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Algebra Tiles Australia

Algebra Tiles

Algebra tiles use an area model to bridge from the concrete to the abstract by showing students various processes in a visual manner that can then be translated into symbolic language.

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Home > Make It Count 2 > How to use this website

How to use this website

This resource will support schools with pathways, strategies, tools and resources to improve the mathematics and numeracy outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learners. Based on the work of the eight Make it Count clusters around the country during 2009-13, the resource  is organised around the Australian Professional Standards for Teaching of Professional Knowledge, Professional Practice and Professional Engagement.

Based on the Make it Count Cluster Findings, this resource can help answer questions you might have such as:

  • How can an investigative approach to learning mathematics help engage my Aboriginal learners?  'How we did it' in each Cluster focus (located in the description of each cluster) can help answer this. Or try the Gladstone Cluster.
  • How can I contextualise learning when teaching addition? How can I measure its effects? Units of learning under Resources is a good place to start. Or go to the Alberton Cluster.
  • What is some professional learning in Number for Aboriginal education assistants and education assistants? Go to the Nerang Cluster and Swan Cluster to find out what they did.
  • What are some strategies for engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents in their children’s learning? Try the Dharug or Orange Cluster for two different approaches.
  • How do I teach mathematics language explicity? Try the Noarlunga Cluster. And how do I bring maths and culture together? The Healesville and Nerang Clusters offers some great ways to do this.

There are many pathways for making use of this resource and using the many tools provided. It can be valuable for individual, team or whole school learning. If you are wanting to go on any of these learning journeys, we make the following suggestions based on what we’ve learned from the eight Make it Count clusters.

  1. About clustering schools and forming professional learning communities:
    • Form a cluster consisting of about four schools. One school needs to be the key school with the principal of that school leading the work.  A Cluster Coordinator should be appointed with at least one day per week dedicated to working on your project and with the cluster schools.
    • The Cluster as a whole will need to identify a particular focus for their work. See the focus from each of the Make it Count clusters for some ideas. Make sure the focus is not too wide – it is better to go deeper than wider! Once the Cluster has agreed on their focus, individual schools can then refine this further but always in line with the Cluster focus.
    • The Make it Count clusters each had a different focus and designed learning around this. If you can identify a Make it Count cluster with a similar focus to the one you’re wanting to work with, also check out their Inspiring Stories. You will be able to relate to these stories and find inspiration through them. Learning from other educators is very powerful. The units of learning will provide you with some options for trialing in your own classroom or for adapting to your students and contexts.
    • Hold Cluster meetings regularly (about once a term) with the key person from each of the Cluster schools to review progress, plan workshops etc.
    • Conduct Cluster workshops with those involved from each of the Cluster schools. Use the resources on this site for professional learning, for discussion circles etc.
  2. About Critical Friends
    • Employ / access a researcher from a university who will act as a Critical Friend. Click here for more information about the role of the Critical Friend.  Contact Caty Morris (cmorris@aamt.edu.au) if you need help with identifying someone to fill this role. We have a network of academics around Australia who have worked in this role, and others who are interested in becoming Critical Friends.
  3. About data
    • Ensure you gather pre-data. A number of our Clusters used the PATMaths (Progressive Achievement Tests in Mathematics) testing from ACER. The data is stored online and has multiple ways for interpreting data. Use the same tool you use in pre-data collection for post-data collection (and in between) so you can measure growth. You could also use or adapt some of theMake it countdata tools or develop your own with help from your Critical Friend.
  4. Using the Make it Count Significant Episodes
    • Use the Significant Episodes from the various Cluster people to compare with your own learning or teaching journey. Download the PDF of the relevant Significant Episode and use the provided focus questions to help guide your thinking or discuss with colleagues.  Note the Cluster Findings that are tagged to each Significant Episode and discuss with your colleagues in your school or cluster.