March 2019 Newsletter

Principal’s Message

Dear Parents/Guardians,

In our math work as a junior division this year we are focusing on operational sense. Quite simply, this has meant working with our students on developing strategies for addition, subtraction and most recently multiplication to help us to ensure our students are thinking about a problem and determining what is the best way for them to solve it. What many of you as parents realize is that the days of just using the algorithm are past (ie. carrying the one, borrowing from tens). In fairness, the algorithm still exists as an option, but we have learned that there are many problems where there are much better ways to solve them. A professor at Stanford University has an amazing website that is a resource for educators but also has a parent section you might like to visit.

I encourage you to read her tips for parents below and a few of her suggested activities (on page 4 of this newsletter). Perhaps these can be something fun to try during the upcoming break.


From the desk of Jo Boaler….

1. Encourage children to play maths puzzles and games. Award-winning mathematician, Sarah Flannery reported that her maths achievement and enthusiasm came not from school but from the puzzles she was given to solve at home. Puzzles and games – anything with a dice really – will help kids enjoy maths, and develop number sense, which is critically important.

2. Always be encouraging and never tell kids they are wrong when they are working on maths problems. Instead find the logic in their thinking – there is always some logic to what they say. For example, if your child multiplies 3 by 4 and gets 7, say – Oh I see what you are thinking, you are using what you know about addition to add 3 and 4, when we multiply we have 4 groups of 3…

3. Never associate maths with speed. It is not important to work quickly, and we now know that forcing kids to work quickly on maths is the best way to start maths anxiety for children, especially girls. Don’t use flashcards or other speed drills. (see examples on the next page).

4. Never share with your children the idea that you were bad at maths at school or you dislike it – especially if you are a mother. Researchers found that as soon as mothers shared that idea with their daughters, their daughter’s achievement went down.

5. Encourage number sense. What separates high and low achievers is number sense – having an idea of the size of numbers and being able to separate and combine numbers flexibly. For example, when working out 29 + 56, if you take one from the 56 and make it 30 + 55, it is much easier to work out. The flexibility to work with numbers in this way is what is called number sense and it is very important.

6. Perhaps most important of all – encourage a “growth mindset” let students know that they have unlimited maths potential and that being good at maths is all about working hard. When children have a growth mindset, they do well with challenges and do better in school overall. When children have a fixed mindset and they encounter difficult work, they often conclude that they are not “a math person”. One way in which parents encourage a fixed mindset is by telling their children they are “smart” when they do something well. That seems like a nice thing to do, but it sets children up for difficulties later, as when kids fail at something they will inevitably conclude that they aren’t smart after all. Instead use growth praise such as “it is great that you have learned that”, “I really like your thinking about that”. When they tell you something is hard for them, or they have made a mistake, tell them: “That’s wonderful, your brain is growing!”


March’s character virtue is optimism – choosing to be positive.

March Break

This is a reminder that March Break is from Monday, March 11th to Friday March 15th. Students will return to school on Monday, March 18th, 2019.

Sebringville Garden Centre Spring Flower Fundraiser

We are starting a Spring Flower Fundraiser on Monday, March 4th. This fundraiser will be run the same way as the Christmas Poinsettia fundraiser. Once the school has received the orders, you will be issued a gift certificate for the item(s) that you purchased. You will then go to the Sebringville Garden Centre anytime after May 17th to pick out the plant(s) you have purchased.

Playground Fundraising Update

The family business of Mark Cook Drainage kicked off our fundraising campaign recently with a very generous donation. We wish to thank Amanda, Mark, Addison and James for being our first family to meet the recognition level criteria set out in our campaign. Way to go Cook family!

All donations of any amount are appreciated. If you would be willing to contribute to our campaign please complete and return the form attached to this email.

Mintie bar sales have been very successful! Thank you to all of you who participated in this fundraiser. To date we have sold 19 cases of 120 mintie bars! We continue to keep some at the school if you are willing/able to sell additional bars please contact the office. We plan to run another mintie bar fundraiser for the whole school in April, just in time for Easter.

Gift cards return!

As part of our playground fundraising we have decided to keep our gift card fundraiser. This is the same one first introduced in November for our gr. 7/8 trip. We would like to be able to offer this on a continual basis so that our families can count on their availability on a monthly basis. Gift cards can be an easy way for families to participate in fundraising without buying anything that you wouldn’t already be purchasing to run a household – gas, groceries etc. Please return your order form by March 18th for delivery at the end of March, just in time for Easter gifts too. Thank you!

Random Act of Kindness Week at Central Perth

Grade 5/6 made cards for support staff thanking them for their work.

Grade 2 thanked our grade 6 buddies for all their hard work. We can read 2492 more words than we could in September. We made a card and gave them a sweet treat.

In Kindergarten A we made cards for our bus drivers to let them know how much we appreciate them. We also did a lesson on “cotton ball” vs “sand paper” words and started collecting cotton balls in a jar every time we heard someone use these words. We made up some thank you strips to hand out to our classmates when we want to thank them for something, such as being helpful, kind or polite.

Gr.3/4 worked with grade 7/8 K in the library and lab. They worked together to make a green screen coupon to take home to their moms and dads to do a chore as a random act of kindness. The Intermediate students taught their buddies how to use their green screen app to make the coupon.

KB with Grade 7/8H…

• With our learning buddies (grade 5/6) we made cards for Judi, Mr. Elgie (custodian), Mrs. Steward and Mrs. Rauser
• As kindergarten we made cards for all the bus drivers
• We secretly delivered notes and suckers to our buddies and said you were liked by Cupid
• We read books on kindness
• We did a whole group lesson with cotton balls and sandpaper to show what being kind and unkind feels like
• We also did some sorting activities of things that are kind and unkind

Gr. 4/5 and Gr. 1 classes read the story, “The jelly donut difference, sharing kindness with the world” by Maria Dismondy. The 4/5 class prepared a video of the word love in different languages that we watched together. Then we talked about recognizing kindness in every day acts. The older buddies helped the grade ones write an appreciation / thank you letter to their parents and we shared some jelly Tim bits together!

The grade 6 class made balloon Valentines for our reading buddies, and decorated their classroom for Valentine’s Day (and cleaned it up at the end of the day as well).

Addition Fact Activities

Snap It: This is an activity that children can work on in groups. Each child makes a train of connecting cubes of a specified number. On the signal “Snap,” children break their trains into two parts and hold one hand behind their back. Children take turns going around the circle showing their remaining cubes. The other children work out the full number combination. For example, if I have 8 cubes in my number train I could snap it and put 3 behind my back. I would show my group the remaining 5 cubes and they should be able to say that three are missing and that 5 and 3 make 8.

How Many Are Hiding? In this activity each child has the same number of cubes and a cup. They take turns hiding some of their cubes in the cup and showing the leftovers. Other children work out the answer to the question “How many are hiding,” and say the full number combination.

Example: I have 10 cubes and I decide to hide 4 in my cup. My group can see that I only have 6 cubes. Students should be able to say that I’m hiding 4 cubes and that 6 and 4 make 10.

Multiplication Fact Activities

How Close to 100? This game is played in partners. Two children share a blank 100 grid. The first partner rolls two number dice. The numbers that come up are the numbers the child uses to make an array on the 100 grid. They can put the array anywhere on the grid, but the goal is to fill up the grid to get it as full as possible. After the player draws the array on the grid, she writes in the number sentence that describes the grid. The game ends when both players have rolled the dice and cannot put any more arrays on the grid. How close to 100 can you get?

Pepperoni Pizza: In this game, children roll a dice twice. The first roll tells them how many pizzas to draw. The second roll tells them how many pepperonis to put on EACH pizza. Then they write the number sentence that will help them answer the question, “How many pepperonis in all?”

For example, I roll a dice and get 4 so I draw 4 big pizzas. I roll again and I get 3 so I put three pepperonis on each pizza. Then I write 4 x 3 = 12 and that tells me that there are 12 pepperonis in all.

Math Cards

Many parents use ‘flash cards’ as a way of encouraging the learning of math facts. These usually include 2 unhelpful practices – memorization without understanding and time pressure. In our Math Cards activity we have used the structure of cards, which children like, but we have moved the emphasis to number sense and the understanding of multiplication. The aim of the activity is to match cards with the same numerical answer, shown through different representations. Lay all the cards down on a table and ask children to take turns picking them; pick as many as they find with the same answer (shown through any representation). For example, 9 and 4 can be shown with an area model, sets of objects such as dominoes, and the number sentence. When student match the cards they should explain how they know that the different cards are equivalent. This activity encourages an understanding of multiplication as well as rehearsal of math facts. These are just a sample. A full set of cards is given on the website.