Posts tagged ‘Mathematics’

Spiral Curriculum for Mathematics

From:  Judy Chyung – Librarian, TDSB Professional Library

Check out this short online article from University of Chicago on Spiral Curriculum for Mathematics.

The Spiral: Why Everyday Mathematics Distributes Learning

What is a spiral curriculum?

“In a spiral curriculum, learning is spread out over time rather than being concentrated in shorter periods. In a spiral curriculum, material is revisited repeatedly over months and across grades. Different terms are used to describe such an approach, including “distributed” and “spaced.” A spiral approach is often contrasted with “blocked” or “massed” approaches. In a massed approach, learning is concentrated in continuous blocks. In the design of instructional materials, massing is more common than spacing.”

Benefits of Spiral Curriculum:

  • Spiraling leads to better long-term mastery of facts, skills, and concepts.
  • Spiraling is effective with all learners, including struggling learners.

Why does Spacing (spiralling) Work Better than Massing (blocked)?

  • Massing reduces attention so that learning is weaker.
  • Effortful processing of the sort involved in spaced learning enhances long-term retention. Easy learning often doesn’t lead to the best retention; more difficult learning can lead to more robust encoding of information and better long-term learning (Schmidt & Bjork, 1992).
  • Spiraling helps learners make connections over time, which creates more robust pathways for recalling information.

For more information, also check out:

TeachOntario  Professional Learning Series webinar on Spiralled Curriculum

July 27, 2017 at 10:00 am Leave a comment

EduGains: Mathematics Professional Learning Modules

From EduGains:

New Professional Learning Module Resources Available

Do you support mathematics professional learning?  Now available are Mathematics Professional Learning Modules on Algebraic Reasoning, Proportional Reasoning, Fractions and Classroom Dynamics. Modules include a presentation guide, PowerPoint with speaker notes and supporting materials such as videos and handouts.

May 11, 2017 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Math Anxiety integral part of student math achievement

“Math anxiety: An important component of mathematical success”  written by Erin Maloney, Jonathan Fugelsang and Daniel Ansari, was posted on the LearnTeachLead blog November 14, 2016.

From their conclusion: 

“Math anxiety is pervasive among students, teachers, and parents. Given the very real negative impact that it has on students’ achievement, and the availability of easy-to-implement and cost-effective evidence-based strategies to help combat the negative impacts of math anxiety, it is critical that math anxiety be central to the discussion around why our students are not excelling in math.”

The article  has an extensive resource list, too.  For additional information on this  topic, TDSB teachers can contact the Professional Library at (416) 395-8289 or

Check it out! Rowan


December 1, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Report : Math PD improves teacher knowledge but not student achievement. So is this useful?

The US Department of Education has released report titled Focusing on Mathematical Knowledge: The Impact of Content-Intensive Teacher Professional Development (September 2016).

Here are some selections  from the Executive Summary, page ES-1: 

“Elementary school teachers may especially benefit from content-focused PD because they are less likely to formally study math in college than secondary teachers, who tend to specialize in the subject matter they teach.

Grade 4 teachers from 94 schools in six districts and five states participated in the study and were randomly assigned within schools to either a treatment group that received the study PD or a control group that did not receive the study PD. The key findings on the impact of the study PD on teacher knowledge, practice, and student achievement include:

  1. The PD had a positive impact on teacher knowledge.
  2. The PD had a positive impact on some aspects of instructional practice, particularly Richness of Mathematics.
  3. Despite the PD’s generally positive impact on teacher outcomes, the PD did not have a positive impact on student achievement.”

From page 45: “To summarize, future research might focus on identifying PD that will impact these knowledge and practice outcomes to a larger degree. Future research might also seek to identify other aspects of knowledge and practice to target with PD that are more strongly related to improved student achievement. ”

Me: Maybe this just demonstrates the complexity of improving math achievement.


Garet, M. S., Heppen, J. B., Walters, K., Parkinson, J., Smith, T. M., Song, M., Garrett, R., Yang, R., & Borman, G. D. (2016). Focusing on mathematical knowledge: The impact of content-intensive teacher professional development (NCEE 2016-4010). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

This report is available on the IES website at

October 6, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Min of Ed renewed math strategy

With the  results of the recent EQAO math assessment showing a decline in student scores, the Ontario government, has  been publicising it’s math strategy. “Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy will help our students, teachers, schools and districts in achieving stronger math results and better position our young people for the jobs of today and tomorrow. The strategy includes a number of features that will respond to the various strengths and needs of our learners, schools and district school boards” Source: Ont Min of Ed. Memo Summary (April 2016)

Strategy At-A-Glance

Starting in September 2016, Ontario is dedicating more than $60 million to help support students achieve better results in math. Key elements of the strategy include:

  • Sixty minutes per day of protected math learning time in Grades 1 to 8
  • Up to three math lead teachers in all elementary schools
  • Coaching for principals of select secondary schools to lead improvement
  • Support for learning at home through parent resources
  • Better access to online math resources and supports such as Homework Help orSOS Devoirs
  • Math support for Grades 6 to 9 outside of the school day
  • Opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge, including a dedicated math Professional Development Day.

Source: Ont Min of Ed. Memo Summary (April 2016)

And from  a news release dated today – September 21, 2016

  • More than $60 million to implement a renewed math strategy. Starting this school year, teachers in Grades 1 to 8 will spend 60 minutes per day to focus on effective instruction in math. Other key elements of the strategy include up to three math lead teachers in all elementary schools, and opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge in math learning, teaching and leading, including a dedicated math Professional Development Day.
  • Helping parents support their children’s learning and well-being by awarding more than 2,300 Parents Reaching Out Grants for the 2016-17 school year. These grants – of which more than 800 focus on or include a math component – support local school councils, Parent Involvement Committees and not-for-profit organizations working with parents.
  • Supporting Homework Help, which provides students with free, real-time math tutoring by certified Ontario teachers. The live, interactive online math help is available to students in Grade 7 to 10 in all English-language school boards. SOS Devoirs is a similar service for Francophone students in Grade 1 to 12.


Check ’em out! Rowan

September 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

2016, Grade 6 EQAO math assessment show decline in meeting standards

EQAO has released the results for the 2016 math assessments for 2016 provincial-level results of the primary- and junior-division Assessments of Reading, Writing and Mathematics (written by students in Grades 3 and 6), and of the Grade 9 Assessment of Mathematics. Their news release titled “Elementary school reading results continue to rise, while math results continue to fall. Half of all Grade 6 students did not meet the provincial math standard in 2016.”  The news release includes links to additional EQAO documents and EQAO will release the individual school board results on Sept 21.

  • The area of concern is the grade 6 math results: “The percentage of students in Grades 3 and 6 who met the provincial math standard has decreased steadily over the past five years. Half of all Grade 6 students did not meet the provincial math standard in 2016.”

This has been media news over the past 25 hours – here are some links that might provide additional perspectives and analysis.

Back in April the Ministry announced a new math strategy including the following:

“Starting next September, key elements of the renewed strategy will be introduced including:

  • A minimum of 60 minutes each day of protected learning time for effective mathematics instruction and assessment for students in Grades 1 to 8
  • Up to three math lead teachers in all elementary schools
  • Coaching for principals of select secondary schools to lead improvement in math among their students
  • Support for learning at home through parent resources that provide helpful tips and information on the mathematics curriculum
  • Better access to online math resources and math supports such as Homework Help or SOS Devoirs
  • Math support for Grades 6 to 9 outside of the school day
  • Opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge in math learning, teaching and leading, including a dedicated math Professional Development Day to further their school improvement efforts.”

Check it out! Rowan










September 1, 2016 at 9:35 am Leave a comment

mPower at TVO brings games learning to build math skills (k-6)

TVO has created a FREE online “games-based resource that builds problem-solving, critical thinking and math skills” for grades K-2 (available now)  and Grades 3-6 (coming soon) with an aim to foster a positive attitude about math.

It is call mPower and is based on the Ontario curriculum and provides a teacher interface / dashboard allowing teachers to  upload class lists, and to track player progress. It is responsive in a friendly way  to student progress and scaffolds suggestions  if a student does not answer correctly.  Teachers need to register using your school board email and then upload class lists in which students receive unique logins.

TVO also delivers Homework Help for Grades 7-10

Check it out! Rowan

August 31, 2016 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

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