With growing interest in Reggio-inspired practices in BC schools, neighbouring school districts expressed an interest in collaborating with Richmond teachers as they explored mathematics through this lens. A grant proposal was submitted and accepted by the BCAMT. The grant supports cross-district inquiry by providing funds for dinner meetings and materials.
Structures we have used to collaborate and make our professional learning visible include a google doc, a Pinterest board, blogging and the use of twitter, using the hashtag #BCAMTreggio.
We hosted two dinner meetings, one in February at Annieville Elementary in Delta and the second in May at Thompson Elementary in Richmond. During the first meeting, Richmond teachers shared examples from their classrooms and reflections on their learning. Teachers were provided with planning time to consider who they would move this project forward in their districts.
During our second meeting, we created some materials and reflected on our project with teachers from Surrey, Delta and West Vancouver sharing examples and reflections.
We have been able to share our professional inquiry at the Richmond Elementary Math Focus Day, at the Surrey Teachers Convention and the Vancouver Primary Piazza.
A group of teachers from Burnaby came together with Angela Meredith (Early Learning and Literacy Consultant for Burnaby), Ron Coleborn (BCAMT President) and I one day after school on Monday to discuss the project and how it would connect to their ongoing inquiry into Reggio-inspired practices. The Burnaby team is interested in looking at mathematical thinking in the Reggio-inspired classroom and how different teachers may take that up and have different entry points into the project.
We have been able to do some cross-district visits as well. I have visited classrooms in Delta and West Vancouver and teachers from Richmond have visited in Delta and Surrey teachers have visited in Richmond classrooms. It is always rich and inspiring professional learning to be in another classroom environment and think about what you see and what that makes you think about in terms of your own practice.
Two articles about this project have been submitted to the BCAMT journal Vector as another way to share our professional learning with others.
Big themes that we are continuing to look at are:
1) the affordances of materials, particularly loose parts, to support and represent mathematical thinking
2) the design of provocations to inspire mathematical thinking, inquiry and to uncover curriculum
3) the tension between an emergent, inquiry-based approach and having a required curriculum
4) opportunities for cross-discipline, co-constructed inquiry
5) the conditions needed for the teaching and learning through these practices
6) the pedagogical content knowledge needed by teachers to teach in this manner
7) assessment tools to support teaching and learning and that support students in showing what they know, can do and understand
With a second grant from the BCAMT, we are looking forward to a second year of collaborating with teachers from a growing number of districts.