For this session our colleagues from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and the Eganville and District Public School (EDPS) will be joined by Peter Skillen and Brenda Sherry, who have extensive experience exploring the connections between mathematical thinking and computer coding. In this session we will unpack the rich mathematics of repeating patterns, from simple patterns to the complex patterns used in looming designs. We will investigate how to write procedures using the Lynx coding platform to create looming patterns, and learn how these support students’ understanding of patterns and computational thinking.
Dr. Ruth Beatty
Associate Professor, Faculty of Education at Lakehead University
Dr. Ruth Beatty is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Education at Lakehead University in Orillia. As a mathematics education researcher, Ruth’s focus has been how children learn complex math concepts, and the alignment of instruction with developmental trajectories of understanding. Since 2013 she has collaborated with members of Anishinaabe and Métis communities and educators from Ontario school boards to research the connections between Anishinaabe and Métis ways of knowing mathematics and the Western mathematics found in provincial curricula. The goal of this research (funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant, a SSHRC Indigenous Research Capacity and Reconciliation Connection Grant, an Indigenous Research Capacity and Development Grant, and by the Council of Ontario Directors of Education) is to collaboratively design culturally responsive mathematics instruction and to learn from and incorporate Indigenous pedagogical perspectives in inclusive classroom settings.
Math Lead Consultant | Retired Educator
For the past eight years, Danielle Blair has worked alongside Dr. Ruth Beatty on a multi-year multi-community research project with several First Nations community partners and Ontario Boards of Education. During this time she also served as Provincial Mathematics Lead on contract with the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE) through which she supported Boards of Education in Mathematics, Leadership and community-based participatory research. In addition to being passionate about co-learning from and with First Nations community leaders, Danielle has been involved in research projects related to the teaching and learning of Mathematics K to 12 and the facilitation of professional learning for educators for the past 18 years. She has served as a classroom and Special Education teacher, Mathematics Itinerate Resource Teacher, Elementary School Vice-Principal, and as Adjunct Professor, York University Teacher Candidate Program.
Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation
As a proud Algonquin woman of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Christina has spent the majority of her career working to empower Indigenous youth through education, language and capacity-building. She has worked in grass roots movements such as Friendship Centres, in post-secondary institutions such as Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario and with Lakehead University in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Education. Christina is a successful alumnus of the first graduating class of the Native Community and Social Development program from Georgian College and in 2012 received the Board of Governor’s award of Excellence – Distinguished Alumni for her work with Indigenous people. Christina’s invaluable work in the promotion of Anishnaabemowin has added to efforts to preserve this endangered language both within her own community and provincially. She has worked to bring about change in Indigenous education and to make schooling more inclusive and Indigenous-focused through the Indigenous mathematics research study with Ontario teachers to incorporate Indigenous ways of teaching into the Ontario mathematics curriculum. She has collaborated with educators and administrators from the Renfrew County District School Board, and has worked as a mentor with Indigenous artists in other communities who have been part of this work. Christina has shared her experiences as an Algonquin artist researcher at a number of conferences, included four presentations at the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education annual conference. In 2018 Christina, along with Dr. Ruth Beatty, was awarded the Indigenous Partnership Research Award during Lakehead University’s Research and Innovation awards ceremony as a testament to her leadership in this project. Christina’s dedication to the celebration of Indigenous culture has resulted in many successful events and projects. Through empowering Indigenous youth to celebrate their identity, language and culture made visible in their daily lives, she embodies the tradition of passing on culture and the skills needed to preserve it to the younger generations.
Code to Learn
Brenda is an educational consultant with an M.Ed., in Curriculum Teaching and Learning from OISE/UT, currently working with two of TakingITGlobal’s projects: Code To Learn and Connected North. After 32 years in public education as a teacher, instructional coach, vice-principal and education officer with the Ontario Ministry of Education’s 21st Century Learning Unit, Brenda finds that collaborating virtually and f2f with educators in the service of students continues to bring her great joy and continual learning. She is passionate about empowering all learners and exploring emerging learning models that critically challenge existing practices and this led to the co-founding of the Minds On Media model of professional learning.
Brenda is honoured to be recognized by the International Society for Technology in Education with the Making IT Happen Award, and by the YMCA/YWCA of Guelph’s Women of Distinction Award for her accomplishments in transforming learning environments and leading teacher professional learning leveraged by power of technology. She chronicles her learning journey semi-regularly on her blog/website called Learning Zone–brendasherry.com and on social media–mostly on twitter @brendasherry.
Code to Learn
Peter Skillen is currently Project Manager & Curriculum Leader for Code To Learn—a federally funded Taking IT Global project that introduces computational thinking and coding to educators and students Canada-wide. His particular passion is to ‘draw’ students into ‘being mathematicians’ through the use of turtle graphics—an artistic aspect of the coding platform (Lynx) he has helped develop.
Peter, an Ontario educator, holds a Masters of Education from OISE/UT with a focus in cognitive science related to educational technology. He has been involved in technology supported, project-based learning since the late 1970s, has traveled and spoken extensively in many countries, and continues to explore and support knowledge-building environments for learners. He was a founding teacher and leader at the YMCA Academy—a secondary school serving youth who prefer an alternative approach.
Peter has co-developed courses for TeachOntario, has been a Global Ambassador with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and develops and supports both face-to-face and online learning for the Ontario Teachers’ Federation. Peter is also co-founder of the Minds On Media model of professional learning which truly reflects how he wishes classrooms to be.
Website & Blog - peterskillen.org
Renfrew County DSB
Mike has been a teacher at Eganville District Public School for 15 years and has been involved in the Indigenous mathematics research project for the past seven years. Mike is passionate about teaching mathematics and has presented with our team at the Ontario Association of Mathematics Education conference. As a classroom teacher at the Eganville public school, he witnessed the struggle to build meaningful, trusting relationships with the children and families from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. Through the Indigenous mathematics education research project, he has had an opportunity to build relationships with Elders, artisans, and Community Members that never previously existed. He has learned things about the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation that were never discussed in school further highlighting the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Renfrew County DSB
Heather Lett has been a classroom teacher of grades 2-5 for 28 years with the Renfrew County District School Board. She is passionate about making connections between the lives, culture and traditions of her students from the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and the subjects and events taught in her classroom and at the school. She has been a collaborator in the Indigenous mathematics research project for over five years and has presented with the team at three Ontario Association for Mathematics Education conferences. She is excited to share and learn with others who are interested in more inclusive, holistic approaches to teaching because she has seen first hand the gains all students make when they extend their “ways of knowing” mathematics as they experience a meaningful connection between their learning and their culture.