Data and Schools: A Journey of Learning
Student population: 572; Grades: JK–8
- Byron Southwood Public School is in an urban setting and has a student population with a wide range of strengths and needs. The school takes pride in its strong parent and community involvement and their support of extracurricular activities.
- Many staff members have been teaching at Byron Southwood for more than five years.
“Knowing the importance of number sense to math understanding and reasoning, and analyzing EQAO questions, I now embed number sense across the program. Daily computational practice, like math games, is provided for students to consolidate their understanding of numbers and boost their confidence. I want students to enjoy math.”— Grade 6 educator
- Data Review: Staff members work together to analyze EQAO achievement data. They look at what students demonstrated in the knowledge, application and thinking questions and consider factors that may have affected student achievement. Teachers consider the connections between EQAO and report card data. Teachers also look at PRIME (Professional Resources and Instruction for Mathematics Educators) diagnostic data to inform instruction.
- Singular Focus: Staff members agree on a singular focus for the school goal. They also choose initiatives and evidence-informed instructional strategies with measurable effects. After considering EQAO survey results, the educators at Byron Southwood are pursuing a growth mindset around math learning for both students and teachers.
- Strong Attitudes: The staff know cultivating a love for math in students improves math achievement scores. Educators work to generate more conversations, more collaboration and more excitement about math by connecting it to the real world.
- Intentional Practice: Staff members devote time to monitoring learning conversations, common assessment practices, teacher collaboration and de-privatized practice; making student thinking visible; and celebrating successes. These efforts are part of their commitment to constant improvement of instructional practices.
Focus on Consolidation
Teachers work together to make math fun and use math games to create a safe space for students to practise. They provide students with many opportunities to see alternative strategies, and they build confidence through math games, gallery walks, small-group instruction and self-assessment.
Math assessments showed that students are more willing to take risks and make mistakes. Likewise, students are more willing to share during number talks, increasing their confidence and creating a positive attitude toward mathematics. By creating this safe space, teachers improved student enjoyment, which led to more conversations and consolidation of learning.
Focus on Multiple Representations
Teachers used the Concrete-Representational-Abstract model. By using concrete math tools, teachers became more comfortable demonstrating problem solving across a variety of concepts. Teacher learning occurred through ongoing professional development at staff meetings and moderation of assessments.
By using concrete materials intentionally in their daily practice, teachers have also modelled how these tools can help all learners. This method helped students visualize and understand math concepts, and choose appropriate math tools.
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