BCAMT New Teachers’ Conference
I have already been thrilled to be starting my formal teaching career during the transition to the redesigned curriculum, and the Learning is Doing theme for this year’s conference is perfect!
The keynote by Selina Millar reminded us to notice who is doing the math. Demonstrations of our math skills are not what foster our students’ competencies.
I chose a session on Numeracy and Inquiry by Beverley Bunker for my first session. I loved the definition of inquiry that she offered:
“Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world.” from www.galileo.org
The two strategies that she showed us to open up learning opportunities for all students are welcome additions to my list of low threshold/high ceiling tasks. I will be finding and using open questions (single questions that allow different strategies and approaches for students at different learning stages) and parallel tasks (a choice of two tasks that offer different levels of challenge).
I then had the fun of participating in Mike Pruner’s session on Thinking Classrooms. The games that we played were simple and engaging and I could have explored them for the whole afternoon.
The classroom changes he presented to us that facilitate thinking are from Peter Liljedahl.
-Using non-permanent vertical surfaces such as whiteboards
-Visibly random groups
Mike showed us how these elements foster student autonomy, peer learning, and engagement.
I left the conference energized to tackle my own inquiry questions about my students’ math learning process.
Arthur Brock and Bear from Agile Learning Systems taught the Windsor House staff to use their time-structuring and communication tools to increase flow in the school day while holding student agency in the their own learning as a central value.
The tools they taught us are useful for meetings, planning student school days, managing work flow, and long-term planning.
They also brought communication tools that facilitate our new tasks of coordinating multiple locations for student learning.