School Name: Nakusp Elementary Public School
School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes
Inquiry Team Members: Jenna Arnold: Jenna.Arnold@sd10.bc.ca
Andrea Volansky: Andrea.Volansky@sd10.bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: Jenna.Arnold@sd10.bc.ca
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, Formative assessment, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Inquiry-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To increase students’ fluency and provide opportunity for meaningful practice during math, and real-world applications. To improve students’ ability to communicate math strategies according to their flexibility and efficiency. To be more self-aware of having a growth-mindset and confidence when communicating about math. Through their communication, students acquire, develop and transform ideas and information, and make connections with others to share their ideas, express their individuality, further their learning, and problem solve independently or collaboratively.
Scanning: During conferencing, scanning took place using addition/subtraction running records. This lead the discussion around students’ abilities as mathematicians, and their personal opinion of how they use math and see math as important in their life. For those students that see mathematics as a struggle, even at a young age, they are noticing their lack of automaticity and fluency compared to their peers. Students were able to communicate their ideas with their teachers through video, via Fresh Grade, and during the running records.
Focus: We noticed that during class observations and one-to-one conferencing, the students found it not only difficult to explain their efficiency and flexibility, but also to answer various adding and subtracting questions. We are noticing that students are not recognizing the need and importance of continual practice to maintain their level of fluency. Through peer teaching, older students will engage and build confidence, while younger students develop their fluency levels. Students from multi-grade classrooms will be engaged weekly with centers developed around their fluency levels, not only to support peers, but also to strengthen their own level of fluency. Learning and having the opportunity to teach someone will be a valuable asset in this inquiry.
Hunch: Our hunch from various practices at our school, is that many students challenged by fluency in math are often given flashcards, timed math drills, and small group instruction, often outside the classroom. We would like to see this type of practice as a means to an end, “last resort.” We would like to see other ways to encourage our student’s growth mindset and independence of communicating their math fluency with others. Seeking practices and activities that can be implemented across multi-grade classrooms, will provide them a sense of ownership and accomplishment with their learning.
New Professional Learning: We were a part of C2EAL, a collaborative professional development team with Dr. Leyton Schnellert. Monthly, we worked in teams with our colleagues on various inquiry projects, and supported each other with feedback and ideas. Also, with the use of Dr. Nicki Newton’s literature, “Math Running Records in Action”, we were able to use this framework of assessing fact fluency in Grades K-6. We co-taught together in our Gr 2/3 and Gr 5/6 classrooms. Math was a key focus during these afternoons, and learning was often enhanced with outdoor team-building activities, focusing on core competencies. We used Fresh Grade during the school year, and Google Classroom during remote learning. In June, it was difficult because we were teaching on opposite days.
Taking Action: We used fluency math games that were peer-led, to give the students a sense of responsibility of their learning. We used addition/subtraction games to build peer relationships — older students were the teachers and strengthened their efficacy and strategies, while helping the younger students build on their fluency. Before March break, we planned for the students to build a math fluency map (place mat), where they could write down what strategies students were using for their specific fluency level. After March break, this was not followed through due to remote learning.
Checking: While at school, students were taking risks and seeing themselves as confident learners in math. We took videos and posted them on Fresh Grade, displaying their attitudes and thoughts on where they could see math in their futures, as well as how relevant math was in their lives. During the school year before March, we completed math running records with our students three times, to see how they were doing with their level of fluency. There were many opportunities for hands-on learning through centers and stations. After March Break, we felt dis-satisfied and had a feeling of unfinished inquiry, as remote learning had challenges.
Reflections/Advice: We would like to continue on with this project with a new group of students when it is safe to do so within the school. We also see the importance of creating a timeline to check-in with students and complete running records. It was great to co-teach and combine multi-grade classrooms to learn. Over the summer, we would like to have a book talk study about Dr. Nicki’s new book: Fluency Doesn’t Just Happen with Addition and Subtraction: Strategies and Models for Teaching the Basic Facts.