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 make this excuse "I don't know what to do" feasible because Calendars are easy to use and most probably one of their peers will be able to assist.

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

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Multivariate Statistics - Plan of attack

Historical data from 2016 showed that many Maori learners in 1104MAT did not sit (DNS) this Multivariate Achievement Standard which was taught in term 3.
AS 91035
% Maori 1104MAT
%Maori my school
Maori National Decile Equivalent (%)
83% - DNS

Higher expectations cannot be taught or imposed independently of context. Rather, they develop as new teaching approaches are mastered and student learning is seen to improve. (Timperley, Wilson, Barrar, and Fung, 2007).
A plan of attack for 2017 was to teach and assess this standard earlier in the year and be more explicit about the use of 3 literacy strategies (Mnemonic, Word definition and Give one get one) and a teaching strategy (Acrostic Poem). My next blog will elaborate on these Literacy and Teaching strategies.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

GROWTH Coaching

A default for learners who are not achieving, is to request lunch/after-school study classes. Study classes work well for those learners who can commit to them, but for learners who have other commitments (family, sporting and church) after school, we needed to find another way to get learners to become more active and take charge of their learning in order to achieve academic success.

We attempted a GROWTH coaching activity using the template below which raised some rich discussion and collaboration.

Goal - To get 16+ maths credits in 2017

What are the benefits of achieving this goal?

What will be the cost if you don’t achieve this goal?

Reality - What is happening now?
On a scale of 1 - 10 where do you see yourself

What have you tried so far?

Options - What could you do?
What could you do to change the situation?

Can I make a suggestion?

What advice would you give someone who was in a similar position to you?

Will - What will you do?
Which option do you like the most?

What specifically will you do in the coming week?

Tactics - How and when will you do it?
When will you take the next steps?

Do you need to log steps taken

What type of person do you need to be in order to get the desired results?

Habits - How will you sustain your success?

What resources/assistance do you need to maintain this?

What might get in the way?

How will you ensure you carry out these actions