Tuesday, June 29, 2010

June Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes

Six Nations District Numeracy Committee Meeting Minutes
Thursday, June 17th, 2010
JC Hill (2:30 – 4:00)

Present: TerryLynn Brant (alternate for J. McNaughton), L. Martin, S. Hill-Bomberry, A. Anderson, J. Thomas, J. Restoule General

Regrets: J. McNaughton

Absent: C. Froman

Update on action items from last meeting (Explore Learning PD, Caribou Math Contest):

Neither of these items were presented to PAC, as incorrect information was given regarding the date for PAC. Both items will be presented to PAC in the fall.

Key Math 3 C. Froman to share Jamieson’s kit:

C. Froman was absent and no alternate from Jamieson was sent, therefore the materials were not shared again this month.

L. Martin shared some info she had about the kit. A. Anderson stated that she likes the reports that derive from the software.

L. Martin raised the concern that calculator use is expected in the curriculum and in the high school courses that students will be entering. She is unsure how this would apply or be reflected in the Key Math assessment; more specifically in regards to the computation section. She suggested perhaps that a teacher give such sections twice; once without a calculator and a second time with the assistance of a calculator.

Committee members discussed the concern and spoke about how a calculator could be given to the student to do those questions for the teacher’s own interest/assessment, but that the scoring of the assessment (and final report) may be inaccurate if a calculator is used, and that referral to the manual in regards to what expectations it is exactly that those particular computation questions are assessing (is it the ability to know algorithms or perform pencil and paper computation?) should direct teacher use and application of the Key Math assessment.

In the end, it was determined that the individual teacher/school/education staff would have to make the decision and use anecdotal notes to reflect the professional judgement used and implemented when conducting the test.

On a side note, T. Brant suggested a call out to the local high schools regarding their expectations of calculator use, as well as the perceived areas of weakness determined by grade 9 math teachers. She referred to a past occurrence where GEDSB grade 9 teachers met with Six Nations District grade 8 teachers and discussed the transition. J. Restoule General will ask GEDSB Intermediate Mathematics Coach Cam MacDonald about these items.

Wish List for future purchase decisions:

Each school was asked prior to the meeting to bring items forward in advance of the possibility of any monies being allocated for future district Numeracy needs (ie: Imperial Oil/SEED proposal).

They were also asked for a list of valuable professional resources in the area of Numeracy to add to the appendix of the District Numeracy Plan (ie: most valuable teacher books for use in the classroom).

Rulers and Calculators were mentioned as being tops on most teachers’ needs list. The committee discussed how these items are basic classroom needs, and not really math specialty items. Ordering of these items should occur through basic school ordering, and NOT any special math monies or proposals.

A. Anderson mentioned that other school boards will supply a list of items that students require, to parents, and the parents are expected to purchase these items themselves. Often the result is a greater sense of responsibility and caretaking of home bought items. T. Brant explained that INAC’s fiduciary responsibility of running education means that the schools must supply these basic education needs. She suggested doing math orders from teachers at different times of the year than other ordering, so that teachers are reminded to focus on such items as rulers and calculators or other items specific to their classroom’s Numeracy needs.

Different ways of maintaining proper inventory and equipment were reviewed. It was mentioned that several classrooms use a pocket chart system which ensures responsibility and accountability in regards to calculator inventory. Calculators are numbered and correspond with a particular student for use in the classroom.

L. Martin suggested a caveat to math material ordering (namely manipulatives) which requires teachers to describe how they will be using the materials they are ordering, to ensure value and accountability when it comes to math supplies and spending.

T. Brant presented OMSK’s items. She stated that the staff felt that they “don’t need more stuff” and that they are happy with the materials that they have.

What they felt that they do need, and would like to see future dollars allocated to, is Professional Development on how to do math. A DVD series that explains and teaches math was referenced as an idea.

Secondly, she mentioned the Spencer Kagan Institute as a highly valued and respected provider of professional development in Cooperative Learning. T. Brant described how the Kagan PD addresses the collectivist nature of our people and the learning environment we would like to have in our schools and learning of math. She suggested seeking other funding to help bring this in, such as New Paths dollars.

Finally, T. Brant mentioned the possibility of needing to renew the math textbooks in the school. She brought it up for discussion and consideration, as she believed the Math Makes Sense texts are close to 10 years old (ed.—it was discovered after the meeting that the texts were published in 2005). She suggested looking at new publishers, as OMSK did not originally choose Pearson, they chose Nelson, but had to order Pearson to match what the other schools selected.

Other committee members felt that the use of the teacher’s manual was key to the successful use of the Pearson textbook. Using the strategies and cooperative exercises laid out in the teacher’s manual reflects the type of learning and problem solving we want the students to be engaged in. It was reiterated that the textbook still should not be the focus of program planning (ie: follow and finish the textbook), but rather the curriculum should be supported by the textbook and other resources. L. Martin restated that the textbook actually has non-curriculum related activities that teachers need to be aware of when planning their program, and adjust accordingly.

A. Anderson added that the Super Source resource (that all schools received in the fall) can be effectively linked to Math Makes Sense to provide problem solving experiences and situations.

L. Martin suggested that any review or surveying of new resources/textbooks should possibly wait until after the next scheduled curriculum review, scheduled for 2011, with a spring release in 2013 and full implementation in September 2014.

ILTO’s items were shared by J. Thomas. She stated that T. Claus looks after the English program’s Numeracy items and that she is currently on leave and therefore did not have items sent forward. J. Thomas shared that the Immersion teachers gave her little feedback, other than the consideration that future math items purchased for the English program would very likely need to be translated for Immersion use, and that dollars/monies should be earmarked for that purpose.

She stated that the Cayuga Math Terminology document that was developed by T. Deer and the Immersion teachers for Kindergarten and Grade 1 has been very helpful, especially for those teachers with less fluency in the language. She felt continuation of such resources would be very helpful, and that the document itself was a good start because many of the terms for K and Gr. 1 continue on into the older grades.

JCH’s wishes were presented by L. Martin. She spoke of the need to develop a math program with resources in-line with the Locally Developed expectations in high school (focusing on three strands). This would better prepare students entering LD courses than, for example, providing these students with programming derived from out of grade level resources. It was suggested to ask Grand Erie personnel about this concept to help inform the development of the program.

She also shared that the tiered support system worked well at meeting the needs of students this year at JCH. The school looks towards expanding on the common teaching times in 2010-2011, by continuing to use common assessments (Numeracy Nets as one resource) and using the data to evaluate student needs mid-unit and rearranging them according to those needs for further instruction in either enrichment, reinforcement, or continual development. This may require more Numeracy Nets documents.

S. Hill-Bomberry and A. Anderson spoke about ECG’s wish list of items for future ordering consideration. They stated more assistance with Numeracy Nets and ONAP was needed; a copy of each resource for each teacher would be beneficial, as the initial ordering provided a copy for each grade only. They also cited Math Journals resources and info as an area of need.

There weren’t any professional resource texts brought forward for the Numeracy Plan appendix, apart from the Van De Walle series of Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics suggested by J. Thomas. She says she uses these all the time in her classroom and the activities and ideas have been excellent. She also mentioned how she uses story books and literature frequently in the classroom.

J. Thomas and A. Anderson mentioned how resources and PD that assists teachers in how to use literature in their math teaching would be of great value to the district. J. Thomas mentioned that teachers need to see how literature is used and that future PD could be offered in this area.

J. Restoule General shared the table of contents copied out of the Marilyn Burns’ Math Solutions Publications series of books that offer ideas and lessons surrounding the use of fiction and non-fiction texts in mathematics lessons. Several of these teacher resource books are in the schools now, yet teachers have commented that the texts referenced in the books are unavailable. He asked if purchasing the children’s literature to support these teacher books would be something the district should do. An example is the Marilyn Burns Classroom Math Library.

T. Brant and S. Hill-Bomberry felt that storybooks shouldn’t be purchased nor that district resources be used to buy children’s literature for math. T. Brant felt that teachers should check their school libraries first, and that these books should remain in the library. They may be given their own designated section, but should remain in the library. J. Restoule General mentioned that C. Froman was working on pulling these texts aside in the Jamieson library, but he was unsure what the next step was in this plan. C. Froman was absent and therefore not able to comment.

A. Anderson suggested that teachers go out and read children’s literature and to think about, keep in mind, and discover the math connections that can be made. She suggested the “Tumble Books” resource for online children’s texts.

ECG committee members stated that they believed that the original draft of the Numeracy Plan from the 2008-2009 school year had a list of Literature titles that support Numeracy learning. J. Restoule General shared the copy of the Original Draft that he received in June 2009, which did not have such a list. For this reason, the committee was asked to bring forward ideal texts to this meeting. Any future revisions to the plan and its appendix should include a Math Literature list.

Review 3 Year Plan in Final Draft Form with Electronic version:

Teacher/staff comments: There was some questioning as to why we were asking for staff input on this document. OMSK felt they had already given their input and were actively using the plan.

ECG committee members felt that the Numeracy Committee has to review the document before getting feedback. J. Restoule General reminded them that we did review the plan over the first Numeracy meeting (see October and November minutes) and had been awaiting staff input. They did not recall this and insisted that we take a very detailed look at the plan in September 2010. They also felt that we should review how successful we have been at the goals/focus areas. As reviewing the plan and the committee’s goals were on the meeting agenda for today, it was suggested the committee begin the review immediately, and not wait for September.

T. Brant suggested that we reformat the plan to 8.5 x 11” portrait layout so it would fit nicely into binders/deskbooks. She also pointed out some concerns that will need to be discussed at another review of the plan in the Fall (why “three year”?; where and how is the term “culturally relevant context” reflected in the rest of the document?).

T. Brant reiterated the document’s use of EQAO data at the district level to assess the achievement of the district’s Numeracy goals, using that data as the evidence or indicator of success. It was suggested that the data be inserted into the plan itself, possibly as an appendix.

Review of focus area one led to some suggesting the elimination of CCAT and PRIME as resources.

T. Brant recommended that the committee consider taking the next steps portion of the document and refocusing them as the new draft’s goals in 2010-2011. One of the next steps in focus area one states “provide timely feedback and intervention to students”. The committee sees the need to develop and describe how the feedback is given/developed, and/or discuss this area further.

A. Anderson stated that she felt that the committee has accomplished very little this year. J. Restoule General agreed that it seemed like we were just “spinning our tires” this year. Ongoing issues around committee member attendance and the 2:30 pm release time were seen as contributing factors to this sense of low productiveness.

J. Restoule General asked if the committee would like to set a date for the September meeting. S. Hill-Bomberry felt that it was too early to set a date. T. Brant suggested that we pick a day and time (similar to this year’s third Thursday of the month) but also mentioned that maybe we could review exactly how often we would meet (maybe once a term but for a longer duration). She also suggested getting a mandate for ½ day meetings or continuing with PLC style meetings using creative scheduling for releasing divisions of teachers. J. Restoule General felt that it was hypocritical to have the district’s priorities be Culture & Language, Literacy and Numeracy, yet not be supported when it comes to the supply teacher budget to allow for these committees to meet. S. Hill-Bomberry stated that it is “out of our hands”. T. Brant said we should push for that commitment in the fall. She also thought the committee should appoint a chair and a secretary position. This item was discussed at the May meeting (see minutes). S. Hill-Bomberry reiterated her viewpoint.

Comment was made about the fact that staff meeting agendas are very full and that discussing the Numeracy plan adds on to an already busy agenda. S. Hill-Bomberry suggested that the plan be broken up, one page per staff meeting, in order to make it more manageable for staff to review.

Numeracy Committee Goals for 2010-2011:

As this agenda item is intertwined with the review of the Numeracy Plan, it was discussed in the agenda item above, and will continue to be discussed at the next meeting in the fall.

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