The third cluster meeting was hosted by Fairmount Secondary School and took place on 15th October 2015. Here are brief notes about the meeting.
- Welcome and introduction
Marie welcomed all the teachers and AIMSSEC colleagues (see Appendix 1 for a list of those attending). She discussed the contents of the bags given to each teacher (reports, a hat and a bag, a set of mini white boards and a USB drive with some clips from the research lesson taught in the second term). She then talked about the outline plan for the meeting and introduced Greg Hawtrey.
- Overview of different lessons taught in third term
Marie said that unlike the two terms, in the third term there had been many different lessons taught by teachers.
She showed a photo from each of the different lessons and briefly explained what the lesson was about. The following lessons were described:
- Gr 9 revision
- Mean, median, mode and range
- Percentage change
- Properties of quadrilaterals
- Straight line graphs
- Trig graphs
- Comparing investments
- Understanding function notation
Marie explained that, as for the previous cluster meeting, she had made a short video montage of all the lessons taught since the previous cluster meeting. The video consisted of scenes from the beginnings, middles and ends of the lessons.
She asked the teachers to consider the following things while watching the video: the use of big cards, learners’ response to the lesson and the use of mini whiteboards.
- Revision lesson (introduced by Regis)
Ingrid explained that Regis had asked for a revision lesson to prepare his Gr 9 learners for the ANAs and so we had designed one which covered the appropriate content. Regis explained the structure of the lesson – that the small cards had different questions on them but that each answer was either 3, 4 or 5 and that the learners had to draw three columns labelled 3, 4 and 5 and place each card in the appropriate column.
The teachers and AIMSSEC colleagues were then paired up and worked together on the revision lesson.
After working through most of the cards we had a discussion about the lesson and how useful it might be for other classes. A number of teachers indicated that they would like to use the lesson with their Gr 9 class.
The teachers filled in a questionnaire asking them to reflect on their experiences of taking part in the research project.
- Issues arising this term
Use of big cards for modeling (Jane)
Jane was unable to attend the cluster meeting so Ingrid explained that in one of Jane’s lessons she had not used big cards to model what the learners were supposed to do and this resulted in some confusion. Ingrid said that this had also happened in Severino’s class where only the first part of the activity had been modeled. It was generally agreed that the use of big cards for modeling was an important and valuable part of the research lessons.
Use of big cards to end off (Severino)
Severino was also not able to attend the lesson and so Marie explained that in his class he had used the big cards to end off the lesson in different ways in the different lessons. In the first lesson he had the big cards on a table
In the front of the classroom and the learners had come up of their own accord and stuck big cards on the board; in the second lesson the cards were also in the front of the class but the learners had to be prompted numerous times before they volunteered to stick cards on the board; and in the third lesson he had handed out a big card to each group. He had told us that he thought the final strategy was the best as it forced all the groups to be engaged.
Learners’ response (Berenice)
Berenice described the changes she had noticed in her learners. In particular that by the last lesson they seemed more willing to ask her questions and to discuss mathematics with each other than in the first lesson. She said that she noticed this change in other lessons, not only in the research lessons.
Mini whiteboards (Regis)
Regis explained how useful he found the mini whiteboards. He said that he used them at the beginning of the lesson to see which learners understood the work covered in the previous lesson. He said that the learners were much more likely to work on a problem if they were able to do it on a mini whiteboard than if they had to do it in their books. He also explained that the had started using the miniwhite boards with his matric class, asking them to make mind maps of the different concepts in mathematics and that this once again allowed him to easily identify who was prepared for the exams and who needed extra support.
- Next steps
Marie told the teachers that FaSMEd South Africa was going to host the next project meeting (9-11 Feb 2016) which would be attended by researchers from the European partners. She explained that there would be a social event on the Monday evening before the project meeting and she invited all the teachers to attend this. She also explained that we hope to organise school visits on all three days of the project meeting and that we would therefore be contacting certain schools in January to make arrangements.
The FaSMEd movie
Ingrid explained that FaSMEd was going produce a video about the project and asked teachers to fill in a consent form for video of the interviews to be used as part of the FaSMEd movie. She explained that we would check with a teacher if a clip of them was going to be used.
Marie explained that the classroom intervention phase of the project was now over but that we would still like to work with the teachers in 2016. She said that the teachers should contact us if they had a lesson they wanted to teach or if there was a topic they wanted us to develop a lesson for. She explained that we would help with cutting cards, that we might video the lessons but that we wouldn’t write up detailed reports.
The meeting concluded at 5:00pm.
Our thanks go to everyone who attended the meeting, to Fairmount Senior Secondary for hosting the meeting and to the AIMS kitchen staff for the refreshments.