We will be using ICT (Information and Communication Strategies) to enhance teaching and learning in the area of primary mathematics. An interactive website will be created that offers engaging math resources which can be accessed by students and teachers at school (though e-Learning website), parents at home (through the school and board website), and with PEDs (Personal Electronic Devices at school or home). The website will provide opportunities for children to work on all strands of mathematics at home with their families, in a fun and engaging way, so that they can improve number sense (an important topic for our board-wide renewed math strategy and an area of weakness on EQAO), patterning, geometry, and spatial sense (spatial thinking is an important predictor for success in STEM: science, technology, engineering and math). Students will be engaged with games, assessment tools, programming (directions) opportunities, etc. This project is in line with Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy in that it is recognizes the need for math literacy to help students gain competence to work in rapidly changing technology fields. Also, it will promote greater collaboration between everyone, including educators, students, leaders and parents. We hope to take what we learn from our Numeracy Networks (needs, goals, measurement tools, assessment, etc.) and create the interactive website so it aligns with our school/class needs, school board’s Strategic Plan and Ontario’s Renewed Strategy. Learning about our specific EQAO results (areas of need) and attending OAME math conferences will be specific learning goals. We also hope to learn about parent engagement by involving them as active participants in their child’s learning (surveying and co-learning). Learning to use e-Learning productively, so that we may share our resources, is another specific goal.
London District Catholic School Board
London District Catholic School Board
Professional Learning Goals
- We gained an understanding of our school’s EQAO results
- We got to know some parents through a math games night
- We learned how to implement Mathletics (newly purchased by our board) though our VLE (virtual learning environment)
- We met with our math and technology lead at the board office
- We participated in a math OAME conference
- We learned to use Google Docs and shared our resources with others
- We learned to create a website (through Wix) that included VLE components, as well as free or subscribed math learning websites
- We reviewed each website for its relevance and connection to RMS
- We shared our website on our school webpage
- We shared our website with the board math lead
Activities and Resources
- We surveyed our parents to learn about their areas of strength, weakness and concerns related to the topic of mathematics while opening the lines of communication
- We hosted a parent engagement night where parents joined their child at the school to learn about engaging math games that can be played at home (on and off the computer)
- We shared the website resources we created with the staff on a PD Day Lunch-and-Learn
- We used release time to connect with the London District Catholic School Board’s e-Learning support to learn more about the math resources our board has purchased licences for (and included these on our site)
- We created a collaborative Google Doc so that other teachers can contribute their ideas. We shared this Google Doc at the OAME math conference with other teachers.
- We used iPad Technology to record student engagement for pedagogical information
- We used iPad Technology to document higher-thinking, student-directed problem-solving for assessment purposes
- We used release time to connect with the board office math lead and discussed the RMS and its implications on school PD
- We researched multiple math resources so that we could compile a list of relevant and useful games
- We attended the OAME math conference and connected with other teachers, learned more about STEM, researched more websites, shopped for useful board games, and considered the idea of a spiral math curriculum
We found it difficult to use the release days effectively. During this process, our school board had a shortage of supply teachers. Our administrator was not willing to create a supply code for us until April (two months prior to the deadline). This was because our school board could not cover vacancies. A few times that vacancies were created for our project, no supply teachers arrived, so we had to work in our classroom and be patient until the next proposed vacancy filled. This affected both the amount of time we could take off together and the range of time we could be away from class. We scrambled to make compromises, working on the collaborative piece on our own time, and using the release time when availability presented itself. The grant was very useful and we will apply again. We hope in future years that our school board will not be at a shortage of supply teachers.
Enhancing Student Learning and Development
Our school is located in a lower socio-economic area of the city. We don’t have air conditioning and we sit at 30 per cent of our classes over capacity (over the Ministry of Education’s stated class sizes). It is VERY hard to get through a lesson in class time and even harder to support practice time during school hours. For this reason, student learning is in jeopardy. This year, the focus was on crowd control, behaviour management, social/emotional guidance and support, and efforts to keep a safe learning environment. For this reason, it is even more important for parents to find time at home to support learning. Many of the parents in our community are struggling as well. They are struggling to find time to spend with their children and sometimes are working nights and weekend shifts. Our website should provide some relief for parents as it is easy to find appropriate learning websites to support learning in math. Our hope is that if we can teach parents before the summer holidays how the website will be useful, then students will spend some time over the summer gaining computer skills and practising math.
We plan to share the website with other teachers through a Lunch-and-Learn. At the Lunch-and-Learn, we will spend time in the staff room showing the teachers how to navigate the website so they can pass on this knowledge to parents. We also plan to post the website link on the school webpage so that other teachers can see and use it. This will be helpful for teachers at other schools so they can also use the link. There is a Google Doc that we plan to share with summer school teachers and the board math leads so they can add to or borrow from the resources.
Our project was successful in terms of project completion. Despite the short timeline available (supply shortage has been a barrier), the project was completed and will be shared as planned. If the work conditions were different this year (some or any availability for supply from October to March), our project could have been more collaborative in nature. We were unable to reach out to teachers at other schools for input and suggestions. Fortunately, this website will never disappear and it can be modified for years to come. We can invite input from other schools over time.
The trip to OAME did need some budget modifications (was a little more expensive than planned), but overall the experience was great! Both our union and school board did not send any board teachers to the conference this year so knowing that two people from our school were able to attend the conference is the greatest achievement! In the future, I would budget to include more teachers in the conference. I would also apply to be a presenter so that it could help reduce the costs for my colleagues.
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