Tuesday, 14 April 2015

BUILDing our confidence

So this week in Numeracy I've changed things up, I've tried something new, given it a go, winged it!!! Read on to find out why…
Well…..just as all year 2s across the country are, my little ones are facing SAT's over this next half term and I have been looking at my latest Numeracy assessments analysis and biting my nails. I see holes, big holes!!! Holes and gaps everywhere!!! I thought things were going well! 
As the saying goes 'if children aren't learning the way you teach, teach the way they learn' it was clear that something wasn't working for this group of kids. My typical lesson follows a 4 part structure- Mental/ Oral starter (10mins), Intro and whole class teaching (15mins), group work(20mins), plenary (10mins) often with groups missing parts of the Intro and whole class teaching section to work with a TA because they a) are already beyond this and need extending or b) they are not ready for this and need more consolidation. M/O, group and plenary include appropriate levels of differentiation. 'Hum….sounds similar to my lesson structure' you might think…..'This is what they tell us to do' you might think….'This is tailored to children's abilities' you might think….'What's up with this way of teaching?' you might think and my answer would be- yes it is differentiated, what they tell us to do, tailored to abilities and nothing is wrong with this way of teaching the problem is it's not right for my children at this moment in time, it's not closing their gaps, ultimately it's not giving them enough 'face time' and my children need 'face time'. 

So what have I done about it?

Well I've shopped around, I've researched and I've thought about what already works well 
within my class. 
The 2 established routines which work the best for us are Guided Reading and Basic Skills Friday both give the children quality 'face time' and plug specific holes in their learning, both include the opportunity for games and consolidation of skills, both utilise the skills of our class TA's, both are fun, both include rotations of small groups. 

So I've decided to use the B.U.I.L.D acronym to manage small group rotations within my Numeracy lessons on a Monday and Tuesday. You may have seen B.U.I.L.D on Instagram or Pinterest before and wondered, just as I did, what it was all about so for more details I headed over to  'Adventures in Teaching'  and 'Tunstall's Teaching Tidbits' for further information (don't you just love how the blogging community works?!) and came away feeling as though I had made the right choice. 
Glitter Lego men are from Glitter Meets Glue
I've opted to only devote 2 days to rotations for 3 reasons- a) we have a lot of content to get through before the end of May and I felt the effort that would be required to do a full week of rotations would tie me to the same area of maths for too long b) I have a trainee TA as well as our class TA in on Mondays and Tuesdays so an extra pair of hands is available and c) I'm giving this a go, its a change for us all, for the better I hope and it may be that I move full time to small group rotations but I'd rather dip a toe in first! 

Everything I have read about B.U.I.L.D reassured me that is is a management system which is easily tailored to the needs of your particular class and, after 2 days, I'm convinced! I've altered some of the meanings to suit my setting and children without taking away from the Guided element I love so in our classroom it looks like this-
B remains the same Buddy Games, 
U remains the same Using Manipulatives although I've opted to word it is Using our hands, 
I remains the same Independent (Indie) although I've not included reading, 
L I've opted to include this as 'Linking Our Learning',
D remains a teacher/ TA led activity and I've phrased it as 'Dive In' to encourage the children to dive deeper into the concepts covered in the introduction section of the lesson. 
The structure of my Numeracy lesson now looks like this- Intro and a quick game or activity to practise the skills needed for the independent activities (10mins), First rotation (20 min), Second rotation (20 mins) then 5 min review/ plenary activity. As I have 3 adults in the room it means that over the 2 days every group gets a minimum of 20 mins 'face time' with a maximum of 80 mins 'face time'! That number amazes me- 80 mins- almost an hour and 1/2 of adult 'face time' with 3 days learning still to go!  

I'm not saying this is a quick fix but here is an example of what a group who have had 60 mins of 'face time' these past 2 days have accomplished- 

Our WALT has been 'use addition and subtraction to solve problems involving money' so on Monday day we focused on simply adding and subtracting amounts- the 'Linking our Learning' task was partitioning coins with 2 digit totals out into 10p (Tens) and 1p (Units). It was clear from my marking that they all got it so today I pulled them for 'Linking Our Learning' again and guided them to partition to add 2 sets of coins- applying and pushing a skill they already had into a new context- after 20mins they were confidently portioning to add 2 sets of coins with 2 digit totals so when they moved onto their 'Dive In' session guided by my TA they were able to use the CUBES method we had looked at in 'Intro' along with partitioning to solve money word problems. BOOM! 

Another group took a similar journey only within 40mins they had developed a solid understanding of pounds representing 100 pence, partitioned into HTU, used partitioning into HTU to add 2 amounts together, begun to understand how a decimal point works when dealing with money and used this to convert their totals back into pounds. BOOM BOOM!!! 

So it's clear to see from my post so far that I'm pretty impressed with how BUILD is working out in my classroom after only 2 days….check back next Tuesday to see if I'm still as impressed plus grab a free download of my B.U.I.L.D display and find out how I manage the rotations.  

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