Documenting Math with Technology

Area(s) of Focus: technology, math, kindergarten
Division(s): Primary
Level(s): Kindergarten, Grade 1

The aim of this project is for teachers and students to work together, using technology, to co-document math learning in a way that will enhance student voice during consolidation and increase teachers' understanding of how children learn math.

Teachers will initially meet and co-plan problem-solving lessons and questions that will be differentiated to learners in each grade level. Students and teachers will work together to co-document the learning. Using technology, target student work will be shared with the large group during consolidation. Students will also use the iPad, during independent practice, to explore apps that will address their strengths and next steps in learning. Teachers will collect and organize target student work (using the Seesaw app) that will be accessible by all team members. Teachers will meet periodically to complete moderated marking experiences and to collaboratively build an electronic math continuum in all math strands. Technology (iPads) will be used as a learning tool by both students and teachers to document student learning, to make student thinking visible, and to engage students through the use of electronic games and activities.

Team Members

  • Brandi Snary

    St. Clair Catholic District School Board

  • Nicole Carron

    St. Clair Catholic District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

Teachers increased their understanding of the use of technology as well as how students learn math by: (a) researching engaging three-part math problems in each strand, (b) identifying both the strengths and gaps in student learning as a result of moderated marking, (c) developing an electronic math continuum that will reflect the student learning as connected to our school improvement goals, and (d) researching engaging electronic math games and activities.

Activities and Resources

  • Teachers will meet and collaboratively build a bank of focused three-part math problems
  • Teachers will identify marker students within their classroom
  • Teachers will collect and organize student work through the use of Seesaw
  • Teachers will meet and engage in moderated marking for the purpose of gearing instruction to students’ next steps in learning
  • Teachers will develop a math continuum using student responses

Unexpected Challenges

As a school that is receiving additional support as part of the renewed math strategy, many teachers experienced an increase in release days out of their classroom for increased math professional development and support. This increase in release days sometimes affected when release days could be taken for this project. One colleague did not take as much planned release time and, instead, opted to communicate information electronically. We also did not anticipate the trouble with finding appropriate free iPad apps for each strand. In the future, I would set aside funding to purchase higher quality educational apps for practise within each mathematics strand.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

The aim of this project has been to utilize technology, with a math focus, for the purpose of making student thinking more visible and accessible. We have observed an increase in student voice in the classroom, particularly during math consolidation time. Students are motivated to share their work and explain their thinking. Regardless of whether the answer is correct or incorrect, strategies are highlighted and students enjoy telling the story of how they arrived at their answer. They are the “teacher” or the “mathematician” and confidently explain the steps they took to arrive at their answer. During consolidation, student work is selected to share based on strategies that we would like to highlight, and the order in which the student work is shared is carefully considered such that the strategies build upon one another. We also try and highlight when a student takes an approach that is different than most strategies used, to show that there are often many different ways to solve a problem. The problems provided are meaningful to students and are informed by students’ strengths and next steps. We have witnessed increased engagement and academic achievement as evidenced by our observations and documentation. Both diagnostic and summative questions are provided to students in each strand to inform instruction and measure growth in each area. 


Teachers will document and share their learning about this project using the following Google Site, TLC@SJT:

This information will be accessible to teachers within our school and school board. Our target audience might include primary classroom teachers, as well as parents in the local community that may be interested in learning about the projects that are happening in their child’s school.

Project Evaluation

We feel that the project has been a success based on the observations and evidence we have collected. We created a math continuum and collection of problems, along with documentation of student responses, that will serve as exemplars for future instruction. We have also identified gaps in student learning and developed plans to address those gaps for future instruction. As the kindergarten and Grade 1 teachers within our school, we are very familiar with our students and as students move from one classroom to the next, the following teacher will have access to the strengths and next steps for each learner and documentation to support. This will help with planning and grouping students for guided math instruction and practice.

Resources Used

The Kindergarten Program, 2016

The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Mathematics 2005

Early Math Strategy, The Report of the Expert Panel on Early Math in Ontario 2003

Van de Walle, John A. Teaching Student Centred Mathematics: Developmentally Appropriate Instruction for Grades Pre-K-2. (2014)

Parrish, Sherry. Number Talks, Grades K-5: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies. (2014)

Small, Marian. Big Ideas from Dr. Small Grade K-3: Creating a Comfort Zone for Teaching Mathematics. (2010).