Mathematics Leadership Learning in Ontario

by Dragana Martinovic


Excerpts from selected workshops and PD meetings

In the first year of the Mathematics Leadership Community of Practice existence, our member networks encompassed North East (MLN), North West (NWML2N), and Central Ontario (ML2N). In this blog, we report from some meetings organized from April to October 2017.

MLN April 2017 meeting

This meeting presented the start of the Phase 2 of the MLN work. The learning goals for this three-day face-to-face session held in Sudbury were:

  1. Continue to ‘construct’ and build relationships, within and beyond the leadership network.
  2. Understand and be able to implement the conditions necessary for monitoring our actions.
  3. Deepen understanding of the relationship between content and pedagogy, with a lens on multiplication and division.
  4. Consider how Hattie’s research informs our thinking and planning.
  5. Make connections between all the facets of learning in the MLN–the interconnectedness of everything we are learning and doing.

The sessions included Connie Quadrini, Student Achievement Officer, who talked about: (a) specialized and horizon content knowledge (using Deborah Ball’s framework for Mathematics Knowledge for Teaching) and (b) supporting curriculum connections for students (see a depiction of multiplication across the grades). Connie provided a focus on students with learning disabilities, a topic of particular interest for the MLN educators.

The MLN participants reflected on the question: “How might your learning from today further support students with learning disabilities, in mathematics within your board/school?” and  also worked on connecting student thinking to the Lawson Continuum.

The educators worked on the balance of surface, deep, and transfer learning, emphasizing the need to attend to all three, where (surface – how) –may require direct instruction, thinking (deep – why) – requires talk, and constructing (transfer – apply) – requires reflection. Surface may have negative connotation; most teaching is surface. “Too often learning ends at the surface level. But the challenge is this: we can’t over-correct in the other direction, bypassing the foundational knowledge in favour of critical and analytic thinking” (Hattie, 2012, p.131). The MLN facilitators’ team also introduced aspects of the whole school inquiry, which will be a main monitoring tool in the next two Phases.

Timeline for MLN’s Phase 2 Activities

  • April MLN: An overview of Whole School Assessment Approach: Connecting Assessment, Responding, and Monitoring
  • In-between April and July MLN: Board teams determine context for learning:
    • What mathematics will we monitor (a big idea that spans the grades)?
    • Which learners will we monitor (a school or division)?
    • Which educators will we approach to co-learn through this process?
    • What resources do we have (need) to support the development of the assessment?
  • Mid-May: Schedule virtual meeting with field team to discuss plan.
  • Mid-June: Share content focus with Field Team.
  • July MLN: Collaboratively develop and/or refine assessment tool to be used for monitoring in each board.
  • In between July and September MLN: Implement the assessment in first few weeks of September.
  • September MLN: Collaborative analysis of assessment data; consider next steps in implementation process.
  • In between September and December MLN: Implement and monitor; post-assessment.
  • This process will continue through MLN phase three.

MLN’s Not a Book Study: Open Online Professional Learning

The MLN team also spearheaded this open online professional learning opportunity focused on Dr. Cathy Fosnot’s work specific to multiplication and division. More than 500 educators across Ontario registered. .Beginning on April 10, they were able to interact, network and share thinking with other educators on various open online platforms. Through VoicED Radio, Dr. Fosnot has weekly guided this learning.

432 Tweets were posted on the #notabookstudy Twitter account. 105,707 accounts were reached, which presents an admirable size for audience involved in a Not a Book Study conversation. A total of 266,873 views of a Not a Book Study conversation were recorded. The MLN team conducted a survey asking educators who participated in the Not a Book Study professional learning to provide their feedback. This is what they responded:

Scaling it up! Cathy Fosnot in North Bay

In continuation with previous work, in October, Cathy Fosnot visited the North Ontario region. First, for several days, she worked with individual boards, then she ran a 2-day Leadership Institute in North Bay, and concluded this working visit, with a NOMA event. The Leadership Institute was supported by the Mathematics Leadership Community of Practice. It was attended by 100 educators in leadership positions, including 20 Ministry staff. Three educators from the GECDSB (one Consultant and two Principals) also attended the Institute. Cathy said: “What is happening in Ontario is incredible!”

When talking about ways to support teachers in learning, how to assess the learning in the moment, and how to craft an assessment, she said: “We found that teachers focus on pedagogy, not on mathematics.” The NOMA event had 85 participants. This professional learning for teachers was organized in support of efficient computation, sense-making, and a strong understanding of number and operation.

The MLN has just started its Third Phase. More reports to follow!

The ML2N supports all educators in the Barrie region to:

  • improve leadership content knowledge in mathematics (knowledge/skills)
  • know what strong instruction looks like in mathematics (awareness)
  • encourage strong instruction when it is not evident (behavior/action)
  • create a culture of learning (social & emotional conditions)
  • facilitate effective collaborative inquiry (behavior, action, decision-making)

First day of the July meeting was dedicated to mathematics knowledge for teaching and leading, and monitoring for impact. On the second day, Moses Velasco (Education Officer), gave a session on the professional inquiry. Moses touched the following themes:

  • Why inquiry as an approach to professional learning?
  • What constitutes a leadership inquiry?
  • How might a leadership inquiry be monitored?
  • How can we begin developing a leadership inquiry?

Moses said: “Professional learning demands that teachers think critically about their practices and figure out what needs to change to benefit their students’ learning. Professional development always hoped and strived for instructional change but professional learning ensures and plans for change.” He used an example from a three-level inquiry at HPEDSB, where one person’s “if” became another person’s “then.” See how Debbie Donsky visualized this session and one of the slides from Moses’ session:

Scaling it up! Marian Small in Thunder Bay

On October 18 2017, the two leadership networks connected through Skype to share learning. Dr. Marian Small spent two days with NWML2N in Thunder Bay and during the first day session, the ML2N educators participated online (see pictures below). Marian Small talked about leadership in elementary mathematics. She said about leadership: “You cannot delegate this if you are a principal or school leader. You must get in there….You must make a math change a singular focus and a very visible focus.”

Scaling it up! Alex Lawson in Toronto

In September and October, Dr. Lawson facilitated sessions for the leadership networks’ teams. She talked about learning trajectories in relation to mathematical operations. The educators participated in discussions, solved mathematics problems, and watched videos that demonstrated mathematical development of Gr. 1 – 5 children. See what strategies different groups of educators suggested for children to solve 5+7 = ?, if they do not know it as a fact:

The image on the right presents different strategies from the continuum when solving 6+8=?. What can teachers do to help children move along the continuum? “A lot!” says Lawson, “We can introduce mathematical models that help children to construct mathematical understanding.” The premise of her talks was that “Just memorizing the [mathematical] facts is no longer enough and it never was.”


This blog post was written by Dr. Dragana Martinovic, co-Lead of the Mathematics Leadership CoP and Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Windsor. 

MKN November 2017 Updates

Want to know what we’ve been up to? Read the updates below to learn about network growth, resources, upcoming sharing, and our Communities of Practice in Year 2!

Network Growth

We have grown to include over 14 school districts, 15 universities, and 16 organizations!

MKN Website & TeachOntario

  • Explore our website, sign up for our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter @mknrcm to stay up-to-date on network activities and resources.
  • The MKN Hub is now live at TeachOntario.ca! Share & engage with Ontario teachers (and beyond!) through our online discussion groups.

Upcoming Sharing

  • KNAER Cross-Network Meeting (Nov 30): MKN will attend & learn/share with other KNAER networks.
  • MKN CoP Lead Meeting (Jan 26): CoPs will meet to discuss Year 2 progress, share artifacts, and discuss next steps.
  • Ontario Education Research Symposium (Feb/Mar TBD): potential joint-presentation with all KNAER networks, including the MKN.
  • MKN Advisory Panel Meeting (Apr 17): Opportunity for MKN partners to come together to discuss network updates and future plans.
  • OAME Math Conference (May 3-4): CoP members will present their work.

Find more details on our events page.

Communities of Practice

Our four CoPs completed their Year 1 activities and have created and shared various resources such as research minis, documentaries, lesson plans, literature reviews, and more.

CoP leads met on October 24, 2017 to share their work from Year 1, discuss future plans, and find cross-CoP connections. Attendees represented all 4 CoPs, the MKN Executive, TVO, KNAER, and the Ministry of Education. CoP leads will meet again in January 2018 to report on progress, share artifacts, and discuss next steps.

CoPs in Year 2 (Sept 2017 – Aug 2018)

Computational Thinking in Mathematics Education

  • Wellington CDSB:
    • Elementary: Leadership Projects.
    • Secondary: Gr 10 Math + Comp. Sci. Cohorts.
  • Andrews PS + Rainy River DSB collaboration.
  • Western Education: Refined Math + CT integration.
  • Brock/Niagara CDSB collaboration on CT in HS math.
  • Offer mathematics based activities for hour of code.

See mathnetwork.ca/ct for more information. You can find a more detailed Year 1 overview and plans for Year 2 here.

Critical Transitions in Student Mathematical Development

  • Early Years:
    • GECDSB Professional Development Day September 2017.
    • Scale-up Year 1 survey (~5000 educators).
    • Balanced Numeracy website development.
  • Gr 8-9 Transition workshops.
  • HS Math Enrichment Modules (Math9-12) – workshops, field testing with 9 teachers, 270 students, as well as a student survey.
  • Various OAME workshops. Stay tuned!

See mathnetwork.ca/transitions for more information. See their detailed Year 1 overview here.

Indigenous Knowledge & Mathematics Education

  • CoP meetings and sharing (e.g. FNMIEAO Educator Conference, IKME Conference in Fort Frances, OAME, OERS, etc.).
  • RMS Virtual Learning Series: Supporting Indigenous Learners in Mathematics with Ruth Beatty and Danielle Blair (IK CoP members)
  • Developing protocols for working with Indigenous communities, and developing a video resource.
  • Visiting school boards for co-learning sessions.

See mathnetwork.ca/indigenousknowledge for more information.

Mathematics Leadership

  • Ongoing meetings & events with CoP partners (e.g. Leadership Institute in North Bay with Cathy Fosnot, GECDSB Mathematics Symposium, and many other MLN, ML2N, and NWML2N events).
  • Blogging, podcasts, and Twitter chats via @TheMathPod – a collaborative learning space for educators who want to learn more about mathematics.
  • GECDSB: Mobilizing lead-learners to build depth and spread by developing the expertise of all educators.

See mathnetwork.ca/math-leadership for more information.

View this post as a 2-page summary!

Upcoming Learning & Sharing Opportunities

Several opportunities for learning and sharing are coming up this month! Learn more about these opportunities and how you can get involved below.

Computational Thinking in Mathematics Education Symposium, October 13-15

The symposium is hosted by UOIT, sponsored by the Fields Institute and SSHRC, and is supported by the MKN. The registration deadline is Sunday, October 8th. Learn more about this great opportunity and save your spot here.
ctmes-image

The Math Pod, October 11, 18, 25, & November 1

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The Math Pod is an OPEN learning opportunity organized in collaboration between three regions in the Province of Ontario:

  • Barrie Region: Math Leadership and Learning Network (ML2N)
  • Northeastern Ontario Region: Mathematics Leadership Network (MLN)
  • Northwestern Ontario Region: Math Leadership and Learning Network (ML2N)

The Math Pod is a collaborative learning space for educators who want to learn more about mathematics. They will be engaging with researchers through podcasts, blogging and Twitter chats.

Join them for their Fall series of podcasts on October 11, 18, 25, and November 1 at 8 p.m. with Cathy Fosnot and Stephen Hurley. Learn more at themathpod.ca and follow them on twitter @TheMathPod for regular updates!

NOMA Mini Conference with Cathy Fosnot: The Development of Numeracy, K-8, October 21

The Northern Ontario Mathematics Association (NOMA) will be hosting a full day of learning with Cathy Fosnot in North Bay on Saturday, October 21.  All educators are welcome to register for this incredible opportunity.  Seats are limited! See their event flyer for more details.
noma-fosnot-flyer-north-bay-oct-2017

FNMIEAO Educator Conference, October 28-29

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FNMIEAO’s conference will be held in London, Ontario, and will include several workshops specific to the work of the Indigenous Knowledge & Mathematics Education CoP. Presenters include IK CoP members such as Pamala Agawa, Ruth Beatty, and Danielle Blair. Click the flyer on the left for more details!

Registration and all other conference details can be found on their guidebook.

OAME 2018 Session Proposals: Due November 1st

2018-session-proposals-deadline

The OAME 2018 conference will take place on May 3-4, 2018. Be sure to submit your session proposal here before November 1, 2017!

Research Report: Mathematics Educator Leadership in ON

Our Mathematics Leadership CoP member organizations (pictured below) have been busy collecting data and monitoring their professional development activities.

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To learn about their research findings so far, check out this Research Report on Mathematics Educator Leadership in Ontario by Dragana Martinovic, co-Lead of our Mathematics Leadership CoP.

This report will be revised annually to address their recent activities and new data, and relate those to the findings of others. This living document will detail their work and inform further research-practice-policy conversations about mathematics educator leadership in Ontario.

See more from our Mathematics Leadership CoP here.

Math Leadership: ML2N July Meeting

From July 12-14, members of the Mathematics Leadership & Learning Network (ML2N) gathered at the Hockley Valley Resort for three days of learning, sharing, and networking. Check out this report for a summary of the activities!

For full details and resources from the three-day meeting, please visit the ML2N website.

The ML2N is one of the partners in our Mathematics Leadership CoP. To learn more about this CoP, see their main page.

The summary report was provided by Dragana Martinovic, Mathematics Leadership CoP co-Lead.