“The powerful thinkers in today’s world are not those who can calculate fast, as used to be true; fast calculations are now fully automated, routine and uninspiring. The powerful thinkers are those who can make connections, think logically and use space, data and numbers creatively” Jo Boaler, Prof. of Mathematics Stanford University, ‘Mathematical Mindsets’, 2016.
What does Mathematics look like at EPS?
At EPS, we know it is essential for all students to gain a strong understanding of the fundamentals of Mathematics in their early years. Our Mathematics syllabus is guided by the Victorian Curriculum which consists of the following areas;
Number and Algebra Measurement and Geometry Statistics and Probability
Teachers plan collaboratively, (fortnightly) with their year level teachers and Mathematics Coordinator, Kath White, to maintain a consistent, high quality program across the school. We adopt a positive growth mindset in Mathematics where all students are encouraged to recognise their effort and achievement in learning. All classes work with a set of research based Mathematics norms which help to develop a positive attitude towards learning. (Jo Boaler, Prof. of Mathematics Stanford University, ‘Mathematical Mindsets’, 2016).
Mathematics Classroom Norms
- Everyone can learn Mathematics to the highest levels
- Mistakes are valuable
- Depth is more important than speed
- Questions are really important
- Maths is about creativity and making sense
- Maths is about making connections and communicating your thinking
- Maths is about recognising our learning and growth not just performing
What does Mathematics look like in classrooms?
Mathematics classes begin with a warm up activity, followed by a clear learning goal. Students are also shown what they need to do to achieve the goal and reflect on their learning throughout or at the end of each lesson. Teachers are passionate about empowering students to be reflective learners who monitor their growth. They are able to assess their understandings of a subject at the beginning and end of a lesson and articulate how their knowledge and skills have grown.
We understand that children learn at their own pace and in different ways. To support this, individual learning needs are taken into consideration when planning, and lessons are differentiated to support and challenge all students. Teachers may be seen working with small groups, in 1:1 conferences or roaming to target teaching at the point of need. Students are also given opportunities to discuss their wonderings and new learning experiences with their peers. Working collaboratively and discussing different strategies students have used to solve problems is a highly effective way to learn Mathematics, as it is all about making connections and using reasoning to justify answers.
We aim to provide high quality, engaging lessons, which includes using a variety as resources, such as interactive games, videos, building, making and creating with materials, using hand on materials to support, drawing diagrams, using the outside environment and digital technology.
Professional Development for Teachers
How do we help students build their mathematical literacy and problem solving capabilities from Prep to Year 6? This question has become a whole school focus and is represented as one of our main goals in our 2017 Annual Implementation Plan. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with leading researchers in education from the University of Melbourne to help us achieve our goal. Last week we heard from John Hattie (Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne) who presented a thought provoking speech and whose latest book, ‘Visible Learning in Mathematics’ (2017) provides a great insight into the deep thinking skills required in the subject area.
The University of Melbourne’s Network of Schools program (UMNOS) is a 3 year project which we are a part of and are in our 2nd year. Each term the leadership team attends lectures and workshops with other schools to listen and engage with the latest research about highly effective teaching and learning practices. It’s an exciting opportunity and privilege to be part of the UMNOS project and what’s even more exciting is to be able to feedback what I’ve learnt from the seminars, in after school workshops with the whole staff.
How can I support my child’s development in Mathematics?
- Adopt the positive growth mindset and ask them to explain what their class norms mean
- Discourage the notion that some children are ‘good at Maths’ or ‘smart’. Instead promote the idea that we can all achieve in Mathematics and we value effort over speed. Making mistakes is how we know we are learning.
- Play games involving mathematical thinking, such as card and dice games, Maths apps, help track how many points their favourite sports team has accumulated over the season, get involved in shopping and cooking
Fuse Education Mathematics Games