2019-2020 primary teachers study group: session three

Posted on: June 16th, 2020 by jnovakowski

For our third session of our primary teachers study group, we came together at Spul’u’kwuks Elementary to think together about land-based art and the connection to language.

We chose to intersect creating land-based art with the idea of exploring landscape – sky, land, water. January is also often a tumultuous time of year for weather, so we extended the idea of landscape to connect to ideas of weather through the language of place. Jess created weather word cards using vocabulary from the Online Musqueam Teaching Kit.

The weather word cards can be downloaded here:

We walked from the school down to the edge of the river, where the river meets the ocean. Small groups of teachers created landscapes with materials they found on the land and some added the weather word cards to their landscapes.

Some of the resources shared during our session:

Musqueam Place Name Map
https://www.musqueam.bc.ca/our-story/musqueam-territory/place-names-map/
The Origin of the Name Musqueam http://www2.moa.ubc.ca/musqueamteachingkit/video22.php

Musqueam Language and Culture Department Online Book Collection

http://www2.moa.ubc.ca/musqueamteachingkit/stories.php
Teacher resource guide below virtual books

Virtual hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ Alphabet Cards

http://www2.moa.ubc.ca/musqueamteachingkit/alphabet.php

Teacher resource guide below virtual books

Water Words (2014) Public Art
By: Joanne Arnott and Spul’u’kwuks Elementary School

https://www.richmond.ca/culture/publicart/collection/PublicArt.aspx?ID=443

Online Musqueam Teacher’s Kit: Musqueam: giving information about our teachings

http://www2.moa.ubc.ca/musqueamteachingkit/teachers.php
The kit can be booked through the Museum of Anthropology or through our SD38 District Resource Center 

Our current Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreement:
https://www.sd38.bc.ca/programs/secondary/Documents/SD38-AEEA-2017-2022.pdf

Many teachers were interested in further development of their understanding of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language. If you are a SD38 teacher and would like the keyboard for the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ language, you need to fill in a tech work order and ask for the North American Phonetic Alphabet keyboard to be installed.

Thank you to the teachers at Spul’u’kwuks for hosting us for this inspiring session.

~Janice

tessellating tiles indoors and outdoors

Posted on: June 10th, 2020 by jnovakowski

As we have moved to a blended model of teaching and learning in June 2020, I had the pleasure of spending time with two small groups of grades 1&2 students at Grauer while they were at the school for in-school instruction. To connect to the different online math studio projects we had been doing this spring, I wanted to do something that connected math and art. The classroom teachers and I decided to explore tessellations with sidewalk chalk.

With the first class, it was raining quite heavily so we decided to stay indoors and practice create tessellating tiles from old library cards. The students drew a line from corner to corner on the bottom of the card, cut along the line and then “slide” that piece to the top of the card. Then using masking tape, the student taped the two pieces together. They were asked to imagine what that new shapes could be? What had they transformed the rectangle into?

Each student was given a large piece of paper to trace and tessellate their tiles and add details, patterns or character or animal features.

Later in the week, I visited the second class on a dry day outside. I demonstrated how to create a tessellating tile and the students were given a letter-size piece of manilla tag/cardstock. I had prepared individual bags of sidewalk chalk that students would use and then keep in their personal tote boxes for the rest of the month.

We headed outside and found an area of concrete where students could physically distance themselves. One student drew a circle around her space. The students traced and tessellated their tiles using sidewalk chalk and then added character features.

The following week, when it was dry outside the classroom teacher from the first class made larger tiles with them and they took them outside to tessellate using sidewalk chalk.

Usually with tessellating with primary students, we focus on collaborative tessellating with materials like pattern blocks but in this time of physical distancing and not using shared materials, this was a great task to focus on transformational geometry, positional language and spatial reasoning in our lead up to World Tessellation Day on June 17!

~Janice

BC Continuity of Learning 2020

Posted on: April 28th, 2020 by jnovakowski

During this post-spring break phase of the school year, we are providing continuity of educational opportunities and learning experiences for our students. We are planning these opportunities through the lenses of learning priorities, equity, access and compassion. Every student’s context will be unique and we are responding with choices and options that are manageable for families at this time. A collection of resources to support the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy during this time have been created and curated on a page on this blog, which can be found above.

You can link directly to it HERE.

creating spaces for playful inquiry: encounters with fibres and fabrics

Posted on: December 14th, 2019 by jnovakowski

We launched our ongoing Creating Spaces for Playful Inquiry professional learning community this year with a dinner event out at IDC for 50 Richmond teachers on October 22.

After time with materials, playful inquiry mentors Briana Adams and Jess Equia shared their investigation into fibres, sewing and natural dyes with Briana’s class. After dinner together, we broke into interest groups to engage in conversation with playful inquiry mentors.

The handout for the session can be downloaded here:

Follow up Studio Series sessions have been held in The Studio at Grauer. Our first session looked at the language of wool roving and what affordances it has. Teachers considered the story of wool from sheep to sweater and considered concepts such as texture and transformation that are developed as students work with this material.

Teachers had the opportunity to touch, transform and use wool roving in different ways to help deepen their understanding of this material and how they might use it in the classroom.

Our second Studio Series session looked at the language of cotton and what possibilities it offers us as a material. We considered the story of cotton from plant to t-shirt and also discussed the social and environmental implications of the cotton industry.

Teachers used cotton in different forms – fabric, rope, embroidery floss and thread – to create with.

Our third Studio Series session looked at fabrics, textiles and clothing and how fabric can be transformed to reflect identity, culture and place. Briana and Jess both shared families stories connected to textiles.

Our fourth and final Studio Series session looked at printmaking practices and examples of printmaking on fabrics from different parts of the world.

As we were unable to gather together in the spring to share and celebrate our learning from the year, Jess, Briana and I collected some ideas to share to continue our encounters with fibres and fabrics in both at-home and in-school contexts for June.

This document can be downloaded here:

Thank you to all the playful inquiry mentors for continuing to grow this community in our district and a special thank you to Briana and Jess for all their contributions!

~Janice

intermediate numeracy project: global issues infographic creation

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 by jnovakowski

For our session together in December the grades 5&6&7 class at Quilchena examined two infographics about environmental issues and discussed how infographics use numbers and data in different ways to convey information, provoke thinking and to be persuasive. The students shared how they noticed how the infographics made some numbers large or highlighted them with colour to draw attention to them and how different types of charts or graphs can help the reader understand the information.

The students in the class have each selected a global issue that they are passionate about and have found an article in the National Geographic database to read and take notes on about their topic. They referred back to the article and their notes to find mathematical information that they could use in their own visual image that could become part of an infographic for their global issue project.

The students used apps (Pages, Paper or PicCollage) or online platforms (Canva, Piktograph) to create a visual for their project.

Through the process of creating their own visuals to share information, the teachers and I think the students will become more fluent at interpreting and analyzing infographics and other media.

~Janice

Big Math Ideas in K-2: professional learning series, fall 2019

Posted on: December 12th, 2019 by jnovakowski 1 Comment

For another year, we have held this three-part after school series with primary teachers to think together about the big math ideas in mathematics. For this series we focused on counting, number sense and place value understanding. Each teacher was provided with the teacher resource book Choral Counting and Counting Collections by Megan Franke, Elham Kazemi and Angela Turrou-Chan.

At our first session, we reviewed the different aspects of counting (see pedagogical content knowledge paper on counting available at the bottom of this post) and discussed ideas for both choral counting and counting collections. Teachers worked together in small groups to plan and lead a choral count that they would use with their students.

Stenhouse Publishers have an online choral counting tool you can use to plan out choral counts with your students. You can access it HERE.

Teachers were also asked to use the new SD38 Early Numeracy Assessment with some students in their classes and provide feedback on its usage and findings. This tool will be available publicly soon after this last round of trials and feedback.

At our second session, teachers shared what routines and innovations they tried with their classes and then we did counting collections together, considering ways to extend the counting collection experience by recording both the process of counting and the final count as well as recording equations that describe the count.

At our third session, we focused on place value concept development through tasks and games. Teachers had the opportunity to make some numeral materials. Its always handy to have sets of numerals available in the primary classroom for students to make connections between concrete rerpesentations of quantity with symbolic forms.

Some of the text slides from the sessions can be downloaded here:

Some other resources shared during the series are available here:

I have been fortunate to collaborate and co-teach with some of the teachers in this series as we continue to think together about developing number sense through counting and place value tasks.

~Janice

2019-2020 primary teachers study group: session two

Posted on: December 11th, 2019 by jnovakowski

Our second session of the year was hosted at Homma Elementary on November 28 – with thanks to Sarah and Reiko for having us.

K-7 Curriculum Implementation Teacher Consultant, Jess Eguia, began our time together with a land acknowledgement and three ways to enhance land acknowledgements in our schools. She shared the beaded timeline, sharing the story of time immemorial on this land,

and the Musqueam place names map which shares the significance of key places in the territory.

Jess also shared some ideas about Indigenous ways of knowing and being that could help teachers to elaborate and extend their students’ thinking about land acknowledgements.

Using land-based materials found locally, we did some bundle dyeing.

While the bundles steamed, we headed outside for a walk along the river, sharing stories of this place over time.

We came back into the Homma library for a hot cup of tea, the unbundling and sharing what we have been trying with our students, inspired by the resource books that are inspiring us this year.

Looking forward to continuing our conversations around land-based interdisciplinary projects in the new year!

~Janice

intermediate numeracy project: water conservation task

Posted on: December 10th, 2019 by jnovakowski

On November 27, I visited the grades 5&6&7 class at Quilchena to continue our focus on numeracy and for this session together I selected a numeracy task from Dr Peter Liljedahl’s website. The task continues the thinking we have been doing about water issues and and moves to thinking about agency around water conservation. We took some time together to go through what the task was asking of the students, what assumptions they needed to make, what calculations might be necessary and how they could share their recommendations.

Teachers Jen Yager and Sam Davis personalized the task by changing the names to teachers’ names from their staff. This made for some interesting comments about dental hygiene habits!

We needed to pause after the students read through and shared their understanding of the task with each other. Based on the experience we had with the last numeracy task we did, we had agreed to provide some supports to ensure students were able to get started with the task successfully. We talked through what the task was asking, what information they might need to research, what assumptions they needed to make and asked them about different ways they might approach the task.

When some of the students weren’t clear on what the differences between no flow, low flow and high flow of water was, a student quickly demonstrated for them at the sink.

The students researched the Canadian Dental Association’s recommendations for teeth brushing and did calculations for water usage. Based on their findings, they made recommendations to the teachers on ways they could conserve water while maintaining good dental hygiene. Some students wrote this up as a “report” while one student wrote a letter to her teacher with specific recommendations, backed up with her evidence.

Numeracy tasks such as these, organized by grade ranges, can be found on Dr. Peter Liljedahl’s website HERE.

~Janice

intermediate numeracy project: water crisis in Canada

Posted on: November 29th, 2019 by jnovakowski

I visited the grades 5&6&7 class at Quilchena for the second time on October 30. Inspired by the students’ interest in youth agents of change around climate change and by a mathematical modelling task created by Dr. Julia Aguirre about the Flint Water Crisis in the USA, we invited the students to think about the water crisis on many of our First Nations reserves in Canada.

We began by showing the students a video of water projector and advocate Autumn Peltier speaking to the United Nations 2019 Local Landscapes Forum about the water crisis in her community.

The video can be viewed HERE.

The students took notes, made connections, and recorded their wonders while they were viewing/listening to the video.

We shared three infographics about water issues in Canada and asked students to discuss the following questions:

We also asked students to consider the sources of the information in the infographics as we nurture the development of critical consumers of information.

More information and the infographics can be found HERE and HERE and HERE.

Much of the information was new to students and lots of questions came up. We discussed different types of water advisories and possible reasons why this was happening.

Students were then presented with a numeracy task. They were asked to consider how much water was needed for children for a year in a First Nations community. The purpose of the task was for students to consider the amount of water we use, issues around access to safe water and to think about an action plan for their “agents of change” thinking about how this problem could be resolved.

In hindsight, we made some assumptions that students would be able to think about all the types of information they would need to respond to this task, and know how to access this information using online sources. This was not the case, and a lot of support was needed to help students consider where they could find the information they needed. We talked about validity of sources, such as using Statistics Canada data rather than someone’s opinion on a blog post. The teachers and I realized that the students needed some mini-lessons on how to use Google as a search engine. I think we made assumptions about the students that they knew how to use technology, and they are savvy with many aspects of tech, but their fluency with accessing information was something we needed to develop. When we were able to find information, many students needed support in how to read the data tables. It became clear as we began the numeracy task, that this was much more complex of a task for the students than we had anticipated but we all persevered and made meaning at various levels and stages. For some students, support was needed with the mathematics and calculations involved.

Over the two hours we had together, students thought through various stages of the task. Some students got to the point of considering recommendations for how to reconcile the water crisis in some of our communities but not formalizing their action plans. Some students wondering what was happening to solve this issue.

We briefly looked at the Canadian government’s current plan. More information can be found HERE. This will be an ongoing conversation as we think about different ways that students can see themselves and act as agents of change.

~Janice

intermediate numeracy project: what is numeracy?

Posted on: November 19th, 2019 by jnovakowski

Numeracy is a K-12 focus in our school district. Numeracy and literacy are considered the two pillars of the BC curriculum and new Graduation Assessments in both Numeracy and Literacy are now in place in our province. With teachers, students and families that I work with, I explain the distinction between mathematics and numeracy. Mathematics is the discipline, the body of knowledge, content and processes/competencies. Numeracy is using mathematics to interpret and understand issues or solve contextual problems. Our goal is to develop both numerate citizens that use mathematics to make sense of the world around them.

One particular area of focus in our district is developing numeracy and related tasks with teachers and students in grades 6-9 as a way to bridge elementary and secondary learning experiences. One clsss that I am spending time with on a year-long focus around numeracy is the grades 5&6&7 class at Quilchena with teachers Samantha Davis and Jen Yager.

I visited the class at the end of September to introduce what numeracy is. We used the definition of numeracy from the BC Ministry of Education site and shared it with students and used the “exploding the sentence” strategy as a way for them to understand the meaning of numeracy.

numeracy_definition

IMG_7862

The teachers had told me one of the current interests of the students was the climate strike. This was connected to their class focus on investigating youth who are agents of change and following the work of Greta Thunberg. I introduced the use of infographics to convey information and shared the following two images with the students. We discussed what we needed to know and do in order to be able to interpret the images and how different visuals can convey the same information but have different impacts on how we connect to the data and information.

IMG_7866

IMG_7867

At our next time together in October, we will think together through a numeracy task.

~Janice