Category Archives: #MathLeadersNEO

Are All Kids Able to Choose?

Recently, in my Primary/Junior Math AQ course, we examined process expectations in the Ontario primary/junior math curriculum document.

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Of particular interest to me was the process expectation around “selecting tools and computational strategies”.

The Ontario math curriculum document was written in 2005, five years before the first iPad was released, and two years before the first iPhone was sold.  In the 11 years since the curriculum document was written, we have seen exponential technological advancement.

The digital tools available to children in 2016 are beyond the imaginations of the writers of the current curriculum document.

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“Students need to develop the ability to select the appropriate electronic tools.”

How do they develop this ability?

As an adult, how do you develop this ability?

The ability to make that choice depends on1) the ability to understand how you learn, 2) knowing what tools are available and how they work, and 3) having access to those tools.

As educators, is it a priority for us to ensure that students learn to make good choices about what digital tools work best for them?

It isn’t about our comfort level.  We can’t wait until we are “comfortable” to make this happen.

And, we can’t teach for a world that no longer exists.

How would you rewrite the 2005 math curriculum document to ensure all students have access to the digital tools they need, and the ability to choose the best digital tools to help them learn?

 

Further reading:

It IS About the Tools

Toolbelt Theory – Ira David Socol

Featured Image shared by JingleJammer under a CC-BY-SA-2.0 Licence.

Are you Asking the Right Questions?

Yesterday, a colleague, Sean Mieghan,  posted a great little video that clearly demonstrates the importance of asking the right questions.

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“Life is Good” owners tell us that their ideas came from the questions their mother asked every day at the dinner table.  She empowered them to come up with ideas – lots of them!

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In the same way that task predicts performance, asking the different questions can change the learning. As educators, how often do we work at asking better questions?

Further reading: https://suedunlop.ca/two-essential-questions-for-reflection/

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Featured image shared under a CC-BY-2.0 licence by Alan Levine.

A Vision of Effective Mathematics Teaching and Learning

What is your vision of effective mathematics teaching and learning in elementary school?

This is a new question for me.  This blog is Learning About Learning, and I have a lot of learning to do about mathematics education.

I am hoping you can help me.

Here are a few of the things I am thinking about right now.  What can you add to this? What have you learned in your own practice? What do you think about when you consider a vision for teaching and learning mathematics?

I think that efficacy is critical.  Students have to believe they can achieve at high levels.  Teachers have to believe that students can achieve at high levels and that teachers have the capacity to  get students to that high level.

Is mathematics skills (as I was taught), or is it ideas (as Dr. Marian Small suggests)?

Is math about making connections?  Is it important that we work with big ideas rather than teaching skills and concepts only in isolation?

I think students have to be able to choose the tools and strategies they need to help them solve problems.

It isn’t up to us to tell them what tool to use, but to teach them how to use many tools effectively so they might pick the one that is right for them in each context.

Math needs to be fun.  Kids need to be the ones doing the thinking. Teaching through problem solving can be very effective (problems are not add-ons).

Teachers need to collaborate with other educators, to share their thinking openly, to challenge the thinking of others, to read and write blogs about their work.  Isolation is a choice, and isolation is unprofessional.  Kids need the thinking of many professionals, not just the one assigned to them.

As I work through #mathleaderNEO over the next few years, I plan to grow this thinking.

I encourage you to share your ideas too.

Featured Image: shonk via Compfight cc

Learning Math “in the Open”

We’re trying something new.

It’s an innovative approach to a challenging problem, and it has the commitment of leaders from throughout northeastern Ontario.

We are building our understanding of how to learn and lead mathematics in our elementary schools, and we are doing it out in the open.

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Embedded in our learning is a commitment to sharing openly in social media (#mathleaders NEO on Instagram and Twitter), and on our website.

We have made a conscious decision to avoid the use of an LMS.

We are not hiding our work behind a password unless privacy is necessary.   In this way, we are embedding the learning of digital literacies into our work.

We are also modelling practices that can be used by anyone to share, collaborate, and learn together.  We are supporting the integration of collaborative technologies to transcend the geographic barriers we face as a region.

We invite you to learn with us, to question our thinking and to push our understanding.  Watch our site and our social media presence for prompts, live-streamed events, conversations and challenges.

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*Featured image designed by SAO Tim Robinson of the Mathematics Leadership Network.