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Coffee Talk - Making Math Fun!
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  • Hats off to CBE Schools for Cutting waste by the Ton

  • Coffee Talk - Making Math Fun!

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Principal's Message

Leaves Fall, Math Grows!

​The leaves are falling, snow is swirling, a principal friend of mine posted on Twitter that Fall is his favorite week of the year! Calgary weather is nothing if not surprising!  What is not surprising is how quickly our teachers have created community in their classrooms and how beautifully our students are re engaging in their learning.
You may recall that Math was a big focus of our school development plan and teacher professional learning last year. We challenged students in new ways, informed by deeper understandings of how math learning develops. Most importantly there were incredible changes in our overall attitudes and mindsets about Math Learning!  Teacher built conceptual understanding and confidence. Students developed belief systems about math that are breaking down barriers around what it is to be a math learner.
You may have heard your child repeat Growth Mindset / Math Mindset messages such as “Mistakes grow your brain,” or “There’s no such thing as a math person,” or even “Thinking matters more than how fast I can get the answer.” From kindergarten through grade 6 students regularly tackled real problems so that they could stretch and reveal their thinking while ultimately making meaning of connected and complex math ideas.
Recently our Grade 1-6 students completed grade level math assessments aimed at revealing expected learner outcomes from the previous grade. What was interesting in our youngest students was how readily they tackled problems, sometimes more so than straight calculations. I believe this is a testament the meaning making inherent in the tasks teachers were designing for their students.
We call one of the strategies we use Low Floor High Ceiling tasks (LFHC).
Our focus on LFHC tasks aims directly at our goal to improve mathematical reasoning. It is an opportunity to see what students do when they are presented a challenge that they don’t already have a clear plan to solve. Student responses vary greatly and students are encouraged to work together, communicate their thinking and to share ideas. The teacher’s role is primarily to “get out of the way” and record student process and thinking. It is teachers’ chance to really see what students are able to do and ask questions that have students clarify their thinking. LFHC tasks offer an opportunity to create a shared experience for the instruction that follows and reveal to the teachers what direction their teaching should go next.

Take a look at what some of our teachers are saying about LFHC tasks in their classrooms:
We're challenged by some numbers, but we're not giving up! We'll tackled a task called Visualizing Numbers Made of Dots. It's a step forward from where we've been focusing, moving into multiples, factors, prime and composite numbers and geometric shapes. I'd like to further grow our cooperative learning skills as we look for patterns, make conjectures and act as skeptics. This week the social learning target [in math] will be building our understanding by sharing and cooperating with everyone. (Grade 3/4)
I had the kids do a sorting activity with emoji's which was outlined on Youcubed. It was really interesting to see who chose to group what with which. I took pictures while they were working and afterwards I put their pictures up on the smart board so that they could talk about why they chose to sort the emojis the way they did. For some they were really able to identify attributes, for others the learning was around working with a partner and even using scissors. I think as we do more and more of these LFHC task's I will begin to see more evidence of math learning. What I liked the most is that it gave us a really great platform to talk about how there is more than one right answer and how it ok to make mistakes because they make our brains grow. I want to give these kiddos that language and approach to math right from the get go. (Kindergarten)
We have begun our exploration of origami and what it can uncover for us mathematically. We began with figuring out how we could fold equal 8ths...so far we have discovered 8 ways. And we have one on hold that will expand on the idea of equivalence when the shapes area not the same, but that area is. Next we will be examining the "blueprints" of three origami animals to see what connections we can make to fractions, multiples and angles. (Grade 5/6)
In our class we have been working with dot collections to demonstrate creativity in math, as students share how they saw the groupings and [recombined] them to achieve a total. This week we will be looking at strategies to estimate, organize and calculate the total sum for larger collections of items (up to 100). My goal is to use photography to document all students work so that they can look at the photographs and reflect on their mathematical process. (Grade 2)
For parents who would like to learn more about Mathematical Mindsets  and how to support your child’s learning in a way that is aligned with the school we encourage you to take a look at the YouCubed resources for parents at YouCubed Parent Resources​
And mark your calendars for November 8th as we are planning for a brilliant 2nd Annual Parent Math Night at Belfast School!
Thanks for reading! Lori Holford Proud Principal

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RT @mburnsmath: Here's link to the lesson & how to use in different grades. Enjoy. https://t.co/vgUIyntMV9 https://t.co/U6ggp1Zf6j

RT @feltham_heather: Things we are thankful for in kindergarten: -our families -shoes that run fast -new socks -dinosaur fossil digs… https://t.co/FRNWfmc3Ka

Making sculptures that show or understanding* of numbers to 10. “Awesome masterpieces” in @belfastgrade1 #cbemathhttps://t.co/d98gP41p3K

Could one of these belong to your child ? Come see us at the office. #lostandfound #belfasty https://t.co/OCJXgScNfm

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Belfast School

1229 17A St NE Calgary, AB, T2E 4V4
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School Contacts

Principal
Ms Lori Holford
Assistant Principal
Miss Jana El-Guebaly
Area Director
Mr Scott MacNeill
Trustee
Marilyn Dennis

School Information

Grades
K-06
Enrolment
254
Programs
Regular
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School Hours

Morning Start
8:30 AM
Dismissal
3:15 PM
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