Hello everyone and welcome to my blog. My name is Mark and I write about Mathematics education.
Pictured above is my family. My wife and I have 3 children: Benjamin (9), Alyssa (7), and Gregory (5).
Professionally, I have been teaching for 16 years for the DSB of Niagara. As a classroom teacher I have taught grades 5-8 (math on rotary during my Intermediate teaching years). I have been part of many board, school and beyond initiatives with regards to Mathematics and have taken many courses myself in this area. My current position is an Instructional Coach which I absolutely love. I get to work with so many fabulous teachers from K-8 in my schools. I also have the opportunity to conduct professional development for teachers throughout my schools and board in mathematics. However, I have really come to appreciate the power of collaboration (co-planning, co-teaching and co-debriefing) as the best way to deepen our understanding of how learning happens.
In the past few years I have had the privilege to work as an Additional Qualifications instructor. I have worked with Brock University to implement and instruct P/J math AQs and have worked with ETFO as the 7/8 AQ instructor for several years now.
I intend on using this blog as a place to share my thoughts, or maybe to write down my experiences, or possibly as an opportunity to reflect… To be honest, I’m not exactly sure. Whatever comes of this, I am sure it will be a good learning experience!
You are encouraged to respond to any of the posts I have written, and to share with others.
Looking forward to learning with you,
24 thoughts on “About”
Hi Mark – I would love to speak with you about the possibility of you speaking at our spring mini-conference (MAC2 – our local chapter of OAME). Can we continue the conversation by email? My email is email@example.com – hope to hear from you soon. Kit Luce
Permission to follow your Blog, Mark?
I can definitely learn a lot here.
I believe there is a feature here to get emails every time I write a new post. Let me know if you can/can’t find it.
I was wondering about a quote I keep hearing from your OAME session.
It is about the frequency of expectations around use of concrete materials and grade level.
My twitter handle is @goslink123, DM me or email if you have access to my email from here.
Hmmm. I believe I had asked which grade has the most expectations where “concrete” is mentioned. Is that what you’re thinking about?
Where do you find the unusual pattern blocks(?) and the great colors of dice?
Most places that sell math manipulative will have different kinds of dice. Deco-blocks are the blocks you are referring to. That should be available through amazon or any educational warehouse that sells manipulatives.
I was reading a blog and you mentioned something about research showing that multiple choice test throughout the year actually lower standardized test scores. I was very intrigued by this. I work with a group of teachers and am really trying to push them to shift focus from answer giving to understanding. Even when I can get them to work on a process and understanding with students, the tests are all multiple choice. I would be very appreciative if you could point me in a direction for that research.
The issue is actually complex. Most research shows a 0 correlation between using MC practice and standardized tests (even if the test is completely MC). Mainly because it is the mathematics that we want kids to get better at, not taking a test. Students who struggle to do the math won’t be helped by doing more work aimed at seeing IF you’ve understood the concepts. The confusion here is between HOW kids learn and and how they demonstrate that learning. So, the more often a teacher employs MC quizzes as a strategy, the less actual learning opportunities the kids have. And the more likely the teacher made the MC quizzes, the less likely they will be effective in helping students learn.
Most assessment strategies typically have a small to large positive effect size, but overall employing MC quizzes has a 0 effect. When it becomes a negative correlation is if MC is used frequently or if MC is teacher made.
I’ll send a link to some of the research…
If you want to read the whole research take a look at Hao, 2005; Hastedt; 2004; Jones, 2004 and Rodriguez, 1999). Or read a summary of the research here:
Click to access MR61338.PDF
I would also caution you to really think about WHY this might be true. Teachers that like the objectivity of MC… the ease of making decisions based on these quizzes… the ease of creating a question like these… is probably not spending the time to listen to their students, or use other more effective assessment strategies.
And most importantly, often, MC quizzes assess low level skills/knowledge, (especially when teachers create them themselves). Since, they often assess lower level tasks, it signals to teachers that their students need more low level tasks. This cycle is quite damaging!
Take a Literacy teacher for a moment… one teacher might ask students to write a sample of writing, then think about what their strengths and weaknesses are… they will likely realize their class needs to spend more time planning to write or on word choice, or how to structure/organize thinking…
Another teacher might offer students to do a spelling test. The spelling test helped the teachers realize that their students struggle with specific spelling patterns… they will likely realize they need to spend more time sorting words by pattern…
Both teachers used assessment data to guide their learning. But the first teacher will likely be seeing their students in a more holistic manner.
Hope this helps.
Hi Mark, anyway to reach out to you via email. Would like to have some opinions from you regarding mathematics resources for preschoolers and lower elementary. Thanks!
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You have a very interesting website. I am interested in creating logic puzzles for children.
I would like to here you reaction about my variants of Number Cross and Kenken
thanks so much – interesting resources and thoughts (South Africa)
Hi Mark, You posted a graphic during last week’s #elemmathchat that represented some of your thinking about differentiation. Tasks vs. Learning. I love it! It clearly and powerfully shows how “different tasks” don’t necessarily mean the learning experience is different, while the “same task” (low floor-high ceiling) can actually allow for quite different learning opportunities. I’m wondering if you blogged or presented about this recently? I’d love to dig into this more for myself and the teachers I work with as well as to consider how differentiation (what it is and is not) can be captured for families. Thank you for all your contributions to the math ed community. Best, Lauren
I’m half finished a blog post using the graphic. But I’m the meantime, this post might be helpful:
Or this one:
Thank you for the response. I can’t wait for your upcoming blog post. I’ll visit the other two posts you linked in the meantime.
Hi Mark somehow I stumbled on this when I was looking for information on number talks. I’m homeschool mom to 3 boys elementary and upper elementary math. We use Singapore Math Curriculum. Do you have a favorite book or books you would reccomended to me as a parent? I feel like I do well teaching other the teacher’s manuals but want to incorporate more number talks. I’m comfortable with them with my little guys (but could still improve) but I’m starting to struggle with the number talks for 5th grade math.
Are your handouts copyrighted? I don’t want to sell, just share with others.
Share away. But please link them here. I always share for free, and attach research/pedagogical considerations with my work.
I am writing to request your permission to include your skyscraper puzzles in an article my colleagues and I are writing. We plan to cite you as the creator of the puzzles. Please reply to let us know if we have your permission.
Hi Liz. Always happy to share ideas and resources with others. Please use and share as you see fit.
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My apologies Liza (not Liz). Yes. Please share as you see fit.
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