School Name: Ruth King Elementary
School District: SD#62 Sooke
Inquiry Team Members:Ryan Shrieves email@example.com, Kevin Dranchuk firstname.lastname@example.org, Ramina Sidhu email@example.com, Georgette Walker firstname.lastname@example.org, Sandra Grimwood 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: Differentiated instruction, Flexible learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How much can we improve students’ understanding of number sense by teaching number sense in context, taking time to develop it daily, teach connections such as inverse concepts and collaborate on this across the grade levels?
Scanning: We began our scanning phase by using First Steps to Mathematics assessment tasks. Grade 1 and 2 students had challenges with counting principles, and partitioning. The Grade 2/3’s used counting by 1’s rather than skip counting. Few were unitizing. The Grade 4’s demonstrated some mastery of basic facts but subtraction was noticeably a struggle. We asked the four questions and felt that students may lack growth mindset and a positive view of themselves as mathematicians.
Focus: We recently purchased the Fosnot Context’s through Mathematics program for our school. We were hoping to explore the kits in order to develop flexible thinking, perseverance, and positive mental growth mindsets. The premise of the kits is that children learn more deeply through a context they understand such as riding on a double decker bus or having a sleepover. We also noticed that we needed to focus on subtraction and division, as these are often neglected in comparison to addition and multiplication. In addition to the Fosnot kits, we felt that mathematical routines conducted daily or weekly, would support children’s number sense.
Hunch: There is often a sense of urgency for teachers to cover the entire curriculum and therefore teachers often teach mathematics though delineated units that don’t provide deep understanding. For example, a teacher might do “division” then “fractions” rather than integrated throughout the year. As well, skills are often taught in a isolated “drill” fashion than promotes memorization rather than fluency and understanding. We believe the focus needs to be on number sense and slower, deeper experiences for students. Our district no longer has vetted programs and teachers are using many different resources that often lack rigor.
New Professional Learning: The Fosnot kits are well supported but challenging for teachers new to them. There are videos and online, professional development tools through Heinemann Publishing and the author’s website. Each unit develops many strands of numeracy though big ideas, strategies and models. Specifically we wanted to know how to integrate these kits into our daily lessons, unit plans and yearly overviews. Using the Crosswalks resources (links Math Makes Sense to Fosnot) and other resources such as the Counting Collection routine and math journals, we hoped to coordinate multiple resources to enhance the Fosnot kits.
Taking Action: We had professional learning sessions with our District curriculum expert, watched the videos and talked about our experiences.
We developed new tools for assessment (checklists, points of progress) that connect to the kits directly. Taking Fosnot’s landscapes of big ideas, strategies, and models, our curriculum team leader redeveloped them as a linear models for better understanding. We also working on the extended curriculum for each grade making suggestions of which Fosnot units to do and when, as well as listing routines that support number sense. Using Google Drive, we shared our resources for our school.
Checking: – Overall, there was a large increase in confidence and demonstration of different ways to make 10, with many students using different ways to make 10. Student understanding of addition and subtraction strengthened, and a notable increase in enthusiasm when working on math as a class.
-Overall, I would conclude that repeated and daily numeracy routines based on authentic, concrete materials in context have encouraged a growth in flexible thinking with regards to numeracy.
-Overall I felt that students benefited from daily and weekly routines that built on strategies we generated as class, discussed as a congress, and created posters as reference. Activities used concrete materials that cycled into semi-abstract and abstract representations and back depending on what we were doing. It was a learning process for me as well. Games proved to be an enjoyable, safe and fun way to practice our strategies.
Our baseline assessments were the First Steps to Mathematics tasks. There was a noticeable increase in success with these tasks. Students has developed the ability to state their strategies, and explain their thinking.
Reflections/Advice: The Fosnot kits are robust but significantly challenging for teachers. We supported the kits by creating checklists for specific units and points of progress. The kits are American and we had to think out where they best fit in our curriculum. Resources like the Crosswalk link were helpful. Teachers appreciated the release time to really look through the units because they can be a significant pedagogical shift. All participants will continue to use the Fosnot units in a significant or limited manner. These kits are well worth the investigation in time and energy.
Routines such as Counting Collections with hands-on, concrete materials were very successful to developing number sense.