For many years we’ve used the Maths Online Interview to assess students. Each time I complete the interview Im reminded of how rich the interview is not just in terms of ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers but in the way in which the interview reveals so much more about what the child is thinking, doing and not doing. We’ve been working hard this year to use this information more effectively in our classrooms and across cohorts of students. We’ve introduced an ‘hour of counting’ lesson each week and seen our counting results in MOI grow dramatically. The hour of counting incorporates a range of learning activities and we try and integrate it with our Curiosity Unit or other aspects of mathematics where it fits. Sometimes we just count! We’ve loved a game called ‘Chicken Scramble’ from Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years. These resources called SINE from Catholic Education Office and resources from Kathy Palmer have all been instrumental in helping us to really target the point of need for students within the Growth Points of MOI.
Scaffolding Numeracy in the Middle Years (SNMY) is a program we run here also which has been fantastic for helping those students still struggling with early numeracy concepts, when they themselves are no longer in the early years of schooling. Chicken Scramble comes from there. Although it is from SNMY the concepts behind the game are just as pertinent and important for our younger students. This game probably has lots of names but regardless of its name the children LOVE it!
So who are we these PMSS people?
There are three of us! Brett McGinniskin, Robyn White and myself (Elicia Briggs) are the Primary Maths and Science Specialist (PMSS) team at Greenvale Primary School. Although the title includes Science we are focusing on the mathematics side of the program.
What is this PMSS business?
Greenvale Primary School was a successful applicant for funding of the PMSS initiative. The Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists (PMSS) initiative is a successful Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) program that upskills primary teachers in government schools to become mathematics or science education specialists. The Victorian Government has provided $27m to train 200 specialists over four years (2016-19). The initiative aims to: • increase student engagement and achievement in mathematics and science, • increase teacher confidence and capability in teaching mathematics and science, • increase understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), • have a sustainable impact in schools beyond the life of the initiative’s funding. This website was created to document our journey as we strive to teach mathematics with the best, research informed models of teaching available.
We are not ‘the experts’, instead we are three fortunate teachers who have the opportunity to work with amazing teams of people including our own staff, professionals from the field of mathematics and a host of other real experts! In the coming weeks and months, you can expect to see the professional learning delivered to staff, student work and articles by the experts who are guiding our journey. We hope to inspire, excite and motivate you.
Elicia Briggs on behalf of the PMSS team
Elicia, Brett and Robyn.