Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Worth the wait

What a GREAT day.........
One of my priority learners has gained their first, of hopefully many credits in maths today. So what has attributed to this success?

Teacher action
Student action/reaction
Goal setting activity
Goals set with actions needed for success
Minimal shift in effort and engagement
Achievement objectives from the NZ curriculum written in "student speak".
Sense of ownership of the learning as objectives were clear
Slight improvement in effort and engagement
Use of the “Chunking” literacy strategy
Evidence of “Chunking” was visible for each activity where the learner took contextual tasks of up to 15 lines long and condensed it into 5 bite-sized chunks.
Engagement increased and more work was being attempted but it was insufficient for NCEA L1
Shared a learning strategy called “Association”
Learner looked for a fraction, decimal and percent, linked it to another number and then linked it all to a statement (what they were finding)
The learner’s thought process was clear, but there was still a lack of evidential sufficiency for NCEA L1 (learner did not believe in their ability)
Communication with whanau about how best we could both support the learner for success with NCEA L1
Learner realised that he needed to take more responsibility for his learning as both teacher and whanau had great faith in him.
Learner efficacy improved as the quality and quantity of work met the requirements for NCEA L1
Constant reinforcement of my belief in his ability
Learner had his eye on the prize, attempted and completed all set tasks, tracked his progress on the class tracking sheet and turned up to after-school study classes
Learner gained 4 credits in maths

Thursday, 10 August 2017

And then there were 4.....

From 9 Maori learners at the start of the year, down to 4 in term 3. A recent change in circumstance, has resulted in one of my learners being transferred to another school. It is a sad day as this learner was blossoming, gained much confidence in maths and was the highest Maori academic achiever in this class.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Making a shift

One of my five Maori learners has met our school credit protocol. The sharing, discussing and analysis of achievement data with my learners on a regular basis has not had the desired effect as learners are well aware that they are not achieving across all 5 learning areas. I have failed in my attempt to use data to shift academic achievement. What now?

I will now shift my focus (although still share and discuss data with learners) to build student efficacy and get learners to believe in their ability as much as I do. Building efficacy will be done quite deliberately and explicitly and learners will be aware that this will be our focus for the remainder of the year.

Our plan of attack will be:
- discuss subject-specific terminology in an introductory lesson
- provide more choice of activities for the day
- implement focused literacy strategies for the standard being taught
- use learner interest to complement contextual learning
- buddy up peers to hold each other accountable

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Does confidence breed success?

Trends across all learning areas show that NCEA Level 1 Maori learners are underperforming and not meeting the 4 credit per subject per term protocol.

43% of our NCEA L1 Maori learners across all 5 maths classes have 0 credits to date, 67% are in my class.
Nine NCEA Level 1 Maori learners were on my roll at the start of the year: I now have 5.

Learner 1
0/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July
0% attendance
Transferred to another maths class in term 3

Learner   2
0/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July
Enrolled in alternative education

Learner  3
3/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (0 in maths)
15% attendance
Late enrolment in term 1
Left midway through term 2

Learner 4
4/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (0 in maths)
71% attendance
Late enrolment in term 1

Learner 5
4/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (0 in maths)
85% attendance
Relocated with family mid-term 2

Learner 6
92% attendance
8/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (0 in maths)

Learner 7
69% attendance
14/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (0 in maths)
Stood down for 3 days

Learner 8
58% attendance
15/40 credits across all 5 subjects by July (3 in maths)

Learner 9
80% attendance
Exceeded the 40 credits protocol with 51 credits across all 5 subjects by July (7 in maths)
Stood down for 2 weeks

Learners were aware of their achievement or lack thereof, so building efficacy is our next focus so that confidence can breed success.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Do Learners Respond favourably to Google Calendar?

Google calendars are one of the many ways that we promote visible teaching and learning at our college. The use of basic coding (if I can do it, anyone can...... trust me......) is used to hyperlink resources and learning activities so that learning is one click away and can be accessed at any time giving learners the flexibility to:
backtrack to either complete missed work or to reinforce learning
- plan ahead if they will not be at school
- access learning whether they are at school or home.

Learners struggle to use this excuse "I don't know what to do" feasible because Calendars are learner-friendly and easy to use.

Friday, 7 July 2017


There was a general consensus that learners did not like maths and neither did their older siblings or whanau when they were at school.

None of the learners met the college’s termly credit protocol of 4 credits per subject per term.

Learners showed a lack of confidence verbalising prior knowledge and could not articulate the support that they needed for success.

A template was created outlining
Achievement criteria in “student speak”, Literacy strategies and Teaching strategies

Learners became more fluent and explicit when seeking assistance/support and the use of  literacy strategies seemed to build learner confidence as they were engaging more with their learning with regard to quality and quantity. Mathematical thinking was more visible and students responded more favourably to written and verbal feedback as they managed their learning. A few learners however still struggled to settle into a routine.

Various responses from whanau were;

“I have tried talking to my child and her response to after-school classes is not favourable”, “I don’t know what else to do, my child does not listen to me”, “Thank you for your support, I will have a chat with my child” and “Thank you for letting me know, it is good to know that my child has a caring teacher”.

Despite learners engaging more with their learning only 1 was confident enough to sit the final assessment at the end of term 2. Building learner confidence and efficacy will be our next step.

Thursday, 29 June 2017


Of my 6 Maori learners

  • 2 have sat an assessment and gained credits 
  • 4 have not sat any maths assessments 
  • 5 have at least passed 1 assessment in another subject 
  • 1 has not passed any assessments in any subject

I had contacted whanau (family) earlier in the year about the lack of progress and that is where the conversation ended, so I had to come up with a better plan if I wanted to see a change. My recent conversation with whanau was more explicit. For students to get NCEA L1 they need 80 credits of which there are 10 Literacy credits and 10 Numeracy credits. Without numeracy, a student cannot get NCEAL1, so I encouraged parents to help me, help their child by encouraging their child to attend after-school study classes. 2 of my parents responded to my request, but only 1 was favourable, so out of the blue this week, one of my little treasures turned up and worked on their maths for just over an hour.

I contacted their mum with an update that afternoon to say "thank you for helping me help your child".
Mum was thrilled for 2 reasons
1. Their child's renewed interest in learning and
2.........................................wait for it......................................that she gets to have a relationship with her child's teacher (whanaungatanga).

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Monitor and adjust

"There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction." –John F. Kennedy

To avoid complacency,  a few key moves were trialled to improve learner commitment and raise academic achievement.

The table below outlines the achievement criteria, in "student speak", for the Number Achievement Standard worth 4 numeracy credits. 

Number - Internal  4 credits - Numeracy
Fraction, Decimal, Percent, Integers, Ratio, Rounding (in context)
any 3
Answer the question
Provide reasonable alternative answers
Literacy Strategy:

Teaching Strategy
Look for the Fraction, Decimal Percent or Integer, link it to a number and a keyword(s).
For ratio, find the relationship between numbers.

Statement                          Working                        Answer
(what are you finding)       (+, -, x, )                  (solution with units)

Learners had to
READ what was in the table
EXPLAIN using prior knowledge what Fraction, Decimal, Percent,
Integers, Ratio and Rounding meant to them and an example was done collaboratively.

Integers and Ratio seemed the least familiar, so that was the start to our whole class discussion.
Literacy Strategy
The literacy strategy "Chunking" had an unusual meaning for some, like
throwing numbers in chucking, so Chunking was explained as having a plate full of food where we had 2 options:
option 1 - stuff as much as we can into our mouths until we choke/get sick OR
option 2 - take bite-sized pieces of food, chew and swallow slowly before taking another bite.
So chunking took on a new meaning for learners in maths. It meant reading the contextual question slowly and highlighting bite-sized pieces of important information
Teaching Strategy
Find the Fraction, Decimal, Percent, Integer or Ratio, link it to another number and to a keyword(s). That number becomes part of your working and the keyword(s) become your statement.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Bitter pill to swallow

Today was our Level 1 maths exam where a total of 7 credits were up for grabs, 4 for Statistics and 3 for Linear Algebra.

25% of my priority Maori learners sat an assessment
25% were absent
50% showed up without a device. 

After an intense week of revision, 75% of the learners were not prepared for success - what a bitter pill to swallow.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Light bulb moment

Professor Graeme Aitken shared 3 things for learner success at our Manaiakalani PLG today:

Enjoyment of learning, Confidence and Achievement
Image result for lightbulb moment

I had a light bulb moment ......I am so FOCUSED on Maori achievement in my 1104MAT class, that I have overlooked the enjoyment/fun factor for learning that is needed to build learner confidence which will subsequently lead to achievement. With increased confidence, I am certain that learners will attempt more set tasks which will better prepare them for summative assessments and thus reduce our high level of learners who are not sitting assessments.

Baby steps

Our Maori achievement data shows a slight reduction from Term 1 to mid-term 2 of students who Did Not Sit (DNS) the Linear Algebra assessment. 

AS 91029
% Maori
Term 1
% Maori
Term 2
90% - DNS
75% - DNS

Achievement criteria in student-friendly language were revisited in conjunction with explicit literacy and teaching strategies as shown below

Algebra - Internal  3 credits - Numeracy
Form equations, Solve equations (line graph), Substitute
Interpret data (in context)
Create and solve your own equation
Literacy Strategy:
3 Level Guide
Achieved - Read on the line
Merit - Read between the lines
Excellence - Read beyond the lines
Teaching Strategy
Forming equations: Look for secret words: each, every, single, one, per; that number gets the letter

Solving equations: =sum(

Interpreting tables: Colour code cheapest prices

The table below shows an increase in Maori Achievement from 10% to 38% and a reduction in students not sitting assessments from 90% to 62%. 
AS 91029
% Maori
Term 1
% Maori
mid Term 2
% Maori after Term 2 exam
90% - DNS
75% - DNS
62% - DNS
The Maori National Decile Equivalent (%) for Not achieved for this standard is 17.8%. We still have a way to go to get students confident enough to attempt assessment tasks.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Whanau support

Our recent analysis of data from 1 May showed that 42% of our year 11Maori learners and 87% of 1104MAT Maori learners have zero maths credits. Giving 1104MAT learners an opportunity to set maths specific Goals on day 1 of term 2 seems to have had limited effect on a few learners, so I stepped up the intervention and contacted whanau today asking for their support to encourage learners to attend maths study classes after school. 50% of our whanau immediately agreed to support their children. Now we just need learners to show up.

Sunday, 7 May 2017

Empowered learners

All learners should be familiar with the achievement objectives from the New Zealand curriculum. Empowered learners can interpret and show evidence of their understanding of the achievement objectives. At the start of our new standard on Multivariate Statistics, we discussed the achievement criteria in the table below.

Statistics (multivariate) - Internal  4 credits - Literacy/Numeracy
Problem - I wonder………(compare 2 populations) - 2 questions needed
Plan - randomly select data from the table provided (about 30 for each population)
Data - table
Analysis - 5 data summary and description of graphs (Dotplot and Boxplot)
Conclusion - Answer the question, Reflect on the outcome if another population was used.

Discussion - shape/skew, median, shift, overlap, spread, interesting features
Discuss any 3 for each population
Discuss and compare any 2 (in context) with evidence
Detailed discussion AND comparison of any 3 (in context) with evidence
Literacy Strategy:

Mnemonic - PPDAC Cycle
Word Definition
Give one Get one
Teaching Strategy
Acrostic Poem
Shapely Men Shift Over Seas for Interesting features
Shapely - shape/skew
Men - median
Shift - difference between medians
Over - overlap of boxes
Seas  - spread
for Interesting features - interesting features

Learners then found definitions or images of words which were unfamiliar to them. For example
5 data summary

Worth the wait

What a GREAT day......... One of my priority learners has gained their first, of hopefully many credits in maths today. So what has attribu...