The title of this week's blog is an example of flexible thinking in mathematics. Some people consider December to be the 12th month of the (calendar) year and others view it as the 4th month (of school). Both are correct, as long as you can explain your thinking. If you live within the context of our school, our school year also has only 11 months - yet other schools have only 10. The important part about this strange reality is the conversations we can have around them. Part of our focus on mathematics this year has allowed all of us; teachers included, to think about math in more generous ways.
Some of my favorite comments from parents this year have been around thinking mathematically. I have heard that conversations at home are changing around math, that students are looking forward to math, and to our weekly challenges, and even that some parents are finding them fascinating and challenging!
This week our staff professional learning day was centered on what and how we assess students' mathematical understanding. We discussed what was important to consider when deciding which indicators related to each strand on the report card. The conversation was passionate and excited as teachers worked together to consider what and how to share student learning with parents; in person; casually and at student-led conferences, on social media, and on report cards. Please speak to your child's teacher, or myself about it. We are very happy to hear parent's feedback and questions about what their children are learning.
Winter Concert update
This week our school held our annual Winter concert and we had a full house! Students and teachers were very creative making decorations for the gym and hallway so our school would feel warm and welcoming for our families.Thank you for coming to see your child perform. Once again, the students did a great job of sharing the special joy that comes with this festive season, with the support of all staff, particularly Mrs. Villman and Ms. Engelman!
Some parents asked why at our school, we have decided to have students dropped off and dismissed at their usual doors rather than the front doors. We know that some parents do not see this as an ideal solution in the colder months. Several years ago we had all students enter and exit with their parents through the front doors and with 282 students, this is a very chaotic scene with everyone trying to find their children and get out of the same two doors. Many parents complained that it was very difficult to find their child in the "sea of students and parents" blocking the doorway. We discussed several alternatives to this, including having parents go to classes to pick up their children. The decision was made then that since all children are with their teachers until the end of the program, staff can help them get ready to exit and deliver them to their parents outside, making sure that children and parents find one another as quickly as possible.
Last Week's Math Solutions
This Week's Math Challenges
This week's challenge comes from http://www.mathfair.com/buggy-jump.html.
Does it matter which bug moves first?
If the first bug to move was only allowed to move diagonally (or straight) would it be easier or harder?
Have students record their thinking in their math journal.
Have students work as pairs or teams and take turns moving a bug so that they have deeper conversations about their thinking.
Bugs can jump over another bug of the same colour.
Updates from EDC and Kindergarten
Kindergarten students were busy this week preparing for the winter concert. We have been talking about the upcoming season of winter and the changes that are happening around us. Many students noticed that the rabbits they see outside are changing colour. This spurred a conversation about camouflage and hibernation. The song we sang for the winter concert was about different animals and changes in weather. We created actions to match the words in our song. The next challenge was to follow a model and create one of the characters form our song. Using our knowledge of shapes, students followed directions to create their own hat that we proudly wore at the Winter concert. Thank you to all the families that came to celebrate with us Thursday night.
We also started exploring community helpers. Students talked about the important people in our community that help us. Students listed bakers, doctors, dentists, mail carriers, firefighters and taxi drivers as important people that help us. Our dramatic play centre was transformed into a doctor’s office where students have been taking turns playing different roles, including receptionist, nurse, doctor and patient. To further strengthen fine motor skills, children created delicious looking treats with different scented play dough. The rich language children used to role- play a baker was exciting and inspired our creativity! “This is a cupcake for my sister’s birthday”, “Can you make me a donut with sprinkles?” “I will make you bread, but be carful it is hot!”
We are looking forward to learning more about winter animals and community helpers!
In EDC, we have had the pleasure of spending time with Ms. Christina, our Music Therapist, once a week. Each Tuesday Ms. Christina has come to visit us, bringing songs, instruments and her wonderful guitar to engage us in fun music and movement activities. Through singing familiar songs and exploring instruments, Ms. Christina has been helping us to work on our IPP goals. We have been learning how to sing hello and goodbye to our friends, request materials, take turns and follow directions. Our favourite instruments have been the egg shakers, xylophone and large drum. We are sad to be saying goodbye to Ms. Christina this week, as she will be moving on to new EDC sites after the Winter Break. We are excited to continue exploring music and instruments with Mrs. Villman in the New Year!
PE FOCUS – Basketball skills
Playground schedule - Division 2 on playground before school and at recess and Division 1 on the playground at lunch time.
Remember to check us out on Twitter for updates and important information. -@DHarknessCBE or search for our new hashtag, #DHSCBE.
Don't forget to check our school website - schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347
Remember to check out our school website - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347