Wednesday, 9 April 2014

A maths lesson in Prep L

My school has been lucky enough to have a maths coach over the past year (I think I've mentioned her before). Her name is Andrea Hillbrick, and she is amazing!! One of the biggest changes I have made from her coaching has been in regards to the structure of my maths lessons. They have been tweaked, finessed, and moulded into a much more productive hour.

This is how my lesson runs:
  1. 5min Warm Up: this can be any skill that has already been taught and that needs to be revised regularly - we do lots of counting (backwards, forwards, counting on, counting back, clapping, etc).
  2. 5min Hook: this is something that links the content of the lesson to the real world, for example if you are learning about ordinal number you might watch a video of a race being run.
  3. 10min Tuning In: this is when you teach the skill, practice the skill, model the task and develop success criteria for the lesson.
  4. 20min Learning Experience: this is when students work in groups/in pairs/independently to complete the main task of the lesson. While this is happening I take a small group for a Mini Lesson which is either focused on supporting or extending student knowledge.
  5. 10min Reflection: before packing up the activity I gather my students together for a reflection. We use a Reflection Journal to document our learning in maths.
  6. 10min Pack Up and Closure: after Reflection we pack up our materials and get ready for whatever will happen next in our day!
The best new parts of my maths lessons are the Reflection Journal and packing up after Reflection.

It is amazing what a difference it makes to pack up after you have reflected. Students are still focused on the task, they don't feel like it's finished yet, and sometimes we reflect 5min early so that we can keep working on the task after reflection (this works particularly well if your reflection is about tips or hints related to the task).

The Reflection Journal has really refined my skills. I identify a specific reflection task/tool/focus for each session. I often record what my students tell me they have learned in that lesson, and when I do this reflection I let the students hold a pretend microphone - they love it!! If we are talking about something interesting they noticed then my students get to wear groovy, superstar sunglasses. Often I will get students to record something that is related to the task on post-it notes and get them to add their note to the journal. For example, we were working on number formation during one session so they had to write a number (in their neatest handwriting) and add it to the journal.

I love how my maths lessons run, now. They are really structured, have purpose and motivate my students to be engaged with the content. It took me a little while to get my head around all of the different parts, but it was totally worth it!

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