So all hopes of regular blog posts were dashed this year, with another year of unexpected personal and professional happenings. As we come to the end of another eventful school year, I thought I would highlight a few happenings in mathematics and numeracy within our district.
A main focus for me this year has been developing a K-12 Numeracy Vision and Framework as part of the district’s strategic plan. Related to this work has been collaborating with the district’s Early Numeracy Working Group which is comprised of RTA and RASA members, and developing a draft Grades 3-5 numeracy assessment tool in collaboration with teachers from Cook, Anderson and Grauer. With some experience now in presenting professional learning online, I also started a new online format of professional learning in our district in November – burst sessions. These short half hour online sessions for K-9 teachers involved a 15-minute presentation of a high-yield mathematics instructional routine which was recorded, followed by a 15 minute a question and sharing period with participants. All of these recordings are posted on our district numeracy playlist on our YouTube channel HERE.
This year our district trialled the BC Proficiency Benchmarks project for K-12 literacy and numeracy in our district. Teacher consultants collaborated with classroom teachers across the grades to develop literacy experiences and numeracy tasks across curricular areas and then use the draft benchmarks for assessment and then provide detailed feedback to the Ministry. We are awaiting news from the Ministry of Education as to when these assessment tools will be made available to educators across BC.
As a Coast Metro district, we were part of an online after school three-part elementary series with Dr. Marian Small this spring. Almost 40 teachers from our district participated with an opportunity to meet in grade group sessions after Marian’s keynote. I was fortunate to be able to facilitate one of the grade group sessions along with some of my colleagues from our Lower Mainland Math Contacts group.
I participated in school-based professional inquiry projects with a focus on mathematics teaching and learning this year. Three schools I made regular classroom visits to were Tait, Spul’u’kwuks, and Maple Lane.
At Tait, I visited K-7 classrooms and collaborated with teachers around instructional routines and lesson design.
I did a half-day professional learning day in January with the K-5 staff at Spul’u’kwuks and then followed up in classrooms during terms two and three to explore some of the ideas we focused on, including outdoor learning and instructional strategies.
Another project in a grades 1&2 class at Spul’u’kwuks was investigating different ways to connect stories, place and mathematics. The students wet felted their own story mats, connecting to the land, waters and skies around them. We used the mats as inspiration for story contexts in two ways: using CGI equation cards and mathematizing an area or issue of interest.
At Maple Lane, I met with K-4 teachers to discuss ideas from the book Taking Shape which focuses on spatial reasoning. We followed-up with some non-tech coding lessons in classroom that played with ideas of pathways and position by coding on grids.
I supported some school teams with their Innovation Grants this year including Anderson and Woodward that had grants that focused on mathematics. Several staff members at Anderson participated in a monthly book study of Dr. Peter Liljedahl’s Thinking Classroom book, meeting monthly to discuss what they were trying in their classrooms.
I also made regular visit to the grades 6&7 class at Woodward. The classroom teacher was investigating UDL in mathematics teaching and learning and we established a weekly Math Workshop which provided choices to the students in terms of tasks, complexity of concepts, materials, physical and digital tools, where they learned and who they learned with. We shared some teacher and student reflections for Education Week.
In April, Briana Adams, Ellen Reid and I hosted an afterschool in-person (a first in a long time!) session in The Studio at Grauer. We were investigating how materials and digital tools can enhance literacy and numeracy experiences.
On the district professional development day in May, I opened The Studio to K-9 educators to come and investigate materials and resources.
And early this month, I posted in to my position in the district for another three-year term. As I finish this blog post, I am preparing to leave for a CGI conference, where I will be sharing learning stories from our district.
So that’s a wrap on the 2021-2022 school year. Happy summer!