icon representing two students with letters and numbers

Building Capacity in Planning for Literacy and Numeracy Instruction

Helping students develop literacy and numeracy competencies

How can you support students with literacy and numeracy skills development? BC educators Stephan Biela and Nikki Lineham discuss considerations and strategies for planning competency-building learning opportunities and share their experiences and challenges with numeracy and literacy instruction. Their instructional examples, strategies, and planning considerations can be applied across learning areas and grade levels.

There are two ways to access the presentation:

  • Watch the videos below, working through the Pause and Ponder activities on your own or with one or more colleagues (recommended!)
  • Listen to audio of the entire presentation below or by downloading the mp3


Video Transcript
Watch Introductions

Pause and Ponder

Take a moment to read these two definitions from the Ministry of Education. Do you think of them as separate or connected abilities?

Numeracy is the ability to interpret information within a given situation, apply mathematical understanding to solve an identified problem, and to analyze and communicate a solution.

Literacy is the ability to critically analyze and make meaning from diverse texts and to communicate and express oneself in a variety of modes and for a variety of purposes in relevant contexts.

Watch Stephan: Definitions and Considerations
Pause and Ponder

How could literacy and numeracy development look different for different students?

Watch Nikki: Definitions and Considerations
Pause and Ponder

How do literacy and numeracy skills intertwine in your classroom or your school?

Watch Nikki: Planning to Collaborate
Pause and Ponder

Are there any collaborative projects within your classroom or school you’d like to do? What numeracy/literacy components might they include?

Watch Stephan: Planning to Prioritize Competencies
Pause and Ponder

In what ways do literacy and numeracy skills relate to the core competencies?

Watch Supporting ELL
Watch Stephan: Instruction Strategies — Authentic Artifacts and Experiences
Pause and Ponder

Think of ways your students can communicate understanding and meaning in non-written formats.

Watch Nikki: Instruction Strategies —Manipulatives and Collaboration
Pause and Ponder

How much small group work do you use in your classroom? Are there ways you could do more?

Watch Nikki: Takeaways — Stories and Open Tasks
Pause and Ponder

Have a look at some of Peter Liljedahl’s numeracy tasks. Would any work well in your classroom?

Watch Stephan: Takeaways — Approaches
Pause and Ponder

What two or three words sum up your approach to working with students?

Stephan: Spelling Test
Watch Closing Remarks


Nikki Lineham’s site on teaching math, Educating Now

From Presentation Slides

Education Levels of Western Canadians
Misleading Graphs
Instructional Strategies


Stephan Biela

Stephan Biela

Stephan Biela is usually found teaching senior social studies courses at GW Graham Secondary School in Chilliwack, BC. The highlight of his teaching assignment is helping students engage critically with the powerful and lasting narratives they encounter in Twentieth Century World History. He has worked extensively on Ministry of Education committees over the past two decades, including writing curriculum, developing provincial exams, and heading marking sessions. Currently, Stephan leads the development of the Grade 12 Literacy Assessment while on a partial secondment to the Ministry of Education. He is also actively involved with the British Columbia Social Studies Teachers’ Association, which has a core objective of improving the teaching of social studies through workshops, publications and conferences. Stephan and his wife have raised four children and numerous livestock on their off-grid farmstead in the backcountry of the beautiful Chilliwack River Valley.

image of Nikki Lineham

Nikki Lineham

Nikki Lineham is a math teacher, math education consultant, co-founder of Educating Now, and a PhD student. Nikki is passionate about making mathematics accessible for all people and strives to support teachers, students and parents in developing numeracy skills. She created Educating Now, an online resource for teachers, as a way to support teachers in learning to use manipulatives, visuals and language to help their students develop deeper math understanding. Nikki completed a postgraduate certificate in ethnomathematics at the University of Hawaii in 2019 and is currently working on her PhD at the University of Victoria focusing on spatial reasoning in math education.

image of Dean Shareski

Moderator Dean Shareski

Dean Shareski is an award-winning leader, teacher, speaker, coach and author. He has worked as a classroom teacher, district leader and built community throughout North America. He also has over 12 years of experience in online instructional design and teaching. Dean is a seasoned presenter who brings high energy, humour and isn’t afraid to challenge himself and others with provocative thinking and ideas.

Twitter: @shareski
Blog: http://ideasandthoughts.org

This presentation originated as a recorded webinar from February 11, 2021, part of the Ministry of Education’s Teaching Tenaciously: A Webinar Series to Support Educators as They Navigate Through Times of Uncertainty and Change.