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Blog: Thursday, October 10th, 2019

Are You Good at Math?

In life, many of us know exactly what we are going to say when this question is asked - are you good at math? Answers could range from, "I love math" to "I hate math" or "I am not very good at Math". In many cases, you could argue that a quick non-confident self-disclosure was the safest way to go as "meeting your match", in terms of your Math ability being something you didn't want to chance.

In 2019-20, Auguston Traditional Staff are beginning a new journey with an updated School Plan for Student Success. Over the course of last year, we collaboratively created new inquiry questions to address our teaching of the new curriculum and assessment practices in numeracy. Our two inquiry questions are:

  1. Will teaching the new Math curriculum, where students demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways and in several complex situations, change overall Math confidence and achievement?
  2. How will "number talks" develop students mathematical thinking?

As many of us often do, we look to our exceptional team at the Curriculum department for guidance, resources, and knowledge to begin our journey. We turned to Tawnie Hildebrandt, our Numeracy Helping teacher, who has already provided us with a wealth of knowledge and support. Many staff have signed up for the offerings provided by the Curriculum departments, such as Math 101 with Carol Fullerton, SNAP pilots, and Math book clubs. At our most recent non-instructional day where Tawnie led our staff in their first "number talk", she shared with us thought from "Mathematical Mindsets," written by Jo Boaler. The comment resonated with many of us and really motivated our work moving forward. If a student says they aren't good at reading, we quickly refute it and work really hard to change their self-perception to keep their reading moving forward. If a student says they aren't good at math, we might be more inclined to say, "It's okay" and maybe even share "I'm not good at math either", resulting in a fixed mindset towards math. We need students who are confident, can persevere, and have a growth mindset towards both literacy and numeracy.

As we continue our journey, we hope to ultimately change the answer to "Yes!", for every time the question "Are you good at math?" is asked at Auguston Traditional Elementary.

RYAN COLBERT
Principal, Auguston Elementary