Reflecting on Set Goals

With another school year coming to an end it is an opportunity to reflect on goals set in September. Look at how I monitored them and see what the impact was. On students, the people I work with and on myself.

In September I identified my goals as…

  1. Asking better questions, and making statements, to support moving thinking forward,
  2. Digging deeper into assessment and data to make small powerful moves to support student understanding,
  3. Support the shift from ‘covering’ to ‘engaging’ in curriculum.

Reflecting back on PLCs, the Math Leadership Series and other large professional learning sessions we ran, I can honestly say that these goals remained a focus, and that focus has resulted positively with students.

This year we put a lot of focus on what the data is telling us. We started the year looking at last year’s EQAO data and used that to start setting directions for professional learning. Our learning cycles always consisted of evidence from the student desk to keep our work focused and purposeful through monitoring and small informed changes. Making informed moves and  decisions in instructional practice and our math programming. We looked at concepts and big ideas and how we can engage students in the curriculum instead of creating a check list and trying to surface cover everything; with no emphasis on why this learning now. We still have work to do here as we gathered information from our students through SEF visits, but we have identified it and are moving forward with it. Finally people professionally challenged each other, made statements and asked questions of each other and of their students; all with the goal of moving student thinking forward. In small groups, working with ILs and consultants; colleagues worked together to refine practice, all to support students.

As we move into summer I look forward to reflecting further on evidence from working on these goals. I also look forward to continuing the work in these areas and setting some new directions. Professionally for myself, to support my colleagues and to support our students. 

Knowledge Mobilization

As we wind down, with June being around the corner, it is a great time to continue to reflect on the professional learning that has been developed and delivered this year. What better way to see this than seeing it in schools, classrooms and discussions!

Here is a little WordPress Blog ‘Moment’ of Knowledge Mobilization that I have come across so far!

And the this is just where it begins!

Looking forward to sharing 4 school stories in June’s Curriculum Connection.

Knowledge Mobilization through the lens of the Pedagogical System…


80% Learned…Anxiety

This week is #mentalhealthweek2017

I was at a learning session in Barrie today and one of the breakout sessions I went to was on Mental Health. It was a fantastic presenter who was engaging and informative and very real and sincere with the information she was sharing with us.  As she spoke I reflected a lot; on my students, my children, myself.

And then she stated something that has changed my thinking and what I thought I knew about anxiety. 80% of anxiety is learned. That is of all the people that live with anxiety, 80% of them have learned anxiety. I never knew this. Like at all. And then I really started to think.

How am I modelling dealing with stress? How do I model stressful situations? Like workload, professional demands, parenting challenges, scheduling…

How have I modelled this for my children and my students? Our actions speak louder than words. Children watch us. Students watch us.

We have been delivering a professional learning series specifically for EQAO this year. A part of each session speaks to the wellness of students during this assessment. We know that this is a stressful time of year for teachers in those assessment grades. We want our students to do well and demonstrate what they know. How are we showing this to our students?

So as the block of time approaches for this year’s EQAO assessment I encourage colleagues to take care of themselves. Get outside, Feed All Four and do what is necessary to be your best self during our students’ time to show their learning. They are watching us. And they are always learning.

Widening the path of this Learning Journey!

Tomorrow starts a new chapter in my career where I get the opportunity (in a different venue) to continue my learning journey, support educators and make learning fun…being a co-instructor for Primary / Junior Math Part 1 AQ at Lakehead University.

Having the opportunity to support educators as they engage in learning about teaching math is a professional goal of mine. I continue to have the privilege to do this at TLDSB and now at Lakehead University.

So some personal goals in this new professional adventure…

  • support and create educator efficacy in building content knowledge and effective pedagogical practices in math education,
  • begin or continue supporting participants in building their Professional Learning Networks,
  • engage in conversations about the learning and push thinking forward,
  • encourage slowing down and ensuring we are considering reaching all or almost all students in our connecting learning to the classroom,
  • finally, and most importantly, make learning fun!

I look forward to meeting the participants, working with the co-instructors and supporting learning at Lakehead University!

Collective Efficacy

“When teachers believe that together they can impact student achievement, they share a sense of collective teacher efficacy.” Jenni Donohoo

Collective Efficacy has been something that I have been thinking a lot about lately. It started with a book study with a peer group and has moved to personally assessing how I support building this in the schools I work with daily.

Looking at our professional learning model currently, we have many opportunities to build a collective efficacy with the groups of educators who with we engage in learning. To work together as a team, supporting each other to live the quote above.

In the resource by Jenni Donohoo, she classifies four sources of efficacy:

  • Mastery Experiences – most powerful; when teachers see success based on their target work, CE is established
  • Vicarious Experiences – second most powerful; when teachers see others with similar opportunities have success, they too believe they can overcome their obstacles
  • Social Persuasion – credible and trustworthy persuaders to encourage how to innovate and overcome challenges (members of a school staff persuading other staff that they constitute an effective team
  • Affective States – emotional tone of an organization; least effect and little research to support

In our learning teams we have the power (each member has this power) to support building these experiences of efficacy with one another.  A colleague and friend of mine, Marianne Auger, made a statement that has stuck with me. When people come together for professional learning we are all responsible for each other’s learning. We are not meant to sit and consume, we are responsible to listen, reflect and contribute. It is in environments like this that the above four sources can be supported and collective efficacy comes to be. And it is this statement that made me reflect and adjust how I facilitate and learn with groups of educators. To model, support and be part of building collective efficacy

Looking forward in current and future roles I know that this reflection and thinking will stay with me and be addressed in the work I do. When we come together and believe we have the power to support students, their well being and achievement…well that is the making of an amazing support system for all the children we work for everyday.


Intellectual Compound? A Product of Collaboration

People are proud of the work they do and accomplish. It is their intellectual property as I best understand it. But when a team comes together and creates something amazing, what is that? An Intellectual Compound?

I have been lucky as of late to work with some incredible groups of people to look at revising the Math Profile, build a Success Criteria for Rich Math Tasks and start the journey of making a Math Website!

The product has been incredible. Ideas that would never have come to me were put forward and built on. Out of the box thinking…well a new box was made.

When people come together to collaborate and create amazing things happen. Enthusiasm brings goals to life. People see their thinking and ideas being honoured and built on. No matter how big the task; the impossible becomes possible. We move from a single property to a collaborative compound.

Setting goals and working together is powerful. The impact is has on educators moves practice. The impact it has on students moves learning. Adding and growing that intellectual compound.

Unpacking and Up-cycling

As professional learning is moving along, I have been inspired by so many of my colleagues in the work they are engaging in to benefit their students.

Work is being done to really understand and unpack curriculum expectations; to move thinking from covering curriculum (check mark here) to understanding to make the expectations come alive in a learning opportunity for students.

This unpacking went one step further these last two weeks with the idea of creating a success criteria to build rich math prompts.  An up-cycling of math prompts if you will.  We have so many resources that can support us in bringing math alive for students.  Some amazing and some…well not so amazing.  Some current and some…well, gloves should be worn to handle them.

Regardless of the prompts, as professionals we have the autonomy, privilege and responsibility to bring rich math learning to our students.  Below are some working shots of up-cycling in action.

And these prompts? Well March Mathness may be a great place to share.  Go to @MATHnessTLDSB on March 20 to be part of the mathness!