Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sacred Heart Westmead Ilearn in Mathematics

Our Stage 3 students have been busy working with their ipads on Data and creating graphs. 
Students engaged in a rich open ended task that had them working as a 'Mars Confectionary Executive' where they were asked to work in teams and create an M&M bag. Students had to think about how many M&Ms were in each bag, What colour break up there was, how could the M&M bag be represented mathematically, how could the data be collected and what is the probability of selecting a specific colour?
Students were also encouraged to prove their thinking.
Here is an example of a team's collaborative work using Book Creator.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Implementing Rich Tasks in Mathematics - St Michael's Primary, Blacktown South

After our great PL day learning all about how to implement rich tasks in mathematics, our Year 5 team took the opportunity to put our ideas into action! During the PL day our team created lessons associated with the topic '3D objects in our World.' We created a slideshow that featured a range of buildings and landmarks from around the world. We then sent the slideshow to our students via Google Drive.
Our task for the students was to find a range of 3D objects in the pictures and identify them on their iPads. To do this, they took a screen shot of the various pictures and put them into Educreations or Explain Everything. They then identified the 3D objects in the picture by drawing around them.
To follow on from this, the students then transferred drawings of the 3D objects into their maths books. They labelled the properties and then throughout the week added to this by putting in the nets and different view points of the various objects.
During our reflection time, students showed their work to their peers and we used this time to discuss the 3D objects that students had identified. We explored the terminology associated with the topic, and did some explicit teaching around properties of the objects, for example clarifying that objects such as cylinders and spheres have curved and flat surfaces rather than faces.
To extend this task, students were also given the opportunity to explore the school environment and take pictures on their iPads of various buildings and equipment within the school. They identified the 3D objects in the pictures and then also worked on finding various angles within the pictures, which tied in with our next topic.
Feedback from the students was that they enjoyed the task and learning a little bit about different landmarks in the world, as well as finding the maths within the natural and built environment.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Digital Discourse in Mathematics using the iPad

One of the aims of the new Australian Curriculum is to ensure that students :
“are confident, creative users and communicators of mathematics, able to investigate, represent and interpret situations in their personal lives".

Digital tools like the iPad can provide a medium for powerful discourse in mathematics to:

  • make student's thinking visible
  • develop their reasoning abilities
  • express maths ideas verbally
Teachers need to push hard to get the students to think about their maths: they need to provide rich tasks, ask good questions, encourage students to think how they can their answer in other ways, invite them to capture their answers with digital tools that allow them to discuss, share and receive feedback on their answers in a variety of modes.
The multimedia features of the iPad and Apps like Explain Everything and Book Creator can help develop these substantive conversations:
  • to communicate thinking - 
photos, videos, digital drawings, voice recording, screen casting 
  • use ‘discourse moves’ such as  re-stating, questioning, sequencing ideas, explaining, elaborating, justifying thinking & critiquing mathematical ideas
capture understanding for assessment & feedback (self reflection ; teacher and peer feedback) 
Teachers at our recent numeracy professional learning workshop reflected on this by creating some digital headlines synthesising points from an article "What Are Some Strategies For Facilitating Productive Classroom Discussions? (M, Cirillo., National Council of Teachers of Mathematics 23/3/2013).

Tuesday, August 4, 2015


Our goal at OLA last year was to implement a blog within the classroom. This would allow for students to have constant access with their peers and teachers. Entering the new year and as a stage, we decided they were now old enough and responsible enough to have a blog implemented within the stage. Finding a website that was child friendly and easy to use led us to Wordpress. The previous Stage Three teachers had used it in the past and believed it would benefit the stage. Through the use of our blog, we are able to set homework tasks and minimise paper. Children and parents are able to communicate with us through comments and with this the children have learnt about the digital footprint they have which has made them mindful of the comments they post. In term 2 with NAPLAN, we were able to incorporate previous papers for students to complete. Overall the children have really enjoyed their time using the blog.

This term as our school does PBL for HSIE and Science and Technology, we are teaching the children how to create their own blogs to show off the information they will have gathered on Antarctica. They are all very excited about this process and we as the teachers are looking forward to seeing the end result.