Monthly Archives: April 2010

March Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes

Six Nations District Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

JC Hill (2:30 – 4:00)

Agenda Items

Present: C. Froman, A. Anderson, S. Hill, J. Restoule General

Absent: L. Martin, J. Thomas, J. McNaughton

Review minutes from last meeting

Minutes were reviewed and approved with some questions.

Question was raised about the availability of the Understanding Math software. Jamieson school does not have it installed in the primary grades.

It was explained that originally all junior/intermediate teachers in the district had the demo software installed on their computers, as the software is geared towards these grade levels.

However, one component of the software does have lessons for K-3, so follow up installation for primary teachers was done at ECG, ILT, and OMSK. A request was submitted on January 28th, 2010 to have the software installed in the computer labs at ILT, JCH, and OMSK. At the time of the request, a response was given that personnel were too busy to fulfill the request.

Jamieson made the request to have the software installed for the primary teachers. M. Hickey and/or C. Bomberry will be contacted to do so.

Minutes approved and posted on the blog.

Webinar on Numeracy Nets from Pearson

The webinar was successfully conducted. On the presentation side was Chris Allen (Research and Communications Manager for Pearson), Keith Bauman (Senior Author and Advisor on Numeracy Nets), and Samantha McGowan (Regional Manager and Advisor for Pearson).

Keith walked us through the Numeracy Nets. He began with an overview of the resource (what its function is, why it is a valuable resource), followed by how the checkpoints are related to the Ontario curriculum.

He then went through the features of each checkpoint, and the content areas of the Numeracy Nets package. From there he went on to describe how a teacher would use the Numeracy Nets resource, including how a teacher can move forward with classroom planning after the assessment, as the tool is designed as assessment FOR learning.

Next, Keith explained how the class and individual tracking sheets could be used on a classroom or school basis. This included how to use the data in Professional Learning Communities.

Some key points from the webinar include:

Ø Numeracy Nets (NN) are primarily designed as assessment FOR learning; NOT to assess students AFTER they have done an activity

Ø NN check for a student’s/class’ readiness to learn grade level material

Ø NN BUILDS on a teacher’s existing math program with LINKS to the current classroom materials

Ø Black Line Masters contained on the CD-ROM are adjustable in the Word format

Question was asked concerning the testing of students who are known to be out of grade level. Keith replied that the tasks are designed to be simple enough that most anyone should be able to complete them as they are written, so use of the NN should remain within the grade level binder of the class using NN. Certainly starting with the appropriate grade level would be the first step, with teacher discretion occurring afterwards.

A second question asked about how NN addresses the need to emphasize the idea and understanding that math is more than computations and formulas, and that conceptual learning and understanding is what students require. Keith described how NN is related to Marian Small’s First Steps in Mathematics program, which emphasizes conceptual development.

Math Assessment Tools

PD planning for Numeracy Nets: With the new information gathered from the webinar, it was determined that math committee members were better equipped to assist with teacher use in the schools. It was suggested that implementation be discussed at divisional meetings. Joe is available for these meetings and will be looking to focus on the use of NN in the third term.

Teacher use: It was uncertain based on the committee members in attendance, whether or not teachers in the district had used the Numeracy Nets yet. Joe shared that he was aware that the JC Hill staff had, and feedback was positive regarding the initial use.

Ideas for ONAP implementation: As Numeracy Nets continue to be a focus; it was decided to delay any formal implementation of the ONAP resource. The understanding is that teachers do have the resource in their classrooms and are welcome to use them at any time, with formal PD and assistance to come at a later date.

CAT/Insight Testing Opportunity

Follow up on participation: Two schools (ECG and ILT) are signed up to participate in the Spring. Packages will be sent out in mid April. ILT will be conducting it in April and ECG in May.

Math contest (Caribou)

Upcoming dates/Classes involved: The next two Caribou contest dates were shared. Grades 5/6 compete on April 21st and grades 3/4 compete on May 19th. See the blog for full details.

Past results: Results from the grade 3 participants were shared. Joe presented certificates to the ILT students at their March recognition assembly. See blog for full details.

OMSK Math Night on February 17th

Report on how it went: The OMSK math night was well attended by staff, students and parents. Plenty of great math activities were shared, presented and played. See blog for full details.

ECG Math Night

Due to the length of the webinar, we did not get to the remainder of the agenda (except for the Wish List item below). All items will be bumped to the next meeting, which is April 22nd.

Explore Learning Teacher Passwords

Comments/concerns/feedback:

PD opportunity update:

Mathville 1

Comments/concerns/feedback?:

Wish List of items/books

Joe mentioned that he heard an idea or request to compile a list of essential professional reading materials for all education staff concerning Numeracy. A few key texts were shared, with the request that committee members bring their own “must have” list of texts to add to the draft version of the master list.

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Caribou Contest Results

Yesterday, Six Nations students wrote the Brock University Caribou Math Contest for grades 5 and 6. We had an outstanding participation rate, with three schools entering 32 students. They should all be proud of their effort and willingness to compete.

Overall, the province had just shy of a thousand students involved in the contest. Our students ranked as high as 404th. The top 5 students in our district ranked 404th, 443rd, 474th, 493rd, and 502nd. All students will receive either a Certificate of Merit (which shows their ranking at a provincial level, district level, and school level) OR a Certificate of Participation.
We applaud all of those who participated and encourage future involvement in academic competitions. Thanks to all the grade 5 and 6 math teachers who have registered throughout the year. Your dedication to offering unique opportunities for the students to show their mathematical skills and knowledge is inspiring and motivating. Grades 3 and 4 students still have another opportunity to write the Caribou Contest on the 19th of May.

Math and Technology websites

Here are some places where you can use technology and the web to assist in your math planning, teaching and learning. Thanks to Lynda K. for providing/suggesting these websites.

Math and Children’s Literature

Here are some websites that connect Math and Literature:

NCTM Illuminations (i’ve mentioned this one several times before–this is a specific math and literature page)
This collection of five lessons on the NCTM Illuminations website uses children’s books to teach math topics ranging from algebraic thinking in the primary grades to data analysis, geometry, and measurement. A fellow OCT had this to say about the website: “This website gives 3 lesson plans for 3 different pieces of literature. One of the lessons is from a Shel Silverstein poem – Shapes – from A Light in the Attic. I love Shel Silverstein and have used a few of his other poems for math – Bandaids – for adding, Smart – for money. One lesson is Counting on Frank for estimating volume and the other is How Big is a Foot? – using non-standard units for measuring.” ANY use of Shel Silverstein is fine by me!
This site breaks down the literature into topics you are trying to teach. When you click on the topic it gives you a comprehensive list of books you could use.
This site includes some of the site author’s professional articles, as well as some of the lessons and titles that she uses to teach math concepts.
A fellow OCT describes this site as “a website that contains lists of literature suitable for every subject area. In the ‘About Us’ section of the website, the company is described as one started by teachers and parents, for teachers and parents. The founder of the site is and has been an elementary teacher for some time. The site was created to be a comprehensive resource for teachers and parents searching for literature connections to curricular areas.
The web site has a menu of curricular areas down the left hand side. Included in this list are also things such as Tips for Teachers and Parents, Features for Teachers (which includes links to a variety of different educational web sites, web sites for teachers with lesson plans, activities, etc.), Educational Games, and Tips for Readers. The menu down the right hand side of the page contains a series of reading lists; selecting a particular grade (pre-school to Grade 5) will bring the user to a list of texts useful for the grade, in any subject area.

The main area on the home page contains highlighted books “Picks of the Month.” I use this site for lists of books for Science, Social Studies, and Math. When you select Math Literature from the menu on the left, you are brought to a page that lists math skills such as, for example, “addition / subtraction”, “fractions,” “place value,” “perimeter / area,” etc. Each of these is hyperlinked and will bring you to a further page that contains lists of books related to these topics. Each title is accompanied by an image of the book. Clicking on the image provides a summary of the book. Of course, the summary contains a product number and a cost, as all of the books are available for order from the site. I have never ordered from the site: rather, I use this as a research tool and, when and if I find a title that I would like to invest in and add to my own library, I order it from Indigo, where it is often less expensive and where my irewards discount applies!”


More time on teaching

Interesting article from the Windsor Star, written by MARIO SPAGNUOLO, first vice-president, Greater Essex Elementary Teachers.
This came from the “Numeracy in the News” feed in the sidebar. Try to have a look at those links, as they refresh from time to time.

Please have a read… click on the link below.

More time on teaching

or read it here:

More time on teaching

Re: Refocus funding on students, not standardized tests.

Teachers are committed to helping every child succeed. However, there are reservations about provincial standardized tests like the EQAO.

A standardized test by itself does not improve learning. Children learn by thinking, exploring, investigating and researching.

Teachers assess students through journals, portfolios, tests and quizzes, oral and written reports, projects, experiments and authentic tasks.

Time spent on EQAO tests means less time for teaching and learning. Provincial standardized tests are not used for report card marks.

Yet, they take so much time and effort away from instructional time.

Children have a unique learning style. Only teachers, not a single assessment, can best report on this.

Standardized testing costs millions of dollars which could be better used in classrooms. The EQAO annual budget is over $30 million, the equivalent of 800 new teachers.

The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat, another bureaucracy, has an annual budget of approximately $70 million. This money would be better used in schools, by reducing class sizes, especially those in grades four through eight.

Would you rather have students in classes of 35 or 25? Specialized teachers in the arts, physical education, and design and technology or a standardized test in grade three and six? Teacher-librarians or EQAO?

It is time Ontario join other jurisdictions, like Manitoba, New Brunswick, England and Scotland, who have either eliminated or are contemplating eliminating standardized testing. In fact, Finland, the country that consistently reports among the highest levels in student achievement, has rejected national standardized assessments, in favour of teacher assessments, saving itself millions of dollars each year.

By scrapping these standardized tests, the McGuinty Liberals would stop the demoralizing practice of ranking schools. Most importantly, the government would put students first, not EQAO test results.

MARIO SPAGNUOLO, first vice-president, Greater Essex Elementary Teachers

Reports are in…

Following my Web Site workshop provided for students and parents of Emily C. General school, the results are in: Visitors to the blog where the sites are listed (see the sidebar for the link or click here) increased by 54 visits and 316 page views for the week of April 7th to April 13th, according to the Site Meter stats tracker. That’s an average of 8 visits and 45 page views a day. Hopefully students are finding that math learning can be FUN, EASY and ENGAGING!!

Literature for Math available for Teacher Sign Out

We also have some literature that ties in with math expectations and concepts. Google any of the titles; chances are there are some lesson plans related to the books. We are starting small but will add to this as more titles are suggested and purchased for the use of the teachers in our district.

Literature for Math available for Individual Teacher Sign Out

Author

Title

IN

OUT

Burns, Marilyn

Spaghetti and Meatballs for All

Carle, Eric

The Grouchy Ladybug

Friedman, Aileen

A Cloak for the Dreamer

Hutchins, Hazel

A Second is a Hiccup

Katz, Karen

Ten Tiny Babies

Krebs, Laurie

We All Went on Safari: A Counting Journey through Tanzania

Mockford, Caroline

Cleo’s Counting Book

Neuschwander, Cindy

Sir Cumference and the Isle of Immeter

Schwartz, David M.

How Much is a Million?

Ulmer, Mike

Loonies and Toonies

Math Resources Available for Sign Out

We recently were able to stock up on some resources for teachers to use in their math programs.

Below is a list of titles available at the District Numeracy Office (JC Hill School). Swing on by and have a look, sign something out, or suggest a title for future reference. Call ahead to ensure i am there (i’m out of the office and in the schools most days) or set up an appointment via e-mail.

Math Resources available for Individual Teacher Sign Out

ResOURCE

GRADE LEVEL

IN

OUT

Educating the Young Child w/Autism Spectrum Disorders

K-8

Differentiated Instruction Planner

K-8

Closing the Achievement Gap

K-8

Understanding Geometry

K-8

Mental Math Workouts (360 Mind Stetchers) Level A

K-8

Puzzle It! Logic Puzzles & Tricks

K-8

Puzzle It! Pre-Algebra Riddles

K-8

Math Experiences for Young Learners

PK-K

Hands-On Standards: Teaching with Math Manipulatives

PK-K

Early Graphing Hidden Pictures

K-1

Math and Literature

K-1

111 Cut-Up Clocks & Cards for Learning to Tell Time

K-2

Math and Nonfiction

K-2

Math For All: Differentiating Instruction

K-2

Dice Activities for Math: Engage, Enrich, Empower

K-3

Teaching Young Gifted Children in the Regular Classroom

K-4

Canadian Money Activity Book

K-4

30 Ready-to-Use Math Transparencies

K-5

Encyclopedia of Math Blackline Masters

K-6

For Every Learner: Math (The Mailbox Books)

1

Money Matters: Developing Math & Problem Solving Skills

1

Hands-On Standards: Teaching with Math Manipulatives

1-2

Graph Art

1-2

Math By All Means: Probability

1-2

Canadian Money Activities

1-4

For Every Learner: Math (The Mailbox Books)

2

Money Matters: Developing Math & Problem Solving Skills

2

Problem Solving with Math: Selecting Successful Strategies

2-3

Graphing Hidden Pictures

2-4

Fun Flap Facts: Multiplication

2-4

Math and Test Taking

3

The KEY Study Guide 2009-2010 Ontario Edition

3

MathSmart Problem Solving

3

Drive-Thru Menu Math (Beginning Money Skills)

3

Money Matters: Developing Math & Problem Solving Skills

3

For Every Learner: Math (The Mailbox Books)

3

Hands-On Standards: Teaching with Math Manipulatives

3-4

Power Practice: Applying Problem-Solving Strategies

3-4

Brain Boosting Math: Problem Solving, Games, Brainteasers

3-4

Drive-Thru Menu Math (Add & Subtract Money)

3-5

Coordinate Graphing Hidden Pictures

3-5

Minilessons for Math Practice

3-5

Building Math Vocabulary

3-5

Dice Activities for Multiplication: Facts, Fluency, Fun

3-6

Comic-Strip Math: Problem Solving

3-6

Menu Math: The Hamburger Hut (Multiplication/Division)

3-6

Learning Math with Calculators

3-8

Differentiating Instruction in the Regular Classroom

3-12

The KEY Study Guide 2009-2010 Ontario Edition

4

For Every Learner: Math (The Mailbox Books)

4

Math Twisters: Challenging and Fun Activities

4

Math Engagement: Teacher Resource and Student Activities

4

MathSmart Problem Solving 4B

4

Problem Solving with Math: Selecting Successful Strategies

4-5

Drive-Thru Menu Math (Multiply & Divide Money)

4-6

Teaching Math with Everyday Manipulatives

4-6

Math Grid Games: Number, Space and Measurement

4-6

The KEY Study Guide 2009-2010 Ontario Edition

5

For Every Learner: Math (The Mailbox Books)

5

Daily Math Warm-Ups

5

Hands-On Standards: Teaching with Math Manipulatives

5-6

Power Practice: Data Analysis

5-6

I Have, Who Has? 38 Interactive Card Games

5-6

Solving Problems in Astronomy: Density, Volume, Mass

5-8+

Math Word Puzzles

5-8

Solving Math Problems and Summarizing Results

5-8+

Coordinate Graphing: Creating Pictures Using Math Skills

5-8

The KEY Study Guide 2009-2010 Ontario Edition

6

MathSmart Problem Solving 6B

6

Math and Nonfiction

6-8

Sizing Up Measurement

6-8

Math Minutes: One Hundred Minutes to Better Basic Skills

6

Math Masterpieces: Math Skills + Puzzles = Masterpieces

6-7

Math Minutes: One Hundred Minutes to Better Basic Skills

7

Use It! Don’t Lose It! Daily Math Practice

7

What Did YOU Make This Week?

Why i Applaud a Kid who Questions…

Thinking about DUMB Questions

By Andrew Churches

We know that one of tools sets we can develop in our student are the HOTS – Higher Order Thinking Skills. Teaching HOTS and use of timely, appropriate feedback provide the best learning outcomes for our students.

To be able to use Higher Order Thinking Skills we must, MUST, encourage questioning. To facilitate good formative assessment we must encourage questioning. We must develop a classroom environment where asking questions is encouraged and rewarded.

I am sure all of us have heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a dumb question” and its true. The student who asks a “dumb question”, the how do you do this question when I have just spent 5 minutes explaining it, isn’t asking the dumb question! They are saying that my explanation, no matter how clear and concise I though was, did not clearly explain the situation for them.

If we get the same student asking us time and again the “dumb question” then its time for me as an educator, to reflect on my communication. Its time for me to consider changing how I am communicating. I Need to ask myself
* What is their learning style?
* What is my primary mode of lesson delivery?
* Are they a visual learner, Auditory, read-write or kineasthetic?
* How would I find out?
* Do they have a learning need that is not being addressed?
* or are they not being challenged, engaged or motivated?

Our “Dumb question” asking students is often taking a huge risk, they are inviting ridicule and drawing attention to themselves. But they are also taking charge of their own learning, they are telling me that they value learning and want to achieve. For these reason they must be encouraged.

But how often do we see the brightest of our students remaining quiet when we ask are there any questions?

I suspect that there is a stigma associated with asking questions. A stigma that says if you ask questions you are dumb or don’t understand. That by not asking questions you are saying I understand, by asking questions you are saying I don’t.

We need to have written above every whiteboard…
…Smart kids ask questions…
I want my students to question what I say, because when they do they THINK. And the thinking they are doing are the Higher Order Thinking Skills of Analysis and Evaluation. Ted McCain in his book teaching for tommorow talks of deliberately withholding information to have the students question the learning process. To have them formulate and then ask the key questions, to encourage and facilitate higher order thinking skills.

By asking questions they are analysing and evaluating. They are making judgements, constructing and deconstructing, estimating, critiquing, validating, checking, testing, monitoring, debating and discussing…

So,

Smart Kids Ask Questions

* Write it in big letters
* Print it out
* And stick it to your wall!

I guess a question that should be asked is what about the attention seeker? Well, that’s part of developing that environment that encourages learning. We all have those students now and again, and we can’t not develop questioning skills because of one who needs attention. Rather we need to deal with the student and the root cause of the issue rather than avoiding the situation.