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Maths Café


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Year 6 fractions lessons video

Steve_McCormack 01 September 2017 08:36 - Last edited by Steve_McCormack on 01 September 2017 09:15
Communications Director
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This thread is for discussion of the videos on this page of the NCETM website. All comments previously posted on the page have been re-located in this thread.  

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ncetm_administrator 01 September 2017 08:42 - Last edited by ncetm_administrator on 01 September 2017 08:54
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Here's the discussion moved over from the video page, in chronological order, oldest to newest

Laurie_Jacques 29/08/2017 22:47:11
I was glad to have the opportunity to view a post lesson discussion but what I see here isn't really a profesional discussion or analysis, rather a list of tips for teaching that each teacher liked. I imagine there was more to this session that wasn't published but the teaches' reflection of the lesson seemed quite low level and it would be so useful to try and showcase some deeper analysis of what is going on in a lesson from the pupils' perspective and not just what the teacher 'does'. I didn't hear the teachers talking much about the learning and what difference their favourite 'tip' would make to the learning of the pupils they teach.

The lesson felt very dry with little opportunity for all pupils to discuss with each other before sharing with the teacher. The content was also not matched to the Y6 curruciulum so didn't feel there was sufficient challenge until the very end with the Dong Nao Jin problem that suddenly brought the mathematics to life and could have been the starting point to hook the children in to the purpose of what they were supposedly learning.

I don't know how others feel but 6 lessons of this would have me bored and disengaged with maths.


helenjw 30/08/2017  15:23:43
I couldn't agree more Laurie. The following is the list of observations I made as I watched the video:- Correct answers were merely received and not questioned or developed; little talk to develop learning; many of the pupils appeared to be able to do this already (this is content from the Y4 curriculum, not Y6); the teacher appears to be doing the work rather than the pupils; I wonder what the children thought? It was dull in the extreme; this is not mathematics as I know it - there were no problems to solve, no open questions to stimulate thinking and discussion, and no getting the pupils to do anything; simply compliance. In addition, the post-lesson discussion lacked insight and depth, was it edited? Surely someone had a question that stimulated some debate about what they had seen? I remain interested to hear the thoughts of all you Y6 teachers out there!


Debbie_Morgan 30/08/2017 18:28:41
Hi Helen and Laurie The lesson was not intended to be a model Y6 lesson, the start says the same lesson was also taught to Y4. It was just intended to draw out some of the feaures of mastery such as speaking in full sentences, justification of answers and a focus on methods and drawing pictures rather than just the answer. Interestingly the children loved the lessons and didn't find them boring. They commented that they now understood fractions more deeply. I think there was more pupil discussion than is shown in the lesson. Normaly when we film the crew get in amongst the children and capture discussion, but as this was a showcase lesson with lots of teachers watching we were unable to do this on this occaission. The post lesson discussion was limited due to time constratints and not what I would call a proper TRG. I thought it was nteresting though what the teachers said they would take back as they drew out some important points and worth showing. As requested above I am going to ask you to take this discussion to the maths cafe if you wish to continue.

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helenjw 04 September 2017 14:01
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Here is the link to the video to which this thread pertains: https://www.ncetm.org.uk/resources/50319 

 

 

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mikeollerton 04 September 2017 18:02
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Joined20/09/07

NCETM Y6 fractions lesson

I too was most concerned about the Y6 fractions lesson, specifically regarding the use mostly of closed questions with single answer type responses from students which, when provided, there was an assumption that all the children in the classroom had understood it, let alone heard the answer. Having received a closed answer to a closed question this seemingly gave the teacher ‘permission’ to move onto the next pre-planned closed question.

Three further concerns were:

  1. It felt like the teacher had a clear lesson plan which she was determined to 'get through', irrespective of where the children were at on their teacher's journey.
  2. I saw very little problem solving happening in terms of children discussing what was going on and what, cognitively, it meant to them.
  3. I heard a lot of teacher talk and teacher telling.

I think it is really important for a teacher to find starting points to concepts which provide learners with opportunities to construct meaning. Such starting points can then be developed by learners to go ever-deeper into a concept so a problem such as: "Which is bigger 3/4 or 5/7?" could be a useful task for learners to explore, in pairs or groups of threes, in order to try to seek a conclusion. Such a question could then lead onto a problem such as "Find a fraction which is greater than 5/7 and less than 3/4". However if answers to both of these problems requires the teacher to drive the pace of the 'learning bus' then the children are more likely to end up as in-active passengers rather than as active problem-solving participants.

Mike Ollerton

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Debbie_Morgan 04 September 2017 20:54 - Last edited by Debbie_Morgan on 05 September 2017 03:48
Director for Primary
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The question "Which is bigger 3/4 or 5/7?" I agree is a good one, however the Shanghai teachers would consider carefully where in the sequence of learning that question came. There is a tight focus in this lesson on fractions with the same denominator but different numerators, next would come fractions with the same numerators but different denominators and then maybe consideration of 3/4 and 6/7 to build the knowledge and reasoning to be able to compare 3/4 and 5/7. It is interesting that using common demoniators is not taught in primary schools in Shanghai. Children are expected to compare fractions by reasoning in terms of what they know and understand in relation to fractions

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helenjw 05 September 2017 10:25
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I am sure every teacher would consider carefully where a question like "which is bigger 3/4 or 5/7?" would sit in a teaching trajectory for their class/group. On the other hand, learning trajectories differ between pupils and no two learners follow the same route. Rather, connections need to be built between nodes of learning by all learners. And this happens through providing time to for them to discuss and time to think, alongside relevant things to think and talk about, such as a problem or puzzle. Talk and discussion were entirely missing in this example lesson and the teacher's questioning was narrow and focused on "correct answers" and this is why I have very serious reservations about this video being put forward as a example of mastery teaching. Worrying also was that there was no depth of post-lesson discussion amongst the teachers.

It is indeed notable that the ridiculous requirements for fractions in our KS2 curriculum are not mirrored in Shanghai; which is perhaps why the NCETM filmed this teacher teaching Y4 material, which we must assume these children had already come into contact with. With less acceleration in our curriculum we would be able to focus on deeper learning. 

 

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Mingusaddict 05 September 2017 14:46
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I work with adults who are struggling with the misperceptions they have built up years from their (possibly inadequate) primary maths education! And fractions are a real disaster zone!

I could understand why the children loved this lesson. Aside from the teaching, there was an incredible "respect/teacher as expert" dynamic to the lesson - enhanced, unwittingly, by all the other teachers coming to learn as well.  So every word, comment from the teacher was felt to be valuable.  Getting attention by being asked to stand and give a full sentence answer must be very challenging but also exciting and those who succeeded must get a real buzz. I did find it very illuminating - such a simple idea viewed from many angles, with liberal use of advanced terminology, to produce deep understanding. You could see some children almost formulating algebra - if x is the denominator, then 4 lots of x is always going to be greater than 3 lots of x.  I loved the little teacher idea. And the shift away from the answer towards methods and conclusion.  Very powerful.

It is very important for adults struggling with maths to see there is more than one method, and that different methods verify each other to produce a logical consistency.  

My worries were - what were the children not answering actually thinking?  I was missing the AfL techniques that give me a rapid snapshot of learners' misperceptions.  So no mini-WB? No think-pair-share?  I'm trying to ban hands up not encourage it - I want all my learners to be included in creating answers to my questions. On the other hand all learners had opportunities to explore and develop their thinking - v interesting!

 

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Steve_McCormack 05 September 2017 15:06
Communications Director
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A couple of small points.

1. As stated in the introductory text on the page we're discussing, the 'main' video shows only a 'boiled down' version of the entire lesson. Hence, there's much that took place that is not on this video.

2. Similarly, the 10 minutes of 'what I'm taking back' statements from teachers in the post-lesson discussion, formed only part of what was a wide-ranging round-the-room conversation.

Hope that helps.

 

 

 

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Mingusaddict 05 September 2017 15:55
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Dear Steve,

Yes I did pick up on these points earlier.  I hope what I questioned, regarding AfL, still has relevance. The "boiled down" lesson was still 30 minutes of teaching.  Does this teaching method also make use specifically of AfL techniques or is the style more formal, as shown in this segment? The teacher was asking individual children to give their full sentence responses - so they became great role models for the rest of the class.  But it also reminded me of a more formal style of teaching that has many negative effects as well - perhaps in the hands of a less skilled practitioner.

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Debbie_Morgan 06 September 2017 07:08 - Last edited by Debbie_Morgan on 06 September 2017 07:40
Director for Primary
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Re AfL and teaching for Mastery Yes assessment does play a key role, not as overt in this lesson as others, however you will have noticed the teacher walking round the room, in this time she checked the progress of every child, and I think may have used a stamp to remind herself that she had observed that the child seemed secure. She will also collect all the work in and look over it again. If when walking round the room she was to spot any difficulties or misconceptions she would collect the work, and put it under a visualiser and together the class would discuss and unpack the error/misconception. Of course this would not just be for errors, but good examples and a  range of different methods is also shown. The teacher did that in this lesson by getting children to come to the board and share their "methods". . The teachers deliberately plan for, what they call the difficult points and often deliberately expose misconceptions through the questions they ask, such as true or false questions. I remember an example where a teacher wrote 2/14 - 1/7 = 1/7 and we were all amazed that the whole class thought it was correct, and it include some very high attaining children  This was of course addressed, and also built into the next lesson. The Shanghai teachers are so committed to every child mastering that they will not move on till this has been achieved. They regulary work with children outside of the lesson also to address any difficulties to ensure that all children keep up. This system of keep up rather than waiting for children to fall behind and then put in a strategy of intervention or differentiation allows whole class teaching with children moving along the same learning trajectory. This learning trajectory is meticulously planned by the teacher, Shanghai teachers put a great deal of time and effort into planning. The idea that progress is reliant on good teaching rather than an idea of "ability" is adopted and this seems to work.  This doesn't mean that all children achieve the same outcomes, some children may think more deeply and make greater connections, the good thing is that these are shared with the rest of the class and the notion of the " little teacher" is applied. The small steps bring depth detail and rigour to the learning, but also scaffolding so that all can achieve. One last point- whole class teaching makes assessment easier as there is one focus with lots of back and forth interaction and easier for the teacher to pick up on errors or difficulty and address them straight away as the whole class moves together. 

 

 

 

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