Monday, April 28, 2014

Math Thinking Walls (in the Library too!)

Warning: many educational jargon terms ahead!
One of the "look fors" that the team of administrators conducting our school's recent "walk through" sought out was evidence of "math thinking walls". I hadn't heard of math thinking walls prior to this year. As the chairperson, I checked in with the teachers in my division to make sure they knew what a math thinking wall was and encouraged them to create one. Here are just a few examples of the math thinking walls on display in my school. (There are many more but I didn't take photographs of all of them.)

Grade 6

Grade 3-4

Grade 4-5

Grade 2-3

Grade 1

"What's good for the goose is good for the gander", so I thought the school library should create some math thinking walls as well. The students and I made two, although once again, I can only find photos of one of them.

It's easy for the library to be connected with literacy initiatives. It takes a bit more thought but the school library should also be involved with numeracy efforts in the school. In addition to our thinking walls, I offered an authentic whole-school math congress question for students to help me solve about how much to charge for the Ontario Library Association Festival of Trees trip. The Grade 6s accepted the challenge and worked on the problem passionately for an entire week! They did a phenomenal job, discovering additional questions that needed to be clarified before a final solution could be declared. They were highly invested in the end results, as it would determine how much they'd pay! (An upcoming math congress question will center on the Forest of Reading votes - our school's voting day is today, Monday, April 28, 2014 - and it will provide lots of great fodder for data management investigations.)

I'm not as eloquent or descriptive as I'd like to be on this topic (and I blame my work on the upcoming Spring Concert, Library Learning Commons Showcase, and Yearbook for my brain freeze) but at the risk of repeating myself, let me reiterate how important it is for the library to participate in many curriculum areas, from language to math to STEM to the arts and more. Be many things to many groups, so there's always a place for a school library.

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