Numeracy Investigation

What started as a place value activity, has transpired into calculating our average running speed on the oval during mathematics today. How you may ask?

During week 1 we focused on place value. To try and make this task as engaging as possible we asked the students to research 10 countries of interest, and to record the population and size (area) of each country. By doing this, students were able to write down large numbers, ranging from a hundred thousand to billions. Some students started to make connections and question why some larger (size) countries (like Australia) had a smaller population, compared to smaller countries like Vietnam, which despite the smaller size had a far larger population than Australia. These observations provoked thought amongst the classroom surrounding this issue, and this lead to an inquiry on population density.

As a class we scaffolded how we could calculate population density (population ÷ size). From this learning students were able to articulate that Australia had approximately 3.1 people per square kilometre, compared to Vietnam, which had an approximate population density of 299 people per square kilometre. We then asked the students to come up with some reasons to why they think this may be the case – push and pull factors (apart of the HASS curriculum).

Following these discussions, students queried:

“What other formulas or equations do we use in every day life?”

It was from this that we started discussing speed, and in particular kilometres per hour (km/h). The children wanted to learn about this and how they could calculate it.

Disclaimer – Calculating speed is not something that is apart of the year 6 /7 curriculum, rather something that would be found in the year 9/10 Physics classroom. But, as teachers we knew that this was too good of a learning opportunity to miss.

It was from here that we started to unpack the elements of how to calculate speed. Students began with some worded problems where they had to apply the formula: distance (km) ÷ time (h) = speed (km/h).

Today students were given the provocation:

“How can we calculate our average speed (km/h) by only using the resources in the classroom?”

Students worked in pairs and were successful in understanding that to do this they would need to measure a distance (for example, 100m) and time how long it took them to run that distance. What was most impressive was those students that knew in order to do this that they would need to convert metres to kilometres, and seconds to hours to then calculate km/h.

Following this, we went outside to the oval where students measured distance and ran and timed themselves running the distance that they had decided. From this, students were able to calculate their average speed (km/h). See the pictures below of our class in action:

Email Accounts

Sometime over the past week students were given time to set up and log into their accounts on their laptop. Students’ were encouraged to use the Microsoft Outlook app rather than accessing them through their internet browser. This will allow, when the app is open, for students to receive alerts when they have received an email. When used appropriately this is a great tool for their learning, whilst we are preparing them for life outside of school.

 

Parents should have started receiving emails from their child’s teacher, whilst we can’t promise how regular this will be, we will try to maintain this as a regular thing. We will include students in our ‘group’ emails so that they are given another reminder of what is required of them. Our blog however, is the first point of contact in terms of keeping up with your child’s learning.

 

For the parents and carers that don’t have email accounts we have asked the children to help make you an account at home. This can be done through the internet browser and using a common email domain (gmail, yahoo, hotmail etc).

Literacy Rotations

During week 2 students commenced literacy rotations. Literacy rotations will be completed in the morning, each day for 30-40 minutes. There are 5 different activities or groups each week and students will complete one per day on a rotational basis. Therefore, each child will complete each activity every week. Initially, our activities include:

  1. Guided reading (reading out loud with a teacher)
  2. Individual quiet reading
  3. Visual Literacy (written response to a stimulus eg. news story (BTN), article etc)
  4. Grammar / punctuation / spelling activity
  5. Reading Response (based on a text provided by the teacher or student choice)

Activities 1 and 2 are completed and finished in class. Activities 3, 4 & 5 will need to be finished for homework if students are unable to complete the task in the allocated time. This will be checked the following day, and the student will conference with the teacher. By adhering to this model, the teacher will be able to read and check students’ literacy work a minimum of 3 times a week and will allow them to give immediate feedback on students’ areas of strengths and areas that need additional effort.

Classroom Norms

Norms

What are they?

In a traditional sense, the teacher would create rules that students would be required to adhere too. Norms however are “an agreement among members of a classroom or school about how they will treat one another,” Gary Borich, Professor of Educational Psychology at The University of Texas (2014). Therefore, by adopting a contemporary paradigm we are inviting the students to create what they believe to be a positive classroom culture. As teachers we believe that by doing this as a class community, the students are more likely to buy into following them.It is our intention to help students create, uphold, and share responsibility for making sure the norms get followed.

How?

During week 0 (the week before school returned) the staff of Holy Family were led by Professor Ruth Deakin-Crick in various workshops surrounding CLARA and the dimensions of learning powers. One activity that stood out required us (the staff) to work in groups and create secondary drivers to our pre-determined drivers. It was from this activity that Mr. Norris and Mr. Winters thought that we could replicate it with our 6/7 students to create our classroom norms! During week 1 the students of 6/7 PN & JW were given 5 provocations (RESPECT, SAFE, LEARN, TRUST and RESPONSIBLE) these acted as ‘pillars’ for students to then create their own norms. In small groups students used ‘sticky notes’ to write down as many key points for each of these drivers or pillars and then they stuck them to the corresponding spot! See below:

Our finished product

 

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