Showing posts with label remedial. Show all posts
Showing posts with label remedial. Show all posts

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Scratch and the Maths challenge

My daughters do a maths challenge each week at their primary school.  I didn't pay much attention to it until my youngest was worried that she wasn't improving.  My usual criticism of these weekly quizzes is nothing is done with the information and students keep getting the same questions wrong.  In many cases, the reasons why they are getting questions wrong is never investigated.

So I had a look at the challenge and it focused on addition, subtraction and times tables.

I wrote a little application in scratch to help develop some basic numeracy and help identify where issues were occurring. I added in extra steps to assist where we found issues and practice was needed (with instant feedback).

It covers:
a) learning multiples
b) adding/subtracting to and beyond 10
c) tables (using commutative property and division)

You should be able to see it below.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Remediation of NCCD students in Mathematics

Students marked at risk on the NCCD list are the forgotten students in Mathematics today.  Typically students on the NCCD list have an imputed disability and due to this disability/risk factors are more than 2 years behind other students in a class.  Often the remediation required is assumed to be resourced under differentiation by a teacher within a classroom.

A good rule of thumb is if a student is beyond two years above, or two years below the syllabus, a typical teacher utilising DOTT and planning time effectively will find it difficult to cater to the needs of these students without additional assistance, resourcing and planning.

Where there are a group of four or more in one class (typical of low ability streaming) this results in students not progressing their mathematical understanding when in Years 7-10. This is frustrating for parents and students and cause for concern (and is a workload issue) for teaching staff.  It is also easily measurable using NAPLAN7 to NAPLAN9 progress data.

To properly address this issue requires analysis of assistance, resourcing and planning available.


1. Assistance
  • Identifying the help required is a difficult proposition as students on the NCCD list may have undiagnosed IDs, mental health, DV, FASD, family dsyfunction and typically requires a multi-disciplinary approach. 
  • Providing "just in time" intervention to students when in the proximal zone of development requires teachers to understand the needs of NCCD students who are typically not in the proficiency area of high school teachers and support staff.  
  • Teachers are committed to teach the year level curriculum from the syllabus to the majority of students in the class. 
  • Many of these students attract no extra funding from external agencies as the disability is either not covered, require an extended period of observation and/or are too expensive for parents to receive a formal diagnosis.
2. Resourcing
  • To teach year levels beyond a year either side of the year level achievement standard will reduce the effectiveness of teaching the majority of students in the class.  Where more than two groups of students are in a class that require instruction outside the year level achievement standard, students will not get optimal instruction from their teacher alone.
  • Typically resources available at developmental level are not developmentally appropriate (when teaching Year 4 material, resources are pitched at 8-9 years olds, is not appropriate for  13-15 year olds).
  • Assistance by support staff is typically unavailable through current FTE model which requires an IQ and EQ diagnosis.
3. Planning
  • For every student in the class that requires teaching from another year level in the syllabus, requires the equivalent of an extra class of planning to be completed by the teacher.
  • Additional planning time is not available even if content could be delivered with sufficient preparation.


1. Make it someone's problem
  • Identify someone with a passion for the problem, a champion that can relate to these students and has a rapport with students services, parents of students and HOLAs of each learning area.  This person becomes responsible for driving solutions and becomes the Learning Support Coordinator (LSC).
  • Acceptance of a student into a remediation group must be linked to resourcing being available.
  • Make the solution a team effort with shared responsibility by support staff and Learning Areas.
2. Communicate with parents and create a shared understanding
  • Create IEP / Documented plans
  • Develop MHRMPs/RMPs/BMPs
  • Have meetings with parents and create measurable attendance/behaviour/academic goals for each term
3. Adequately resource the programme
  • Resource the programme based on number of support groups required (eg. where indicated by class composition) not by resourcing allocated through support staff FTE.
  • Develop resources that can be reused with minimal customisation.
4. Measure the results
  • Research project / Masters or PHD level support
  • SEN reporting
  • Standardised testing (PAT Testing/ NAPLAN)
  • Attendance
  • Behaviour
5. Keep expectations reasonable
  • Expectations set in IEPs must be achievable and modified when found to exceed ability of intervention programme to achieve.
6. Celebrate wins / analyse challenges
  • Make time to analyse progress of intervention programme.
7. Communicate with stakeholders regularly
  • Connect
  • SEN reporting

Monday, June 15, 2009

Just in time intervention

Since starting teaching I've endeavoured to provide kids with just-in-time intervention. I'm not sure where the concept originated but I use the term as an in between to "early intervention", "delayed intervention" and "too bloody late intervention".

Just in time ("JIT") intervention is finding an area where the curriculum has failed (such as weak performance found after a test in an unexpected area) and plugging the gap by providing extra tuition or resources to fix the issue, immediately after the issue has been discovered (thus the "just in time"). Examples when JIT intervention would be be needed would be finding BIMDAS problems during the teaching of percentages or discovering negative number issues when expanding brackets in algebra topics. Students needing JIT intervention typically can master new topics but can't apply their new learning due to an associated issue - leading to poor retention of the new concept. Fix the associated issue and fix retention problems of new concepts.

JIT intervention is different to early intervention as early intervention is typically preventative and is sprayed around like a weed killer - "catch the issue before it occurs and hopefully we will stop what happened last year". It's different to delayed intervention as this can be seen as "the next teacher can try again with the same sort of material next year (only more difficult) and try to find success" and too bloody late intervention which occurs in senior school where students are finally streamed into classes where they can find success but have little time left in school to do so.

Until now I have focused on finding worksheets and doing lunch workshops for particular areas of the curriculum. I have avoided online resources as until now they have been overly focused on fun and are not focused enough on addressing requirements of students. As there is only one of me, workshops and worksheets have had limited success - in senior school if you scratch the surface it wells with underlying issues that require attention, more than any one person can address.

Our latest attempt to provide JIT intervention is to leverage some of the developed online tutorials that have shown some promise and direct kids to them. In an art imitates life experience (think 'the Simpsons'), the free McDonalds sponsored "MathsOnline" project is getting a guernsey at our school as the tutorials have found success with indigenous students - which we hope will extend to other struggling students needing help. We are setting up a maths lab that allows students access to the MathsOnline resources and will use them in conjunction with maths resources bought from the ESL budget for low literacy students. The mathsLab is adjacent to my room (connected with a concertina wall) and I aim to be able to monitor students as they attempt to rectify a range of issues and assist where possible.

I do like the maths online implementation as it is not "button mashing" or "timing based competition" but requires listening to a short tutorial, working out answers on paper and then checking them against an online marking key - similar in concept to the pizzazz or mathomat/mathmagic type worksheets (without the awful maths jokes (that I tend to laugh wayy too heartily at))... It also records the attempts of students so that I can investigate when the tutorial is insufficient.

We presented mathsonline today to the IT committee and hopefully they see some benefit in it. Our principal was positive with his praise of the initiative - now we have to find some success to warrant the praise.