Friday, 14 December 2012

Math Assembly an Educational Success!!

This week we had our very first Math Assembly here at St. Rita Catholic School in Ottawa, Ontario. Every single class in the school put together something that demonstrated their knowledge and understanding of the Patterning and Algebra curriculum.

Some of the presentations included:

  • growing and extending patterns with kindergarten students modelling
  • using tableau's to demonstrate patterns
  • using music to show the pattern and showing their understanding with drums
  • short skits with props
There was an unbelievable amount of time, effort and creativity that went into these presentations. Once the assembly was finished there was absolutely no question that the students here benefited from this experience. The purposeful talk that we could all hear in the gymnasium was very empowering and without question it has carried on in the classrooms here in our school.

Staff members here also had so many positive comments about this new learning experience. One thing that was quite interesting was that every teacher in the school could see what the students were expected to learn in Patterning and Algebra from Kindergarten to Grade 6 and how they did it. This has lead to quite a bit of informal professional development right at our school and we are excited to look towards a new idea and a new goal.

Following the assembly we had a school wide assessment and we gathered in divisions the next week to moderate the student work. Teachers had great discussions and ideas to help increase student achievement in this area.

Here is our school wide assessment that covered K - 6 and met the big ideas of the Patterning and Algebra Curriculum from the Ontario Mathematics Curriculum.

In the new year we are going to have a school wide focus on Geometry and Spacial Sense and are brainstorming ideas of how we can demonstrate our learning to the entire school.


  1. This post really intrigues me, as math has been one of my professional goals for this year. Looking at the EQAO results in Grade 6, we noticed that many students are struggling with communicating in math, so my focus is on developing these communication skills. Your math assembly idea sounds like it would do just that.

    It sounds like the students had very creative ways to share their learning across the grade levels. You spoke about the "purposeful talk" that you heard in the gym. Did students have an opportunity to talk after the presentations? What kind of audience involvement occurred throughout the presentations?

    I know that your school is a K-6 one, but can you tell me more about the specifics? How many students do you have in your school? I'm trying to figure out how this "math assembly idea" could work in a K-8 school with 750 students. Any information you could share would be fantastic!

    Thanks for getting me thinking!

    1. Hi Aviva! Thanks for the comment on the post. We have very good EQAO scores here at school but for some reason our Math scores do not mesh with our LA scores. This was an idea to get teachers and staff talking about curriculum, ideas and what is going on in the school regarding math. The purposeful talk we heard was going on in many of the presentations that were made. The students participated by class and were a captivated audience for sure! It was great to see.

      We have 300 students here at St. Rita and draw from a very rich and diverse community here in Ottawa. There are many ESL students and as you can imagine a wide variety of learning styles. Perhaps you could do divisional assemblies? 750 is a lot!

      Next, we re going to be doing a St. Rita Math Museum. Looking at the big ideas per grade in Geometry and Spatial Sense and then linking that to the Arts curriculum and creating individual class/student masterpieces. Of course parents will be invited to meander the Math Museum!

      Hope this help a bit. Any more questions please do not hesitate to contact me. Tim

  2. Thanks Tim! This helps a lot. I really like your idea of the Math Museum. Linking the Arts and Math is a fantastic idea, and what a great way to really get students to see math in a meaningful way.

    I'm going to share your blog post with my principal and vice principal. I think that this math assembly idea has a lot of potential!