Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Getting the answers first hand!

Having worked with Sue Pine through our school PD during this year I felt I had more questions I wanted answered. I invited Sue to spend time with me going through some of these questions. The questions stemmed from the thoughts of myself and my team as we transition into problem solving and mixed ability groupings in our maths programmes. 
Sue's answers helped me pull together a lot of the research that I have come across and it was blended nicely into clear explanations. She was kind enough to allow me to interview our discussion. This has allowed me the made an interview film to help share what has been helping me in my journey and my inquiry.

The questions that Sue addressed in this film are;
  • What do you think are the two biggest hurdles for a teacher who is beginning to transition their maths teaching to be presented with a problem solving approach? How could they overcome these hurdles considering the urgency of engagement needed by the students.
  • What do you think are the two biggest hurdles for a teacher who is making the transition to maths mixed ability grouping in their class? How could they overcome these hurdles considering the urgency of engagement needed by the students.
  • What was the best piece of research, data or evidence that you have worked with that has helped frame your current pedagogy in relation to problem solving and mixed ability groupings?
  • Consider you are working with a teacher who is not convinced that mixed ability grouping and problem solving is the right teaching approach for their students. How would convince them of the benefits these two concepts will have for their students without using evidential data?
I would like to share with you some of that messages that have shaped my understanding of best practice for mixed ability and problem solving.
  • There needs to be a mindset (positive) change for both the teacher and the learner
  • It is vital a 'mathematician' philosophy is welcomed and established in the class
  • Mistakes are welcome and an important part of our learning

Finding the right teaching tools!

To ensure that we are teaching the correct principles and strategies for problem solving our team meet regularly to plan together. Part of making sure we are offering our best practice to our students is ensuring that we are providing quality problem solving questions for our mixed ability groups. Recently we have started to look at rich tasks that have already been developed so that we spend more time on a quality delivery than spending time making up questions. Two places that we have found very useful for resource hunting are NZ Maths and the Figure it Out books. There are incredibly rich tasks that allow for growth and deepening thinking.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Digital Immersion PD with Fiona

In today's session we have been focusing on connection and how this enhances our ability as teachers but that it also greatly benefits our learners.
At the completion of a creative day of learning we finalised and cemented our learning by completing a game of connect 4. Great way to end a successful day.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Student wellbeing survey

We recently invited our students to participate in a well being survey. There was the odd comment that challenges your own perspective of what is happening on a daily basis. There are also other comments that let you know you are doing something right!
Part of my inquiry into student achievement is ensuring that students feel safe and welcome at school. Research does say that this is important for learning have greater success. I would like to share a couple of comments (in all truth there were many) that are prove our kids are happy. Step one TICK!
  • I am happy to be at this school because I feel welcomed and I am thankful for the parents and teachers
  • that help me and other kids at this school.
  • feel so welcome to this school with my friends or my family members.
  • this school is alright
  • I love this school I^m so happy to be here I get alot of respect :3
  • This school is very good and healthy and it supports me ~in my learning.
  • I like my school because teachers and students make me welcome.
  • I like this school because it makes me safe and sound just like at home

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Totally true!

It may seem a bit fluffy for education but isn't it totally true! At least with the concept I'm researching it is!

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Bobbie Maths

It is super exciting to see a New Zealand Educator leading the way in maths. Dr Roberta (Bobbie) Hunter’s research into inquiry based maths with a problem solving approach seems to be the beginning of the revolution. This is perhaps the origin for our PD with Sue Pine this year. It is definitely heavily research and now fondly named ‘Bobbie Maths’. Her theory revolves around fixing things from the bottom up to all overall. I have to agree with her.

If you feel you are not aware of Dr Roberta Hunter you may well find that you have seen her work or research. Below is one of many videos in a series that are based around her research and inquiry. These videos can be found through the BES (Best Evidence Synthesis) Programme on Education Counts among other places. One of my original posts in my inquiry was a video from the sequence of 6. It is only now that I am making the connection to who I have been researching. All 6 together are very conclusive of the changes and direction that we are moving in. I have found it refreshing to see what I had earlier been skeptical about thriving in the classroom. Take a look for yourself.

Here is the link to the research and all of the videos where you can hear and see first hand Dr Roberta Hunter share her researched based theory and to see it in action.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Jo Boaler - Growth Mindset

Jo Boaler is a professor at Stanford University. It was suggested to me that her growth mindset research might be of interest. Having read through a range of different articles she had written this one makes a connection with me.

Her thinking seems to work well alongside the 'Locus of Control' that has also interested me. Together the two concepts blend and help to explain and give reason to how they are successful.

The locus of control is about the learner knowing and believing they have control. And the growth mindset is that the learner believes in their ability to grow. Clearly the two concepts work well alongside each other and are natural siblings.

In Jo Boaler's research article Urban Success: A Multidimensional Mathematics Approach with Equitable Outcomes (Jo Boaler, Stanford 2006) she talks in depth about the what and the how.
For me the summary or key concepts are below

Her research indicates that

  • Practice of tasks and effort into those tasks do produce greater intelligence.
  • If a student has a belief in their ability to grow and achieve then they will, significantly. 
  • The teachers also needs to have the same belief in that learner or all learners as it greatly aids in their success.
  • Mixed ability mindsets lead to the support of the students belief of themselves and hence their success.

 Sure, some of these seem logical and not new to us. But do we act on then? Her research backs my theory/inquiry into mixed ability grouping. Having read this report I feel that I now have more belief in the learning changes we are implementing here at school. In all honestly I have been struggling with belief that mixed ability groups are right for our students. Her research gives me faith that were are headed in the right direction.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Dan Meyer Amerian Maths Guru - Forward thinker...

Through a discussion with Sue Pine our maths facilitator this year, I was introduced to Dan Meyer an american maths teacher. He is very forward thinking and his design for maths delivery works well with our Manaiakalani philosophy. Firstly have a look at him speaking at a TED TALKS in regard to the changes needed in maths teaching and learning.

After watching this talk I was keen to investigate further. Our school is currently working on upskilling in the area of mixed ability problem solving as our approach to enhancing student achievement. What I liked about Dan is that he doesn’t just use text word problems with his students he uses maths problem solving movies. The movies have the problem in them and through the delivery as a movie not words on a page he heightens student interest.

I’m keen to begin testing these in class and see what our students think. Here is an example of a problem solving movie. I have also attached the link to a wider range of movie resources if you are keen to have a look for yourself. The videos come with very thorough planning and pre designed questions for the lesson. It's a great example of where our teaching needs to be headed.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Locus of control

I know that when I was a student in school many (well not that many) years ago, I struggled to find intrinsic motivation for putting effort into my learning. I see that a number of students in my inquiry this year also struggle with this. However, as an educator I can see the importance of helping our tamariki to come to grips with this. I see many students who do this well but we all know our more ‘needy’ students can be linked to having low levels of intrinsic motivation.

This idea has sparked some interest in me and I have been researching the concept of the ‘LOCUS OF CONTROL’. I have a sneaking suspicion that understanding this and my students understanding this too will have our journey moving in leaps and bounds!

So what is the locus of control theory? To summarise, it is a person’s realisation of/or and acting on control based on their understanding that they have the control or that they are controlled by outside influences.

As a younger member of our community I was adamant that others controlled my success or lack of. It wasn’t until my father passed away when I was aged 24 that my perceptions changed. Coming out the other side of the immediate grief I was dealing with, I started to want to live on my terms. And today I totally own my life and the path I take. And I love it! As a result of this I believe that I lead a very fulfilling and successful life and career.

The thoughts that have come from my realisation of how dramatically my life changed once I took back my belief of control are; can you imagine how different this could have been if I reached this understanding at a much younger age? Can you imagine the lives or paths ours kids at school could be on if they understood and had this belief too from a school age?

There is argument to say that some of this comes down to upbringing. However, we will teach maths in a class but we don't’ prioritise the concept of ‘locus of control’. Surley making a child understand the control they have would enhance their learning success. I believe it will. I am feeling my focus in this inquiry is constantly moving and changing. These thoughts are again challenging my direction.

Keen to figure out your level of control? Have a go and try this quick test to see where your ‘locus of control’ sits. It surprised me!

Friday, 12 May 2017

Learn CREATE Share

All too often we as teachers stump the creativity of our learners and it's important to take time to reflect on how WE can change our attitude towards their learning.
Let this video help you during your reflection process.

Friday, 7 April 2017

CoL Staff Meeting

I chose to make my CoL staff meeting an interactive activity which relied heavily on staff engagement and input.

We first looked at the roles of curriculum team members, curriculum team leaders and the curriculum coordinator. We then discussed how we see the role of the CoL within school teacher working for us at GTS. In the shared slide presentation the team completed a digital bus stop activity to brainstorm what those roles need to be. They also began the process of developing how the CoL can best support us and our learners.

Once we had completed this part of the meeting I ran an interactive quiz in regard to my professional inquiry. The teachers worked in pairs moving through the different blog posts to find answers.

Click here to view my presentation and quiz

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Making a digital class treaty

Today the boys had a great chat about how they each want to be treated during our class math sessions. We decided that we would make a digital treaty rather than one to go on the wall. We will be making this is the next session.
I am really impressed with the thought they placed into the environment they want around them while we learn together.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Mixed Ability & Problem Solving - Maths PD

We had a really fantastic session with our Maths facilitator Sue Pine this afternoon. Again, she had us considering best practice and encouraged us to work in mixed groups similar to the expectations we have of our students. Each session she introduces us to new professional readings and throws us into learning by doing. I really enjoy these sessions as honestly, you have to engage because they are so interactive and fun.

I took away from this session that I need to look further into the way in which I engage my tamariki with each other. My inquiry focus it to foster a whanau/ support within our sessions. I think that using the TALK MOVES will encourage my students to work together and feel that they are connected in their learning and each other.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Outside my comfort zone

Inquires are for learning. So my big 'outside my comfort zone' strategy is going to be mixed ability grouping for the students I will focus my inquiry around. There is currently debate about mixed Vs ability based groupings. Personally I'm on the fence about this but am open to what can best support tamariki learning and succeeding. So I will start here...

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Inquiry Hypothesis

The impact of mixed ability grouping and tuakana teina to enhance Year 7 & 8 Maori boys mathematics achievements.

Though our school wide data and the collective Manaiakalani data morphed my inquiry focus.
The fluid nature of mixed ability groupings where the teacher or learner can change on a basis of ‘that moment in time’ is great fit for the students in my inquiry. I hope to identify that this on a greater scale, will benefit not only our maori boys but our learners school wide.
There is currently a mental stereotype associated with streaming where student in the lower group feel a negative association with the group and their motivation for success is lesser than their peers in higher levelled groups.

Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools: Years 1–13
"The tuakana–teina relationship, an integral part of traditional Māori society, provides a model for buddy systems. An older or more expert tuakana (brother, sister, or cousin) helps and guides a younger or less expert teina (originally a younger sibling or cousin of the same gender). In a learning environment that recognises the value of ako, the tuakana–teina roles may be reversed at any time. For example, the student who yesterday was the expert on te wā and explained the lunar calendar may need to learn from her classmate today about how manaakitanga (hospitality) is practised by the local hapū."
Ministry of Education. (2009). Te Aho Arataki Marau mō te Ako iTe Reo Māori – Kura Auraki (Curriculum Guidelines for Teaching and Learning Te Reo Māori in English-medium Schools: Years 1–13). Wellington, New Zealand.

Monday, 27 February 2017

The adventure begins

Being new to Manaikalani, 1:1 chromebooks, first time blogging, Google sites, planning in Google and having it visible and rewindable we have a lot to learn. I am grateful for my incredibly motivated and talented team.
Our journey started and Week 1 when we rolled out Chromebooks. Three weeks later we have 90% of our students on their OWN device.  And in week 2 we started our planning on our sites, and I can tell you it is impressive. While we all realised there was no expectation of having our digital world this far advanced this quick, we were willing and most definitely able.

This is what has made a huge difference for us! Previously we would plan and share the documents with our team leaders. This photo is us sharing our planning with each other. This includes the successes, failures, the 'how to' and most importantly WHAT'S WORKING FOR OUR TAMARIKI.

It is this openness that I feel will be at the centre of my learning inquiry. It has started in my team and I fully expect to reap the benefits with my team and my students.

He he he he he...

Thoughts out loud!

In consultation with my leadership team and blended in with my personal interests, my inquiry for 2017 is exciting. While I can read the facts in our data and the data from Woolf Fisher, it identified the same needs, however, it's still only data right now. I have decided that before I make any firm decisions on exactly where this inquiry is taking me and our learners, I felt some wider information is required. I have identified a large number of research documentation that I will read and mull over while I work towards having a bigger picture of who our tamariki are as individuals, some relevant historical data and theories for success! Knowing I am not an expert, I mean, who actually is, I want to complete these wider readings to help me grasp my inquiry more clearly in the context of reality. These two documents have been an interesting place to start.

Read this article here

Monday, 20 February 2017

Where to start..

The data... There's so much that it's telling me. I started with a brainstorm and pulled apart the genders, ethnicities and the highest academic needs. It has landed me here. To BOYS, MATHS, MAORI, YEAR 7&8 and to ACHIEVE.