Digital teaching tips & tricks, ideas, examples, and general thoughts and reflections. Follow my Inquiry.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Teacher Inquiry: 6

Super Group
I'm experimenting with combining two of my maths groups together into one giant super group. The idea behind this is to give me more time with my groups when problem solving.
With a bigger group there is more time to unpack the problem. There is more time to hear students thinking, and to help students understand each others thinking. There is also more students to share their thinking, so therefore a bigger pool of ideas.
This is possible because of the way we run our modern learning environment, where most of my maths class are working at about the same ability level.
The challenges of this is I then have a much larger group to manage while on the mat. It also tends to mean I have that group on the mat for much longer than normal, which can run the risk of losing student interest.

Not exclusively Super group
Although these students know they are one big group, they still are split into normal smaller size groups as well. This is because I don't necessarily exclusively take super group sessions and will sometimes switch back to the normal size groups. It also means I have the option to dictate what specific follow up activity I want the two groups within the super group doing. That way I don't have to have half my class doing the same follow up activity at the same time If I don't want to.

Monday, 25 May 2015

Teacher inquiry: The Lost Post 5th post

Lost post indeed...
"Do as I say not as I do" I guess.
If I blogged even a 10th as much as I expect from my students, I would be doing a lot better at this.

There has been a lot of updates in our follow up's for maths this term.

The list on the right is instructions students see for maths time on our Class site.

This is what the students are expected to be doing when they are not with the teacher.

Times tables Practice
We are having a huge push in basic facts at the moment so Students are doing a lot of work on their times tables.
They are expected to do 20 times table questions every day. Handwritten in their maths books. The students are then given access to the answers doc on a Friday, and mark their own.  This has been copied from another teacher in the class, and so far has been working really well. Students seem to enjoy using their pencil and paper, and wrote learning times tables is really starting to show in their problem solving.

Xtra Math and Maths Whizz
Im trying my hardest to use less of these during the follow up times, to help stop them becoming stale. But at the same time upping the importance of this.

I am doing this by checking each day that students have completed Xtra Math properly, and from what I can tell, have done their best.

I have also introduced new expectations for Maths Whizz, where students are required to make a certain level of progress.  This is instead of a time requirement, so that emphasis is put into how hard they a trying on maths whizz, rather than simply clocking up the minutes.

Problem Solving Practice
These presentations have been going really well. They are a good follow up, as far as thinking and reapplying learning they done with the teacher. However, it is proving hard to make sure student's have understood the problem and answered it correctly before posting on their blogs. For this reason many students have been posting incorrect solutions on their blogs.

I'm still debating with myself how important this is, does it really matter if they get it wrong? It's still a very good record of their learning.
I could ask students to just store the presentations in their google drives rather than share them on their blogs. However, I fear this might devalue the presentations and cause students to lose interest.
I could introduce a 'marking' time with the students in their groups. However I don't want to waste that valuable teacher time on marking.
I've considered developing an answer/ solution copy for the students to check against. However I think students would jump to this, without attempting to solve the problem first.

I have also found that for some of my students, the amount of text in the problems was too daunting. These are my student's who's literacy level was restricting their ability to engage with the problems. I have developed simpler presentations, and am hoping this will scaffold them into more complicated problems in the future.