Durham Catholic DSB is new to Learning Connections this year although they have been a part of ABEL in the past. Their involvement in LC is a great expansion to our program. Two schools will be initially part of their project and I had the opportunity to visit and work with their team at one of these schools: Brother Andre Catholic School in Ajax.
The focus of the DCDSB LC Project is on teaching and learning mathematics through problem solving and mathematical processes to build on their past work around student understanding, accountable talk, student voice and descriptive feedback. Their goal is to develop the knowledge and proficiency with new strategies and practices that effectively integrate technologies, specifically BYOD in the teaching and learning process focussing on numeracy.
The morning started by reviewing the School Improvement Plan goal which is the focus for their LC work: If we engage students with rich balanced numeracy tasks including a variety of assessment strategies, designed around clear learning goals in problem solving, then student learning and achievement will improve and student attitudes towards numeracy will change. This lead to a discussion of how they could change the attitudes of teachers, students and parents around mathematics. Through a variety of initiatives in the school and the classroom, they are working towards this goal. In the classroom, they are investigating different assessment strategies to help alleviate math anxiety that they have observed in students. They are looking at how to assess math processes, not just the final answer. They are also investigating how a math program like Prodigy can be used to support students in the class.
To foster positive attitudes towards mathematics in the school community, the teachers challenged students and parents to answer 200 math questions on their “Mathlete” day. Their quest is to make math more enjoyable, to challenge thinking and to have the community realize that math is not only about numbers (spacial reasoning, problem solving and puzzles were included in the math questions). They reported great success with this day…wish I was there…sounded like fun!
At the end of the morning, teachers added to their “learning board” that was posted along one end of the room. They each posted something they learned and something they would commit to.
A great morning of discussion with this team! I was pleased to be a part of it and found their work inspiring. It was obvious that the learning would continue in spades… check out the “spade” shaped tree in their school yard 🙂