Archive for December, 2015

making number talks matter – post #2

Posted on: December 29th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Making Number Talks MatterAs outlined in my first post about the book Making Number Talks Matter, I am an advocate for the use of the routine or practice of Number Talks in classrooms to promote mathematical discourse, thinking, reasoning and justification. Over the last three years, I have “demo-ed” and been a part of number talks in many of our Richmond classrooms. I see number talks as a transformative practice that moves both teachers and students to experiencing mathematics in a way that focuses on thinking, learning and talking.

Most of the book can be previewed online on the Stenhouse website here. The table of contents outlines the chapters of the book. I appreciated how there were chapters that went deeply into the strategies and concepts involved with the four operations. Although the book is title for grades 4-10, for our BC Curriculum, the strategies and operations involved focus on grades 3-9. Much of the focus of the book though is on pedagogy and how formative assessment plays a role in planning and instruction and of course, those pieces are applicable to all teachers. Also, the big ideas of developing a mathematical community, creating an environment for rich mathematical discourse and the role of justification in mathematics are again applicable to all and I think any K-12 teacher would find gems in this book.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.25.00 PM

As someone who is quite familiar with number talks, I appreciated being part of this online book study, facilitated by teaching laureates Kristen Gray and Crystal Morey from the Teaching Channel. Being a part of this community pushed my thinking, helped me see number talks in different ways and helped me to consider the classroom conditions necessary for success with number talks. I am looking forward to an opportunity to dive into an investigation with a class, inspired by Chapter 9 – going deeper with an idea, inspired by a student’s question such as “will this work for all numbers?”

For the final chapter of the book, one of the questions we were asked was: If not all students elect to participate in number talks, how/when do you check in to see what students know or how they process? This is an important question because during a short number talk, although you may provide opportunities for all children to share and talk (through partner talks), as the teacher you will not be able to hear all those conversations and generally, only a handful of students share to the whole group during a number talk. Two ways that I shared that I have found effective in checking in to see if students have an effective strategy and an understanding of the number concepts we are working on is to either use “math graffiti” or notebooking/journalling.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.21.14 PM

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.21.28 PM

As we came to the end of the book study, one of the questions asked of us was to consider our biggest takeaway…my response via twitter:

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 5.21.43 PM

This book has been recommended for purchase for all our schools in Richmond – ask your teacher-librarian if it is available yet at your school!

~Janice

grade 1 science: light and sound

Posted on: December 13th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

Our third session (which we held two of due to high demand) looked at the grade 1 physical science content – light and sound.

IMG_1452

Teachers were presented with provocations to invite them to think and play with ideas about light and sound.

IMG_1453

IMG_1475 IMG_1476

Teachers paired up to look at an informational picture book which they summarized for their colleagues.

IMG_1463

Some classic sound investigations were shared (i.e. different sized elastic bands taped over a yogurt container – plucking them invites students to think about pitch, tone and volume) and then each teacher received a light jar (available from thinkined.com).

IMG_1457

Teachers were invited to investigate the materials and think about how the materials might inspire inquiry, investigations and an uncovering of curricular content.

IMG_1459 IMG_1460

IMG_1481 IMG_1482

As with our other sessions, we compiled ideas from teachers attending the sessions.

IMG_1462

The darkness of winter days and all the celebrations that happen this time of year make it a great time to investigate and think about the properties of light and sound!

Grade 1 Light and Sound - curriculum information

Grade 1 Light and Sound Resources - links and book list

sound and light provocations - question prompts

~Janice

grade 2 science: water

Posted on: December 13th, 2015 by jnovakowski

Based on feedback from teachers last spring, we have planned a series of after school sessions supporting new content in the K-7 science curriculum. Each session will look at the learning standards around a specific grade and content area and teachers will experience both the curricular content and competencies through an inquiry-based approach. Connections to the core competencies and First Peoples Principles of Learning will be also be woven throughout the sessions.

Our second session (which we held two of due to high demand) looked at the grade 2 earth and space science content of water. Each teacher received a lovely picture book called Water is Water, which along with a narrative that takes the reader through the water cycle, provides factual information of water in our world. The content within the curriculum focuses on sources of water and the the water cycle. For our session, we focused on the question, What is the story of water?

IMG_1357

IMG_1356

 

Several books were shared that would complement this area of study.

IMG_1358

As  group, we began compiling ideas and building off of each other’s ideas to think about this study might unfold in our classrooms. We made connections to the Fraser River, weather in our region, BC Hydro and other local resources.   A Richnet contact list was created so that we could share resources and ideas.

IMG_1359

 

We discussed different ways that students might provide evidence of their learning  - taking photographs outside or during indoor simulations or experiments, constructing models, etc, and I am looking  forward to tweeting out what some of our students share with us!

Grade 2 Water - curriculum information

Grade 2 Water Resources - links and book list

Water is a Treasure - Canadian Government resource

~Janice