School Name: Gray Elementary
School District: SD#37 Delta
Inquiry Team Members: Mary Messer: email@example.com, Patrick Klassen: firstname.lastname@example.org, Stephanie Matheson: email@example.com
Megan Sandham: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Mathematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Differentiated instruction, Formative assessment
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus was building number sense, using clear learning targets and daily number routines.
Scanning: Teachers noticed that their students were generally not able to think flexibly about numbers. They could do the operations they were being taught but they couldn’t apply them more broadly. It was important to our team that our students start ‘viewing’ themselves as mathematicians, and have fun playing with numbers in different ways. We considered the principle of students needing to work together, and share their thinking to help build understanding in social ways for the group. We wanted to keep the needs of our learners at the centre, and have more success creating learning opportunities that all of our students could access at some point. It was important that our students knew what concepts they were working on, and could reflect on their own learning in a meaningful way. We used the Northern Lights Assessment to help us see how our students at every grade were able to represent number.
Focus: We had focused on formative assessment broadly in our classroom (i.e. each teacher was using them in all or some of the areas of the curriculum); but teachers wanted/needed to go deeper in the area of numeracy because they found that challenging. We were hoping to have an impact on how our students could think flexibly about numbers at their own level.
Hunch: Our hunch was that teachers were using textbook worksheet activities the most often, which didn’t allow students to see math all around themselves in their real life. They didn’t have opportunities to play with numbers and share their ideas in a dynamic way that would build that flexibility.
New Professional Learning: Using our Numeracy Coordinator, Jacob Martens, we explored what number sense really is, and what the critical concepts in numeracy were at each grade level. We hoped this would help teachers to narrow down and focus their work on the really important things, and to write meaningful learning targets. We learned some number routines to use with our classes that promoted the social and fun nature of the work. We also used our in-school Math mentor teachers to demonstrate lessons to grade-group teams, who helped plan, observe, and then collaboratively plan their next-step lesson. This lesson study sequence was a powerful way of helping teachers see how to integrate the language of the learning target into the lesson, how to have students working on a number routine together and share the different ways they thought about it, and how to self-assess at the end if they needed more practice.
Taking Action: Teachers began using number routines and learning targets more effectively in their math classes.
Checking: We were not able to re-assess our students because of Covid-19.
Reflections/Advice: Our learning for our inquiry this year was focused on just what teachers needed. Our professional development was designed around our own questions about number sense, critical concepts, and number routines, as well as modelling lessons to help teachers see how each component integrated together.
We plan to continue where we left off, reviewing with staff where we were in the Spring. We will continue!