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

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Teacher Inquiry: Post Number Nine

It's term 3 now and over the holidays I was reflecting on my maths follow up,

is it really higher order thinking? it higher order thinking at all?

A simple google search will tell you that,

"Higher-order thinking, known as higher order thinking skills (HOTS), is a concept of education reform based on learning taxonomies (such as Bloom's Taxonomy). The idea is that some types of learning require more cognitive processing than others, but also have more generalised benefits." 
 - Wikipedia

Some of what my learners do is not higher order at all, some of it is even basic wrote learning (such as their timetables), but I think these sorts of tasks have their place in a maths follow up routine. Basic fact learning is vital to the students progress, and lower order rapid recall tasks' are one of the best ways to improve this.

Thats why yet again I turn to my problem solving presentations.

Students are expected to complete one of these a week.  This means they can do it all in one sitting, or they can take their time and do it over a few sessions.  I have seen some success with this, and the students seem to engage with it quite well.
However, I'm still not convinced I am hitting the mark at the "HOT" level, and so I have taken it back to the drawing board.

After hearing Latini (another teacher in the school) present about her inquiry, and hear that she does similar tasks but in Google Draw with her Year 7/8 class.  It got me thinking, perhaps I have my students working in the wrong tool.

With Google Presentations I was asking the students to solve the problems in their book and photograph their working. This works well, but I was thinking of the possibilities that Google Draw creates.  With the potential to portray their working and thinking using text boxes and shapes, I think it gives the students more of a creative experience; "How can I show what I am trying to say", "what would this look like".
This first attempt, doesn't look overly pretty but I think it's still a good start. I was interested to see how the kids took to it.

The instructions on the left give further explanation of what to do. But for the most part it is similar enough to the presentations that the students would need little scaffolding.

The students are asked to read and understand the problem.

Convert the word problem into equation form.

Solve the problem.

And rewrite the equation with the answer.

One student completely understood the task, and got it almost 100% how I wanted it to work. Heres a link to the post she did on her blog.

You can see she has used the drawing tools to create a number line.

She has also explained what she did at the bottom as part of her blog post.

Im really excited about this new idea, and want to see how it pans out.