In this edition of the News you will find:
For Our Swedish Readers
Refreshing a Task Centre at St. Pat's
Last of the Ready-Made Tasks
Get to Know a Cameo
... Add The Pack
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- For Our Swedish Readers
|This photo leads an article about one of our workshops in Ludvika. The article begins:
Matematik kan vara motiverande.
"...skippade fikat..." Vad!
Fråga bara det 30-tal lärare som skippade fikat under torsdagsförmiddagen.
- Click the photo to read the full article.
- Use your software to enlarge it if necessary.
- Investigating Task 139, Squound, caused these teachers to ...skippade fikat....
- See photos of some of their work in From The Classroom in Link List below.
Would you like Doug. Williams to visit your school, university or Kommun to run workshops or lectures like this? Contact Leif Lundgren, Studentlitteratur AB. Ask about Spring 2018. Leif.Lundgren@studentlitteratur.se / 0765 38 23 23
Organising these visits takes lots of time. Please start now.
- Refreshing a Task Centre at St. Pat's
This story is worth telling; for the workshop day itself, which is displayed in the photos below, for the history of how it came about and for the professional development model used which could be adapted by other schools and clusters to the new eTask Package (see Link List below).
In April/May 2008, at the invitation of Joe Marsiglio HoD, we introduced a Task Centre to St. Francis Xavier College, Berwick (SFX) through 3 x two hour after school workshops. The 20-25 teachers involved included teachers from the local feeder schools. We reported in the May 2008 eNews (see Link List below) that one participant, Ian Butler:
...was struck by alternative vision of mathematics education being centred on students learning to work like a mathematician. He realised that the investigation is the purpose of the learning, not the skills used to investigate.
Immediately following the workshops, Joe and the team began integrating the Task Centre into their curriculum. They included their primary schools in the Task Centre as well. Feeder schools were invited to bring classes to the school to try the Task Centre for themselves and Joe also loaned each visiting school a roller suitcase of tasks to try for a while at their school.
The text book is the Bunnings of mathematics. It's where you go to get the tools for the real business which is the problem solving.
- In November 2009 we brought two Swedish educators from Karlstad University to visit SFX and at the time gathered what we learnt into a photo article about the developing Task Centre. See Link List below.
- In the March 2010 eNews we reported that Rosa Mitchell, St. Patrick's School, Pakenham, having experienced ...the level of energy and excitement about mathematics displayed by her Years 5 & 6 children on return from SFX knew she had to introduce tasks to her school and invited us to present a full day workshop.
- Fast forward to mid-2017 and St. Pat's staff had almost completely changed. It was time to refresh and rejuvenate the use of tasks across the school so Rosa invited us to run another full day session.
Photos from this early October session are shown.
- Click any photo to reveal a high resolution version.
- Find any task named and its cameo through the Task Library link at the top of the home page or in Link List below.
Enlarge to see:
- Journal notes made as these teachers explored Task 147, Garden Beds.
- Comparing the way they have worked with the Working Mathematically page which shows that they are indeed working like mathematicians.
- Recording an important question as a result of this check. When the children come to publish, who is the audience. A clear link to learning to work like a writer.
||Although the day started and ended with work from Calculating Changes, much of it was drawn from the PD Leader's notes in the eTask Package. The photos indicate what you might expect from your staff if you introduce eTasks to your school as part of local professional development unit plan.
Enlarge to see diagrams recording an investigation of Task 58, See-Saw. Students using a journal is critical to successfully using tasks. The teachers' diagrams lead to a generalisation and the thoughtful question: When do the students have an opportunity to show their generalisation?.
Enlarge to see a journal record of the investigation of Task 125, Farmyard Race Day. Use the Working Mathematically page lying beside it to assess how these teachers were working like a mathematician.
Back to the See-Saw group. Now their internet device is being used to research information in the Task Cameo. What can we learn from our colleagues who have contributed to this cameo?
The summary at the beginning of the cameo tells this pair that Task 168, Mirror Patterns 3, was designed by a Year 8 group of students. This confirms what the teacher is pointing to on the Principles & Support page - that we collect and retell stories of classroom success. In the background teachers are using their phone to view the cameo for Task 107, McMahon's Triangles 2.
This is the cameo for Task 112, Coloured Squares, which identifies contributions from several teachers, including shared investigation guides. Enlarge to see the detailed list of learning features that these teachers have been building as they worked.
The next phase is to share our knowledge in a 'show and tell' session with another pair. One team learned how to do isometric drawing as part of Task 180, Making Monuments, which is primarily a pattern and algebra task. Connected mathematics learning is another learning feature.
Enlarge to see how the green task in the background is stored. Each task is in a press-seal plastic bag which is sealed with a trouser hanger. The tasks then hang on rods in the library or storeroom where they can be easily 'flipped through'.
Discussing mathematics with colleagues is vital to learning to work like a mathematician. Tasks as you see them are an invitation to students to work like a mathematician...
...but they have another life - each task can be converted to a whole class investigation which is used to model what it means to work like a mathematician.
In this workshop the task converted to a whole class lesson as an example was Task 17, Truth Tiles 2. It's very easy to convert. Just tear up paper.
Two photos in this row. Two solutions. How many solutions are there? How do we know when we have them all?
Now consider the possibility of a secondary school and local feeder schools, each with their own eTask Package, sharing organisation, equipment and expertise in joint professional development built around each school creating a Task Library. Imagine further that the first tasks made by each school are from the Maths With Attitude eManuals. Add Maths300 membership and in a relatively short time each year level from 3 to 10 could be teaching a Working Mathematically core curriculum for at least 25 weeks.
- A curriculum built around problem solving and reasoning.
- A curriculum which develops and sequences skills in context.
- A curriculum integrated within each year level and across year levels and schools.
- Last of the Ready-Made Tasks
We have successfully moved office, settled in, reconnected with old friends and had conversations with new ones. Now what's in those two or three cartons still unpacked in the storeroom ... oops the last of the ready-made tasks!
- 81 different tasks (like the ones in the Task Library photos).
- Multiple copies of some - just one copy of others.
We need the shelf space. They have to go!
- $275 for a kit of 50 (plus freight).
- Every task is supported by its own Task Cameo on site.
- We have enough tasks to make 14 kits.
- Some kits may have duplicates of some tasks.
- $5.50 per task is way below cost.
- Tasks used to be $16.50 each.
This is a special deal that does not appear on our order form.
- We will need your school order form asking for 1 (or more) 'Remaining Task Kits'.
- Ring 03 9720 3295 or 0401 177 775 if you have questions.
- Get to Know a Cameo
Task 225, Add The Pack
|This task is an example of how easy it can be to make your own task. Even easier if you have the eTask Package (see Link List below) which supplies a PDF of the task card in A4 size - no trimming/wastage after laminating.
Actually it shows you how simple it is to make two tasks at the same time. Cards Ace to 6 are needed to make Task 86, Thirty-One. But what do you do with the remainder of the pack, 7 to King? Add The Pack provides a significant answer. Royals (in sequence) are given the values 11, 12 & 13. The task is to find the total of the four suits in this special pack, but to do it in more than one way. It is an application of the mathematician's question Can I check this another way?. In fact, the task card makes it clear that there may be many more than one other way to check.
- Content involved is extensive, including arithmetic skills, algebra and pattern skills, consecutive numbers, mental and recorded computation and even quadratic expressions.
- The Challenge leads back to imagining the usual 52 card deck and offers the opportunity to apply patterns discovered earlier and know you are correct by checking another way.
Going back to the opening paragraph, this task is not only easy to make but clearly encourages many aspects of the Working Mathematically process (see Link List below) including purposeful and extensive use of tools from the skill toolbox.
If you are developing an interest in professional development built around creating your own Task Library using your own materials, we suggest you read the eTask Maker Manual (see Link List below). In about 5 minutes it will provide succinct background to the Why? and How? of the process.
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