Reflections on Maths

Wow, you can tell it is the holidays because I have had time to do two posts in one day. 🙂

Last week, the children put together their final presentations on place value.

The task:  In groups of 3-4 the children were to put together a presentation to explain the aspects of place-value.  These were the lines of inquiry: The base-ten number system; numbers up to 100,000; multiplying and dividing numbers by 10, 100, 1000; rounding to 10, 100 and 1000.

So, the positives:

The children were completely engaged.  They used iPhoto, iMovie, Smartboards, posters, blocks, place-value boards, place-value blocks and so on.  They worked cooperatively and presented their ideas in a variety of ways.

The negatives:

With so much scope on how they could present their learning the children’s focus shifted from presenting their learning to the presentation itself.  As a result, the children did not present full information, even though during lessons they were able to clearly explain and demonstrate conceptual understanding.

Final thoughts:

It is fortunate that I keep detailed formative assessment notes during the unit.  Next time, I will limit the scope of the assessment to help the children focus on the learning instead of the cool ways of presenting it.

Any thoughts to contribute?

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4 Comments

Filed under Grade 3, Mathematics

4 responses to “Reflections on Maths

  1. Helen Saunders

    Your reflections on the math assessment are interesting because it is a problem I have encountered myself. Too often the students become so excited by the mode of presentation and the “theatre” of it all that they don’t consider all those wonderful things they have learned to be important anymore.
    Did you give the students a checklist or some criteria of things to include for them to work towards as they planned the presentation?
    I think that it’s great you were giving the children freedom to express their learning in whatever way they wanted. This is so important for those students who need to find a way to “shine”. I would have loved to see what they were doing because it sounds fascinating!

    • nicpenny

      Hi Helen, thanks for your comment.
      Before the presentation, we co-constructed the success criteria. Of course, before hand I had planned what the sc would be and gently steered the discussion.
      I agree that it is great to let the children find their way to shine – I just wonder about how much scope to give them. Hmmm.

  2. chiaraforti

    I was pleased to read your post, since I am struggling to make very clear that the formative assessment is as important as the summative. As in what children produce as a final piece of assessment doesn’t have to be the only evidence of their understanding. We should already have an idea of what they will end up doing before we even set the task. This formative assessment could also be vital to differentiate…anyway going back to the point we cannot assess a child based on ony one piece of work, because reasons for not doing well could be a lot, including the stress of knowing they are assessed(especially for older students) or the willing to do so good that they lose track of what they were supposed to do.

  3. Jessica

    Hey Nic,
    I can only agree with what Chiara said and was about to post the same.
    It often happens that, when faced with presentations, learners shift their focus from the learning to the presenting part.
    Formative assessment is THE most important assessment, on-going, informative and authentic.

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