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President's Message - March 2018


Here we are, at the start of a New Year and mid-way through another school year. Looking back at the first semester, the 2017 OAME Leadership Conference, Connecting Leading Ideas, was a highlight for me. The opportunity to connect with leaders in mathematics education, including teachers, coaches, consultants, administrators, and researchers, was both exciting and inspiring. I would encourage you to check out some of the ideas that were captured on Twitter with #OAMElead.

First, there was a thought-provoking Thinking Classroom keynote by Dr. Peter Liljedahl (see www.peterliljedahl .com/presentations), followed by breakout sessions facilitated by Peter Liljedahl and Judy Larsen, and by educators from across the province: Alex Overwijk, Pierre Tranchemontagne, Jaime Depippo, Jimmy Pai, and Karine Rozon. It was fascinating to see the Thinking Classroom experience at this conference. The picture in Figure 1, for instance, shows the breakout session for leaders (e.g., administrators, coaches, consultants), with more than 100 people engaged in a problem.

As you can see, like in a Thinking Classroom, everyone was engaged in a rich problem, using vertical nonpermanent surfaces (VNPS), working in visibly random groups (VRG), and there was no "teacher" at the front of this "classroom." Actually, the facilitator, Peter Liljedahl, is in this picture. Can you find him?

In the same picture, you might also be able to see that the groups are working on dry-erase boards, donated by Wipebook (! VNPS include more than dryerase boards, however. As you can see in the following pictures, windows worked quite nicely

The learning continued in the afternoon, with a panel discussion facilitated by Jimmy Pai, that connected different perspectives on leadership, from Dr. Chris Suurtamm, Jhonel Morvan, Julie Seguin-Mondoux, and Mary Bourassa. Before the conference, we posed a question on Twitter: "If you had to choose one word to describe 'Leadership' in Mathematics Education, what would it be? Why?" Jhonel Morvan reminded us that leadership is about "your actions, not your title" (Tweet below):

This sentiment was reflected throughout the discussion. For me, some of the takeaway verbs included connecting, supporting, influencing, sharing, reflecting, modelling, learning, coaching, believing, building community, inspiring, and valuing. For a beautiful Sketchnote that captures some of the ideas shared by these panelists, I would encourage you to check out Laura Wheeler's Sketchnote of this discussion. Laura, and others, also created Sketchnotes to capture some of the other "leading ideas" at this conference (this can also be found at #OAMElead).

Connecting back to the classroom, Dr. Chris Suurtamm, Jon Orr, Kyle Pearce, and Mary Bourassa facilitated elementary and secondary breakout sessions. These OAME members, who model the above leadership qualities through their contributions to the mathematics education community, shared inspiring ideas for supporting practice.

If you attended this conference, you are invited to offer your feedback by completing an evaluation at

Moving forward, the 45th Annual OAME Conference is coming up May 3-4, 2018. For more information, check out the website at and keep connected with #oame2018 on Twitter.

In order to continue to support the growth of this annual event, an OAME Ad Hoc Committee is currently exploring some of the challenges involved in organizing the annual conference. In November, an email was sent to OAME members to invite their input into some of the questions that this committee has been exploring. Thank you to everyone who responded. The feedback is appreciated by the committee.

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