School Name: Departure Bay Elementary
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members: Annette Noble: firstname.lastname@example.org, Alex King: email@example.com, Liz McCaw: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Matahematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction, Experiential learning, Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus was to align math programs with new curriculum and our beliefs on how children best learn.
Scanning: We surveyed staff around 4 key areas: assessment, program, materials, math play. Using this data we collaborated on what resources would enrich their math programs, what kinds of assessment would provide teachers with data to make program changes and what in-service would support our staff. We also wondered about student attitudes towards math.
Focus: We selected this area because of the need identified by intermediate teachers. We also knew that our resources
were disorganized and we had no idea of what was actually in the classrooms available for the children to use. Thirdly, our school has many teachers in their first five years, and we wanted to support them as much as possible by providing an organized and well stocked math room. We believed that staff would welcome support, access requested resources and embrace new ideas and methodology if we involved them in the decision making process but put together a small committee to inventory, source materials and organize in-service.
Hunch: We wondered if the children were having enough math play before moving onto pencil/paper work or using technology. Perhaps this lack of play contributed to their weakness in number fluency. We also wondered about their attitudes shifting to a negative perspective as they moved from early primary upwards.
New Professional Learning: Our committee reviewed highly recommended online math sites (consultants) which could provide teachers with new ideas and methods in line with our curriculum and their beliefs about how they wanted their students to learn. We then recommended a few math sites such as Carole Fullerton’s site, Mathematical Thinking, Build Math Minds, Graham Fletcher… We purchased a recommended assessment book, Math Running Records as well as the book Choral Counting k-5 to help inspire teachers to imagine new methods (it contains case studies) and be guided through the transformation if needed. Our committee also culled, learned and organized shared math resources.
Taking Action: We used our PLC schedule to have small group discussions about our math programs and gather information and build partnerships. Then we used that information to purchase professional resources which were shared amongst staff. On our professional day we applied for a learning grant and partnered with a school to review the new curriculum and assessment tools. Our small committee culled the math resources and responded to staff needs by purchasing math resources for classroom hands on learning. Some of our staff have committed to attending a summer math institute, an online math course and a small group are attending the math conference on the fall PSA day.
To support classroom transformation we began to put together concept bins for introducing new concepts and building math resources both for short term and long term classroom use.
Checking: I think this year was really preparing for change although we did see some transformation almost immediately with some staff. It is the amazing attitude that was most impressive. Our staff, some of whom have taught for many years, while others were in the first five years worked together to reflect on their practice, adapt and try new initiatives, sharing ideas and supporting each other. Next year as our new resources arrive and are distributed, we will continue with our learning and adding new professional learning to our PLC discussions, we expect to see a shift in student attitudes and success.
Reflections/Advice: I am proud of the risk our staff took in sharing reflections on their programs while noticing what they were already doing very well and stretching themselves to try new approaches. I love how supportive and kind we are with each other I think that this process builds a strong team and encourages us to take risks knowing that they have the respect and support of their peers.
Our staff continues their transformation this summer with summer online learning, late summer district in-service by Carole Fullerton and a group travelling to the mainland for the math conference. I look forward to continued conversations, new ideas and collecting more math resources for hands on learning in our k-7 classrooms.