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Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

Dear Marilyn (mentor) Following recent discussions, I have reviewed and subsequently modified and enhanced - the proposed activities to improve the numeracy learning experience for our Year 7 students. I undertook several reflective activities to support this objective. 1. An extensive review of literature on teaching numeracy highlighted a number of strategies to enhance students acquisition of numeracy (Figure 2). I have changed and added tasks to my activities to incorporate these. The relationship between these strategies, and improving the numerate experience for students, is represented in Figure 1. In reviewing my journal entries, I observed my recurring concern with having to operate with limited time, resources and support. While this is a legitimate concern, I believe it negatively influenced me to be economical in the amount of time I devoted to designing activities. I have responded by extending activities to give them significantly more depth and breadth, with the intended outcome of making them more engaging and richer experiences for students. To gain a more objective perspective on my proposed activities, I consulted with an experienced teacher from a Queensland state school. Perhaps the most valuable outtake from these discussions was the concept of interrelatedness of barriers to numeracy. I have responded by adopting an holistic approach to these issues, devising activities which address several issues simultaneously and which strengthen the connections between overall outcomes.

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OVERCOMING BARRIERS TO NUMERACY My enhancements also include strategies which work to overcome some of the key barriers to numeracy. These barriers begin more generally with the fundamentals: teachers knowledge, aptitude and attitude. Up-skilling teachers Essential to effective teaching is excellent teaching knowledge and understanding of the way students learn mathematics. (Ofsted, 2009; The Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics, 2009 (SAC); National Numeracy Review Report (NNRR), 2008). Teachers will teach more dynamically, represent subject matter in more varied ways and respond fully to students when their knowledge is more explicit, better connected, and more integrated. (NNRR, 2008). When teachers knowledge is limited they will tend to de-emphasise interactive discourse over textbook and set work, and deliver static, factual knowledge. (NNRR, 2008). Perso (2006) highlights the lack of quality professional development for teachers of numeracy. Westwood (2008) suggests strategies which include high quality pedagogy and resources; guided support during discovery activities; building on prior knowledge; allowing sufficient time for students to master concepts and skills; employing student-centred inquiry methods; using problem-based approaches after students have established their number facts; ensuring learning is motivational, meaningful and engaging; using questioning to identify students misconceptions; employing instructional approaches that allow for student differences; and creating success for every student to build self-esteem and motivation.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

It is therefore vital that we put in place regular, relevant, quality professional development to ensure teachers are well-equipped from both a content and pedagogical perspective. Additional funding is key to facilitating this. Improving teacher attitude and approaches Learning needs to be situated in students lives. Students have diverse needs that are the result of individual learning histories, abilities, language, culture and socioeconomic factors. (ACARA, 2010; McGaw, 2007 & Vinson 2007 in Ewing, 2010). Mathematics taught in Australian schools derives from a Western world view which doesnt cater to learners with a different world scheme. (NNRR, 2008). An unintended effect of current classroom practice has been to exclude some students because it lacked real-life connections, and teachers had low expectations for some cultural groups. (SAC, 2009; MCEETYA, 2007). Teachers need to recognise students different pathways to learning. This requires a change of teacher mindset and the use of appropriate programs that give access to learning for at-risk students and varied, unique learning styles. Collaboration The enhancements incorporate the concept of collaboration (my surprising idea, you may recall from our July meeting). Research shows that schools successful in mathematics collaborate, establish resource provision and effective processes, share teaching and curriculum ideas, provide professional development. (NNRR, 2008). Teachers who work collegially work creatively and constructively within a range of communities to share insights and provide feedback. (The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT), Domain 2: 2.3). The chronic issue of underfunding and limited resources (NNRR, 2008) is compounded by teachers tendency to guard their resources as their intellectual property, and resistance to working collaboratively. A whole-school, collegial approach is necessary in order to provide and share adequate resources and information about effective practices. (NNRR, 2008). I recommend we advocate for a culture where teachers collaborate and share resources so that we can develop resources most efficiently. Appointing a Curriculum Co-ordinator could help to guide year-level teachers prepare units of work in a collaborative fashion. Specialist teachers should be consulted to ensure subjects are introduced and extended cross-curricularly and further integrated. Collaboration outside the school gates is also recommended. Sharing teaching approaches and resources with strategically identified schools would offer benefits for students and teachers from each institution. Working with business and industry will also link students to realistic scenarios. SPECIFIC APPROACHES Attached find: 1. Table 1 sets out modifications and additions to the original set of activities for the year 7 students. The table shows two columns. The left-hand column includes only the changed aspects of the activities. The right-hand column shows colour-highlighted summary labels which refer to the general themes I have identified in the literature that influenced the changes made.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

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Figure 2 more fully details these themes and provides my rationale for the changes, as well as the source of literature for the insights gained.

CONCLUSION Cultivating relationships with families and communities, combined with positive classroom practices, developing high expectations of students learning, and having a toolkit of pedagogical strategies to support students is crucial to their success in numeracy. (NNRR, 2008). Regards,

Lisa Attachments: Figure 1; Table 1; Figure 2; Appendix

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2 Figure 1 | An holistic view

Community Engagement Real-Life Contexts


Situated in students' lives. Connections between maths concepts and real-world applications. Relevant topics of interest. Culturally/socially determined taskcentred approaches . Bridge social/cultural/ demographic divides. Share knowledge /resources. Expose students/teachers/ families to different teaching approaches. Connections with business/ commerce

Interdisciplinary
Learn across contexts and build on previous knowledge. Explore mathematics across key learning areas. Mathematics lab/expo/exhibition.

Government
Policy Funding

Curriculum
Nationally determined

Digital Technologies
Create a willingness learn by doing. Varied approaches/deeper understanding. Makes numeracy more real.

Improving the numerate experience for students

Student-Centred Approach
Awareness of diverse, changing and multiple needs. Positive classroom practices. Robust teaching and learning strategies. Explicit, better connected, integrated knowledge. Teach dynamically in responsive ways. Whole school, collegial approach. Share resources, teaching and curriculum ideas.

Connectionist
Build on prior knowledge to make connections. Revisit concepts in new and challenging ways.

Assessing & Monitoring


Demonstrating conceptual approaches and practical activities promote understanding. Tackle misconceptions early and constructively.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2 Table 1

ACTIVITY TABLE

ACTIVITY 1 Content descriptions addressed: ACMMG181; ACMNA178 (The Australian Curriculum, 2012) ADDITIONS / ENHANCEMENTS Utilise GeoGebra and Cartesian plane (CP) in group discussion to highlight line and rotational symmetry in society. TEACHING APPROACH

Connectionist
Connectionist Relevant real-life contexts Digital technologies Relevant real-life contexts Assessing & Monitoring

Pair students - investigate company logos for food industry on internet. Identify horizontal/vertical axes of reflectional symmetry.

Changes to the hypothetical brief: Your client is opening food franchise outlets. (Choose the type of food you would like to market (favourite food, or one that evokes special memories). Student-centred approach Develop a catchy business name and suitable/clever logo to represent the food outlets (must have at least one axis of reflectional symmetry and may also illustrate rotational symmetry). The draft logo will include: axes of symmetry identified with co-ordinates plotted on a CP to indicate identical, mirrored halves. B&W proof of the design and business name (computer/graph paper). visual proof documenting all employees working on the project. why company logos are important and describe three main criteria used in choosing the best logo and why logos are important. why using a CP was un/helpful in designing a logo. Groups brainstorm ideas/strategies for a suitable company logo/name. Student-centred approach Provide evidence of each students participation/role(s) in the project using a variety of media eg

Relevant real-life contexts

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

designer/artist/photographer/strategist/presenter etc. Utilise a CP to create logo and plot co-ordinates (computer/GeoGebra/graph paper). Digital technologies Record co-ordinates for each quadrant of the CP in a table, identifying vertical and/or horizontal axes. Verify they accurately reflect the original logo design. Extension - develop an ambigram for the company name. Relevant real-life contexts Groups to swap tables of CP co-ordinates only for peers to problem-solve the logo design. Class discussion for designers to observe their peers interpretation of logos, and strategies used to problem solve the activity. Designers and interpreters to compare logos, analyse and critique their own, and peers, work. After teacher/peer feedback, students to reflect on changes and develop an improved full colour logo proof (using computer patterns/colours or art materials of their choice). [Surpising idea] Cross-curricular aspects: Students design a 3D version of their logo in Art using a medium of their choice. Interdisciplinary Student-centred approach Assessing & Monitoring

Showcase student pieces in an end of term exhibition/maths expo in a maths/science lab that provides interactive experiences to engage students/teachers/visitors (families/neighbouring schools/community members) to inquire/explore/experiment in symmetrical or other mathematical/scientific problem-solving. An exchange of learning approaches between ours and neighbouring schools will enhance learning benefits and insights into resource use and pooling.

Interdisciplinary Community engagement Student-centred approach

Classes of the same/different year levels could engage informally in a swap meet to exchange ideas on how symmetry is represented.

Interdisciplinary Student-centred approach Community engagement

Utilise Primary assembly to showcase student work to the school/family communities.

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

Invite a graphic artist to illustrate their strategies and interpretation of symmetry brief.

Community engagement Relevant real-life contexts

ACTIVITY 2 Content descriptions addressed: ACMNA176; ACMNA177; ACMNA180 (The Australian Curriculum, 2012) ADDITIONS / ENHANCEMENTS TEACHING APPROACH

Discussion/reflection on the influences/impacts of symmetry on society and analogies with the impact of their food choice on society.

Connectionist Relevant real-life contexts Student-centred approach Assessing & Monitoring

In groups: Investigate the calorific content of their food (internet/calorie counter guidebook). Calculate expended energy needed to burn the calories. Generate bar graph to compare results with the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of calories for their age-group (computer/graph paper). Estimate different tuckshop items calorific content. Compare against the food nutrition label. Discuss the meaning of Average Serve and other nutritional information on labels. Choose tuckshop items to make up their RDI for their age-group, based on height. Generate a different graph (eg line) to identify items and calories compared with RDIs. Choose three types of exercise (school sport/leisure activity they engage in) to investigate the time required to expend 500/1000/2000 calories. Some students to wear a heart rate monitor/pedometer throughout the day. Generate a different graph (eg column) to record findings. Each student maintains a food diary for a day (include all food/drinks), then researches calories for same. Calculate how long it would

Relevant real-life contexts

Student-centred approach

Digital technologies

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

take an activity/sport of their choosing to burn off the calories that exceed their RDI. Groups to graph the results using computer or graph paper In pairs, ascertain Body Mass Index (BMI) of another by recording weight, height and age, utilising algebraic problem-solving. Compare and graph against the average range for their age-group. Discuss healthy food choices/types of foods that replenish lost calories/energy to refuel the body. Discuss how this knowledge can empower them.

Assessing & Monitoring

Student-centred approach Relevant real-life contexts Assessing & Monitoring

[Surprising idea] Cross-curricular aspects Interdisciplinary Eg SOSE (effects of obesity on society/economy ie workplace productivity/absenteeism; obesity epidemic; bullying); Physical Education/Health (health implications); Science (foods that enhance body function; physiological/psychological effects of obesity) Offer Brain Break one hour before morning tea to refuel the body/brain for five minutes with 6-8 pieces fruit/raw vegetables. Relevant real-life contexts Student-centred approach

Elizabeth (Lisa) Cusack | Student Number s239335 | ETL421 Teaching the Curriculum 2 | Assignment 2

Figure 2

Connectionist

Builds on students' prior knowledge to make relevant connections. (The Shape of the Curriculum: Mathematics (SAC), 2009; Westwood, 2008). Bruners (1966) spiral curriculum allows students to revisit concepts and skills in new and challenging ways. (Westwood, 2008). Using technology creates a willingness to 'learn by doing. (Association for Information Technology in Teacher Education, 2009). It optimises student engagement and minimises barriers to learning by allowing varied approaches to, and deeper understanding of, mathematics in society making it more accessible and numeracy more real (SAC, 2009; Westwood, 2008; Merle, n.d).
Learning needs to be situated in students lives (NNRR, 2008; Westwood, 2008) so they have understanding of the connections between mathematics concepts and their application in their world in relevant contexts. (SAC, 2009; AAMT, 2006). Task-centred/application-based approaches evolve numeracy from being mathematical processes to being culturally and socially determined in real-life contexts. (AAMT, 2006; Westwood, 2008; Perso, 2006; Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), 2009). Students need to see the point of what they learn as they ultimately control what they learn. (Ewing, 2010). Allowing students to make their own decisions values diversity. (Westwood, 2008; AAMT , 2006). Offering choice of activities to represent concepts in different ways gives flexibility to cater for cultural, gender, socioeconomic difference and learning styles, and provides a motive for children to engage in activities. (Mason and Johnston-Wilder, 2006). Effective teaching and learning strategies/techniques promote enjoyment of learning. (AAMT, 2006). This encourages engagement in more mathematically desireable activity to draw on students' natural powers to solve problems and to check validity. (Mason and Johnston-Wilder, 2006). Non-routine problems, open-ended tasks and investigations encourage risk-taking, are effective in engaging students to construct knowledge, acquire skills and reflect on peer understandings. These approaches develop the broader mathematical skills of problem solving, reasoning, generalising, acquiring skills and applying what they know creatively. (Ofsted, 2009; Westwood, 2008; AAMT, 2006). Group activities encourage stickability. (Mason & Johnston-Wilder, 2006). Co-operative learning and reciprocal teaching, discussion and 'think-aloud' strategies enhance learning, social and emotional development (Vygotsky & Bruner in Westwood, 2008); AAMT, 2006), and support students with different learning styles and abilities. (Ewing, 2010; Annenberg Learner workshop).

Digital Technologies

Relevant Real-life Contexts

Student-centred Approach

Assessing and Monitoring

Demonstration of conceptual approaches and practical activities promote understanding in students, allowing misconceptions to surface and be monitored and tackled constructively by the teacher. (Ofsted, 2009) The area of numeracy is said to be a fundamental component of learning, discourse and critique across all areas of the curriculum. (AAMT, 2006). Learning takes place across contexts and builds upon previous knowledge. (Mason and Johnston-Wilder, 2006). Providing students with opportunities to explore and apply mathematics across key learning areas (AAMT, 2006) allows students to work on topics more in depth and helps students to master concepts and skills (Kress, 2000; Westwood, 2008). A mathematical sciences lab is a step toward making numeracy and mathematical literacy more accessible to every student regardless of learning capabilities and needs (Merle, (n.d.). Involving the school s/family/communities draws on a whole-school approach to deepen the learning experience for students . (Westwood, 2008). A maths expo would be a fun, supportive, creative and inspirational school community activity. Intra school - sharing of resources/teaching strategies. Involvement of business/commerce to enhance real-life connectedness.

Interdisciplinary

Community Engagement

Appendix References Annenberg Learner (1997). Workshop 1. Patterns and Functions: What Comes Next? [Video File]. Retrieved from http://www.learner.org/resources/series98.html?pop=yes&pid=1089# This video workshop highlighted the benefits of inquiry-based teaching and learning strategies, such as group discussions and well-guided and monitored investigative approaches in group activities. As a team peers can work collaboratively, and encourage and support one another as they are exposed to varying viewpoints and learning strategies. The workshop encouraged me to include challenging, engaging, and flexible group activities to provide opportunities for students to participate in learning in different ways, and thereby better cater to students preferred learning styles. It also demonstrated the benefits of drawing on the rich resources of others by working collegially within the classroom, cross-curricularly and with other schools and teachers which is evident in my activities and in addressing my surprising idea. Importantly, it demonstrated that additional funding is not always necessary to tap into valuable resources. Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training (2007). In What Works. The Work Program: Core Issues 4 (pp. 1-12). Retrieved from http://whatworks.edu.au/upload/1250830936111_file_4Numeracy.pdf. This paper contributed to my understanding of how teachers can build barriers to learning numeracy by unconsciously having low expectations of students, thereby creating a self-fulfilling cycle/prophecy. Ewing, R. (2010). The Reflection Storyline: Bringing Stories Together. In Curriculum & Assessment: A Narrative Approach. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press. Hermenuetic knowing is socially constructed through discussions where we gain understanding and meaning. Group discussions throughout activities can provide opportunities to reflect-in-action (Schon, 1983) so that both students and teacher can make these connections and assess the impact and consequences of decisions while they are being implemented. Reflecting on understandings and processes redirects learning and helps to recognise unintended outcomes, which broadens the learning experience, and allows intended outcomes to be modified. The most significant reflection occurs when learners detach from active participation to debrief as an end point to the activities. This caused me to add additional reflective activities to the tasks. Hammond, M., Crosson, S., Fragkouli, E., Ingram, J., Johnston-Wilder, P., Johnston-Wilder, S., Kingston, Y. (2009). Why do some student teachers make very good use of ICT? An exploratory case study. Technology, Pedagogy and Education, 18(1), 59-73. Whole class explaining and modelling is central to good teaching. Both activities start and finish with class discussions to highlight the overarching themes involved in the lesson. Kress, G. (2000). A Curriculum for the Future. Cambridge Journal of Education, 30(1), 133-145. doi:10.1080/03057640050005825. The concept of design is a potent learning tool. It produces the new rather than replicating the old. It gives students a realistic experience that better parallels the demands of the real world. Activities that provide opportunities to design enable the student to be agentive, transformative, creative and innovative so that the student is always shaping and never simply using. Design speaks of choices which

reflect the interests of their designer and choices of mode. My activities now include many tasks which require students to design elements of their activity. Mason, J., & Johnston-wilder, S. (2006). Designing and Using Mathematical Tasks. In Mathematical Activity (pp. 69-96). St. Albans, United Kingdom. This paper highlighted the importance of providing tasks that promote mathematical activity to encourage students to use their natural powers in order to engage with learning and explore possibilities. Activities that draw on a students emotions effectively engage them. I changed the design to require students to graph information, plot co-ordinates and problem-solving their peers work to provide opportunity for students theorems-in-action and the manipulating-getting-a-sense-of-articulating framework which helps to integrate knowledge. I have also created opportunities for students to stand back from an activity for them to get-a-sense-of the sequence which enables students to consolidate knowledge This contributes to the maturation process of learning, which in turn allows students to gain confidence to explore new situations. Merle, M. (n.d.). Defining Mathematical Literacy in France. 221-223. This paper emphasised the importance of teaching students to think geometrically, to reason, and establish strong links with other disciplines. It also highlighted the fundamental role that computers and computations play in building mathematics concepts and theories. I Introduced the concept of a mathematical sciences lab - a fun, interactive, deeper, and extended way of learning in which students can meet, discuss, experiment, practice and receive visitors. Ministerial Council for Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). Commissioned by the Human Capita Working Group, Council of Australian Governments. (2008). National Numeracy Review Report. Retrieved August 8, 2012, from http://www.coag.gov.au/sites/default/files/national_numeracy_review.pdf Providing meaningful activities that are inclusive and not socially and culturally biased are necessary for effective teaching. Activities that provide opportunities for students to engage in mathematical skills and processes, and contexts to solve problems in familiar and unfamiliar ways, assists students to effectively utilise this knowledge. This report caused me to change the emphasis of the first activity to food, as it had the potential to be more inclusive in terms of students backgrounds and interests. I was also conscious that, where possible, activities were structured to ensure that all students participated and that there were opportunities to embed numeracy across the curriculum. Ofsted (2009). Mathematics: Understanding the Score. Improving Practice in Mathematics Teaching at Primary Level. (pp. 1-15). Retrieved from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk. Non-routine problems, open-ended tasks and investigations develop the broader mathematical skills of problem-solving, reasoning, and generalising, and support students in estimating and checking for themselves. Giving support throughout a lesson to enhance thinking and independence, and providing criteria on which students can be judged and understood, through discussion, reflection, oral/written/multimodal summaries and monitoring allows students to take responsibility for their learning. This booklet caused me to restructure activities to make it easier for students to demonstrate understanding and to identify misconceptions early, and also to recognise that students experience understanding through links with other subjects.

Perso, T. (2006). Teachers of Mathematics or Numeracy? In Australian Mathematics Teacher. Retrieved from http://wwwthelma.perso@qed.qld.gov.au. Being numerate involves a disposition/confidence to use mathematics which can be supported and facilitated through group activities. Providing activities which allow students to engage in higher-order thinking skills, estimation, judging the appropriateness of answers in context deepens the learning experience. The use of technology enhances the learning of mathematics concepts and makes activities more interesting. An environment that stimulates a students desire for using mathematics is one that provides more task-centred and application-based activities which encapsulate the broader skills of undertaking research, talking and writing about what students are doing. This paper caused me to give careful consideration to the balance of basic mathematical skills and application-based tasks that encourage risk-taking, and are essential for numeracy. Programme for International Student Assessment (2009). PISA 2009 Mathematics Framework. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/pisa/aboutpisa/ This report highlighted that learning occurs through experiences and is acquired gradually, with individual knowledge and construction occurring through the processes of interaction, negotiation and collaboration. I ensured that all tasks would promote activities that were highly interactive and collaborative and called on varied cognitive mathematical competencies such as: thinking and reasoning; argumentation; communication; modelling; problem-posing and solving and representation. The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers. (2006). Standards for Excellence in Teaching Mathematics in Australian Schools. Retrieved September 15, 2012, from http://www.aamtedu.au Domain: 1 1.1 Acknowledge students social and cultural contexts and preferred ways of learning. Make clear to students (through discussions) why mathematics is taught and connections within mathematics, other subjects and how it relates to society. Activities were structured to accommodate different social and cultural backgrounds and preferred ways of learning, and connections to realistic contexts were used to make the mathematical activities relevant. 3 1.3 Promote enjoyment of learning and positive attitudes to mathematics through effective teaching and learning strategies. Utilise information and communication technology (ICT). Enable parental involvement. I included activities that involved computer use, and one that included swapping Cartesian plane co-ordinates that added an element of fun. Families were included by providing opportunities for community engagement at an exhibition, maths expo and/or assembly. 3 3.1 Establish an environment that maximises learning opportunities for students to develop psychologically and emotionally. Respond to the diversity of students individual needs. Encourage independent learners and enjoyment and interest in maths. Develop an inclusive atmosphere and active engagement and foster co-operative and collaborative efforts and communication. All activities were mindful of encouraging engagement, collaboration and communication and allowing for student diversity. 3 3.2 Plan for learning experiences that allow for spontaneous and self-directed learning. Provide activities that are enhanced by technologies and other resources. Take into account students background and prior mathematical knowledge. Apply mathematics across key learning areas and beyond the school setting. The design element of the activities was chosen because of its capacity to accommodate spontaneity and uncapped innovation.

3 3.3

Arouse curiosity in students, challenge their thinking and engage them actively in learning. Support students to think creatively, take risks and provide strategic interventions during the learning process. Activities were designed to encourage creative thinking in a supportive environment that enabled learning to be monitored and redirected as required.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (2010). The Shape of the Australian Curriculum. The Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority. Retrieved July 19, 2012, from http://www.qsa.qld.edu.au/dowloads/early_middle/ac_faqs_implementation.pdf. This report highlighted that active experiences that are meaningful and purposeful allow students to construct mathematical ideas and connections. Emphasising the relevance of the content to students makes mathematics accessible. The use of models, pictures and symbols during the activities and whole class discussions helps to represent ideas and develop conceptual understanding. Students need an understanding of the connection between mathematics concepts and their application in the world in order to motivate them. Providing design and graphing activities enables students to explore ways of working with their own personal data, as well as data they have created, to allow a variety of representations and make predictions based on their observations. Activities were designed to build on prior knowledge and to connect to the real world. A variety of mediums of expression and communication were utilised to develop conceptual understanding. Mathematical skills acquired were required to be applied in a different and unfamiliar contexts, within the numeracy activities, and to other learning areas. The Australian Curriculum and Reporting Authority (2010). Australian Curriculum. Year 7 Mathematics Curriculum, Retrieved from http://australiancurriculum.edu.au/Year7 This reference provided a framework on which to design engaging, stimulating and challenging activities. The following content descriptions were utilised: Location and transformation Describe translations, reflections in an axis, and rotations of multiples of 90 degrees on the Cartesian plane using coordinates. Identify line and rotational symmetries (ACMMG181) Patterns and algebra Given coordinates, plot points on the Cartesian plane, and find coordinates for a given point (ACMNA178) Patterns and algebra Create algebraic expressions and evaluate them by substituting a given value for each variable (ACMNA176). Extend and apply the laws and properties of arithmetic to algebraic terms and expressions (ACMNA177). Linear and non-linear relationships Investigate, interpret and analyse graphs from authentic data (ACMNA180).

Vibert, A. & Shields, C. (2003). Approaches to Student Engagement: Does Ideology Matter?, 38(2), 221-240. McGill University. This article highlighted that as schools improve they become more effective, students become more engaged and perform better. Students, like teachers and community members are engaged in schools when they are engaging places to be in (Smith et al, 1998). Including the school and family communities in my activities can enhance the experience for all involved. The article also illustrated that engagement describes more than motivation and requires attention to the social contexts that help activate underlying motivation. I tend to view education through both an interpretive/student-centred lense that is located in students interests and choices, and a critical/transformative one where learning is

grounded in the lives and experiences of students and engagement with the world. This is evident in the activities which are located in the life experiences of students, and by adopting a critical pedagogy to provoke critical re-thinking of the impacts of their choices on society eg how logos or products are represented and influence/manipulate society; the health implications on society and the economy as a result of peoples choices, etc. Watson, C. (2007). Small Stories, Positioning Analysis, and the Doing of Professional Identities in Learning to Teach. Narrative Inquiry, 17(2), 371-389. This paper contributed to my understanding on reflective practices and demonstrated a particular and useful methodology which I used to review my own narrative in the form of my journal entries. It illustrated how an individuals narrative can reveal their motivations, and how the discourses that they are unconsciously a part of influence their work, without them being aware of it. Impressed with the revelations this communicated, I reviewed my journal entries to try to gain insight into my underlying motives, perceptions and prejudices. To gain a more objective perspective I also asked a colleague, at Currumbin Primary School, to review my journals and discuss my activities from a Positioning Analysis (PA) (Bamberg, 1977) perspective. Like the participants in the PA example, I could see that I too was concerned to present myself as a competent practitioner, but was realistic about my lack of experience. An overarching theme revealed through my entries was the student-centred prism through which I tended to view classroom activities, which I thought was positive, as did my colleague. I was also interested, as it is one of the major discourses relevant to education in this State, to observe my recurring concern of having to operate with limited resources and support. Whilst I believe this is a legitimate concern, I can see how it possibly motivated me to be economical in the time I devoted to design activities in anticipation of being chronically pressed for time in a normal teaching environment. Westwood, P. (2008). In What Teachers Need to Know about Numeracy. Camberwell, Vic: ACER Press. This chapter highlighted that the effectiveness of the instruction students receive is the major influence on their numeracy. This influenced me to present information clearly by using practical, concrete and visual examples for the students to see, and for them to undertake experiential research on the computer and using tuckshop items to make the subject more real. My restructuring of the activities included greater co-operative engagement with peers so that they become more interactive and student-driven to encourage social and emotional development. This reading also encouraged me to incorporate more think- aloud group activities as this method has greatly influenced the teaching of mathematics.