Algoma District School Board continues its dedicated focus on Mathematics. At the Committee of the Whole meeting held on Tuesday, April 25th, the Board of Trustees were provided with a third installment from Jo Boaler’s book “Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential Through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching”. Grade 6 and 7 students from Northern Heights Public School joined their teacher Natasha Cole and helped to illustrate first hand some of the concepts shared in the chapter of Boaler’s book entitled “Creating Mathematical Mindsets: The Importance of Flexibility with Numbers.”
Natasha first demonstrated the use of “plickers”. This tool, which can be used on any electronic device, allows the teacher to gather student responses on her device only and to immediately calculate the correct/incorrect responses, to help the teacher determine if a skill or concept is being understood by some, most or all of the students. This type of data supports on-going assessment and feedback, but is also invaluable in helping the teacher know which students require additional support or have a misunderstanding of a mathematical concept.
The second part of their demonstration revolved around a Number Talk. A number talk is designed to be five to ten minutes in duration, during which time a teacher writes a problem on the board and gives the students time to solve the problem mentally. When most students are ready, the teacher asks for answers and writes them all on the board, whether they are correct or not. Students then are given the opportunity to share their strategies and justifications with their peers.
Natasha shared with Trustees the benefits she sees in her students sharing and discussing strategies. By doing so, students have the opportunity to
– Clarify their own thinking
-Consider and test other strategies to see if they are mathematically logical
-Investigate and apply mathematical relationships
-Build a repertoire of efficient strategies
-Make decisions about choosing efficient strategies for specific problems.
Director Lucia Reece and Chair Jennifer Sarlo thanked the students and Natasha for coming in to share their learning.