- Success Continues in Canberra
In the June eNews we showed some evaluations of the first two days of the six day program Working Like A Mathematician being presented for the Canberra Goulburn Diocese of the Catholic Education Office. At the end of Days 3 & 4 the teachers were asked to finish three sentences. Only primary teachers are involved in the course this year (the third year we have presented it) and the two days involved sharing classroom trials since the May meeting and investigating ways of improving the teaching of fractions, decimals and percent.
Here are some of their responses.
|Sample Evaluation Comments: Days 3 & 4
- My 'aha' moments have been...
- Using appropriate language when teaching fractions.
- Lots of parts, suddenly it all clicks for me!
- Use of calculators in the classroom is a good thing.
- Even more uses for Poly Plug.
- Realising the many connections between activities.
- Don't 'assume' children know something (eg one fifth = 1/5).
- The importance of using concrete materials/real life experiences i.e. interesting problems.
- My challenges now are...
- Thread more activities learned at WLAM PD.
- To teach my colleagues about these tasks and activities.
- Spreading the good news to the rest of the school.
- Share my knowledge with the other staff at my school.
- Finding the time and the right moments to implement the activities in the classroom.
- To allow students to explore a range of ways of thinking & encourage them to challenge themselves.
- Navigating the Black Douglas/Maths300 web sites.
- I also want to say that...
- WLAM PD has changed the way I program maths each term in my classroom.
- I wish I had WLAM when I went to school.
- Working through the activities has been very helpful and stimulating.
- More time to explore/experience activities would be beneficial.
- The group sharing was incredibly valuable.
- The presentations were a great idea to get a snapshot of the activities available.
- Even though sharing experiences is very valuable it shouldn't be expected to be a production.
Gina, Madonna and Fiona are the local curriculum officers who use school visits and a broad range of other support to keep the pot boiling between our teacher sessions. They, along with the decision-makers in the diocese who have backed them all the way, are to be complimented and congratulated for the well planned and executed changes they are encouraging across their extensive diocese.
If your school, network, cluster, region, district or system is keen to encourage curriculum shift like this, please discuss our 6 Day primary program which focuses on number, or our 6 Day secondary program which focuses on algebra.
- Success with Parents at Grenfell
Deborah Heath, St. Joseph's, Grenfell, NSW, is one of the teachers in the Canberra Working Like A Mathematician course. She was obviously fired up by her experience and went straight back to school to organise a parent evening.
Just thought I would let you know I ran an information evening for parents about WLAM. Parents used Poly Plugs in a range of activities and we looked at some fraction activities from Days 3 and 4. After the evening we had a donation so we can purchase more Poly Plugs and the P & F Association are going to fund the balance so we can have 10 sets per classroom. They were very impressed.
I have received so much positive feedback from parents who said things like, "Very informative. Great to see what our kids are learning in maths.". I have also received more money which will cover all costs of the Poly Plugs. Our parents were all very impressed with the range of activities the Poly Plugs provide for all grades.
- Updates to Task Cameos
Also you are invited to take another look at Task 199, Making Fractions 3, which was added to the Cameos last month. A section has been added which involves looking at stacked blocks from the side rather than the top. It helps to make fractions a lot more meaningful and is also applicable to Making Fractions 1 & 2. See Link List below.
Thanks to Toni Pfeiffer, Good Shepherd, Amaroo, NSW, who is another of the enthusiatic teachers in the Canberra CEO course, we have three more Investigation Guides to share with you. Toni has provided two guides for Task 13, The Frog Pond, and one for Task 19, Cookie Count. See Link List below.
An Investigation Guide is designed to extend the work on a task card. It gathers the learning developed through the task card and then asks questions to encourage digging deeper. An IG is used in two ways:
- After the children have worked through the task card.
They have a discussion with the teacher about what they have done. Celebration and questioning leads to something like, "Would you like to do more on this problem?" If the answer is yes, the teacher provides the IG and the children keep working and recording in their journal. They would normally still have the task with them so they can continue to use the equipment in it.
- The teacher has converted the task to a whole class investigation.
After setting up the investigation through class involvement of some sort and after children have begun their exploration an IG can be introduced to support them to dig deeper. At relevant points in the lesson(s) the teacher will facilitate class or small group discussion based on what develops from the children's efforts.
- Tasks of the Month
Two new cameos this month.
The Task Cameo Content Finder has been updated to include these tasks.
- Symmetric Tiles offers many solutions to the first questions on the card then presents a challenge that takes much more effort to find the visually pleasing outcome. The iceberg of the task puts mathematical transformations to work to create designs that would look great in any forecourt, plaza or thoroughfare.
- Change offers everyone success in its first section and then challenges even the most organised of adult thinkers. The context of coins - albeit play money - is motivating as a starting point, but what begins to get you in when you tackle the Challenge is the number patterns that arise. A student could tackle any part of the Challenge and feel successful, or all of it and feel masterful.
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