It is worth noting that regular visits to the Ministry of Education website is time well spent for Ontario educators. New material is constantly being produced and posted, and few administrators these days have time to properly peruse all of these and select salient resources for their teachers, let alone spend any length of time dissecting said resources with learning teams on staff in a way that speaks practically to teachers already overwhelmed with the minutiae of the day-to-day grind in the classroom.
Increasingly, teachers are on their own if they want to keep up with what’s current in terms of ministry publications in areas of interest to them.
Happily, our school’s Early Literacy Resource Person, who is aware of our little project, stopped by to let me know about some of the resources currently on the Ministry website, and sent links to several. Our principal followed up by dropping a few hard copies of same in my mailbox.
The first that caught my eye was, “Paying Attention to Proportional Reasoning”. It appears that this document, a concrete look at proportional reasoning with some ideas for classroom practice across grades and strands, was born out of the visionary work outlined in a document entitled, “Paying Attention to Mathematics Education K-12”.
The latter outlines seven principles to guide mathematics improvement across public education in Ontario. A support document, to guide discussion, was also produced.
The Mathematics Working Group
With so much at stake for students who do not do well in mathematics, the Ministry of Education’s Student Achievement Division brought together a Mathematics Teaching and Learning Working Group in September 2010 to identify what it would take to bring greater depth and coherence to the K–12 mathematics program. Representing experts in mathematics pedagogy, curriculum and research, and including members from the ministry, district school boards, federations, professional associations and universities, the group adopted a highly collaborative approach in order to surface current, research-based knowledge in mathematics teaching and learning, K–12
I read these visionary principles with interest, and was reaffirmed in my belief that elementary teachers – especially those of us who work in socio-economically challenged school communities – have been burdened with an impossible task.
Rather than simply complaining about “too many subjects to teach well”, or “most of my kids are still learning English” I have actually been doing a lot of thinking about how to improve the current situation, i.e. how to make teaching and learning more manageable and fun for students and teachers. I have come to the conclusion that the entire school day needs to be overhauled, and I have an idea for how to do it, which I will blog about on my own blog at www.verateschow.ca (LINK to relevant post coming soon… like, as soon as I get a chance to download my brain onto my laptop!)
Ahhh, but I digress, hence the need for a Part Two to this blog post, which actually focuses on the two monographs I previously mentioned and claimed to be writing about in this post! :-D
Before I sign off though, let me encourage readers to visit the Ministry’s Website, in particular the “Leading Math Success” Section which includes links to a number of resources, as well as some thought-provoking videos segments from "A web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Changes Everything (Will Richardson)".