Input: Teachers formed a PLC to develop deeper understanding of a mathematical concept.
Time and resources have been key input factors in the PLC process. Time has been built into the Non-Instruction Time-table to enable each of the Year 5,6 and 7 teachers to meet weekly, for one lesson. A member of the Leadership Team has supported each week by guiding the process and providing resources. Useful resources have been: the Gavin Grift PLC model to guide the steps in the process, the National Numeracy Learning Progressions, PAT data, and student class lists which have highlighted the identified students in the different Partnership High Band Strategy categories of gain, retain, and elevate.
Activities: Exploration of teacher practices and student learning needs identified multiplicative thinking as an area of growth.
The activities that the PLC has been involved in are: establishing protocols and group goals, identifying focus areas and exploring these in more depth.
Initially, the group designed a survey to identify the current status of learner attitudes to mathematics. After identifying that Multiplicative Thinking was an area that needed some attention with most learners, the group explored the National Numeracy Learning Progression related to this area titled ‘Multiplicative Strategies’.
Directed reading of the Department of Education Big Ideas in Number paper has helped the group to focus thinking on Multiplicative Thinking/ Strategies. Key aspects of the development of understanding in this area were identified.
Translating the Multiplicative Strategies Progression into student friendly language, and designing pre-assessment questions to identify current knowledge of each student were the next steps.
Output: Publications and prototypes teachers have developed are a survey, a poster and a pre-assessment as well as a sustainable model that can be applied to future processes.
The group has produced a survey, which has provided some interesting information about the current attitudes of students towards mathematics. A poster has also been created, outlining the Learning Progressions in student friendly language. A poster has been created using the student designed Mosaic Leaves as a motif to identify each level in the learning progression . Pre-assessment questions linked to each step of the Progression are currently being created by each team member, so that this is ready to use in Week 1 of next term.
Uptake: A translation of the multiplicative strategies progressions into student friendly use, created a pathway for deeper mathematcial thinking.
Positive, open discussion has characterised the way the group operates and participation has been maximised, with everyone making valued contributions. Members of the group have said that they have appreciated the pace. At the end of each meeting, values that have been evident are highlighted and celebrated. This has been built into the protocols. The strengths of each person have been utilised and appreciated by the group – logical thinking, mathematical knowledge, critical thinking, creative thinking, reflective thinking, and knowledge of resources which help develop students’ understanding in the focus areas.
Usage: Teachers described valued aspects of learning after reflecting on student dispositions.
The survey has highlighted most students have a positive disposition to mathematics. Several student surveys of interest identify particular areas to focus on.
The National Learning Progression (Mathematical Strategies) has been used to develop group consensus of the valued steps to work through to develop a good understanding in this area.
The resulting Mosaic Leaves Poster will be used in classrooms with students and will identify a common language used to describe valued aspects of this learning area.
The pre-assessment will be created and used in Week 1 of Term 3.
Impact: Shared teacher understandings clarified the identified multiplicative thinking to be developed.
The PLC process has provided opportunity to clarify specific language and develop a shared understanding. E.g. composite units, commutative and distributive properties, decomposition, partial products, difference between partition and quotation way of viewing division.
Benefit: Teachers collectively acting as informed agents for conceptual change.
Benefits have been group consensus about processes used to meet the group’s needs, and opportunity to clarify understanding. Useful products have also been developed: a survey, the Learning Progression poster, and pre-assessment questions/ tasks. The biggest benefit is developing a process which can be sustainably applied to future areas/teams.
- Identify Big Idea to focus on (using data)
- Identify the Learning Progression levels
- Translate the Learning Progression into student friendly language – poster format to display in the classroom
- Develop a pre-assessment test/ series of tasks/ questions to identify where each student is in relation to the learning progression
- Design learning opportunities to meet identified needs of each group