As I was reading through my Twitter stream, I happened upon a link to this article about more math classes for Ontario’s students and teachers. Now I can’t seem to remember or find the person that tweeted this article, but please know that I do thank you for sharing it. The article shares some information that makes me very happy. It looks at the slipping math scores on EQAO and shares some general plans to help Ontario students improve in math. Here are the parts that I particularly loved:
- According to Liz Sandals, “our young people are actually quite good at basic math skills.” (Link to the article.)
- The solution for more math time rests in integration: making the links to Math in other subject areas such as Science. (Link to the article.)
Why did this news make me happy?
- Because I think it’s a push for moving away from teaching subjects in isolation.
- I think that it will help move us towards more real world math problems.
- I think it will help change student perceptions on math. If students can see that “math is everywhere,” maybe they’ll find different ways to make sense of, and connect with, the subject.
- I think it will help us focus on developing thinking skills in math. We can still work on computations, but the results seem to show that we need to work on more than that.
- I think it will help us move away from the textbook. I know that a textbook is a resource, and I’ve used it as that before, but I think that math needs to be about more than answering 25 questions on a page. This article is showing me that it will become about more than that.
I know that this kind of solution is likely to result in some backlash. Questions such as, who will be responsible for assessing math (if it could be taught through multiple subject areas) and how we have time to address our other subject expectations if we are now adding in a greater focus on math, are sure to be a couple of the ones discussed. But I can’t help but wonder if this kind of solution could be the starting point in having us reconsider the flow of our day and a period-by-period subject model. As I continue to embrace inquiry in our classroom, I see the need for longer blocks of time to let students read, write, question, and explore (and this was as true last year in Grade 5, as it is this year in Grade 1). I think that this new math plan could result in bigger changes than just how we teach math, but ultimately, have us re-look at how we teach.
What are your thoughts on these possible changes to come? What impact do you see them having on your classroom program? What do you think that these changes will mean for kids? I’d love to hear your thoughts!