Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Update 25 June 2014 - Mathematical Literacy

Kia ora tātou,

The end of term is in sight, the shortest day is behind us and the sun is shining today. This is a very different day from yesterday when the frozen fog wrapped us in it’s wintry grip.  I am sharing a recording of the Dunedin Midwinter Lantern Festival which was a spectacular occasion.  I was talking with a Principal who is preparing for a whole school hangi and Matariki celebration on Friday.  I hope many of you are having celebrations around Matariki and can share you stories.

Mathematical Literacy
This week I had the privilege of talking with Viv Thompson, Primary Mathematics facilitator, based at the University of Otago, College of Education, Education Support Services.  
From the New Zealand Curriculum
Both (mathematics and statistics) equip students with effective means for investigating, interpreting, explaining, and making sense of the world in which they live. Mathematicians and statisticians use symbols, graphs, and diagrams to help them find and communicate patterns and relationships, and they create models to represent both real-life and hypothetical situations. These situations are drawn from a wide range of social, cultural, scientific, technological, health, environmental, and economic contexts.”
What is mathematical literacy?
  • Understanding what mathematics is, being able to discuss and come to a shared understanding with others
  • Discussing and building on the concepts of others.
  • Understanding and using mathematical symbols.
  • Developing a deeper understanding of what ‘equals’ means.
  • Using a context which makes sense to the learners.  Problems can be understood in context.
  • Talking about and discussing challenges and misconceptions.
  • Understanding the four operations and how they work for whole numbers and how this can change when dealing with fractional numbers.  
  • Exploration and use of patterns and ability to discuss these.
  • Exploration of graphs and diagrams.  
Why is mathematical literacy important?
Learners need to be able to understand mathematics and speak maths language to live life effectively.
They need to be able to solve problems in a real context; building, making, planning real life events.  
How do we develop and nurture mathematical literacy?
Firstly ensure learners have success and develop confidence in their ability in mathematics.
  • Provide opportunities for mathematical conversations.
  • Explore and define mathematical terms.
  • Understand and decode mathematical symbols.
  • Encourage a ‘can do” attitude.
  • Provide opportunities to manipulate concrete materials and discuss thinking around solving problems.
  • Being able to generalise an idea after it has been successfully tested on many examples e.g. using the associative property knowing that in addition the order of the addends does not make any difference to the answer.
Through discussing and debating problems learners are empowered to communicate their thinking both verbally and through the use of words and symbols.    
“They learn to create models and predict outcomes, to conjecture, to justify and verify, and to seek patterns and generalisations. They learn to estimate with reasonableness, calculate with precision, and understand when results are precise and when they must be interpreted with uncertainty.” New Zealand Curriculum”
What resources support mathematical literacy?

Effective Pedagogy in Mathematics - a downloadable pdf which can also be ordered from Down the Back of the Chair.  
Section 7. Mathematical Communication - Effective teachers are able to facilitate
classroom dialogue that is focused on mathematical argumentation.
Section 8. Mathematical language - Effective teachers shape mathematical language by modelling appropriate terms and communicating their meaning in ways
that students understand.

Key mathematical ideas.  Use this ‘key’ to ensure you know what is expected of learners at each stage, at each level..  
e-ako Learner pathways Year 3 up.  Personalised to meet individual needs, follow the learner’s journey.
Figure it out online - how can you use the online versions of the figure it outs?
Most regions have Mathematic Lead Teacher Meetings once a term.  
Education Support Services - University of Otago  You can check out upcoming meetings on this site.  It would be great if educators from around New Zealand could share links to support in your areas please.

An example of the power of developing mathematical literacy…
A HUGE thank you to Viv for this insight into Mathematical Literacy.  I look forward to rich discussion around this post.  
This week we are sharing Mathematical links to support your programmes.  
Maybe you can add links to these from your blogs, or websites.
Anne’s Literacy Links and Look ups…
NZLA - the 37th New Zealand Literacy Association Conference. Register now.
CLESOL - the 14th National Conference for Community Languages and ESOL. Register now.
Ngā mihi nui
Anne Kenneally
Literacy Online Facilitator
CORE Education

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