Sunday, March 12, 2017

Maths Relays and Literacy

Each fortnight a Maths Relay is run in the classroom using mixed ability groups comprised of three to four students. The composition of the group changes each time to encourage students to get to know each other and to be exposed to learn new strategies from each other. Research has shown overwhelmingly that students can often learn just as much from each other than they can from their teacher! Explicit modelling is also provided by myself unpacking the questions the groups identify as the trickiest ones. At the end of each relay the children rate themselves on their co-operation skills and write down the two questions they found the most challenging, and why if they can put that into words. These type of questions and the strategies needed to unpack them are then taught. A lot of the ability to successfully solve mathematical problems is closely tied to students' abilities to both comprehend and unpack the questions. Each group has a highlighter pen. What is the key information? What information is irrelevant (not needed)? What is the exact question that needs to be answered? Have we looked closely at the written text and also the visuals supplied with the question?  Sometimes the kids choose the first answer which looks reasonable without looking closely at all the options. 

Here a lot of teams answered 4... instead of finding out how many lamingtons they wrote how many boxes 

All the possible answers need to be checked against the given graph. Kids sometimes don't unpack the graph well.

Teamwork is so important. Many minds can make light work. 

Students take turns to read out the question

A "No." means back to the drawing board. What didn't we consider?

Everyone can offer something to the conversation. Let's listen!

Be a team sit so everyone feels involved, corner are good.

Team work in action. Stay focused.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Yahtzee - the maths side

Today we spent the double maths block learning all about Yahtzee. Many thanks to my grade 4 boys who learnt how to play this last year and assisted me in helping the class today; much appreciated. One boy and I modelled the process and explained the possibilities. Students were only permitted to use calculators to ascertain their final score.

As a primary school teacher, I often have parents asking me what extra things they can do with their children to help develop their maths. My reply is always “Please play board games'. There are myriads of both educational and developmental benefits that children gain when playing certain games. Both my own children played Yahtzee with their father and myself on many occasions and I found it a great way to consolidate their lateral thinking, their understanding of chance and also of coures the very important  computational skills involving addition and multiplication.

Yahzee is quite a complex  game and uses five dice at a time. This allows children to start working with larger numbers and adding up multiple groups. Children can be encouraged to use facile strategies when adding up (for example, using their friends of ten, known doubles, etc).
The game also provides children an introduction to multiplication without them even knowing it! When scoring for fives, all answers are multiple of fives. When they learn how to skip count, it helps them add up even quicker! For example, if they roll five 5s, they can count it up by going 'five, ten, fifteen, twenty, twenty-five', instead of counting all the dots on the dice one by one.


Saturday, March 4, 2017

Rizzi-inspired Birds

Our first art lesson of the year was Rizzi art. James Rizzi was a US American Pop Artist famous for his bright street art. The children used black pastels to draw their imaginary birds and then used Edicol dye wash to achieve a lively, colourful piece. Some of these are on display in the classroom. Feel free to come and have a look. We will be sharing them in this weeks assembly (Thursday 9th March) The assembly starts at 2:10.

Art display in the classroom

Edicol dye wash

Sunday-morning-backed Rizzi birds