Tag Archives: #ontedleaders

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


Last weekend I had the privilege of sharing learning at the Ontario GAFE Summit in Kitchener.  I presented with Mark Carbone, CIO, Waterloo Region District School Board.  I have embedded our slides below.  These are presentation slides so there is not a lot of content.

However, I think you will find the links and resources useful.

We will post our slides from this weekend’s GAFE Summit in Thunder Bay after the event ends on Sunday.

Please be sure to check out these three key OSAPAC Resources:

  1. Digital Citizenship Resources for Educators
  2. Digital Leadership Resources for Principals
  3. Digital Leadership Support for Education Leaders


Theory Into Action: #supdsb

We talk a lot about how the world is changing.  We hear predictions that concern us for awhile, then we go back to our jobs.

But here we are: “Every single job function we can identify is being fundamentally transformed.”

(David Rose, in D. Culberhouse, The Future Will Be Very Different)

Continuing to do what we are doing now is a disservice to our children.

But how do we change?

We know three things that are essential:

  1. Creating the compelling argument for change (Creative Public Leadership, The RSA)

On March 29, I was privileged to learn with educators from Superior North Catholic District School Board and Superior Greenstone District School Board.

The TELT (Technology Enabled Learning and Teaching) Contacts understand the need to create a compelling argument for innovative practice to ensure all of our students are empowered to learn to thrive in their world.  George Couros, author of The Innovator’s Mindset, was invited to lead the learning for the day.

You can find a summary of the learning here and on Twitter using the hashtag #supdsb.

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SGDSB TELT Contact Stacey Wallwin (@wallwins) welcoming George Couros (@gcouros), thanking him for his support in the recent online study of his recent book, The Innovator’s Mindset.


2. Build Community

It was a very special day that focused on building capacity in our communities.

Educators from both English-speaking boards learned together in the same room.  In my experience, formal professional learning rarely involves co-terminus boards learning together, but we know that together we are better and this event was living proof.

Educators from SNCDSB and SGDSB sat together at tables, sharing learning from the day and building a learning network for the future.

SNCDSB TELT Contact Katie DiBiagio cheers on SGDSB Director Dave Tamblyn as he competes with SNCDSB Director Alexa MacKinnon, cheered on by George Couros.
SNCDSB TELT Contact Katie DiBiagio cheers on SGDSB Director Dave Tamblyn as he competes with SNCDSB Director Alexa McKinnon, cheered on by George Couros.


3. Flatten the Organization

How often as educators do we participate in professional learning events with only those in like-roles?

At this event, both Directors were present for the full day of learning.  Sitting at the tables were superintendents, teachers, community engagement leaders, tech champions, school leaders,  digital learning volunteers, IT staff and guests.

From DCluberhouse, https://dculberh.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/from-disconnected-hierarchies-to-connected-ecosystems/
From DCluberhouse, https://dculberh.wordpress.com/2014/11/01/from-disconnected-hierarchies-to-connected-ecosystems/


If we are going to innovate in 2016, we need to entrench practices that enable the flow of ideas.

Congratulations to SNCDSB and SGDSB for putting theory into practice, for putting learning ahead of false boundaries, and for taking some big leaps toward entrenching innovative thinking into professional practice..

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SNCDSB TELT Contact Katie DiBiagio, George Couros, SNCDSB Director Alexa McKinnon.


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Resources for the day



Let’s UNLEARN a Few Assumptions About School

Many teachers teach the way they were taught.

The B.Ed. program would do well to emphasize the unlearning of wrong assumptions about schooling – like “sit up straight” and “sit still” and “look at the teacher”.

Change won’t happen until we all deeply question our assumptions of what school should look like for kids.

Thanks to Joël McLean for sharing this video on Twitter yesterday.



How Do We Tackle “Crippling Incrementalism”?

Thank you to #YRDSBQuest for streaming keynote presentations and encouraging the sharing of learning on Twitter.  It makes it much easier to learn from a distance.

While working near Thunder Bay on Wednesday, I was able to keep in touch with much of the learning.

I also spent time last Sunday and Monday following the Tweets from the OPC event with Dr. Michael Fullan.  I found some relevant work like this:

But I also worried that leaders were once again embracing a lot of conceptual information, like this:

This year, I am wondering about how we can move learning forward.  I think a lot about Simon Breakspear’s plea for us to get out of the conceptual and into a very clear, specific vision of future practice.

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Original video and comments here: https://fryed.wordpress.com/2015/09/17/fallsim15-learning-from-simon-breakspear/

So after reading all the Tweets from Day 1 of #YRDSBQuest and watching the keynotes streamed, I came to this inquiry question:

I feel as though we have spent a lot of time in Ontario working on “building relationships”, building our emotional intelligence, talking about innovation, talking about 21C, reading books about the secrets of change, drivers, instructional core, sticky ideas and mindsets.

Isn’t it time now to take some action?

“We are now better than fifteen years into the 21st Century and educators are still discussing what role technology plays in education.”

Tom Whitby, My Island View, How Do We Stop Illiterate Educators?

Let’s look at the last bullet on the slide above:

“Ultimately you need people to take charge of their own learning…”

What if we invested in putting a simple, reliable mobile device into the hands of every educator (especially leaders), and provided reliable connectivity, then offered some basic instruction into how to self-direct their learning

…. imagine what would happen if every leader committed to learning and sharing openly, if every educator openly reflected on learning and practice on their own blog/website in a searchable, open way.

Think of the spread of best practice – next practice that could happen if all educators were simply empowered with those simple three things:

  1. A simple, reliable mobile device
  2. Reliable connectivity
  3. Basic instruction on self-directing their learning in open collaborative online environments.

How well would we then understand the critical needs to ensure that our students are able to self-direct their own learning in this world where knowledge is ubiquitous?




See how some Ontario Educators are taking the next steps in self-directing learning:






Sharing from #BIT15: Heidi Siwak’s Keynote Address

If you were unable to attend Heidi Siwak’s closing keynote at #BIT15 this year, you missed an amazing learning experience.

Let’s see if we can share the important points.

Here is Heidi’s link to the resources.

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Here is the storify of the Twitter chat for the event.

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