School Name: Ladysmith Intermediate School
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members:Linnaea Murray: Linnaea.firstname.lastname@example.org, Colette Young: email@example.com, Kim Greenwood: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kim Needham: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOII (focus on core competencies, OECD learning principles, etc.)
Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Mathematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Experiential learning, Flexible learning, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can we increase our students’ numeracy skills and basic mathematical understandings, while providing opportunities for interventions and extensions and cross-grade interaction?
Scanning: We asked our students the 4 key questions to see how they thought they were doing with their math, and where they felt that they needed support. We used this information to guide our lessons and the selection of the math games taught. We also used initial math assessments from the beginning of the year to see where the mathematical knowledge gaps were for our students. Once we knew where the gaps were, grade-group teachers and EAs came together and created a grade-wide formative math lessons and assessment that targeted those skills. We gathered together again to compare the data from those assessments from before and after our mathternoon and our RTI periods, to see if it made enough of a difference.
Focus: When we came together in PLC, all teachers and EAs were seeing holes in similar mathematical areas. As a group we decided to take a new approach to teaching those essential math understandings in a more differentiated and fun way. We hoped to see an increase in student understanding with basic math facts at each grade level and we hoped to build community among our staff and students, as well as excite our apprehensive learners.
Hunch: As many students exhibited difficulty with basic math facts and place value, we decided that targeted intervention and more time with those concepts was needed then what is given in class. Much of what is taught builds from these basic concepts, and without a strong foundation, more gaps could potentially appear. By reviewing and practicing these skills at each grade level, it will now be assumed that each student will have that prior understanding from the prior year.
New Professional Learning: We used the spiral of inquiry model during our PLCs to support our learning and used the Box Cars and One-Eyed Jacks program, as well as math card games and dice games from the internet.
Taking Action: We decided to host a school-wide math focused mathternoon, where each teacher taught students a math game with cards or dice that focused on basic math facts that needed attention. The students then played those games together before rotating to another teacher for another math game. We also created a package of math card games and gave them to parents with a deck of cards at parent-teacher night after practicing each game with them.
Checking: While our students had a great time practicing their basic math facts, a single Mathternoon is not enough to make a big enough difference. With more frequent (monthly?) Mathternoons students will be able to continue their growth in math skills as well as cultivate relationships between grades and build community in the school. We used the same grade-wide assessment that we used at the beginning of the scanning phase to see if the Mathternoon made a difference with basic math facts. However, our use of targeted intervention periods proved to be successful. We intend on providing these RTI periods for years to come.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that card and dice math games are fun ways to provide math interventions and extensions to students. It also provides opportunities to create community within the school and between staff and students in different grades. The students really enjoyed practicing their basic math facts using card and dice games. We will try implementing more Mathternoons, hopefully monthly, and instead of the teachers hosting the different groups, the teachers will teach the students a math game and pair them up with another class. The partners would then take turns teaching each other and playing both games. This way the students become the experts and teachers.