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Deanna Pecaski McLennan: Young learners solve the problems before them

Year: 2020 — Province: Ontario
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

LaSalle Public School
All subjects, Kindergarten
Windsor, Ontario

Deanna hopes to inspire children, educators and families to discover joy and beauty in mathematics.


Deanna Pecaski McLennan is a firm believer in exercise, good nutrition and healthy living. A keen reader, she has self-published six books to inspire children to explore the natural world via math and has also written three books for educators.

Teaching approach

Deanna champions the Reggio Emilia curriculum approach and inquiry-based learning. Believing strongly that children learn in many ways, she helps them use technology to solve problems creatively and encourages them to embrace mistakes as learning opportunities.

STEM in the classroom

  • Develops differentiated math activities: when students wondered what the 100th figure in a pattern would look like, they figured it out by asking other children on Twitter, and using blocks and grids; children see purpose in their work, take risks and tackle complex questions.
  • Guides children in digital technology use: students document and enhance their learning via electronic portfolios, Instagram, iMovie, a class blog and other technologies; they also contact authors on Twitter to ask questions and are proud to share what they are learning.
  • Invites children to solve problems as they arise: they invented and tested fruit-fly traps to respond to a classroom infestation and built a barrier to protect a duck's nest they found in the schoolyard.
  • Uses children's interests as springboards: had students measure and compare the circumference of trees when they wondered which was the oldest; investigated gender stereotypes in depth when children asked about colours used in a book.

Outstanding achievements

  • Shares knowledge in many media: moderates Facebook groups about inquiry-based learning; has written more than 1,000 posts on her blog about teaching; interacts with 12,000 Twitter followers; writes articles in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Mentors other educators: works with student teachers; frequently opens her classroom as a demonstration site for professional development events; coaches an educator in Alberta via Twitter; teaches university courses about math and kindergarten.
  • Builds a democratic classroom: solicits and incorporates children's creative ideas; invites families into the classroom to read stories or teach crafts; involves them in weekly games at home through "family math bags"; has published articles about democratic classrooms.
  • Embraces children's complex questions: uses role-play to explore issues such as bullying and disabilities; when they were worried about low stocks at a food bank, she helped them organize a food drive.

Get in touch!

LaSalle Public School
1600 Mayfair Avenue
Windsor ON  N9J 3L8

Twitter: @McLennan1977; @LPSStormWatch

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