Saturday, 12 December 2015

Checking in: How are you feeling these days as a mathematician?

How are you feeling these days as a mathematician?

I gave this question to my students via a google form just before we left for our winter holiday.  

Before our autumn holiday 6 weeks ago, I had asked them:  How have your feelings changed since being in Year 6?

That simple question gave me tonnes of valuable insights into each of my students which I've used to help enrich their maths learning experiences this term.

To help my students feel more successful and to enjoy mathematical thinking, I hoped this question would also provide some good insights.

Looking at their responses, I started playing around with how I could group the children.

Children who are feeling successful / enjoying maths:

° Good because I like how we always have choices of activities. It makes me more interested and it helps me to learn with different partners.

° Good because I have learnt how  to play around with maths and learning interesting strategies to make maths more fun

° Way better because I hated maths and never thought I was smart at it. Now I know I am! I like it when we create problems for others to solve because I can now make more challenging ones.

° I am feeling like an awesome mathematician because in every unit I did last year, I struggled but now I have good a proud feeling. I think I am asking myself deeper questions to enquire into.

° I feel more confident because I do more challenging questions and in Y5 I got the same activities as everybody else which was a bit too easy. Now I can take my learner deeper.

° These days I am feeling really good as a mathematician because I understand what we are talking about and I don't always get confused. I can learn from my partner and I can teach my partner too.

° For me this is my biggest change. Maths was a mystery to me before but now it is starting to all make sense.

° I feel fine about fractions (positive and a bit shaky negative, addition fine, subtraction fine, multiplication fine, division I keep forgetting [I think you swap the first fraction's numerator with denominator and then multiply the 2  fractions]), decimals (same as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division in normal numbers), percentages(positive fine, negative fine except a bit shaky on inventing negative percentage questions), addition and subtraction (positive and OK negative)  multiplication (big numbers and small numbers), Division (positive fine, negative OK)

° I feel that in maths I'm doing better because the way mr.A explains what to do helps me a lot and I understand what to do so I do it well because when I don't understand what to do I do it badly but for the rest I think I'm doing well.

° Being free to choose the activities challenges my thinking, and working with a partner like Pavi or Kayla is fun because we have similar minds so working together is not a difficulty. We try and expand and deepen our understandings when we learn together.

° The maths activities we are doing are fun because as well as doing math it is a hands on activity!!!!! Now I feel I am a successful mathematician and I want to learn more and more.

° I have started to think deeper about it and understand more, I am also starting to enjoy maths more.

Children I need to conference with and monitor more closely:

° Good but I think I can do better next time in maths activities.

° I think I am now a low mathematician compared to my school last year,because we do stuff here that I've never done before.

° In feeling OK... In class we are doing interesting things but I might need a bit of help on the Khan Academy when I do that for home learning. My maths skill have improved a lot and I like it this year.

This simple 'check-in' has given me some good insights into where my kids are in maths. I know who I need to conference with after the holiday to find out exactly why they feel they are struggling so I can help with providing different strategies or learning experiences.

What do you think your students would say?


  1. Brilliant question to ask in the first instance and some interesting as well as lovely responses. Thank you

  2. Thanks for the feedback Michael :) Sometimes, simple questions are the deepest ja?


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