News from the Canada Region
Carol Matsumoto, Canada Regional Director
Spring 2014

Spring will be a long time coming here in Winnipeg. The wind chill has been below -30 degrees C for quite a few days this winter. I'm really looking forward to being in New Orleans for the NCSM Annual Conference, JAZZED UP MATHEMATICS LEADERSHIP: Building Systems to Trumpet Achievement from April 7-9. If you don't already know this the NCSM program is now on the website. I hope to see many of you there and invite you to the Canadian Caucus session from 3:45 - 4:45 pm on Tuesday, April 8. The regional directors decided that this year each caucus would discuss regional topics. When the provincial leaders had their last conference call, the topics suggested were updates on what's happening with curricula, how to get positive media and ways to increase membership. If you have any other suggestions please feel free to email me ahead of time or suggest it at the caucus meeting for informal discussion.

This past February 13-14, I attended the OMCA Annual Retreat at Hockley Resort in Orangeville, Ontario. It was a time to make connections with Ontario coordinators. I also had the opportunity to have chats about what was happening here in Manitoba. It was also a time to think and explore -making connections with how what we did with Chris Suurtamm would support us with our work with teachers. I took a voucher for a membership draw. The surprise winner was Liisa Suurtamm, the presenter's daughter who is a coordinator in Ontario.

Thank you to Peter Saarimaki for picking me up from the airport, taking me to the retreat and then taking me back to the airport. Thank you also to all the rest of the OMCA members, particularly the executive for their hospitality and stimulating conversation.

I hope to be in British Columbia and Nova Scotia this spring and in Quebec this fall if plans all fall into place.

The following are reports from some of the NCSM Canadian Regional Team Leaders.

Alberta Report

submitted by NCSM Alberta Provincial Leaders Debbie Duvall, Marj Farris

On May 2, 2014 the Mathematics Council of the Alberta Teacher's Association will host a Mathematics Leaders Symposium in Calgary, Alberta. The focus of the symposium will be on helping all students to succeed in mathematics. Barbara Dougherty will be the speaker for the day and will facilitate discussion around what teachers can do to provide just in time intervention to struggling students. This timely intervention allows teachers to address misconceptions early in the learning and therefore allows for more successful intervention.

Ontario Report

submitted by Peter Saarimaki, NCSM Ontario Provincial Leader

The Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association (OMCA) held its Annual Retreat recently. The leader over the two days was Dr. Chris Suurtamm.

Dr. Suurtamm began her career as a secondary school mathematics teacher and department head. She is currently Director of Teacher Education and an Associate Professor of Mathematics Education at the University of Ottawa. Her teaching and research areas include mathematics teacher practice, assessment, and qualitative research.

She has been the Principal Investigator of a number of research projects that examine the complexity of mathematics and mathematics teaching. She recently served as the Canadian representative on the NCTM Board of Directors, Co-chair of the International Congress on Mathematics Education Topic Study Group on Assessment and currently is a member of the Ontario Ministry of Education Curriculum Council. She has won several teaching awards, including the OAME (Ontario Association for Mathematics Education) award for secondary teaching and three university teaching awards.

Chris focused on developing and deepening mathematical thinking to develop students' understanding of mathematical concepts. She asked what we do or can do to encourage and develop mathematical thinking in students.

Almost 90 participants spent the two days exploring key mathematics concepts, spanning the elementary and secondary curriculum. We deepened our own understanding of these concepts, considered ways to develop elementary and secondary students' understanding, and designed experiences for teachers to enhance their mathematics understanding.

Chris also referred to the NCTM resource: 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions by Mary Kay Stein, Margaret Schwan Smith, emphasizing the 5 practices for facilitating effective inquiry-oriented classrooms:

  • Anticipating what students will do--what strategies they will use--in solving a problem
  • Monitoring their work as they approach the problem in class
  • Selecting students whose strategies are worth discussing in class
  • Sequencing those students' presentations to maximize their potential to increase students' learning
  • Connecting the strategies and ideas in a way that helps students understand the mathematics learned

In the end,

  • we experimented . . . with manipulatives,
  • we shared . . . emerging ideas, patterns and trends,
  • we played . . . with math
  • and we enjoyed sharing and learning.

The OAME Annual conference is scheduled for May 8 - 10 and details can be found at

As well the Annual Ontario Math Olympics for grade 7 & 8 teams is scheduled for May 30-31 in Orillia Ontario.

Nova Scotia Report

submitted by Robin Harris, NCSM Nova Scotia Provincial Leader

Curriculum Implementation

Nova Scotia has become the eleventh of thirteen Canadian jurisdictions to adopt the Western and Northern Canadian Protocol (WNCP) Common Curriculum Framework for Mathematics as the basis of its mathematics curriculum. In September 2013, the new WCNP mathematics curriculum was implemented in grades Primary-3 and 10. During the 2013-2014 school year, curriculum documents are being prepared for Mathematics 4, Mathematics 5, Mathematics 6, Mathematics 11, Mathematics at Work 11, and Pre-calculus 11. As well, mathematics teachers in grades 4-6 and 11 are engaging in professional learning in support of effective implementation of the curriculum which is scheduled for these grades in September 2014. Implementation of the new curriculum in grades 7-9 and 12 will take place in September 2015.

Webinars for Teachers

Four webinars in mathematics have now been completed and posted to the mathematics section of the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Digital Video Library. These webinars provide professional learning for teachers related to digital resources and important ideas in mathematics.

A description of each webinar follows:

  • Mathematics P-3: Partitioning Numbers One of the most critical skills a student must acquire in the early years is the ability to partition numbers in a variety of ways while recognizing that the total quantity remains unchanged. This is a quest that begins in grade Primary and moves through the grades into a full-fledged understanding of place value. Learn how this big idea unfolds from grades Primary to 3. See how various representations can help students develop their understanding, and discover how this one big idea can set students up for ongoing mathematical success.
  • Mathematics 3: Math Makes Sense 3 eText Walk-Through Learn how to log into the eText for Math Makes Sense 3, and how to use the Course ID to connect your eText with your students' eTexts. This step will enable you to share notes with your students through the eText platform. Other topics covered will include navigating through the text, adjusting page magnification/view, how to take and share notes, how to highlight passages of text, how to access the added content in the text such as program masters, and how to access the videos and virtual manipulatives.
  • Mathematics 10: An Overview of the Teacher Technology DVD and Web-based Student ebook Find out about some of the exciting digital assets that are part of your Technology DVD. From SMART lessons, to animations, to dynamic activities, to embedded planning notes, this is a resource you will want to learn more about. If you like the DVD, your students will really enjoy the WebBook. So, join us for this webinar and find out more.
  • Mathematics 10: How to use ExamView Extra Practice and Test Generator CD Learn how to create assessments, quizzes, study guides and worksheets that are customized to your students' needs. One of the most practical tools you'll use in teaching-and one of the most practical webinars you can attend.

Professional Development Video Series

Nova Scotia recently launched a new teacher professional development video series entitled Teaching Mathematics 7-9: Themes & Practice. This video series comprises ten short (average 12 minutes each) video segments, each on a different theme:

  • Accommodating Students
  • Activating Prior Knowledge
  • Assessment
  • Classroom Management
  • Communicating with Parents
  • Language; Manipulatives
  • Mental Math
  • Preparation and Planning
  • Teaching Tactics

A contributing team of ten mathematics teachers from across the province present effective classroom practices at all three of the focus grade levels. Each segment features both interview material and live, unrehearsed sequences from actual classes. Together, the ten segments form a comprehensive professional development resource that can be used whenever and wherever the need arises.

Nova Scotia Math Circles

Nova Scotia Math Circles is a high school outreach program dedicated towards enriching the experiences of high school students in all areas of mathematics. Math Circles events are held every month at the Mathematics and Statistics Department of Dalhousie University in Halifax. Although geared toward high school students, parents, teachers, and younger students are also welcome. Math Circles also travels the province giving interactive mathematical presentations in the classroom. All tasks in the presentation are interactive, fun, and related to high school curriculum outcomes.

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