Mathematics Expert Culminates Year-Long Learning

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(l to r) – Joanne Deguire, Dr. Marian Small, Nicole Guzzo, Melissa Guzzo-Pinder, Eric Gervais, Nick Berlingieri, Rachelle Gagnon, Barb Perry

As part of their Teacher Learning Leadership Program (TLLP), teachers from St. Mary’s French Immersion and Our Lady of Lourdes in Sault Ste. Marie met for a day of mathematics learning.

The team arranged for Dr. Marian Small, world famous math educator and author, to work with them as a culmination of their year-long investigation of best practices for teaching proportional reasoning in mathematics.

“This was a dream come true!  We got to work with Dr. Marian Small, the mathematics educator whose research and ideas we used as a foundation for our project.  To have her here to work with us was an incredible way to consolidate our thinking and expand upon our learning,” said TLLP co-leader, Nicki Guzzo.

The presentation by Dr. Small was a fitting way to wrap up the work of the seven teachers involved in the project that took place during the past school year.

“The entire TLLP process has been a testament to the passion and determination of all of our team members to better teach and learn alongside our students.  I believe that through this project we have become more reflective educators and we believe our students will greatly benefit from that,” said TLLP co-leader, Eric Gervais.

With the Huron-Superior Catholic District School Board (HSCDSB) putting an emphasis on mathematics instruction and improved outcomes, this TLLP could not have come together at a better time.

“It was great to have Dr. Marian Small here with us to work in a small group setting to further our learning about proportional reasoning.  She helped us recognize the impact our questioning has on student achievement and understanding,” said Grade 6 teacher, Joanne DeGuire.

“Being a new member of the TLLP team this year, I was certainly feeling overwhelmed about jumping in near the end of the project.  Our day spent with Marian Small could not have come at a better time.  Proportional reasoning doesn’t seem so abstract to me anymore.  I’m looking forward to seeing my approach to teaching math change,” said Grade 2 teacher, Rachelle Gagnon

“It was great to see everyone so engaged in mathematics.  The depth of learning the TLLP team has achieved is amazing,” said St. Mary’s French Immersion Principal, Colleen Hannah.

The TLLP project was titled ‘Igniting Mathematical Thinking by Exploring Key Foundational Principles of Proportional Reasoning’.  The project proposed that the key to stimulating mathematical thinking is to provide students with the opportunity to explore differing strategies for the same outcome and to learn from student talk.  This would come about by developing proportional reasoning skills students and teachers are better able to work through problems and demonstrate abstract mathematical thinking and understanding