If you had asked me when I was at school what my favourite subject was, mathematics probably would have been last on my list. I struggled with a mix of lack of understanding and a series of teachers I didn’t connect with. I can’t really recall much primary school mathematics besides snippets of singing multiplication songs and high school mathematics is a blur of textbooks and tasks copied from the board.
There’s something as an early career teacher that I am really enjoying about teaching children maths. I aim to foster an enjoyment in my students not a misconception that maths will always be hard. Our maths block as a CEO Parramatta school is very focused around what we call Focus 160. That purely means we must teach 100 minutes of literacy followed by 60 minutes of maths everyday. The maths block must include a warm up, rich task and reflection time.
For the past two weeks we have taught multiplication and division. Students have been given real life tasks about carrot gardens, lollies or cookies. They are making connections and focusing on making their learning visible (and perhaps going a little bit crazy from their teacher asking if their book shows what they know!) Perhaps the most joy I have found is the integration of useful and meaningful learning intentions and success criteria. To see students using it to check where they are at has made my stand back and think…
I drew my learning intention and success criteria from our rubric and students are very much aware of the close cohesion. We look at the rubric before all assessments so students know where they are but also where they are going. We have scraped the traditional A-E at the top of the rubric and while we as teachers can see the connection students simply see an arrow shooting upwards. Where I am going next? When it came time to assessments it was great for the students to be able to see the connection between the array on the success criteria and it highlighted within the rubric. When students were stuck they referred to the success criteria which had highlighted our learning from the week prior. We have also started to play around with how the pillars can be integrated to a form of assessment and included it as first and foremost on our rubric. Can students break the task down? Do they know what it is asking them? This is not alway easy with rich tasks!
My next step is a new learning from a course some of my colleagues went to recently and trying to understand how I can start to use ‘working mathematically’ outcomes within some of my learning intentions.
Join the conversation by sharing and tweeting me @angelaryall93