Learning in Action

Learning to identify mathematical patterns and language


Students are learning to identify mathematical patterns and key mathematical language in a word based problem.


  • Can students identify and use important key mathematical language in a word based problem?
  • Can students identify how there may be a pattern to what the key words are showing them?


What is the focus area?

Vocabulary through Newman’s Analysis (Strand: 2D Space and Angles) using a variety of ‘important word’ strategies:

  • Key word strategy
  • Narrative/key word illustration

Why is this the focus area?

  • Patterns and Algebra was identified as an area requiring improvement by students (indicated by NAPLAN 2011 results)
  • Many students experience difficulty in understanding the language and vocabulary of Mathematics – particularly with word problems
  • Patterns and Algebra was identified as a strand of Mathematics that staff felt least confident in teaching
  • Newman’s Analysis can be integrated effectively and meaningfully with FOR literacy strategies (Super six etc.)

How did we do this?

Thursdays will be Newman’s Analysis days for Mathematics lessons during team teaching time:

  • Week 5 (Monday) – pre assessment word problem
  • Week 5- Key word strategy (Mel observes Sophie)
  • Week 7- Key word (Sophie observes Mel)
  • Weeks 8/9 - Narrative/key word illustration (Mel and Sophie are observed by Michael, Elza and Pina. Sophie and Mel also observe Yaz and Clare)
  • Week 10 - post assessment word problem

What will be used to show student growth?

Pre and post assessment and observation need to be built into this plan. Other ideas are:

  • Pre and post word problem (without scaffolding)
  • Work samples
  • Structured observations
  • Teacher reflections

Planning Tools:

  • FOR documents
  • CMIT/Best Start proforma
  • Team teaching documents


  • Mathematics Syllabus
  • Mathematics Sample Units of Work
  • Talking about Patterns and Algebra (TALE)
  • Super Six strategies poster and booklet
  • Learning in Action folder on staff common
  • NAPLAN-style questions

Links to the Quality Teaching Framework


Evidence - pre and post assessment

Evidence - student growth

Evidence - Feedback

The impact on our teaching...

  • high level of student engagement
  • collaborative planning
  • greater awareness of the design of assessment
  • mathematical language
  • ability to observe others' teaching practices/lessons
  • integration of patterns and algebra into other mathematics strands
  • tasks around problematic knowledge encourages students to identify their misunderstandings
  • introduction of mathematical narratives
  • application of literacy strategies in numeracy
  • increased level of student reflections and self-awareness
  • looking deeply at student abilities and their progression
  • reflect on own teaching