Number agents is a teaching approach that I developed based on Mantle of the Expert (of which I did the university paper and had used in my class for a few years) and current maths PLD. It is an approach that has transformed my teaching and the whole 'feeling' about maths in my classroom, it fits beautifully into my play-based room and there is a very symbiotic relationship. I wrote the book because I wanted to share this approach with others...after all why should I have all the fun! Seriously I believe it is good enough to warrant sharing.
These are the things I love most about teaching this way:
1)It is fun...absolutely fun! The drama, play, use of puppets, and encounters with the villains are fun and the look on the 'agents' faces is absolutely priceless.
2)Materials are encouraged and used widely, but they don't need to be expensive. The materials you and your agents use and prefer are not prescribed by this approach...you use what works for you and your agents. The toolboxes make these materials special.
3)You can apply bits and pieces of what you have learned and use in in professional development time. Basically any approach you like can be used in professional development, how you run these sessions and what you use is up to you. Number Agents can work through any of your preferred programmes...it is simply called professional development.
4)Problem Solving - Number Agents is strongly based on current Maths PLD. It includes talk moves and best practice approach to mixed ability problem solving.
5)Development of vocabulary in Number Agents is a real spin off, we spend a lot of time talking out loud, exploring and discussing. Agents are experts, therefore they are encouraged to talk like experts...and the villains use a high level of language and some fabulous words!
6)You can make it your own, as long as the facets of agency are used and the hooking in and building belief are done, how you then run agency is up to you...it can take as long one day as you need and it can also fit quickly into a day that is jam packed.
7)Children are engaged, they are experts, for them the imagined problems are authentic, they have a purpose...it isn't just a problem solving session, they are defeating villains and if they don't the consequences will be dire. Professional development becomes crucial, there is a point to learning all this knowledge.
8)It particularly appeals to those learners that in the past may have turned off during normal maths sessions...specifically boys and those children who sometimes struggle to manage themselves.
9) And one of the most rewarding things of all is to hear that the teacher that has them next year is impressed with their understandings and mindset towards maths...now that is winning!
Yes there are some 'down sides' if you choose to put them that way:
1)It is crucial to read the book, to understand it and to put your own twist on it. This is not a step by step programme that tells you what to do and when.
2)You still need really good content knowledge...this approach is dependent on your behind the scenes knowledge of where agents are at and where they need to be next. It is dependent on you having a good handle of Mathematics both strand and number.
3)To do it right and to really use a Mantle of the Expert approach you will need at least four weeks of hooking in and building belief. This is crucial if you want children to buy into agency.
4)While you don't have to be dramatic, you do need to be willing to step out of the ordinary when controlling the puppets and talking through the clients.
5) This is a new approach, I have used it for a few years, exclusively as my own approach and what I do...I am really the only person who can help...no one around NZ has used this approach, this is the first year I have put it out there....exciting! Obviously it would be great to be able to talk about this approach with others and to observe it in action...hopefully this will be possible sooner rather than later :) I am happy to have visitors, but I am in Whangarei.
What I want most for children in our classrooms is for them to play, to imagine, to create, to develop a positive mindset to maths and to all learning...basically to be children. I love Number Agents because it allows me to do this, and teach maths really well!💙💙💙💙💙💙
If interested in a hard copy of the book you can click here to order...or you can visit my TPT store entitled Number Agents.