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Building on what students’ Math prior knowledge is and combining psychomotor activity, Chelsea Primary School math students were provided opportunities to work in friendship triads, learned Math and had a great workout!
Students truly enjoyed the Math Skipping Rope Activity! For the teachers, Ms Bonner, Mrs Finlay and Mrs Vanderwoude, it was refreshing to witness students getting so much enjoyment learning Math in a ‘rather less structured, yet instructive, play activity’.
Assessment on the activity was by self and peer assessment. Students reflected while engaged in the activity how involved they were in their learning (chanting doubles, multiples of fives, etc.). They saw themselves as a resource to understanding the quality of their output against established success criteria by the teachers.
So, what was the basis of such an activity?
Mathematics is a very powerful curriculum subject. In 2007, Massey University published Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES) Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics/ Pāngarau. This document defines what quality mathematics teaching is all about. It identifies how teachers can enhance their students’ access to powerful mathematical ideas in their specific classroom environment.
One of the findings in BES stated,
“There is now strong evidence that the most effective settings for young learners provide a balance between opportunities for children to benefit from teacher-initiated group work and freely chosen, yet potentially instructive, play activities. Opportunities for learning mathematics typically arise out of children’s everyday activities: counting, playing with mathematical shapes, telling time, estimating distance, sharing, cooking, and playing games.”
We, as teachers, need to capture every learning opportunity within the children’s environment to create a mathematical community of learners who are confident, focused and have high regard for mathematics.
Teachers play a crucial role in developing these positive expectations in the learning of Maths through establishment of effective and appropriate pedagogy. BES points out the importance of giving ‘choice’ to the learners – ‘freely chosen, yet potentially instructive, play activities’.
Did it matter that there were ESOL students in the group? No.
The variation in children’s personal experiences and attitudes did not really matter at all because the cross-curriculum linked activity helped the children make connections with each other and ultimately connect with Maths.
It was a Mathematics-focused activity; reinforcing and fun; less intrusive yet competitive; simple yet interactive!
To read BES, refer to BES Link
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