Sunday, August 8, 2010


I hate stats.
I love reading statistics but, I dislike immensely calculating stats for no reason other than to learn how to. So, for my prac placement this year I am in a high school right at the time when across the board all the year levels are learning stats! Oh, how my mind groaned when I found out.
Then it came time for me to sit down and start planning lessons. I faltered with no inspiration whatsoever, also due to the fact that the year 8 class I am visiting is a numeracy class, working at a Year 5 level.

So how do I treat these kids as teenagers while teaching them work simplified to a Year 5 level? I did what any other pre-service teacher trained to teach high school students would do, I went and saw my daughters grade 5 teacher to see if he had any tips. :-)
I discovered that I already had the knowledge in my brain and that the principles that I am learning to make lessons engaging for mainstream, and not so mainstream students, is the same as is done for students in Year 5.
Start with concrete materials (ie conduct a survey), model what needs to be done (show how to tally the data), get digital tools involved (create a graph using excel), then the students get to show what they have learnt (by drawing graph on graph paper, which they can model from the digital copy they produced). Well scaffolded for success I would say. Now to make something that would fit the Year 8 class.

I decided to involve social media as this is what interests teenagers, and how great would it be for the kids to use social media at school!  The class, enmasse, would tweet or post a link to our survey and watch the results unfold in real time.
The question too, had to be of interest to the students, but suitable to supply the type data we needed. As we needed at least three lots of data I came up with three questions: At what age did you get your first mobile phone? (My mother is the outlier at 65years) How many internet capable devices do you have? And are you 30< age <30 ? The last question is, how many hours do you spend online per day, to compare with data from 2007.
As I was preparing the lessons I realised how well this would transfer across to the Year 10 numeracy class with a bit of extending to include mean, mode and median.
I asked my PLN on Twitter if there were any pitfalls, and I got some great tips on setting up archives etc. I decided to revist Google docs to set up the survey and I discovered the great templates and backgrounds they have.
I have found the whole experience great, I have learnt how to use new tools and how invaluable my PLN on Twitter is. Thankyou to everyone who has answered the survey to give us a head start for the class :-)


  1. Lovely story, and great to see how you made a topic that is usually dull and boring an engaging one and relevant to your class! Only one thing... PLN got me stumped for a while, then I realised it must mean Professional Learning Network (am I right?). Easy to do... I always try to write a acronym out fully at least once and bracket the acronym (as we do in assignments) to minimise confusion.

  2. Mmm, yes it is easy to get lazy, sorry, and yes you are right. I just lurve my PLN!