Monthly Archives: September 2009

SMART Sessions with Marion Small

This information was just shared with me. Could be interesting…
Nelson Education has teamed up with SMART Technologies to present a unique series of webinars featuring Marian Small. In each online session, teachers will share SMART Board math lessons and activities they have created, while Marian Small provides practical suggestions on how to easily modify the lessons to make them more accessible for the wide range of learners in the classroom.
Each webinar will focus on a specific strand and will be using examples specifically from Grades 3-6, but anyone is welcome to join from any grade.
Sessions are always on Wednesdays, 4:30-5:30pm (EDT). Each session will be recorded and posted online afterward.
The schedule is:
October 7, 2009: Patterning
November 11, 2009: Number and Operations (Part 1)
January 20, 2010: Number and Operations (Part 2)
March 10, 2010: Measurement
April 28, 2010: Geometry
Registration is now live – you can visit this link, then click the Registration button which will take you to the SMART site. You can register in advance for all 5 sessions.

Grand Erie Workshops

i just came back from the Primary Math session put on through the GEDSB. It was part one of three. (Not sure if any one from our district took the Junior Math session. Please let me know if you did because i could only sit in on one of them.)

Tonight we were given a resource for Patterning and Algebra that could also be used in the Arts (drama, music and dance strands). Just a simple little activity that i think was designed to get us moving on a Monday. We then looked at how an exercise in the Guide to Effective Mathematics Instruction provides an opportunity for students to actively problem solve, using all the areas and strategies that they are expected to engage in from the ministry documents.
From there, we looked at how teachers can plan their math for each term by exploring the big ideas of each strand and cluster expectations based on those ideas. A planning resource and curriculum continuum was shared, which i will bring to the first Numeracy meeting (this Thursday, October 1st!)
Grand Erie is offering many after school workshops throughout the year. If you haven’t checked out the package posted at your school, please do so. i’ve highlighted the Math related workshops on the sidebar of the blog. ——->

Key Math Assessment

The past week or so, i have been conducting Key Math assessments with a few students in Mrs. S. LaForme’s class. i will also be working with Mrs. J. Skye and one of her students. It is an interesting test that is quite time consuming but helpful in planning and programming for out of level students.

i plan to give a workshop on conducting the assessment in the near future. If you are interested, please leave a comment. This will give me an idea of what kind of numbers to plan for when conducting the workshop. This is an assessment that any educational staff member can conduct (admin, teachers, TEAs, LRTs).

EQAO Improved through Focused Analysis

Here is a section from the EQAO Connects e-newsletter, talking about the improvement that one school had in their math results:

“Similarly inspiring are recent improvements in Father Venini’s Grade 3 math results. The team called upon the board numeracy consultant to help identify problems and develop solutions. A breakthrough came when the Grade 3 team reviewed The Ontario Curriculum and mapped it to the classroom textbook. Muir states: “The curriculum is specific about what students should learn and comprehend at each stage of their education. However, the curriculum and the textbook don’t always align.” The educators were able to streamline their teaching by concentrating on items from the textbook relevant to the curriculum.

The math consultant brought diagnostic techniques to the school, made recommendations to remediate gaps, helped the team focus and even taught lessons (e.g., a class on probability using a computer-generated model). The team now uses Math Makes Sense and the boxes and boxes of manipulatives that come with the text. Muir and Doiron believe that it is important for teachers to be familiar with these tools and to recognize that a child is thinking when using blocks. The teachers at Father Venini have seen these tools work. And their student achievement results demonstrate their effectiveness.

The mathematics team is also using continuum-based math with diagnostic tools that assess students’ counting, computation and performance of operations. This diagnostic assessment occurs just before a six-week teaching block and shows the gaps in a child’s numeracy skills development. The staff discovered there were students in Grade 3 who couldn’t count past 100. Muir states, “Students are great at coping, and normal lessons don’t reveal these gaps.” The teachers use the diagnostic data to target group teaching, with small student-group withdrawal for explicit, focused teaching. The primary division team is astounded at how quickly students have progressed.

Muir, Doiron and the rest of primary division staff now feel capable of quickly adapting teaching strategies to address each child’s needs. The statistical data are allowing teachers to learn about and reflect on students’ individual learning.

Of particular note at Father Venini is the fact that the team is not using new resources but is putting resources that have been around for several years to work. “We haven’t created anything truly unique,” says Doiron “We used a lot of the tools made available by our board and put [them] together to work for us.”

This is definitely something we are capable of as a district.

Grand Erie After School PD Opportunities

By now, ALL the schools should have a package of Grand Erie after school PD opportunities posted for the staff. I have highlighted the math related workshops on the sidebar, organized by month, for those of you interested. For further information please feel free to contact me.

Parent Math Workshops

Please note the parent workshops available to all, for FREE. One is offered in Delhi and the other is offered in Brantford. Here is the info from the Ontario Early Years Centre:

FAMILY MATH (Parent and Child Workshop) for ages 3 to 6 years.
“A fun, hands on program for parents/caregivers and their children, aged 3-6 yrs. Explore math using games, books, songs and activities.”
Registration is required and can be done by calling 1-866-463-2759 (Haldimand-Norfolk) or 1-888-33CHILD or 519-759-3833 (Brant).

EQAO In-service to come

Robin and I are working on some assistance/PD/in-service for teachers in the EQAO grades. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open for more on this to come.

In the meantime, here is some info that was came off the Numeracy in the News feed that is a part of this blog.
Some of the common themes that schools identify as factors in addressing the literacy and numeracy needs of students are professional learning communities; data-driven decision making; a whole-school approach to literacy, numeracy and student achievement; small-group learning for literacy and numeracy; differentiated instruction; high-quality teaching; early intervention; tracking of all student progress; parental involvement; the coordination of school and board improvement planning; and implementing Ministry of Education initiatives.

The provincial news release “EQAO Publishes School- and Board-Level Results of Provincial Testing” and a backgrounder are also available.

Results for all publicly funded elementary and secondary schools and their school boards are available at

Caribou Math Contest

Thanks to Alice Anderson for alerting us to this math contest coming up in October (with many more throughout the year). The contest is open to all grade 3, 4, 5, and 6 students across the province. Entry is FREE and the test is done completely on-line, with no further marking or commitment required of the teacher, other than the initial registration.

It would be awesome to see our students participate in this event. I encourage all the classrooms to coordinate their participation and am willing to assist you in any way possible to have our kids compete. I will be around the schools with some posters and signage to generate excitement and interest for the contest. I can also register schools once principals/teachers have expressed their interest.
Here is a quote from the e-mail that Alice shared:
“The sole purpose of the contests is to promote mathematics through puzzle solving among young children. It is not our aim to compare schools as can be seen from the statistics we publish on our web page, which only shows children who won and their school.”
Their website is located here. (Click on “here” for the link). The first contest is for grade 5 and 6 students. The second contest on November 18th is for grades 3 and 4. The contests then alternate throughout the year between the grades, roughly a contest every month (or if you prefer to look at it as a contest for each grade grouping every OTHER month). There is no commitment to do each and every contest, so feel free to look at the site and determine what suits your students.
There are sample problems for students to try in advance of the contest test writing dates, along with other valuable resources. Students who participate will be able to download a printable certificate of participation and a certificate of merit with the achieved rank within their school, within their school board, and in the province.
Let’s take a shot at the Caribou!!!

Open House Info For Parents

Mid to Late September means Open House time at Six Nations schools. Thanks to Mr. Sowden for posting all the Open House dates and times on his student success blog. (Click the link to view). While I hope to make it to all the schools, in case I am unable to attend, here is a link to the Ontario Ministry website that has an on-line version of the document I will be handing out to parents. Feel free to direct parents to this blog to find the link, as going to the site itself can make for some tricky navigation.

To see the Ministry document, “Helping Your Child Do Mathematics: A Guide For Parents“, just click on the title that’s in the quotation marks.
See you at the Open House!

Any More Ideas???

During my visit to the ECG staff meeting, someone suggested that we need to offer enrichment for Math savvy kids. Does anyone out there have any comments, ideas, or suggestions?

If so, click on where it says “comments” directly below and add your thoughts. When you are done typing, choose “name/URL” from the box with the arrow. You do NOT need to enter a URL, just your name is fine. Or, if you prefer, submit anonymously. Your comment will not appear right away, but should be up once I’ve had a chance to read it.