A specialist maths program for children turned out to be a versatile professional development framework for teaching specialist Mirella Zulli.
After 21 years in the classroom, Mirella has a thirst for learning that has seen her career transition from LOTE specialist, to maths teacher, to her current role as digital technologies specialist at Helensvale State School on the Gold Coast in Queensland.
“I first became aware of ORIGO Education’s Go Maths program back in 2005. It was part of the professional development Education Queensland offered as they introduced the outcomes based curriculum.
“I remember, the GEO paper folding was amazing! Age-appropriate, rigorous and curriculum focused. Academic skills were developed alongside interpersonal, intra-personal and behavioural skills. Students were challenged, understanding was deepened and the discourse was, quite honestly, mind-blowing that day. 100% engagement and enjoyment for all teachers and learners.
“There was me sitting in the front row and I raced back to school and told my colleagues in the maths team – you have to come and see this!
“ORIGO Education has a unique approach and their vision is always one step ahead. They knew what was coming – things had been around internationally and were just coming to Australia – and had the resources ready to go.
“Everything was student centred. Everything was designed to create better thinkers…creative thinkers…critical thinkers.”
But it was only after using the program for a few years that Mirella discovered benefits she never expected.
“Every time you use Go Maths you are coming back to build on those concepts and strengthen the previous work and the foundations that have been laid.
“It is only years later, that I realised it is as much a professional development system as it is a teaching program. Even though I am not exclusively working in maths, the way I set up my lessons and lesson flow is all from Go Maths.
“Initially, when I started using the program. I wasn’t sure if I was doing enough.
“But once you see the program through from start to finish and over consecutive years, that is when you start to see a change in the data and a change in the conceptual understanding of the children and a change in their language and their approach.
“There are so many connections being made in the way ORIGO presents concepts. It is fun and it is exciting, but it is always about what makes sense to the kids and what is going to work for them.
“When we are using the program and the teacher’s guide, the language and the script for teachers help the children create really strong foundations and a really good basic conceptual understanding. Once those ideas are built upon, lesson after lesson, they stick.”
Stepping Stones is the updated version of Go Maths and is a comprehensive program that brings conceptual understanding of mathematics to the forefront of teaching and learning.