About Innovative Practices

Our Innovative Practices to enhance student success is a resource that is constantly evolving. It is developed through our Canada’s Outstanding Principals, members of the National Academy of Outstanding Principals and The Learning Partnership’s research. The resource reflects proven approaches to addressing key issues faced by educator and students. 

Our innovative practices team researches and gathers case studies of initiatives that have had an impact in a community.  These well-documented stories allow us to glean deeper insights and lessons on processes and results of initiatives out in the field.

Innovative Math Practices across Canada

Yo: A Math Teacher’s Blog
Author of Sally Strange: And How She Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Grade 7 Math, Nico Rowinsky is a middle school math teacher in Toronto who keeps a blog chronicling his journeys and creative classroom lessons. His post recent post reviews his opening activity for the school year, which involved asking students to make YouTube videos that are no longer than 30 seconds to tell the whole world a message about math. The results are enlightening, informative for the teacher at the start of a course, and above all, provided the students with a fun way to express their feelings on math as a subject.

Making Sense of Math: Changing Perspectives on math through experiential learning

Can experiential pedagogy be the answer to Canada’s math woes in the classroom? Kelly Skehill, a high school teacher in Vancouver, believes that creating math learning experiences with real-world projects, student-centered lessons, and inquiry tasks can encourage deeper understandings and appreciation of math among students. Skehill enthusiastically recalls a Data Analysis Project wherein two students used course concepts to investigate how many grade 9 students at their school turn off the tap while brushing their teeth, thus evoking ideas about water conservation, the environment, and of course, math!

The math problem: Nurturing a love of numbers amid declining math scores

At John Polanyi Collegiate, mathematics teacher Dritan Bylykbashi believes that the way to engage students is to give them a problem that they don’t know the answer to. In his classroom, he uses real-world examples, such as asking students to measure skateboarding ramps to learn how to calculate slopes. Furthermore, offering programs like the school’s popular robotics team, draws in students to become active learners in the areas of science, technology, and math.

Non-random act to Promote Math – South Western Ontario

Random Acts of Math (www.mathclinic.com) - Hickory, dickory, dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock struck one. The mouse ran down… and if this continued for the next 24 hours, what would the mouse’s path look like if it was charted onto a graph?  Random Acts of Math is a program that was born from the Faculty of Education at the University of Western Ontario in an effort to encourage math-learning in community settings, in particular at home between students and their families. Using classic nursery rhymes, riddles, or story-based problems to emotionally engage children, this program offers a fresh approach to making mathematics a more interesting subject for all students.

Frustrated professors convince elementary schools to step back from ‘new math’ and go ‘back to basics’ – National Post

In Fall 2014, Manitoba will implement its new “back-to-basics” mathematics curriculum, thanks in part to the efforts of WISE Math (www.wisemath.org), a coalition of educators, parents, citizens, and mathematicians who have rallied together to strengthen mathematics education in Western Canada. The revised curriculum takes a step back from inquiry-based approaches, often referred to as “Discovery Math” that focus on using multiple strategies in basic calculations; instead, it returns to the fundamentals of requiring students to learn times tables, standard math algorithms, and basic “math facts”, all without the help of a calculator. These initiatives are hoping to strike a good balance between fostering basic math skills, ability to problem-solve, and conceptual understandings among students. 

Quebec might hold the formula to better nationwide math scores – The Globe and Mail

In Canada’s most recent PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) test results, Quebec led the country as the province with the highest results in math, and researchers are starting to investigate what exactly they’re doing better than the rest of the nation. Eugen Pascu, a mathematics teacher in Montreal at École Secondaire Mont-Royal, talks about how students need to first learn the fundamental formulas before making applications and really understanding how math works. An interesting point of speculation has been in the area of teacher training; whereas Quebec grade-school teachers are required to take at least 225 hours of university-level courses in math, in other parts of Canada this number is as low as 39.  Furthermore, Quebec’s curriculum states that students need to have memorized their multiplication and division tables by grade three.

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Did you know?
  • 40% of Aboriginal students in Canada do not graduate, compared with 8.5% of the non-Aboriginal population
  • As of 2012, 13% of Canadians between 15 to 29 are not in the education system, employed or training (NEETs)
  • The youth unemployment rate is 14.7% - double the overall unemployment rate
For more information, contact:

Serge Béliveau
Director of National Programs-Francophone & Indigenous Communities, Research and Information Technology