School Name: Arrow Heights Elementary School
School District: SD#19 Revelstoke
Inquiry Team Members:Rita Tedesco: firstname.lastname@example.org, Allison Just: 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): Matahematics / Numeracy
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning, Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? We chose to focus on numeracy, specifically how we can promote flexible and deeper thinking in math.
Scanning: Classroom teachers are addressing different ability levels in their math classes. Collaboration time and additions to staff meetings were addressing good practice in numeracy. Many teachers are moving towards a workshop format that allows students to work at their conceptual level and also allows classroom teachers to give students more individualized instruction in smaller groups. We wondered if this format could become more targeted. School-Wide Math Assessments at Arrow Heights School are showing what students don’t know, but not showing the “why” behind their lack of understanding.
Focus: We want students to think deeper and and on a broader level in mathematics. What impact would we have on student learning if we target/utilize early numeracy skills (that are identified as missing) to promote flexible thinking in math?
Hunch: If the missing understandings are filled in, we should see more confident, numerate thinkers. Classroom assessment results are indicating that our students struggle the most with multi-step numeracy real life tasks. These tasks are ones that focus on the application of concepts rather than the procedure of the math involved. This was of concern as it became apparent that some students had developed misunderstandings and needed targeted instruction in order to develop their thinking, so that they could function in grade level curricular concepts.
New Professional Learning: We used a resource called First Steps in Math.
Our action provided opportunities for students to develop their misunderstandings in order to function at grade level.
The activities in the intervention program are fun and engaging, which motivated students to take part.
The activities allowed students to work through problems at their own pace with plenty of different ways to solve problems in an environment where it was safe to make mistakes.
The activities provided a sense of accomplishment in math where confidence is low.
The activities provided students with opportunities to work and learn together in small groups to solve problems.
Taking Action: 1. Currently, our school is using class-based assessments in order to measure math skills so that teachers can adjust their instruction throughout the year.
2. We gave extra help and support for those students who are missing the key understandings or concepts in order to promote flexible thinking by filling in the “missing gaps.”
3. In order to do this, we launched a numeracy intervention using First Steps in Math Diagnostic Program, which allows teachers to discover and diagnose missing key understandings.
4. We created kits using the First Steps Program (available online) to address deficits.
5. We met with students in small groups to work on these targeted areas.
6. Approximately 10% of each class fell under this category.
Checking: Our focused small learning groups showed growth in the three-month time frame that the intervention strategy occurred.
In K-3, the number of students fully meeting increased from 63% to 76%. There was still 5% who did not meet expectations.
In grades 4-7, the number of students who had not yet met the key understandings for multiplicative thinking – place value moved from 19% to only 6%.
Reflections/Advice: The results in implementing the program in the way that we did were positive for our school.
We need to work on challenges encountered with coordination of times and classroom schedules.
Our intervention occurred in the later part of the school year. We will focus on providing the intervention for a longer period of time next year, starting much earlier.
Next year we will continue to target the 10% of students in each class who need extra help and support with key understandings in math.