Thursday, July 7, 2016

Math Learning Map Journey

I have been distracted from blogging but am trying to catch up and am back to trying to deprivatize my practice more. And so, I am resolved to blog about my assessment practices (including failures and questions) and hope that I can spark conversation, collect some feedback, and crowd source some ideas. So I have one request - if you are reading these entries, please share them with someone else and/or comment at the bottom and join the conversation. :) The first entry from this series can be found here.

Today I am hoping to share the process and evolution of my experiences working toward a learning map for a math course. I think this is a specific journey worth deprivatizing because it has been a complicated one that involved a lot of lengthy discussions.

This entry requires you to know what an Overarching Learning Goal (OLG) is: I described it in an earlier entry as big ideas that are written as board spectrum learning goals that marry the "know" and "do" that we hope a student leaves a course with. I have discussed OLGs in a number of other entries since this one that can show you some of my journey through understanding and using them as well.

Starting in early 2015 I dove into OLGs and started working with a colleague to write some for a math course. At the time we were both teaching Gr 10 Academic ("Mathematical Principles") so we tried to tackle it. This was both of our first attempts at the process for any course so it was an exploration of the process itself and a discovery that every time we tried to do it we wanted to make different decisions. [One thing I would critique us on looking back was our neglect of the front matter of the curriculum].

Here is a look at the 2 different sets of OLGs we landed on in our two attempts.

In 2016 I had the opportunity to gather with some math and assessment colleagues from around the board to take a real look at designing OLGs and a Learning Map (LM). [I showed a sample LM for my Science course in this entry earlier if you would like some context] A LM takes the OLGs and describes what the learning should look like at each level. This map can then be used for many purposes.

Over the course of many discussions with colleagues at my school, one of our math resource teachers (@MashelleKaukab), and the above mentioned gathering we went through a process of unpacking the MFM 1P (Gr 9 Applied - Mathematical Foundations) course and the Math Processes (Ontario math curriculum front matter). It involved a lot of debate with well-reasoned points - and a lot of learning! Oh how our brains hurt at the end of that day!

Our team decided to create "skeleton" OLGs that focused on the processes that could then theoretically be used to finish OLGs for any course at any level (perhaps with rewording needed). Here is where we landed:

Our team left that meeting still feeling like things were a work in process but I am sharing our draft of our work hoping that you will contribute to the discussion by providing feedback. Please visit a copy of the document here.

The hope is that this map will become the foundation for every decision, evaluation and report completed for the course. The hope is that it will be the backbone of my backward design for my course.

Thank you for reading and for joining the discussion!
Happy summer!

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