths wall could show the processes you want to teach.  
    • Who can find keywords? etc
    • Where are the key numbers?
    • Redundant? Who can find words that are NOT useful
  • Do exercise to picture what you’re trying to ask WITHOUT numbers. E.g. ‘I have money in this pocket and some in this much do I have’. 
    • Students will understand what operations you’re after BEFORE dealing with the numbers.

1 comment:

  1. Russell Burt said...
    I really love your simple but innovative methods encouraging reflection.
    Well done. Love the simplicity!