Wednesday 26 February 2014

Weapons of the trade

What do you need to run a great class where the students begin to really grasp and learn the material?  Well, you need a plan, quality information, gear and courage.
I’ll begin with the most important:

The plan:  “A plan never survives first contact with the enemy”. That's rubbish.  “If you have no plan, you have no hope.”

My long term plan is informed by a 1.  A thorough look through the numeracy demands of the course including exploring unit standards, talking to students and watching students; 2. The Learning Progression framework.

My short term plan is informed by 1. Assessment information and 2. Next step as indicated by the Learning Progressions.  This is recorded as a lesson plan that details my every move.  I am Mr Flexible but I have general outcomes that I want learners to achieve. 

Quality information: “You are only as effective as your information”

All learners have been assessed on the LNAAT.  Lesson one will include the number knowledge assessment (can be done with whole class).  I will be doing a quick version of the diagnostic interview when (if) time permits.  Also an attitude/beliefs survey about maths/numeracy.  First lesson will include discussions designed to inform me about learners’ experiences with maths.

Formative assessment: This is bread and butter stuff – I’ll be monitoring every students response to the activities, giving feedback and ensuring my design of lessons includes clear feedback paths for learners.

Gear:  It doesn’t have to flash but does need to work.  And I have just got some great gear that works beautifully.

Thanks Graeme Smith from ALEC for donating a huge bag of numeracy supplies.  ALEC has spent the last few years making and adapting numeracy materials based on tutor needs and feedback.  These materials have grown from real tutors working in strange, interesting and difficult environments.  They have been tested and those that have survived are powerful allies in the classroom (brief reference to Yoda).
Final note on gear – I’ll be using the Learning Progressions as the framework.  Let’s put it through its paces.  See what it can deliver!

Now I’m off to class!

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