I can’t say how much going to the elementary class opened my eyes. I always had my students sit in rows, and I wanted them quietly working, and if they weren’t, I didn’t think they were doing their math, or I didn’t think they were learning. And then we went over to the elementary school, and I saw those kids talking, and they were given some pretty significant tasks that I never believed that they would be able to accomplish on their own without the teacher, you know, directing the activity. So I was really impressed when I saw that these kids really could accomplish these tasks and discover, you know, the formula or the relationship between pi and circumference. So that really, it opened my eyes and made me change my practices back here at school, and, you know, I tried to release, you know, responsibility and make the kids interact with each other more, work in groups or in partners, and it’s amazing what they can come up with without me just telling them, and I think that’s helped me in the classroom; it’s helped the kids; I think they enjoy coming to my class more. And they’re still learning.
And we talked about the thinking questions earlier, and one of those thinking questions that we’ve learned from each other and when we’re working with our elementary classrooms is the idea of looking at student work and having the students analyze that.
So just recently we were looking at some of the EQAO data, and so we had given our students a question that they got to work through, and then we gave them the answers. So it was really neat to see them looking through the answers and seeing what they liked about them, how they communicated their answers, what things were missing and that they didn’t understand or follow through with. So it affected them in the sense they’re like, “Oh, I didn’t do that,” and now they know more about what we expect and how they can move to the next level, whether it be from a Level 1 to a Level 2, or a Level 3 to a Level 4, what we’re expecting from them.
So one of the things that I’d really love to highlight is our journey through this. So we started off with EQAO and looking at the data to help us get better. And then the partnerships that we’ve made with our elementary team has really allowed us to grow and be successful. We’ve learned a lot from each other; we’ve opened up our classrooms; we have better questions, and we’re getting the kids to talk more. And it’s nice that it’s come full circle with EQAO. Now we can look at our EQAO data and be proud of where we’re at, and we’re really excited to keep on improving.
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