The Mindful Math Project

Area(s) of Focus: technology, math
Division(s): Senior
Level(s): Grade 9

The Mindful Math Project is an initiative to be led by the math teachers of the Alternative Attendance Programs.

The Mindful Math Project focused on creating a Grade 9 locally developed curriculum that helps to decrease math anxiety and increase basic mathematical knowledge through engaging and practical lessons. Our team worked diligently to research, collaborate and compile teacher-ready, student-focused resources. In addition, our team also focused on acquiring current and relevant technology that would accompany the curriculum created. This will allow students to become part of the learning process.

The team acquired the following technology: portable Smart Boards, laptops and iPads. In addition, the curriculum was converted into Google document form.

Having lessons in Google document format will allow students to work from anywhere. The teacher can also track individual student progress and give immediate feedback.

The portable Smart Board can project resources on the board and engage students by making lessons interactive. Finally, iPads offer great interactive applications that can help students to become more engaged and encouraged to investigate a concept deeper.

Lastly, with the help of the entire math department, the project team was able to create four diagnostic tests that would accompany the Grade 9 applied math curriculum. These tests will allow the teacher and the student to focus on the areas in need of development before starting a unit, thus helping the student to be less apprehensive about their Grade 9 math course.

Team Members

  • Artimis Soltanidji

    Toronto District School Board

  • Farah Merali

    Toronto District School Board

  • Stefanie Zullo

    Toronto District School Board

Professional Learning Goals

The Mindful Math Project focuses on achieving three professional learning goals: release time for teachers to attend professional development opportunities, accumulating resources (both purchased and assembled by the project team) and implementing classroom technology to support these resources. Professional learning opportunities will consist of: math coaching, co-teaching with peers, participating in a two-part presentation by Jump Math and finally, partnering with a math teacher from a mainstream and/or alternative school to collaborate on mathematical obstacles that students often meet. Classroom resources will be assembled by the project team and also purchased from Jump Math. These resources will be teacher-ready and student-focused, and will centre on real-life mathematical applications and processes to improve the comprehension of mathematical language. Finally, obtaining relevant technological tools for each program will enrich the learning experience. In addition, iPads, Smart Board and flipped classroom activities will serve to enhance the learning experience and present relevance of mathematical skills.

Activities and Resources

  • release time for project team to consolidate resources (diagnostic assessments, creating ready-to-use resources, implement Jump Math resources, share best practices)
  • secure professional development seminar to attend Jump Math
  • develop a collaborative relationship with other alternative math teachers
  • purchase at least two iPads
  • identify useful apps and tools for students to engage to enrich their mathematical understanding
  • identify Gizmos resources that will allow students to experience hands-on mathematical concepts
  • develop a database of activities and lessons with real-life application
  • develop Smart Board activities to enrich learning
  • convert lessons/activities into Google documents


Unexpected Challenges

The professional development seminars were not very useful because they did not target the needs of our students.

Enhancing Student Learning and Development

The Mindful Math Project will help students become independent learners by challenging curricula and engaging in self-reflection. Each lesson, activity and assessment will help to develop the students’ cognitive mathematical ability and an appreciation for real-life mathematical applications. Students will become more confident in their mathematical abilities and, therefore, will be less anxious about approaching the subject.


The teachers in the Alternative Attendance Programs meet once a month to take part in a full-day staff meeting. During these staff meetings, there are allotted PLC times. The project team will take advantage of these PLC periods to share the resources and share best practices with the entire department. The resources will be posted on AW and as Google documents for all the teachers to access. Finally, collegial mentorship will be set up for those teachers who require assistance with incorporating the resources into their classroom.

Project Evaluation

The Mindful Math Project is designed to meet the needs of every student. The project will focus on creating a challenging environment to allow students to experience higher levels of learning. Differentiated instruction and critical reasoning will be implemented in each activity and lesson, in addition to diagnostic assessments designed by the project team. These resources will measure levels and achievements in a wide variety of skills and develop an in-depth understanding of mathematics. Statistical analysis will prove that the learning goals are being met; this includes: student engagement, credit accumulation, time-on-task, attendance and finally, active participation. Furthermore, teachers will provide biweekly student progress reports by conducting conferences with the students, recording daily observations of student progress and provide exit/entrance cards for the student to complete.

Resources Used


Smart Board, Chromebooks and iPads

Technology can have a great effect on motivation, ownership and engagement of students. In order to be successful after leaving our program, our students need to stay current and on pace with 21st century innovations. Using the majority of the grant money, we were able to purchase a portable Smart Board, laptops and iPads.

The portable Smart Board has many benefits. Unlike the traditional Smart Board, it is not very big and does not require a permanent location, thus allowing us to transport it from program to program. We can project resources on the board and engage students by making lessons interactive. They are able to drag, swipe, rotate and move objects using their finger; which may clear up many math concepts that are abstract and hard to imagine using traditional methods. Students can also highlight and write directly on lessons and resources as they are projected. This allows teachers to give instant feedback and scaffold more effectively.

Students often have math anxiety and lack understanding because they can’t manipulate math concepts. The iPad offers a great solution to this problem and students will be much more engaged discovering and investigating topics by using interactive apps. This allows us to use a much more student-centred approach. Students can also create their own resources by using apps to record themselves writing on a whiteboard and use the microphone to explain what they are doing. A resource bank will be created for students to access to download their own resources or to refresh their memory at any point in time.

Finally, all of our resources have been converted into Google documents. Google documents allow students to work from anywhere. If they miss a day, they won’t fall behind relieving much of their stress and anxiety. It also allows students to use gizmos, interactive websites and other resources that the Internet offers which strengthens understanding and allows them to dive deeper into topics that interest them. The students, therefore, became part of the learning process. It also allows them to collaborate with each other without having to meet up physically. This online environment also allows teachers see how much the student has completed in real time, therefore, are able to give suggestions and give instant descriptive feedback. Creating a Google classroom is an instant organization tool for students that replaces a binder. It allows them to keep track of what they have completed, ask questions or seek clarification, see any feedback or grades, and they are able to interact with the teacher. Lastly, having the resources in Google documents allows teachers to share best practices more effectively.

Resources Created

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