By Tammy Tkachuk
Balanced Numeracy (Daily 5 Math)
Over the past few years as a classroom teacher, I have become more and more frustrated with the way Mathematics and Numeracy are often taught. As teachers of Mathematics we are always faced with the struggle to meet the diverse needs of our learners while still moving ahead with all those curriculum outcomes that we are expected to teach at each grade level. I’ve often wondered why our approach to Mathematics and Numeracy is so significantly different from our approach to Language Arts and Literacy. Look at all the supports we have for Literacy instruction, We have Balanced Literacy, Guided Reading, Levelled Readers, Benchmark Assessments, Daily 5, ERI (Early Reading Intervention), LLI (Levelled Literacy Intervention), and so much more. We work with students at their individual ability levels, and we support them as they progress from level to level. Why don’t we use a similar approach for Numeracy instruction in our school?
That is the questions that has been percolating in my mind for the past few months and it has driven my investigation into the concepts of Balanced Numeracy, Guided Math, Daily 5 Math, Diagnostic Assessments in Math, and Math Intervention. Below is a list of links to websites I have visited in my search for a better approach to numeracy instruction. I am so excited by the ideas of Guided Math and the Daily 5 in Math. I see these as wonderful ways to bring a greater focus on numeracy into our classroom. This seems especially important to me as we shift from Provincial Achievement Tests (PATs) which focused on measuring student achievement of specific outcomes in “math class” to Students Learning Assessments (SLAs) with focus on measuring students’ numeracy skills. That is a HUGE difference! The SLAs will not be checking to see that your students can perform each outcome listed in the Program of Studies. Rather, students will be assess to see where they are in terms of Numeracy Benchmarks. The SLA’s will be testing to see how numerate students are. Do they have the ability and habits of mind to engage with quantitative and spatial information to make informed decisions in all aspects of life?
I am excited that I have several teachers who have agreed to be a part of this exploration with me. We have teachers at Pembina North Community School and Westlock Elementary School who are jumping right in to the Daily 5 in Math. I also have a number of other teachers in our division who have expressed a desire to learn more. Please let me know if you would like to join our team! Let’s build a Balanced Numeracy strategy for PHRD!
Websites to Explore
SLA’s: Literacy and Numeracy
Guided Math with Dr. Nicki Newton
Daily 5 Math - Shannon Pasma's Blog
Balanced Math - Simcoe County School Division, Ontario
Numeracy for all - Numeracy Intervention Project
Daily 3 Math - The 2 Sisters
This blog and resources website has been developed through the work of various AISI coaches in PHRD. The lead collaborative teachers for the 2015/2016 school year, Cheryl Frose, Christine Quong and Tammy Tkachuk will continue to update this site. If you have resources you would like to share or would like to contribute to the blog, please contact us.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Canada License.