Thursday, May 27, 2010

April Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes

Six Nations District Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

JC Hill (2:30 – 4:00)

Agenda Items

Present: A. Anderson, C. Froman, L. Martin, J. McNaughton,

J. Restoule General, J. Thomas

Absent: S. Hill

Review minutes from last meeting


Open Discussion Round Table

Numeracy reps were asked to discuss math initiatives, past, present and future happening in their respective schools.

OMSK is using Numeracy Nets and enjoy it; several staff members attended a SMART math Tools workshop in Mississauga (see agenda item below); SMART board resources are used in classrooms, some on-line and some self-generated; OMSK staff have noticed that use of SMART boards results in increased student engagement and increased math understanding.

ECG staff shared the idea to have the students use the SMART board to teach the class, through the creation of their own lesson planning and instruction; the end result is a greater understanding of the math because it takes a greater understanding in order to teach a concept to others; ECG hopes to get Numeracy on the PLC agenda for 2010-2011

ILT has been working on an Immersion Numeracy Word Wall; staff is using Numeracy Nets and the feedback is good; there have been more manipulatives ordered and classrooms are well stocked; Immersion teachers are still in a situation where they need to develop their own materials; J. Restoule General shared a resource that was purchased that has a photograph on one side of the card and several math “talk” ideas and questions on the back—this could be helpful in immersion classrooms where translation is a barrier to using resources.

JCH is including Numeracy in their revision of the School Improvement Plan; it will also be a focus for their PLCs in 2010-2011; each grade has undertaken a common teaching time and are in stages of development to realize the full potential of the concept.

JAM continues to have a focus on Problem Solving in Math and using common posters and strategies across classrooms; the school has received the newest Key Math resource; this prompted the question of the use of Key Math in all schools. Each school has several staff members trained to use the resource and are testing as needed.

Math Assessment Tools

PD planning for Numeracy Nets (GEDSB opportunity): There is an opportunity to join GEDSB in some Numeracy Nets training on Thursday, April 29th. Because that is the day before our PD Day, J. Restoule General knows that he probably will not be attending the session.

Teacher use: All schools are beginning to implement Numeracy Nets. OMSK has entire junior division using a checkpoint and meeting on May 3rd to discuss. J. Restoule General has been in to see most junior teachers and discussed how to include a checkpoint into the next unit, as well as a standing offer to assist in the implementation. JAM is using it in the resource program. Point was raised that teachers need to see the value of the Numeracy Nets, through a presentation, as well as the next steps after doing a checkpoint. Question remains as to when exactly is the best time for this. J. Restoule General will continue to work with teachers and principals to arrange for support and training with Numeracy Nets. A report was prepared by J. Restoule General for SEED/Imperial Oil to inform them of how their investment is being utilized in the classroom and the feedback from teachers and students. Future reports are required as part of the funding/grant initiative.

Ideas for ONAP implementation: ONAP continues to be on the back burner while Numeracy Nets is the focus. Individual teachers are encouraged to use and some are using it on their own in advance of any formal PD (D. Martin Abel, M. Freeman).

CAT/Insight Testing (ILT/ECG)

These two schools are participating in the norming study. The other three schools declined. ILT has their testing materials in and need to complete testing by May 21st. Arrangements regarding dates and times for testing have yet to be determined. ECG chose to undertake the test in late May and is awaiting their materials.

Math contest (Caribou)

Upcoming dates/Classes involved: Grade 3 and 4 students can write again on May 19th. No classes have registered as of today.

Past results: Yesterday, grades 5 and 6 students wrote the test. We had an outstanding participation rate, with three schools entering 32 students. They should all be proud of their effort and willingness to compete.

Overall, the province had just shy of a thousand students involved in the contest. Our students ranked as high as 404th. The top 5 students in our district ranked 404th, 443rd, 474th, 493rd, and 502nd. All students will receive either a Certificate of Merit (which shows their ranking at a provincial level, district level, and school level) OR a Certificate of Participation. These were handed out to committee members at the meeting.

OMSK uses the site to teach some problem solving skills.

ECG staff raised the question as to who approved participation in the contest. There was a question as to whether or not this was approved through PAC. It was also questioned as to whether or not the Numeracy Committee was aware of the contest.

In response, it was indicated that the Caribou contest has been on the Numeracy Committee agenda each and every meeting, and been discussed each and every time (see previous meeting minutes). J. Restoule General noted that it was presented to PAC at the November meeting and that he attended a recognition ceremony at ILT on March 5th to hand out Caribou Contest Certificates. Participation in the contest is determined by individual teachers wishing to participate.

In addition to this response, there was concern raised that the schools would have to pass ALL contests through PAC (Poster and essay contests, etc.). J. Restoule General will contact the principals concerning this issue.

The Numeracy Committee unanimously sees the positive aspect of an academic contest that involves math and problem solving. We applaud all of those who participated and encourage future involvement in academic competitions.

OMSK Math Night on February 17th

Report on how it went (see blog and/or District Teacher Newsletter): We shared some feedback about the night. The majority of the feedback is positive. Some concerns include that there were more staff than parents and some rooms did not get visitors. A suggestion was made to have any Parent/Family nights in the fall or first term to get parents excited and enthusiastic about a new year, a fresh start, etc. Another suggestion was to promote these nights as “Learn to help your child with math.”

ECG Math Website Student and Parent workshops

J. Restoule General gave workshops all day to ECG students in grades 4 to 8 on April 7th. The purpose was to show students web based resources to help them learn, practice and explore math. The following night, April 8th, a workshop was given for parents with a similar theme but directed towards websites that could aid parents in supporting the math learning of their children.

The workshop did have a positive response and impact, as evidenced by teacher and student anecdotal data. Data compiled by the web service “Site Meter” indicated over 54 visits and 300 page views in the following week, and a similar amount (41 visits) two weeks following the workshop. Sites and addresses related to the workshop have been noticed in the address bars on computers at school, homework support and the public library.

It was noted that parents from ECG had indicated that they were going to the public library to use the computers and go on the math websites, but that unfortunately, the library has been closed until further notice.

SMART Math Tools Workshop

Several teachers in the district attended this workshop on Saturday, March 6th. Each teacher was given a license for SMART Math tools. Feedback on the software was not available.

A couple of Six Nations teachers were approached at the workshop by teachers from surrounding boards, offering their time to give Six Nations teachers PD on SMART boards and software. They were willing to travel to Six Nations, on a Saturday or “off-duty” time, to share their knowledge with our education staff.

At this point, J. McNaughton shared how she was utilizing the new MacBooks to enhance her science program. She uses the internal web cam on the laptop to stream video of a student conducting their science presentation, directly to the SMART board. This allows students to see the experiment up close, while remaining in their seats during the presentation.

Explore Learning Teacher Passwords/PD

Comments/concerns/feedback: It is still unclear how many teachers are using this resource.

PD opportunity update: A proposal was written and delivered to Acting Superintendent K. Hill on March 5th, outlining the training available for education staff. It was then delivered on March 25th to all principals and VPs for discussion at April PAC. There has been no indication as to whether the proposal and subsequent PD has been discussed and/or approved.

Mathville 1 and Brain POP

Comments/concerns/feedback: OMSK and ECG have positively expressed their continued use of these resources. They believe that usage will increase as schools increase the number of SMART boards in the classrooms (though this is not a requirement for the use of these resources).

The number of computers and equipment available continues to be the barrier to wider spread use of the resources.

Comment was made that at ECG the students are asking for the resource to be used, during their lunch time.

A concern was raised that in order for these resources to be used effectively, classroom and computer sound equipment needs to be in place, and functioning properly.

Wish List of books, manipulatives for future purchase decisions

It was requested at the March 11th Numeracy committee meeting for teachers to bring a wish list of professional resources. As many committee members were absent at that meeting, this request has been extended to the May 20th Numeracy Committee meeting.

J. Restoule General has been into classrooms the past several weeks, speaking with teachers and doing an inventory of resources. Once these checklists are returned and compiled, classrooms will receive resources on a needs basis, while future purchasing decisions will be informed by the lists.

C. Froman shared that the Dollar Tree has excellent math posters at a very good price.

Review 3 Year Plan in Final Draft Form with Electronic version

Teacher/staff comments: As the meeting was extending past 4 pm, J. Restoule General quickly shared an electronic version of the District 3 Year Plan. It has fully clickable links to all the resources listed in the Appendix in the original hard copy draft, as well as anecdotal descriptions of the websites.

The committee did not get into sharing any staff input from the draft form that was circulated in the fall. The electronic version will be forwarded to all Principals and VPs for approval at PAC. Numeracy Committee members will get a copy as well.

Numeracy Committee Goals for 2010-2011

After school PD Planning: Committee briefly touched on this topic. Discussion continues to occur regarding the best time for delivering PD to education staff. Early release time seemed to be the consensus, as after school sessions are often difficult for staff to attend. PLCs were also indicated as ideal times (see previous agenda notes).

The next Numeracy committee meeting on May 20th will focus on goals for the Committee in 2010-2011.

First Steps in Math PD

An invitation flyer from Pearson for the First Steps in Mathematics Facilitator Course offered in Brantford over 7 days in May and June was shared with the committee. A proposal recommending Six Nations participation was submitted by J. Restoule General to K. Hill and Director of Education J. Cutfeet on April 20th. Numeracy committee looked over flyer and indicated positive view of First Steps program and supported J. Restoule General’s attendance at the facilitator training, along with others if proposal approval allows for more than one attendee.

Understanding Math Proposal for Six Nations

Concern was raised from ECG that they are being “bombarded” by the amount of resources available for Numeracy. Suggestion was made to perhaps pilot certain resources at individual schools, as opposed to district wide.

Other concerns from ECG were the cost of the Understanding Math program, in relation to the projected use of the resource. For example, in the primary division there appears to be only one strand addressed (Numeration) in the Understanding Math program. Another concern is the use of American manipulatives/units/images in measurement, money and other areas. The committee agreed that these are very valid concerns. It was clarified that the cost is not just for the software alone, but included professional development over several sessions throughout the year, as well as future upgrades to the software. The committee agreed that professional development for teachers is key and integral to the future development and learning of Six Nations staff and students.

Numeracy Committee members were informed of the Neufeld Learning Systems offer to install the full software on a laptop for each of the five schools, for free use until the end of the school year. This would allow for each school to test the program in advance of any financial commitment or obligation.

The committee saw this no cost/no commitment opportunity as a favourable opportunity. Questions were asked about why we wouldn’t take this offer. One of the reasons cited as to why we as a district would choose to neglect to act on this opportunity was in the interest of not wasting Neufeld Systems time and energy; if we had little to no intention of carrying through with further stages of the proposal at a future date, then why even consider this two months of free use.

A meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 28th for principals and a teacher from each school to meet with Rudy Neufeld to discuss the proposal and the professional development included in the cost, as well as answer any questions and concerns and to install the software for the trial period.

OAME Conference

Brock University May 13th to 15th.

The conference website was shared with the committee for information purposes. Those interested in attending would have to put through the necessary paper work (Learning Plan, travel authority, etc.) and speak with their supervisor to attend.

Committee member terms of reference

We did not address this agenda item, due to the fact that the meeting had already run well past its scheduled time. It will be reviewed next meeting along with the goals for the committee for 2010-2011 and wish list items (see previous agenda items).

At the end of the meeting, committee members were able to view the resources available for sign out, as shared throughout the district via an e-mail, Word document and blog posting given to the principals to forward to staff.

Next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 20th at 2:30 pm at JC Hill School.

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