Monday - 1st Year Focus Teachers (Middle Years Group)
In the middle years group one of the first tasks for the day was for the focus teachers to work with a partner to play naughts and crosses. After several games they were then stopped and the rules changed. This time they had to play again, but they had to try to deliberately lose. Playing this game was a reminder from the sessions last term where it was discussed that in order to develop tasks that target the development of kids executive function skills, often all it takes is to tweak an existing task, rather than designing a whole new one. In working with this task the focus teachers talked about how this task really focused on their impulse control, they had to consistently resist the urge to try and win and to think flexibly about how to lose. One talked about having to try and trap the other person into winning.
Next the focus teachers were asked how their thinking has changed over the course of term 1 until now. Some of the responses given were
In looking at how children engaged with this task it was clear that they found it very difficult to place the first number. Many commented on how they were used to using a 1 to 100 grid and therefore the numbers on this grid were not where they are used to them being. Often it was they case that they didn't realise the first, or first few numbers, were in the wrong place until they came across one that was a contradiction to the ones that were already there. It was also interesting to see how the strategy changed as they went through. With the first number they mostly addressed it in relation to place value. by counting down the number of tens and across the number of ones. However once a few numbers had been place in the table they switched to a strategy of counting on or counting back by tens and/or ones from numbers they had already placed.
The second task that they did was the coded 100 square activity from NRICH. This is a task they had done previously so this time the task was changed to more strongly target children's understanding of place value and also target their impulse control. Previously with this activity children try to complete this activity by fitting the pieces together like a jigsaw, they don't focus on the symbols on the pieces which tell them exactly what to do. Even when their attention is drawn to they symbols and where they may place them, they resort back to trying to put it together like a jigsaw. To help overcome this they were given this problem again but with two pieces of the jigsaw missing. The pieces that were missing are shown by the red crosses in the image on the left and in the gaps in the image on the right. These pieces were chose as they remove some clues, these clues are shown by the green circles in the image on the left. in the bottom piece in the right hand image contained the number 100 and was removed, that is the only three digit number and therefore would be placed very easily providing a lot of information for what goes next to it. The piece at the top removes the number 2 and therefore more strongly relies on having to use the piece with the 1 on it to be able to successfully notice the place value pattern.
This was a task that the student's found more difficult than last time however they were able to successfully complete it. To extend the task they were then asked to draw in the symbols for each box that would correspond to the pieces missing.
Tuesday - 2nd Year Focus Teachers
The morning with the second year teachers focused on developing a stronger understanding of working memory.
This was used to help explain the psychology of Powerpoint. When you have a slide full of text you are activating the verbal short term memory, and when you talk about what is on the slide you are also activating that verbal short term memory, therefore you can't attend to both, you can read and not listen or you can listen and not read. However if you have a strong visual on the slide with limited text whilst you are talking then you are activating two different types of short term memory and therefore processing this is easier. The central executive is what controls your attention, does the higher level processing and interacts with the short term memory systems
In the second session we looked at a task that was brought up by Deb and Kristin. The task involved a large map of some London streets. We were given a range of data for the area including the location of pubs, schools, hospitals, water pumps and factories (shown by the paper cut outs in the images below. We were also given data one how many deaths there were in each square of this map as a result of a particular event in history.
With this task we had to try and hypothesise what happened to these people, to cause all the deaths. The initial part of this was to talk about what we noticed and what we wondered before starting to bring those noticings and wonderings together to form a cohesive argument for what happened.