Goal 6: Investigate and Instigate Questions

Sometimes things come along that perfectly fit with what you are doing. Goal 6 is one of those. My school is involved in a project called Performance and Development Culture. One aspect of this project looks at developing the school through improving professional learning. It encourages the use of individual or group learning plans that focus on a goal that teachers wish to work towards.

Today was a closure day for my school and one of the main focuses was on developing a group learning plan based around a goal that each level wanted to work on. My level (Grade 3/4, Age 8-9) decided to focus on developing our use of open ended questions in Maths. We have decided to use at least two open ended questions in our maths planning each week.

Our level goal fits perfectly with Goal 6 of the 30 goals challenge as Goal 6 asks us to create a lesson that will inspire your students to explore a question that has no answer or has several answers. This is exactly what my level hopes to do through our use of open ended questions in Maths.

We know that our goal must be measurable and we want to ensure that our use of open ended questions positively impacts on student outcomes. We decided to create a pre and post test to assess the effect of using open ended questions. The test consists of a set of closed questions and a set of open ended questions both based around the same content. We are going to give the closed questions one day and the open questions the next day and see how the students went with both sets of questions.

For example:
Day One
Write a number that has a 5 in the hundreds place, a 3 in the tens place and a 7 in the ones place.

Day Two
Write as many numbers as you can that have an 8 in the hundreds place.

Next to each question we will also have a smiley face that the students can draw the mouth on to show how they felt about the question. They will also colour the smiley face either; green for feeling happy/confident, yellow for feeling okay/slightly unsure or red for feeling sad/worried about the question.

This will help us gather some data on how the students went with the open ended questions and how they felt about doing them. We are hoping that the second time we give the test we will see an increase in the students who are able to complete the open ended questions and also more students colouring the smiley face green.

I hope that this professional learning goal that my team has developed will improve my teaching. I will let you know how we go.

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