In some sense, this marks the "end" of our project. There is still a learning summit, which Dale will attend in November (and I possibly via Skype, since I'll be in Argentina at that time!) to share our learning with, and to learn from, other TLLP participants. But this form summarizes our experiences with the project, and serves as a wrap up for ourselves, as we consider next steps in our own learning.
New Professional Leadership Skills
It's been really mind opening to be able to spend time digging into both the math itself and the pedagogy of how best to teach it to our Grade 3s this year. I've also enjoyed being able to share our professional learning with others, as we learn from them as well. As a former program resource consultant with my Board, as well as a pre-service teacher educator at the university level and a workshop facilitator with my teacher federation, I've already had many opportunities to share in large group settings. But it was the small group learning and mentoring that I most enjoyed this year. Working with Dale helped me to develop my inner introvert, and visiting other classrooms forced me to reflect on my own practice. I was also able to develop my individual mentoring skills in ways that I haven't had a chance to previously: Mentoring colleagues who are further along than the newer teachers or teacher candidates I am used to working with has offered a new challenge, one which I've enjoyed tremendously.
I've also had the opportunity to network with colleagues from other school boards, many of whom have technology skills that far exceed my own. Learning from them has kept me on my toes this year!
Outstanding questions that we listed at the end of our report include the following:
- How can we increase direct student use of the IWB as a learning tool?
- How do we engage ALL students in rich, mathematical discussions, to facilitate collaborative inquiry?
- What are some ways we as teachers can increase our fluency in asking rich questions "on the fly" during a lesson, to stretch student thinking?
- What does effective scaffolding for vocabulary development look like, on a practical level, in a high ELL school and/or classroom?
- How do we effectively and realistically remediate basic skills in classrooms? (Is this better done as an "extra" or "separate" group, or through the problem-based teaching and learning, and if the latter, how?)
An additional question that has been emerging for me in recent weeks is the one about social justice, and how to teach issues of social justice through math, without doing a dis-service to the math itself.
Our full report is below, in PDF, for anyone interested.