Friday, 18 August 2017

Maths reflection - T3W3/W4

Week 3
We moved into multiplication strategies this week, and I did a lot of stage 7 maths (above NS for all my students).

With my own class, we did factors and lowest common multiples. With mixed groups, we did splitting large numbers (e.g. 26x8) (note - they have to be able to solve in their heads, no calculators!), and division including long division and reminders. 

The factors and LCM's were reasonably easy, as most students knew their times tables or were able to skip count to figure it out. 
Most of them really struggled with division. They weren't as confident with division as they were with multiplication, although they did understand that they were related. 
Very few students understood the concept of remainders. 
And that's fine... this is hard stuff. 

Throughout the whole week, I repeated endlessly to the students. This is stage 7 work (which is really hard stuff aimed at year 7's that my year 5/6 are doing), but if you know your times tables, it's pretty easy. SO JUST LEARN YOUR TIMES TABLES ALREADY. 
I think they are getting the point by now..

I love collaborating with a colleague I know and trust. We are able to openly discuss the students, their strengths and weaknesses as well as our own. Although we seem to have taken a particular group each (i.e. I'm taking the higher kids), ALL the kids are learning and it is amazing to see. It brings me such joy to see my lower-ability students actually getting it, feeling confident and wanting to do maths instead of complaining when I force them to do it. Although I do feel I can bounce ideas off most of my colleagues, it's even better to work so closely with one colleague. I am getting to know the students from Room 8 better and better, and building relationships with them as well (which then makes the teaching/learning easier). I can't wait for when we both do our testing next term, and are surprised by what our kids can now do, that we didn't directly teach them.

Week 4
This week I really wanted to revise all the new concepts I had covered over the past few weeks. 
I thought that I was covering A LOT of content very quickly, and although most of the time the students kept up with me, I knew once was not enough (particularly and for students whose first time it was learning that concept). They needed to revisit the concepts to ensure they understood and remembered them. Hence, this week I am only revising content, not teaching new ones. 

I printed out word problems for the students, and gave them the options to try it themselves or if they needed help, they could do it with me. I had a group with me each day, and that is absolutely fine. 

Division word problems

Being able to read a word problem and understand what it is asking you is a very important skill to have. When we test students, we test them with word problems. 
Last year, we found that a lot of students couldn't answer the test questions, but it wasn't because they didn't have the knowledge or skill. They didn't understand what the question wanted them to do. 
We talk about maths language a lot, and I have a display on my classroom wall with synonyms for maths words (e.g. plus, add, count on, altogether, how much etc) and example questions. Students can refer to this to help them decipher the wording of questions, and hence help them figure out what the question wants them to do.

As part of our word problems, I asked students to write their own word problem, then pass it to a friend who had to solve it. Here are a few of their multiplication word problems. This was a test for me to see if they had enough grasp of the question frames and language to be able to use them without teacher explanation. 

They did great. 

I think it was really important to go over what we had covered in the previous few weeks and frame the skill in word problems as well.
I did barely any reteaching which was awesome. 
We just cemented what we had learnt.

I hope this will help the skill sink in a little more and that they remember it as well.

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