Monday 7 August 2017

Maths reflection - T3W2

This week for maths, myself and my colleague and friend ran workshops between our two classes.

Students from my class, Room 7, and the other class, Room 8, could sign up to the workshops run by either of the teachers (not necessarily their own teacher).

Students signed up to workshops on this document and got to choose themselves which they wanted to attend. In my opinion, 99% of the students went to the one their teacher would have put them in anyway, as the workshop was what they needed to learn at their specific level.
To me, this showed that the students were able to reflect on what they knew, and what they needed to know in order to move up levels/move forwards. This is a huge achievement for our students.

The one child who wasn't where they should have been got moved anyway, and agreed immediately that they already knew how to do the work and should've signed up to the more difficult workshop in the first place.

My lessons were quite difficult, aimed at the higher end students (stage E6 and above). As we only did one hour sessions, I gave out homework to reinforce the ideas learnt throughout that lesson.

Mondays lesson was great.  I regret not videoing it.
I had about 5 of my own students who already learnt about decimals (but had chosen to come anyway, as they felt they had forgotten it) and the rest were from Room 8, and had never done decimals before. I started the lesson by saying 'I am going to go really fast, and if you're not listening you are going to miss it'. That was the only 'behavioury' thing I had to say in the whole hour. The kids were so engaged with using the decimats, showing decimal numbers (the same teaching concept as here), they began to use the language correctly and all was well. We even began adding decimals!

At the beginning of Tuesdays lesson, we marked Mondays homework which was a worksheet where students had to add two decimal numbers together. We marked this together, with students coming to write their answers up on the board to show the rest of the class. I found this way of marking more helpful, as I can watch their process and ask questions while they are working, instead of just giving them a red cross and them and I both not knowing where they went wrong. That was fine, and we moved onto subtracting decimals. We used materials again, as this really helps build the understanding of exchanging tenths and hundredths. I sent them away with a subtraction worksheet for homework, but also let the students from both classes use the materials to help them solve the worksheet. I find that teaching, and doing, subtraction in decimals is a lot harder than adding them.

Wednesday I taught my group how to convert between decimals, percentages and fractions. Again, this is a huge topic that I tried to cover in very little time. I acknowledge that each of these lessons will need revisiting regularly to ensure the kids understand it properly. A one off lesson is not enough. One thing I think was good about Wednesdays lesson was giving the kids 'tricks' and making them circle, highlight and draw arrows around these tricks.
By trick, I more mean the 'rule', but it seems more enticing to tell kids there is an easy trick to it.
For example, when converting between fractions and percentages, you need to make it so the denominator is 100, then the numerator will be the percent number.

7/10 is the fraction.  7x10   =70
                                 10x10=100   so the percent number is 70%.

The other trick/rule here is that what you do to the bottom you must to do the top, hence multiplying by the same number.

On Thursday we had lessons planned, but these didn't happen for various reasons. Which means I swapped Tuesday and Thursday's lessons, and never taught rounding decimals.

Fridays lesson went GREAT.
We stayed in our own classes, and presented our learning in student clinics (watch the first one for an example of what student clinics are if you are unfamiliar with them).

I was SOOO impressed with each of my kids. You can tell by what they choose to show, which workshops they attended. I was delighted to see my kids who went to the other teachers workshops had learnt so much, and had grasped concepts they had struggled with under my teaching.
There was a group of low-achieving boys who could do a strategy they were previously unable to do, I was so proud. They have learnt so much in one week.

Reflection and next steps
I definitely think the kids liked being able to choose what they wanted to learn about, and I liked them being able to choose as well. I found they were more engaged because they wanted to be there, instead of being forced to be there. Although I covered a lot in a short time, and will absolutely need to revisit those concepts, it was awesome exposure for those who were new to it and good practice who had learnt it previously. I was so proud of my kids when they presented their clinics, as they could ask helpful questions, they were patient and kind, didn't mock each other, and kept asking to do more/harder problems to show how much they had really learnt.

We will be doing maths this way again next week, focusing more on multiplication strategies. We have decided to only do one learning intention each teacher each session, as when we had two learning intentions in the same session, we smooshed them together anyway.

The students confidence grows immensely when they feel ownership over their learning (choice).
I also think that for my lower-ability students, it was beneficial for them to be with peers who are closer to their level, rather than being in a class where they know they are lower than everyone else. Then when those kids in particular presented their clinics, the 'smart' kids were really impressed that they could do 'hard stuff' now. (Forgive my use of kid speak).


  1. Hi Ashley,
    My name is Judy from St. Patrick's School. I also have a year 5 and 6 class. I love the way that the students choose their next learning. Just wondering what strategies or steps have you used to help the students decide which workshop they should go to? Thank you and this is my professional blog:
    Would appreciate any ideas/questions or suggestions that you may have in regards to my Inquiry!

    1. Hi Judy, it's lovely to meet you.
      In week 1 of this term, the students filled out individual copies of 'My mathematical passport for success' which is a teaching resource that breaks down what is expected for each stage of maths. The students went and ticked what they can do, and hence it became obvious to them what else they needed to learn in order to achieve the stage they are working at. We will also go back to these booklets at the end of this term and add in all the things we have learnt throughout the term.
      Thanks for your comment.


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