Thursday, 30 August 2012

Accelerated Learning in Mathematics: ALiM (31.08.12)


Pam Kruger reports on a Ministry of Education pilot programme that Moanataiari School was privileged to be able to participate in earlier this year. Pam teaches Year 7 and 8 and is the school's lead teacher in mathematics. 

Accelerated Learning in Mathemematics (ALiM 2012)

Have you wanted to help your child with their mathematics?
Have you been too scared to help, in case you ‘teach it wrong’?
Has maths homework become a grind, and a fight not worth fighting?

Here is my story and why I know that as a parent it is vital that you and your child should enjoy maths together...

At the end of term one, I was given an opportunity to take part in a mathematics programme within the school. I was to work with a small group of students from another area of the school, as well as work with a focus group from my class.These children were to receive a ‘double dose’ of maths each day for a period of time, to accelerate their learning in maths.

At the ‘training day’ the message of whanau (family) involvement was mentioned, and this concept resonated within me. I decided to maximise parental involvement as much as I could, so that the child was supported at home and at school and therefore become confident and engaged mathematicians.

I had the great pleasure of working with five children in years 3 and 4. These children were invited to join the group, and the emphasis was on the activities being fun and engaging.


Dice used for learning doubles.
ALiM group ready to go with buzzers.

Cards used for learning facts within ten.
 While working in the group we used a lot of equipment to help with the understanding of concepts, we also spent a  great deal of time on building number knowledge. Games ideas, activities, letters explaining what we were doing and equipment were sent home each night with the hope that whanau would come on board and support their child. I was not disappointed! Families got behind their kids, and I was hearing how older and younger siblings were joining in, and learning, from these activities as well.

Mums coming in to support their child's learning.
We think that where it is possible we should open the school to our community and so we invited parents to come and participate in lessons, so that they could see what their children were doing, and to give them ideas of how to support the kids at home. What a wonderful response, I had every parent join us for at least one session. After that lessons became open and parents could join us as they wanted. You would not believe the joy in the faces of these children when their family came, if ever you doubt if you can help your child, let this be a message you hear today- you don’t have to be great at maths, you don’t have to spend hours each night , all you have to do is show you are interested and willing to help and  be actively involved in what your child is doing on  a daily basis.

Before the programme began, I assessed the children, so that I knew what the children knew and what they needed help with.

While post testing I was amazed at how well these children had grown in ability and confidence. I always tell the kids in my room that ‘Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference’, and here was proof of it. Yes the group was small, and yes they were getting extra maths time, but over and above that they had support and involvement from home.

ALiM has been a great learning curve for me, particularly working with younger children. I have been made aware how important group sizing is, how not to underestimate the importance of enjoyment in the learning process, but , more importantly the biggest lesson I learnt was how important whanua involvement is. This must be encouraged and fostered, in order for a child to achieve their full potential.  The greatest change I saw was in attitude (parents and children), and this is invaluable.

I would encourage parents to go and talk to their teachers asking for ideas and ways to help, we are all in this together, for  the best outcomes for our kids. Check out there are wonderful ideas and activities for you as a family to do together. Click on “families’ and have a look. Look at ‘Maths Kete’. There are great ideas and websites out there, take the time to look. It may take a while to set up, but once you have the resources they are there for everyone to learn from and enjoy.

After all, we are ‘learning and growing together’. “Kia tupu ngatahi ai e t├átou”

1 comment:

  1. This is a great program and noticed a huge gain in our kids learning - thanks Pam