Nakusp Elementary School SD#10 Arrow Lakes

By September 17, 20192018-2019 Case Study

School Name: Nakusp Elementary School

School District: SD#10 Arrow Lakes

Inquiry Team Members:Patti Zeleznik:
Brenda McQuair:
Andrea Volansky:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE

Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Area(s): Mathematics / Numeracy

Focus Addressed: Growth mindset, Self-regulation

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Math instruction to encourage independent learning, enabling increased time for one to one and small group conferencing.

Scanning: The scanning process began the start of September through classroom observation (student work and in class behaviour) and the completion of class review process. We used the four questions to access background knowledge and determine where we needed to go next. We recognized that our students were unable to independently work for sustained periods of time, upon having receiving whole group instruction

Focus: We collaborated and shared our classroom experiences. We discussed the wide range of academic and social emotional abilities within our classrooms. The focus was determined by students presenting a lack of ownership of learning, and ability to stay focused and on task during math.

Hunch: We recognized that students are not keeping focusing during whole group instruction and requesting assistance before attempting to independently process information. We wonder if students are experiencing a fixed mindset in relation to their math abilities. Students appeared to be hesitant to take risks, were frequently looking for reassurance; and in turn demonstrating work avoidance and off task behaviour.

New Professional Learning: Resources used:
Jo Boaler Mindset Mathematics Grade 4
Jo Boaler Whats Math Got to do with it?
Alex O’Connor Making Math Workshop Work
Math Antics video lessons, youtube
Jump Math Grade 5, Grade 6
Carole Fullerton Math books and Workshops

We used the gradual release model, math talks, brain work, game play and math stations to implement math instruction in the classroom.

Taking Action: Brenda Gr. 4/5:
-introduced math centres, to enable small group work with teacher and this fit in with our resource teachers, Andrea and Keith, being able to work with small groups or 1-1.
-did a lot of Math talks so kids feel comfortable discussing Math, problems in solving Math questions, and own strategies
-gave a focus when using learning intention written on the board so kids don’t feel like they are guessing at what they are supposed to be learning.
-used lots of real life examples in the 4 square, Carole Fullerton, assessment for instruction piece.
-used math talks, problem of the day, ticket out the door to engage students
-used choice of partners, choice of seating, working on clipboards at the carpet etc. to give students flexibility and in turn (hopefully) engagement in Math
-used mostly curric guides and own materials, supplemented by resource teachers, Carole Fullerton math guides, (need one on proportional reasoning!) and a little Math Make Sense texts only on teacher’s part as a guide
To build confidence and help change a fixed mindset, math time was set up to have the same routine. Students started math with a 3-minute math drill or a short game focusing on basic math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division). After this, students were given a lesson using the gradual release model.

I would teach a new concept by showing the students how my brain works to complete a new math strategy while demonstrating it on the board or with manipulatives. The next step was to invite students to complete a strategy with me and for them to explain in their words how they would do it. Once we had completed this activity several times students would get white boards. Students were eager to use the boards and enjoyed the game format of this part of the lesson. I would give the students a question and the students would write the answer on the white board and hold it up. I would tell them yes or no. If they answered correctly, they would erase the answer and help someone around them by explaining how to get to the answer or wait for the next round. Before moving on to another question students were given the opportunity to come up and explain the strategy they used. This activity would be repeated until most students were able to get to the answer. The next step was for students to practice using this strategy on their own and showing their success. While this step was occurring, I would work with students one on one or in small groups to help others attain success.

As part classroom support teacher and part time classroom teacher I was able to participate in both Patti and Brenda’s approaches to our inquiry by providing guided small group activities/ games in Brenda’s class, while simultaneously encouraging math talks in smaller less intimidating than in front of the class approach. In Patti’s class we often optimized my classroom support time to address the multi grade classroom and choosing to divide the students by grade working in smaller groups. Lastly on my teaching day in Grade 5/6 I implemented a number of the day strategy, math game/time with teacher rotation.

Checking: Brenda Gr. 4/5:
I think the kids found that while this was difficult at first to independently work on Math, they began to see Math as an investigation into communicating with numbers instead of just following a work sheet like exercise. They began to see that math was about thinking with numbers.
The students began to think about math in many ways, like using percent, fractions, equations, number sequence and greater than/ less than, estimations, decimals, pictures, words and real life.

I think using a game at the beginning of math time helped lessen anxiety and helped change how some students felt about math. By repeating the same routines and using a gradual release model more students were able to complete math tasks with minimal help from myself. I began to have more students showing a positive mindset toward math and students encouraging others by explaining how they would complete a math task rather they just telling them the answer.

Respond and Interpret:
(what did we learn about students? About my teaching practice and about learning?)
Brenda Gr. 4/5:
I learned my students are still reluctant to actually write or think about numbers; they seem to still want equations that they just slap answers into. I need to keep working on Math journaling, Math talks and approaching Math problems from different points of view to demonstrate it’s all about communicating with numbers; not just racing to finish questions that are answered without deep Math thinking.

I learned I need to keep at giving them centre time, writing intentions on the board, and take the time to introduce these centres in the first part of the year.

Also I need to reinforce, with my problem of the day, how math works in real life in different job sites or in everyday problems.
• Upon reflection we have noticed that implementing math centres in the classroom has helped us reduce the amount of transmission style instruction in the classroom and make room for increased generative and transformative learning in the classroom
• Working with small groups of students allowed for more specified and individualized instruction (helping us break through emotional learning barriers

Reflections/Advice: • Want to continue implementing Math Centres 2 -3 days a week in the 2019/2020 school year
• To do a Math Night with parents to reinforce positive mindset for Math problem solving, to explain Math Talks and the what and why we do Math the way we do!!

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