Reflections from previous work groups: Continuity

Here are some reflections from one of our previous work group.

Focus: Years 5-8 Continuity (Multiplicative Reasoning)

When: 2017-18

Led by: Phil Eadie, The Thomas Hardye School

Intention:

The main objectives of the work group fall into two main areas:

  1. Regarding pedagogy. There is the opportunity to share good practice between participants through joint planning and discussion. There is the intent that practice will be enhanced by the principles described in the lesson commentaries for the specific MR lessons studied. There is the intent to encourage improved use of modelling and representation to aid conceptual understanding. It is intended that participants benefit form a wider range of approaches for helping students understand fractions, proportion and other multiplicative relationships. There is the intent that participants will improve their ability to exploit class discussion and improve student independence. It is intended that participants will gain a better understanding of lesson study and how it can improve pedagogy.
  2. It is an opportunity to improve working relationships between staff in different phases. The curriculum content addressed is a convenient cross-over for KS2 and 3 and so provides common ground for both primary and secondary colleagues to share expertise, experience and consider the impacts upon curriculum design. In turn, the intent is that this will support continued relationships between feeder schools and hence improve continuity between phases

Activity:

The content of the three group sessions was to explore particular lessons from the NCETM MR microsite. This included study of the lesson commentaries so that the rationale for the lesson designs and the opportunities for staff and students to learn were fully appreciated. We also considered other supporting resources / activities that would support the integration of these particular lessons into a series of lessons. Participants were given time during the sessions to ‘cherry pick’ the most appropriate parts of the MR lesson (they are each too big to be a single lesson) and plan a lesson for one of their classes. These plans were then shared and discussed with the group and the rationale for choices, examined.

The gap tasks were originally intended to be between participants of different phases of the same pyramid. However, with the recruitment achieved, this was actually conducted between staff at the same schools (which supported the dissemination of the content). The principles of lesson study were included as content in the first session.

The three main MR lessons used were:

  • 1a – Parts of a shape
  • 1c – Fair shares
  • 2ai – Contexts for a bar

In addition to the MR lesson resources we also examined supporting resources which would support assessment and reinforcement of concepts in later lessons with the students.

Reflections:

I am much more aware of different approaches to take when problem solving (bar model)

I have learned about addressing misconceptions, particularly in fractions. I have received lots of ideas and practical advice

I have learned how resilient some are. What I considered to be the more-able didn’t cope as well as I thought they would

I learned that some of my more-able pupils will need to be stretched further as they need to develop their reasoning skills. I also, learned that pupils feel much more comfortable when they do not have to be accurate

Tasks to encourage pupils to think independently rather than being told how the maths works