Teaching and Learning Elementary Mathematics

Math class should be...

Ensuring success for all students has required a shift from seeing mathematics teaching and learning as a sequence of memorization tasks to promoting deep understanding and proficiency in the subject. This vision of mathematics teaching positions students as sense makers and doers and teachers as facilitators of student learning. This view also underscores the importance of building conceptual understanding to develop students’ flexibility in using representations, strategies and procedures, and ability to reason, problem solve and communicate mathematical thinking. 


The planning and sequencing of teaching mathematics involves identifying the prerequisite knowledge skills that support grade level content and prioritizing the math concepts and skills essential for future learning. 

The Math Essentials documents for Cycle 1, Cycle 2 and Cycle 3 provide an overview of our elementary mathematics curriculum and highlights (in yellow) essential concepts and skills. You can refer to the previous cycle to identify the prerequisite knowledge and skills necessary to access new content in your cycle. You can also use the Math Essentials document for your cycle to prioritize concepts and skills that serve as prerequisites for the next grade level. 

It is also recommended to refer to the SWL Mathematics Big Ideas, as it unpacks elementary math concepts and describes the elements that support understanding of a concept. 


Shaping a math community in the classroom that is both productive and positive is essential to supporting equitable access to math learning. Below are some activities used to build and revisit these norms throughout the school year.  

100 Numbers to get Students Talking

The Four 4s

Paper Folding

Broken Calculators


Student participation and engagement is necessary to promote learning opportunities and cultivate a positive mathematics identity for all students. Any task, then, used in the classroom plays an important role in ensuring that all students are challenged at the level needed to reach his or her potential. These type of tasks have several common features, namely these tasks:

Digital Math Games and Other Resources for Tasks 

Modern Chalkboard (Smart Board Lessons)

PBS Learning Media (videos introducing concepts to support conceptual understanding)

Quebec Mathematics Curriculum 

Provincial Evaluations and Guidelines

*NOTE:  Application problems, word problems, and short answer questions are all evidence for Competency 2: Reason using Math Concepts & Processes

Grade 6 MEES Mathematics Exam Schedule (June 2021 not yet published)

Posters for Classrooms