Monday, 20 February 2017

Inquiry 2017: How to make basic facts more basic (easier to learn)!

After analysing the maths data I received from students' JAM results in 2016, it was evident that basic facts would be an area that a majority of the students needed work on. Last year I struggled with teaching students basic facts as I knew that  many students were still grasping the basic idea of numbers and what they represent. Although in saying that we had begun teaching students basic addition with small numbers so technically teaching quick fire addition and subtraction facts is very similar. Over the next week, I plan to look into some literature and ask colleagues in the junior school how they approach basic facts in year 1 and 2, so that I can create an action plan for my teaching inquiry this year. Watch this space!

Figure 1: Student data from 2016 JAM:

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Round 2 - The year of 2017!

As I began the first few weeks of my second year of teaching, I was quickly awoken out of holiday mode and was back into the full swing of teaching a beautiful class of Year 2's. Moving from a shared space into my own class was definitely a challenge and I was quick to learn the "Dos" and "Do nots" for the start of the year.

Here are some of the main gems or lessons for next year taken from this year:

Do: Take the time on the first day to have fun with the kids - Although I made sure that we set clear expectations and started routines I also wanted to make sure that we took the time to really build relationships. Together we created "Mini-Mes" and shared something special about ourselves. This is definitely something I would do again in the future.

Don't: Feel pressured to get through everything. The first few days I often forgot to really scaffold what I wanted the class to do. I realised this when I briefly demonstrated how to write an "About Me" for their blogs with an example I wrote on the board (It was a few sentences about who I am and what I like to do). I then sent the students to write their own and many returned with an "About Me" saying their name was Miss Peck, they were a teacher..... I had obviously not made it clear enough that they were to write about themselves.

Do: Take the time to try again. After the not so successful "About Me" writing lesson I was unsure of whether or not to try again the following day or to leave it a few days. I finally decided that I would retry the next day and I am very glad I did, as after discussing and scaffolding the lesson it proved to be much more successful.

Don't: Dwell on not having it all sorted in week one. After my first few days, I felt overwhelmed with a to do list that seemed never ending and which grew larger rather than smaller. I decided to take a step back and dedicate a task for each day which I knew was manageable. After the first few weeks, I felt much better and had a clearer mind as to what I was trying to achieve.

Do: Realise you will always be learning. Often I feel the need to perfect everything and this year I know that I sometimes need to realise that not everything will work out to the perfectionist standard I set. Instead I will work to do my best, ask for help, and keep inquiring and learning.

Heres to another great year at Point England School!