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

Monday, 3 July 2017

Same problems different classes

This afternoon we met in our school inquiry groups. These are groups within the school that come together and share how our inquiries are going twice a term. As a school we are all focussing on maths this year, and our individual inquiries have come from targeting our own needs and the needs of our class under that umbrella.

What is really interesting (yet logical) is that throughout different year levels in the school, there is lots of cases of the same issues, low basic facts, place value confusion, and lack of consolidation being the most common.

Being Term 2 we have all tried a lot more in our classrooms, and instead of sharing and listening to each other's inquiries, we could actually engage in real discussion about how we are attempting to overcome some of these challenges. In many cases we have come to the same conclusions, and are attempting the similar changes to our practice. However other ideas were new to me, and gave me great ideas to try. It was just really nice to be able to problem solve and have those discussions with other people in the same boat.

I did reflect that if these are common problems in my own school, then they are probably common problems throughout the country, if not the world. I need to do some more research, as it is rather big headed of me to believe that I can solve the worlds problems on my own. 

I don't know my times tables...

Basic facts is still the bane of my inquiry. It's boring to teach, and progress is slow, however small successes must celebrated! So here's a quick anecdote:

Today I listened to one my girls tell me she couldn't solve the problem because she didn't know her 8 times tables, and she only knew her 1-5, 10, and 11's. I quizzed her to see if she was telling the truth, and to her credit she was right. She had her 1-5's down, as well as her 10's and 11's, right up to 11 x 12. For what ever reason though, she found the others tricky and intimidating.

I told her this was FANTASTIC because she would only have a handful left to learn now. She looked at me as if I was lying, and didn't believe me until I showed her on a grid. I reminded her that times tables reverse, so if you know one, you also know the other.

4 x 7 = 28 / 7 x 4 = 28

Once she understood this concept, and realised she only needed to learn the higher numbers from each of the time stables, she suddenly became confident and determined. For her it was a confidence issue, more than a memory issue. However the grid rule still works well for learners who know just their 1, 2, 5, an 10's as this still covers a huge number of times tables, and can be quite a confidence boost for the kids when they see it displayed like this.

The grid I showed the student in my class.