School Name: A.J. Elliott Elementary
School District: SD#85 Vancouver Island North
Inquiry Team Members:Melody Watson: firstname.lastname@example.org, Serena Lansdowne: email@example.com, Lynn Walker: firstname.lastname@example.org, Nicole Forshaw: email@example.com, Anca Fraser: firstname.lastname@example.org, Rachel Lloyd: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), 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, Formative assessment, Growth mindset, Inquiry-based learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How will a cyclical based math approach, focusing on “Big Ideas”, in addition to the focus on developing a growth mindset and supporting families, have an impact on student achievement in numeracy as measured by the BC Performance Standards, District Math Assessment, and school-wide assessments?
Scanning: The OECD principles of learning and the First Peoples Principles of Learning guide our work. For example, this inquiry recognizes that learners need to be at the centre of our work and recognizes that we all learn differently and so the way we teach math must meet each learner where they are and help them to move forward along a continuum. Our inquiry also speaks to the holistic , reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational nature of learning. We also ask our learners the 4 Key Questions (specifically with a math focus for this inquiry) throughout the year.
In scanning, we have noticed that our learners:
· have strong computation skills and that computation has meaning
· are taking more risks when solving problems (can get started and try something, adjust methods, seek help when needed, etc.)
· are thinking more flexibly (multiple strategies, seeing numbers more flexibly)
· are improving in their ability to be reflective and set, monitor, and adjust their goals
· need to continue to develop mathematical growth mindsets (celebrate mistakes, take risks, equate effort with results, believe in themselves/see themselves as mathematicians)
· benefit from having concepts taught cyclically all year long, going deeper as concepts are revisited regularly (students have more opportunities to master concepts and build upon their understanding)
· are making their learning more visible through portfolio assessment
· may need more support when transitioning to the high school
· may have parents who lack confidence in supporting their children with math strategies
Focus: We felt that we need to continue to focus on the following:
· Continuing to develop mathematical growth mindsets-Students need to see themselves as mathematicians. They need to believe that they can be successful and that they are “math people”.
· Further developing and expanding the use of digital portfolio assessment as a way for students to make their learning visible, reflect on their learning, and improve their goal setting (making goals, monitoring progress, adjusting goals, etc.), and communicate with their parents and teachers about their learning.
· Continuing our work on group work (roles and responsibilities)
In addition, we felt that we need to focus on the following:
· Supporting each other as a staff in developing our skills in cyclical teaching through sharing, observations, mentoring etc.
· We wanted to have a family math session in the fall for parents and their children to share/teach parents the strategies their children are using at school. This would be a hands-on session for parents and their children with families taking away strategies and games they can use at home. Further sessions would follow based on interest.
· We wanted to find a way to work with the teachers at the high school to make the transition between grade 7 and 8 smoother and help our students to be confident and successful math students at the high school.
Hunch: · Using the 4 Key Questions more regularly with our students, framed specifically around mathematics will help our students to become more reflective and responsible for their learning
· We spent several sessions as a school developing group work roles and expectations last school year. We will use this year to provide students with as many opportunities as possible to put this work into action (e.g. teaching, assigning, and rotating roles and teaching students to be responsible for each other’s learning-seeing math as a collaborative and shared pursuit, not an individual and competitive one)
· Specific teaching around mindsets continues to be needed for students to see themselves as mathematicians and believe they can be successful (this will transfer into all areas, not just math). This teaching also needs to be shared with parents.
· Many parents have expressed a desire to learn more about the way their children are learning math so that they can better support them.
· We have differing levels of experience teaching math with a cyclical approach and will work more collaboratively next year to support one another.
New Professional Learning: · As a staff, we continued our study of Mathematical Mindsets. Each staff meeting we focused on a chapter and continued discussions between meetings.
· Staff members shared learning from the online course, How to Learn Math for Teachers from Stanford University
· We used, How to Learn Math for Students (a free course also through Stanford) as a resource with our students.
· We continued our work and discussions around formative assessment
· We continued to align our work with the new curriculum
· We continued to develop our frameworks for cyclical teaching and shared our learning with each other
· We collaborated with other elementary schools through Changing Results for Young Mathematicians and at Non-Instructional days, and reached out to the high school
Taking Action: · Staff participated in a study of, Mathematical Mindsets and shared mindset concepts with students and families in weekly newsletters home, at math sessions, in our three-way conferences, and in conversations
· Staff used technology to further student use of digital portfolio assessment (FreshGrade)
· Staff used group work to support student learning (teaching, assigning, and rotating roles that the students developed collaboratively last year)
· We aligned our work with the new curriculum
· We used our school-wide supplementary assessment in the fall and spring. It was done at the same time as the DMA and included problem posing, how many ways, and basic facts
· Support Staff were a part of the professional learning (big ideas, math strategies, formative assessment, etc.) and reflected that in their support to students
· We used formative assessment consistently and effectively to improve student learning
· We engaged in discussions on the use of Formative Assessment and the BC Performance standards in an ongoing way
· All staff communicated about the work they were doing towards the goals of this inquiry on a regular basis, formally and informally
· Staff worked collaboratively using the three tiers of RTI to support high levels of learning for all students
· We hosted a session to support families with math strategies (parents and their children all came to the school for an evening of hands-on learning of the math strategies we use at school)
Checking: We continue to be very satisfied with the continued growth our students show in math. Our students achieve highly, but we also realize that there is always room for further growth.
Student achievement evidence and baseline data was collected from a variety of sources including: DMA grade 2-7, A.J. Elliott Supplementary Math Assessment (Basic Facts, How Many Ways, Problem Posing) grades 1-7, A.J. Elliott Math Confidence Survey K-7, FSA grades 4 and 7, DreamBox (K-3) and Mathletics (grades 3-7) , online math programs that also give teachers assessment data, Minute-by-minute formative assessment, Three-way conferences, use of the Four Key Questions with a Math Focus, and documentation of learning through portfolio assessment.
Reflections/Advice: In our Inquiry work next year we plan to:
Incorporate more place-based learning and culture into math
· Incorporating First Peoples’ worldview and perspectives to make connections to mathematical concepts
· Engaging in problem-solving experiences that are connected to place, story, cultural practices, and perspectives relative to Local First Peoples communities, the local community, and other cultures
Support transitioning from grade 7 to high school (cont’d)
· We would like to continue to find ways to work with the teachers at the high school to make the transition between grade 7 and 8 smoother and help our students to be confident and successful math students at the high school.
Support families (cont’d)
· Based on the success of the family math session we held last year, we would like to have more sessions for parents and their children to share/teach parents the strategies their children are using at school. These are hands-on sessions for parents and their children with families taking away strategies and games they can use at home.
Develop Mindset (cont’d)
· Continue to develop mathematical growth mindsets-Students, staff and families need to see themselves as mathematicians. They need to believe that they can be successful and that they are “math people”.
Our advice would be to rely heavily on formative assessment and teach each child what they need in that moment to move forward along a continuum. Teaching math cyclically and not in units has made one of the biggest differences for our students. Concepts are visited over and over again throughout the year allowing students to master concepts and learn deeply. This is where we would recommend others start.