Richmond is one of the districts that is part of BC’s Provincial Numeracy Project. This is a pilot year for the project, with eight districts involved. The project’s goals focus on looking at balanced numeracy experiences in classrooms with a focus on developing number sense. Alongside this is looking at what types of professional learning experiences support teachers in developing and assessing these experiences. Many of the districts are basing their projects on BC’s Changing Results for Young Readers model.
In Richmond, we have teams from three schools participating – Byng, Westwind and Kidd. All three schools have goals around mathematics and have done school-wide numeracy assessments. Each school team is comprised of early primary teachers and a learning resource teacher. Teachers were asked to bring their class’ assessments and to think about one particular child they were curious about with regards to development of number sense.
During our first session in January, we overviewed the goals and expectations of the project. Teachers were asked to consider a professional inquiry question that paralleled their questions about their focus student in some way. Each teacher was provided with the book Number Sense Routines by Jessica Shumway and we looked at the routines of quick images and counting around the circle on video. We discussed how their classes might respond to these routines, thinking especially about their focus students.
We also looked at the routine of Counting Collections and I shared some images and video from Richmond classrooms that have been using this routine. Again, teachers discussed and planned how this routine might be enacted in their classrooms.
For each of the routines, we “unpacked” the mathematics involved and what we could be looking and listening for. We also discussed how “guided math” supports students’ development by targeting instruction at students’ “just right” level and that many number sense routines could be the foundation of a guided math program. At the end of the session, the teachers completed a project recording form, including a “baseline” profile of their focus students.
During our second session in February, teachers shared what number sense routines they had tried and how their students responded. Two new number sense routines were introduced – numberlines or clotheslines (inspired by the work of Andrew Stadel) and Choral Counting, as found on the University of Washington site tedd.org
We focused on the big mathematical concept of place value, as related to these two routines, particularly looking at number patterns and the importance of being able to count on from tens. The teachers were provided with a foundational concept brochure about place value that was developed for the BCAMT Cross-District Collaborative Inquiry Reggio-Inspired Mathematics Project. You can find that document here:
The teachers were also provided with the book How Children Learn Number Concepts by Kathy Richardson. This book clearly outlines the learning phases students go through as the develop number concepts such as counting and place value. It has examples of experiences that support student learning.
As we move forward with this project we will be looking at assessment tools, iPad apps and thinking more deeply about what balanced numeracy looks like in our classrooms.