Several primary teachers in the Richmond School District have engaged in a professional inquiry looking at how Reggio-inspired practices might enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics. The lead team for the project is Janice Novakowski, teacher consultant, Lauren MacLean, kindergarten and grade one teacher at Blair Elementary and Louesa Byrne, kindergarten teacher at Thompson Elementary. In year one of our inquiry, we investigated the role mathematical provocations could play in our classrooms. Emerging from year one was a need for materials and ideas for creating provocations. With the support of the Vancouver Reggio Consortium Society’s Learning Circle Grant, we were able to purchase materials for four mathematics kits that are being piloted in several classrooms this year. We have also developed a resource for teachers to provide inspiration for creating mathematical provocations and mathematical inquiry in classrooms.
Professional learning that has been discussed by the teachers involved includes: setting up provocations, looking for openings for opportunities for inquiry, learning to know what to prompt and scaffold learning, developing a deeper understanding of the curriculum and the mathematics in order to support student learning, considering new forms of assessment and exploring new ways to make the students’ learning visible. The teachers involved have also reflected on what conditions need to be in place in the environment and within the culture of the class in order for rich math learning to be experienced. This project has created a professional learning community within our district that will continue to collaborate and support each other as we embrace practices that nurture mathematical inquiry in our primary classrooms.