Come Together, Over Math!

Area(s) of Focus: math
Division(s): Intermediate
Level(s): Grade 7, Grade 8

Building a comprehensive numeracy program in Grade 7 and 8 French Immersion. Our group met to explore and develop mental math problems, 3-part math lessons, games centres, technology-based math resources and a division-wide Mathapalooza celebration.

We would like to come together as an intermediate division and develop a comprehensive numeracy program for our students. We feel that this collaborative approach would both help improve math attitudes and conceptual understanding in our students, as well as build capacity among our team of intermediate French immersion teachers. We would like to align our instruction with our board’s Math Scope and Sequence and provide multiple learning opportunities for our intermediate students to come together and work in cross-class and cross-grade settings. Our teachers are eager to co-plan and co-teach three-part math lessons to explore various instructional strategies and learn from one another. We would also like to create math games and centres to see if these help improve fact fluency and conceptual understanding in math. Finally, we would like to explore journaling (and other possible student reflective practices), mental math activities and the possibility of a flipped classroom component using online tools that would be effective for students to use in their math learning. Exploring all of these areas will allow us to reflect on our professional learning to help us create a comprehensive numeracy program for our students. Being teachers of French immersion, we are often creating our own resources and we would make very effective use of this TLC opportunity to source out and create resources for Grade 7 and 8 French immersion students in math.

Team Members

  • Julie Arsenault-Howick

    District School Board of Niagara

  • Jennifer Miller

    District School Board of Niagara

  • Katie Hale

    District School Board of Niagara

  • Meredith Richard

    District School Board of Niagara

Professional Learning Goals

  • Explored and learned about balanced math and collaborated as an intermediate division to build capacity as a division and create a comprehensive numeracy program for Grade 7 and 8 students
  • Researched, co-planned and co-taught three-part math lessons and learned from one another’s strengths
  • Created math games and centres related to specific strands and concepts to provide students with opportunities to make learning stick, improve attitudes towards math, and increase both fact fluency and conceptual understanding
  • Sourced out and created daily mental math activities to provide opportunities for students to learn as a community of mathematicians and provided support for our division of teachers
  • Explored opportunities to incorporate a flipped classroom to help students prepare for problem-solving and collaborative inquiry in the classroom, as well as help develop competencies of teachers in the area of technology integration in math
  • Investigated math journaling and other reflective student practices (with and without technology)
  • Incorporated all of our inquiries into a comprehensive numeracy program for our division
  • Developed a “Mathapalooza” celebration of learning for students to challenge students and help celebrate their math successes

Activities and Resources

Pre-Project Meeting – One Half-Day

We used release time to meet as a group to go over our project goals, create our student survey, and generate an ongoing list of resources and materials that could be used throughout the project.

Project Meetings

  1. We used release time to research, co-plan and co-teach three-part math lessons with cross-class and cross-grade groups. – two half-days
  2. We used release time to create math games and centres to provide: 1. Opportunities for students to develop fluency and conceptual understanding in a fun, collaborative way and 2. A framework for small group instruction. – three half-days
  3. We used release time to create mental math problems and then co-teached to assist those in the group new to this teaching strategy. – one half-day
  4. We used release time to create a Mathapalooza event for our intermediate students to challenge them and celebrate their math successes. – one half-day

Post-Project Meeting

We plan to use release time to compare data from the diagnostic and year-end assessments (using moderated marking) as well as from the pre-project and post-project parents’ and students’ surveys to help us in developing a schedule for a comprehensive numeracy program based on learning from this project as well as reflect on our own professional learning from this project. – one half-day

Unexpected Challenges

We  found that the math games creation took a lot of time. We wanted to create the games for each teacher, so this took some additional personal time to get finalized, but now we have the games for years to come.

Our project scope was quite large and we had less time to focus on the use of technology and a flipped classroom approach. We decided not to pursue this in our planning once we realized how big our project idea was. This is something we hope to investigate as a group next year.


Enhancing Student Learning and Development

We feel that if students are provided with a comprehensive numeracy program, they will develop improved attitudes towards their math learning. Providing a comprehensive numeracy program will also help students improve their fact fluency and conceptual understanding of math concepts. This program will help students develop confidence as math learners through cross-class and cross-grade groupings. They will be able to make connections with other students within the intermediate division, which will further strengthen our program. Students will improve their communication skills through class discussions in three-part math lessons, mental math discussions and through their own personal reflective practices. Using games in math will improve student attitudes towards math and challenging and celebrating math success though a Mathapalooza event will help cement these attitudes. 


We created resources in a Google Drive folder and will share the folder with all French immersion intermediate teachers in the District School Board of Niagara. We will also make it available to other teachers of French immersion intermediate students through networking and online learning groups. We also shared some of our learning in the classroom using Twitter using @classe8a, @otffeo, #TLCMath.

Project Evaluation

Overall, we feel that our project was a success. The scope of our project was very big, but we think that we managed to learn a great deal from one another and connect as an intermediate math team.

We met all of our goals with the exception of the flipped classroom investigation. We spent a bit more time on the game development and creation, and since our board has implemented DreamBox, we felt that the technology piece was covered through this, along with our discovery of the Knowledgehook resource for math.

We determined success by taking the time to debrief as a group after each session and we were able to reflect on things that went well and what we would improve or change for future activities. We also surveyed students prior to the project, following the game centres and will resurvey following the Mathapalooza event to determine any student changes in attitudes and feelings towards math.

I don’t think that we would have done anything differently. We feel that our project was a great success. We appreciate the help that we received from our mentor, as this was a great resource for ideas and feedback.


Resources Used

Well Played: Building Mathematical Thinking Through Number and Algebraic Games and Puzzles, Grades 6-8

Students love math games and puzzles, but how much are they really learning from the experience? Too often, math games are thought of as just a fun activity or enrichment opportunity. Learn how to make games and puzzles an integral learning component and gain unique access to student thinking.

Tap Into Teen Minds – 3 Act Math

Real-world math problems aligned with the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum for intermediate and senior grade levels

Doritos Roulette – Hot or Not

Brilliant Math

Understand concepts and build your problem-solving skills with thousands of free problems and examples in math, science and engineering

Knowledgehook: Helping Teachers Improve Math Outcomes

Engaging classroom quizzes, independent practice and data-driven professional development

Resources Created

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