Being ‘Maths Active’
Recently Milgate Primary School was accredited as a MAV Maths Active School. This accreditation recognises the progress Milgate has made in improving student learning outcomes and our commitment to effective learning and teaching practices in mathematics.
A ‘Transdisciplinary Approach’
Currently Milgate Primary School is moving towards Authorization as an IB PYP World School. As part of this program Milgate PS has placed an emphasis on classroom teachers being responsible for the teaching of concepts through the development of a number of universal transdisciplinary skills. These skills and concepts are taught across the entire curriculum as teachers use this common language to explore content and attitudes to learning. This holistic approach relies heavily on the effectiveness of teaching teams to differentiate within the classroom and build on previous experiences and skills.
This inquiry program acknowledges that as students strive to make meaning of their lives and the world around them, they travel continually on the cyclic path of constructing, testing, and confirming or revising their personal models of how the world works. As part of this process students pose questions about what they are learning and investigate their wonderings to extend both their knowledge and skills set.
It is common practice at Milgate PS. for all areas of the curriculum to be planned collaboratively by all members of the year level team. Each term, all levels have a whole day for planning in order to collaboratively design the next term’s curriculum, including Mathematics. Teams focus on the interrelatedness of the Unit of Inquiry linking both English and Mathematics into the inquiry learning activities. A series of rich tasks are designed during planning days to enrich our inquiries and to teach key Mathematical concepts.
A recent Year 6 inquiry, which works to develop the students’ understanding of our central idea “the collection and interpretation of data influences the decisions made by society” demonstrates our cross curricular links. This inquiry falls under the PYP Transdisciplinary Theme “How We Organise Ourselves” and links the mathematical skills involved in the collection, organisation and interpretation of data to the decisions made by individuals, schools, groups, governments and other organisations. This inquiry focuses on the mathematical concepts while drawing in global concepts such as poverty and foreign aid, democracy and election processes, as well as public opinion and council decisions.
Promoting the Active Learning of Mathematics
Students participate in a variety of in school Maths activities throughout the year. These activities combined with weekly rich tasks engage and promote the learning of mathematics within our school. Such activities include iPad trails with QR codes, scavenger hunts, planting gardens and running shops/stalls.
Recently our Year 6 students participate in our annual ‘Milgate City Marathon’, an ‘Amazing Race’ style event. Students use timetables, maps and coordinates to pre plan a route through the city utilising public transport to complete the task and collect as many points as possible. Students work collaboratively in groups and are responsible for all decisions on times and routes, not only in planning but also on the journey itself. The only teacher input within this task is a review of the plan upon completion to ensure it is safe. This event has received extensive positive feedback from both students and parents, and has proven to be a highly effective way to reinforce and assess the students’ understanding of timetables, maps and coordinates.
Improving Student Outcomes
Our commitment towards using student performance data to inform the planning and teaching of Mathematics has been a major focus. Particular emphasis has been placed on using formative assessment to inform teacher practice and the analysis of a wide range of student performance data to identify individual, cohort and school wide trends.
Over the period that we implemented our strategic data gathering approaches to inform our Mathematics teaching, there has been evidence of continual improvements in student learning outcomes across the whole school. These improvements have been evident in Teacher Judgments, On Demand Testing and in particular, NAPLAN.
Promoting Mathematics in the School Community
Families are invited to attend events such as our Maths Family Fun nights where parents and students participate together in a variety of math-based activities, which usually focus on spatial skills such as measurement, tessellations, constructing nets etc. Parents collaboratively work with students on tasks while enjoying the other activities provided such as a magician presenting card and number tricks.
Family members also attend our annual Milgate Maths Talent Quest Expo where all entries into our school competition are displayed. At this expo entries progressing to the State Maths Talent Quest Competition are announced. The expo is a great opportunity for parents to talk to teachers and in particular the Maths Whole School Team about the current teaching practices.
While Milgate’s improved mathematics program clearly has a lot to celebrate, especially in regards to excellent student engagement and achievement data, we are nevertheless extremely excited to work more closely with the MAV as a Maths Active School, thus continuing to refine our learning and teaching practices, and consequently the mathematics learning outcomes of our students.
For further information regarding Maths Active Schools please contact Ellen Corovic on (03) 9380 2399 or firstname.lastname@example.org.