Thursday, 24 August 2017

Teaching and learning

Some of the learners in my group struggle with understanding mathematical language and terms.
I discussed this problem with a colleague(Rachel) that I am presently job sharing with. She talked about a warm up activity that she played with her older children and explained how we could use it in a Year 1 class.

We practised counting backwards with support of materials.

Hypothesis and trends

Children are quite confident in counting forwards. With my teaching experience over the years I have always found that they always struggle when it comes to counting backwards, saying the number that comes before. I think that they may not understand the term before, backward, or that it means one less. Not only have I heard this in the junior school but across most year levels.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Term 3 Focussing Inquiry

We are halfway through the year and the children in the group that I was working with have made progress and made a shift. I will continue working on my goals for this group. For my inquiry focus for term 3 I have decided to work with a different group of children. These children can identify numbers from 1-20, can say the number after for numbers 1-20 however, they struggle with counting backwards and solving simple subtraction problems. It is important for them to be able to count backward accurately from any given number and only then will they be able to work out subtraction problems fast and correctly.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Counting in 2's

I have been practising counting in 2's with my whole class. We did rhythmic counting using a number chart so children know that there is a resource available for them to use. As a follow up activity children had to take photo's of counting in 2's to show their learning. The children were engaged and enjoyed doing this activity.

Monday, 5 June 2017


At our Manaiakalani PLG last week Dorothy invited a special guest speaker, Professor Graeme Aitken (University of Auckland). I found him very inspiring as he talked about inquiring collaboratively into effective teaching practise. For learners to be successful we need focus on three areas: Interest and Enjoyment of Learning, Confidence and Achievement.

This made me think of my own teaching practise and what I can do create enjoyment, build self confidence with my learners so that they can achieve. I am now looking at resources and activities like maths board games, cards and create some Explain Everything activities to keep children motivated and interested in their learning.

Image Attribution:

Monday, 29 May 2017

How to download an Explain Everything activity from your folder onto your teacher iPad.

This short video shows you how to download an Explain Everything activity from your folder onto your teacher iPad to repurpose, rename and reshare.

How to save an Explain Everything activity to a folder in your Google Drive

This short and quick video shows you how to save your Explain Everything activities to a folder in you Google Drive. Please write your name or initials at the end of the title of your activity to make it easy to find. Once children' s work is saved to the Drive, having your name/initials will make things a whole lot easier.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

"because context matters......inquiry is important" Claire Sinnema

The session focus for yesterday's iPad PLG was to identify how we plan for and design an effective Explain Everything informed by the needs of our learners.
First I shared a programme of learning specifically designed for my target learners. As part of my inquiry I had identified some key maths strategies that I wanted to try in my teaching practise. Key strategies from the research posted here

I shared these with the group along with a lesson that I had planned, taking into account these strategies. While I was sharing we asked the group to notice the key learning points that guided my actions and decision making when planning and designing the learning, including the use of the Explain Everything activity. The slide below shows the lesson and I have also shared a copy of the Explain Everything activity that I had designed.
A copy of the EE file  can also be downloaded here

What we noticed and need to consider when planning for and designing an EE activity.

  • Interest of the learners, engagement, relevance (e.g. visuals and images, colours)
  • Opportunities to share orally - talk with a buddy, project, record voice
  • Opportunities for formative assessment (taking photos of their learning, creating their own EE to share their understandings)
  • Creating with EE in combination with concrete learning experiences to apply new learning (in response to deliberate acts of teaching and their own discoveries)

Designing the PLG to support our teaching as inquiry enabled teachers to consider new strategies and apply them to their practice. It also acknowledged existing teaching practise so the participants were able to explore and make sense of new ideas in their teaching context.
"because context matters......inquiry is important" Claire Sinnema

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics/Pangarau

This term I have been looking at maths strategies that may be more effective in my teaching practise with my priority learners. This involves reading literature, asking questions about how well current strategies are working, searching my own and colleagues past practise for more effective strategies. Fiona Grant shared this wonderful resource which helped me get started.

It was an interesting read and  I think we can apply some of the key points to other curriculum areas like reading and writing. I would like to share some key learning points that I got from this article:

Key Learning Points:

  • Anthony and Walshaw clarify that we need to build on students existing proficiencies rather than fill gaps in students knowledge and remediate weaknesses. When planning teachers need to focus on students current mathematical competencies and interests as these constitute resources on which the teacher can build. I think this is a really important point. Sometimes we pay more attention to filling in the gaps that we neglect to look at what the child can do. I am sometimes guilty of this and will now keep in mind to plan and create activities that interests the child and at the same time build his self esteem, confidence and love for maths.

  • Ongoing assessment is an integral part of instruction. Teachers need to continually adjust instruction as informed by ongoing assessments. At the Junior level I use JAM testing data, group and class observations,my Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ), Student Reflections, Student Profile Sheets to inform my planning and practise. Knowing your learner and their personality plays an important role in your OTJ's.   I often use this evidence to regroup and sometimes cross group my learners. This information also assists me and my colleagues in planning our Explain Everything activities .
  • They also state that when designing and selecting tasks the teacher has to take into account both the students current competencies and  interests and their long term learning goals.- In my classroom learning goals are visible and children are aware of  where they are in their learning  journey and where they need to get to by the end of the year according to the National Standards. This is an important  visible tool for teachers, children and their parents. I need to start referring to them more often as children make small shifts which are just as important. 
  • The image of effective mathematical pedagogy that emerges from Anthony and Walshaw's synthesis is of teaching as a coherent system. This pedagogical system encompasses: a non - threatening classroom atmosphere, instructional tasks, tools and representations, classroom discourse.  I feel that creating a happy and safe environment in the Junior classes are so important. Developing those rules and routines especially during the first term is essential. Teaching children about caring for their device (iPad) being CyberSmart , teaching them how to use the tools within Explain Everything are all essential skills that needs to be taught well for children to be able to work independently and successfully during the course of the year. Sharing children's work on Apple T.V.  Class Blog and Individual blog boosts self esteem and confidence. 
  • The available evidence also indicates that a strong network of colleagues constitutes means of support  for teachers. There is every reason to expect improvement in teaches instructional practises and student learning where teachers participate in learning communities whose activities focus on mathematical ideas and how to relate them to student reasoning.  I would like to work on this and develop it further, having those conversations within and across year levels. When we shared our inquiry within our teams a common thing that came up which was our children were  struggling with knowledge of number even at at higher year levels. This was quite an interesting topic for discussion which  led me to think about what I need to do at the Junior Level as we share a similar problem.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

How to use Google Slides for planning

This video shows you how to create a google slide, plan your work, duplicate and paste work across groups and how to link the slide to your site. I have chosen maths as an example but you can use the same skills and techniques in other areas like reading and writing, just with a bit of editing involved. The main idea is to get the first slide perfect for each subject area which does take some time but believe me it gets so much more easier for when you planning for the other weeks.I hope this video is helpful and please leave a comment.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

How to create folders in Google Drive

This movie explains how to create folders in your Google Drive. It also explains how folders can be shared so that all content within this folder is shared to: Anyone with a link. I hope this video is helpful and I will be creating more videos about making a slide within your shared folder for a specific subject, how to upload an Explain Everything activity to your Google Drive and linking your activity from your Google Drive to your site for learners to access.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Drawing shapes and One to One Matching on iPads

Children can make and duplicate shapes to match the number.

Continue to develop skills through Explain Everything Activity. 
This is a follow up activity to help consolidate learning. Children completed as an independent task.

Friday, 31 March 2017

Term One: Maths

Learning to count sequentially from 1-10 .

Children are learning to count sequentially from 1-10 with the support of a number line.

Children counting  sequentially from 1-10 with the support of a number line.
One to one pointing and reading numbers.

During the term we have been learning to take photo's. Children were given a number from 1 to 5. They had to find objects around the classroom and match the object to the number, take a photo of it and write the number. This involved a lot of skills and children were supported by the teacher.

The next task will be a similar activity and children will be encouraged to complete task independently. 

Teaching Inquiry

I plan to do a lesson where my learners draw shapes within Explain Everything to match the number. This will give them an opportunity to be creative and learn to become more confident in drawing and duplicating shapes. They can create shapes using a variety of sizes and colours.  They will be learning to one to one match as well as develop the skills to be able to use the tools within Explain Everything confidently and eventually independently.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Counting One to One using Materials- The Shopping Game

Based on the JAM data from the previous year and conversations with parents and teachers I looked at I focussing on One to One Counting on Materials. This week we played a shopping game. Children had to roll the dice, count the dots and find the number on the number line. Some children could find the numbers easily whereas some of them had to start from 0. One child went past the number she was looking for and needed support and prompting from the teacher. Children read their number and then go shopping. They need to buy the correct number of items to match the number and the dots on the dice.

Luisa needed support and uses the number line. She counts from 0 to the number she is looking for. I am pleased that she is trying and building her confidence with number. She also knows that their are resources available to help her work out the number.

Luisa went shopping. 
She one to one matched the items to the numbers on her dice. 

A number line is used at this stage to support children who are still developing their number knowledge.
Once they are confident you can try taking it away and ask children to visualise the number line in their head. (That will be  my next focus.)
You can always bring it back into the lesson if needed.

The children had lots of fun playing this game. At the end of the session they could recognise the number 1 pattern on the dice (easiest) and the number 6  (highest number on the dice). They had an opportunity to be creative in selecting the items and also pretended eating them at the end which was the fun part.

I could also make this activity more challenging by asking children to roll two dice, count, find the number on a the number line (1-20 number line) and go shopping.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Making Shapes within Explain Everything

This resource supports teachers and pupils with iPads using Explain Everything as a tool for learning. It is essential for children to learn these skills in order for them to become independent learners. Children learn to draw shapes using the shape tool. They learn to select a shape,colour the shape and manipulate the shape by pinching it to make it bigger/smaller.


Taking Photo's within Explain Everything

Taking photo's on your iPad is one of the first things I would teach my children. Along with the Kawa of Care for iPads children in my class started taking photo's in the first week of starting school. Taking photo's can be used in all parts of the curriculum. For example: When doing a reading activity children can can a photo of their favourite part of the story and write about it or/and they can take a photo of text and circle all the capital letters. Take photo's is a powerful tool to show/record evidence of their learning.


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Teaching as Inquiry Focus for 2017

 Welcome to 2017.
I am looking forward to a great year ahead. I strongly believe that every student can learn given the time and opportunity. Together we can accomplish something amazing.

This year our school wide focus is Maths. After analysing the data from last year, meeting with parents and using my own teacher judgement I have identified a target group of children who are struggling to count sequentially from 1 to 5. They have difficulty understanding, for example: What 4 looks like or what it means. I am wondering about starting from the concrete and slowly moving toward the abstract using lots of  concrete materials. Based on my previous practice I know the the difference using the iPad to record their learning or show evidence of their learning has been valuable. I need to under how best to design learning including the use of iPads to best support these learners. My next steps will be spend some time researching effective maths pedagogy and making connections to the affordances of the technology and Learn, Create, Share.

                                                                                                                   Image Attribution:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Focussing Inquiry Hypothesise

Through further focussing my inquiry I am fairly confident that my hypothesise data showed children struggled to count from 1-5. After further focus my hunch is that children have not experienced learning, they have limited vocabulary, limited language to say back to me, limited vocabulary and ability to connect language and concepts and most importantly they lack the confidence to share their ideas.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Focussing Inquiry Reflection

This year I have older Year One children, many of them started school last year. The children that I am looking at as my priority learners started school in June, August and late November 2016. My reflection on focussing inquiry is based on their JAM data that was done in November 2016. The data showed that children were working on, developing one to one matching for numbers 1-10 using mathematical equipment. They had difficulty identifying numbers from 1-5 and were inconsistent with their counting. I had conversations with their past teachers, their parents at meet the teacher and used my OTJ from my group lessons to gather evidence about there progress.

Looking at all this evidence and information I think that the problem is that they have difficulty understanding numbers and their value. They may identify the number 2 by rote learning but cannot show using equipment what 2 looks like what does 2 mean.

Therefore I have decided to target these children and work on sequential counting, developing one to one matching for numbers 1-5 then 1-10 using a variety of resources starting from the concrete and slowly moving to the abstract.