Friday, November 28 was a common pro-d day in our district, for all the secondary schools and many elementary schools. For the morning, I facilitated a session with the staffs of Debeck and Kingswood, looking at the components of the redesigned curriculum, with a specific look at math. Teachers had an opportunity to look closely at the learning standards at their grade level and then play around with a planning template that starts with a big idea and considers the (core) competencies. We also looked specifically at the competency of communication and already existing tools to support teachers in thinking about this like the Numeracy Performance Standards, the Kindergarten Continuum and a communication and representation in problem-solving continuum that was developed by the Primary Teachers Study Group a few years ago.
We used the hashtag #sd38math just for our pro-d events on Friday and Monday – here is a capture of some of the tweets from the morning:
In the afternoon, 35 grades 6-9 teachers from across the district came together at SLSS to begin the discussion in our district about Bridging Elementary to Secondary Mathematics Teaching and Learning. A look at our history and story here in Richmond about this bridge, or lack thereof, was followed by a look at what we know about the existing intermediate program and the redesigned curriculum in terms of pedagogy, assessment and how students at this age learn.
There were many rich discussions and we recorded some ideas as to what we want for our students as they transition from elementary to secondary. Although there is, of course, content that is core or foundational that students need to know, the bigger ideas that emerged from our conversation is that we need our elementary students to transition to secondary as problem-solvers, being able to think and communicate mathematically and to have strong computational fluency (which is much more complex than “knowing your facts” or following procedures).
The second part of our afternoon consisted of two breakout sessions facilitated by our two secondary math mentor teachers. Welly Lin, along with Asha, led a discussion and demonstration on the importance of the array model for understanding multiplication across grades.
Fred Harwood, recently retired teacher, led teachers through a series of problems using vertical surfaces. Teachers were randomly assigned into groups and Fred shared Peter Liljedahl’s research behind this practice.
It was great to see elementary and secondary teachers learning alongside each other and many expressed that they would like to continue this type of professional learning and discussion.
And a bit of the twitter feed from the afternoon:
It was a full day of professional learning about mathematics teaching and learning!