After defining our own Problems of Practice, we were assigned a partner that we would act as a technology integration consultant for. I am working for my friend, David Mattie, by carefully analyzing his problem using the TPACK Framework (Technological, Pedagogical and Content Knowledge) as a critical tool in my instructional design. David is a fantastic 2nd grade teacher from Ypsilanti, Michigan. His problem of practice occurs during his math instruction. His students are struggling to count and add money. You can read more about the problem and David’s context, here.
My journey to help David began with a Q&A to help clarify any misunderstandings I had after reading his analysis of his problem. My Q&A was then followed by a Google Hangout where I reached out to my PLN & PLC (Professional Learning Network and Professional Learning Community) via social media for support, ideas and methods to help David. You can read more about that awesome experience here, and here.
After reaching out to my PLN/PLC many times and researching, I got started right away with solutions for David. My PLN/PLC plays a major role in these solutions as they were the 2nd grade experts and math experts! The great thing about helping David solve this is that I can use these activities as extension activities for my students next year!
Before I get into sharing my solutions–I have to say that this has been my favorite project by far. For some odd reason, it is much easier to solve someone else’s problem instead of your own. I had a great time acting as David’s consultant (and maybe got a little too into it…) and I look forward to sharing my solution (s) with him. You can view the Google Slide Presentation I’ve created to help me share my products with David. There are various links so please click and explore! Below is breakdown of each solution.
This first solution requires David to restructure his math block to resemble that of a math workshop model. Currently, David engages in whole group instruction for 50 minutes and then works with small groups for 30 minutes. I already know that David provides fantastic TPACK activities for his students on iPads and Chromebooks, and I believe that shortening his whole group instruction will allow for more rotations through centers and therefore more differentiated hands-on activities.
NUMBER TALKS! This is a solution that I feel David will greatly benefit from. After reading and analyzing his problem, it is evident that his students lack number sense. This is certainly not attributed to David but rather the expectations students have for math/students’ previous exposure to math. Students are always so eager to get the answer, put a number on the paper and be done–but do they truly understand how or why they got the answer? Most times, no. I have colleagues who teach sixth grade who still have students counting/adding using their fingers. Number talks help students to develop strong number sense that will give them to confident to approach and solve any math problem.
Can David’s students Breakout?! I have participated in and guided my students through a few Breakout EDUs and they are awesome. I think this particular example would be great for David to give to his students towards the end of his money study. Breakout EDUs engage kids in complex problem solving, critical thinking and teamwork. Students will have to solve puzzles to reveal codes that unlock a prize at the end! I would suggest David has his students complete this in a small group with him or a paraprofessional because of the age group.
This solution will support David’s students in counting and recognizing coins. I’ve provided him with virtual manipulative and activities I’ve created in Google Draw. Based on my research and what my PLN relayed to me, it is plain and simple that kids just need a lot of exposure to coins to memorize their values. I’m hoping these materials will provide him with addition activities during his centers that his students will enjoy. Something that I am currently learning about that I am introducing to David is the idea of a hyperdoc. A hyperdoc is essentially a Google Doc (Google Document) that contains an innovative lessons for students (people are calling it the 21st century worksheet!). The teacher hyperlinks various activities through a step-by-step process in a google doc. It really is so simple and David has probably already tried something similar–but now it has a cool name attached to it and hopefully there will be more and more examples of hyperdocs lessons that he can use (or create and share with others!).
The last solution I have provided David will support his students when adding or subtracting coins. David mentioned in his problem of practice that his students struggle to add monetary values (the decimal adding complications). I’ve provided him with a very simple way to coach his students through understanding decimals and their relationship to money. I then provided him with another hyperdoc that guides students through adding/subtracting money. At the end of the assignment, students can scan their working using the app Aurasma to check their work.
The final Consultation
After prototyping, researching and reaching out to my PLN again, I came to a final solution for David! I decided to combine my first and second solutions (see above) which is to restructure his math block to emulate that of the math workshop model–as well as add number talks to his day.
During our consultation, I felt as thought my Google Slides presentation was a great visual and helped guide our conversation. He was receptive to my ideas and I really hope it benefits his students this upcoming school year. It will be great to communicate with him throughout the year and be there to answer questions for him if needed. I know that David is a great teacher, so I provided him with the other solutions as an option for him as the year progresses. It was great to act as a technology consultant and to now say I have had this experience. I have a new appreciation for technology departments/consultants (especially in my district) and a new appreciate for the Instructional Design approach.