2015 Parent Webinar Series: How Can I Help A Parents Guide to Helping Your Child With Math

The broadcast is now starting. All attendees are
in listen-only mode. Good evening, everybody. Welcome to the CPIC’s
Webinar on Math tonight. We are just going to wait
about two minutes for everybody to have a chance to login. So thank you very
much, and we’ll be starting in
about two minutes. Thank you. Good evening, everybody, and
welcome to CPIC’s Webinar, “How Can I Help? A Parent’s Guide to Helping
Your Child With Math.” My name is Josh Duijvestein
I’m the current CPIC Chair, and with me online are
Alyssa Koster, former Chair of CPIC, Renata Luisetto,
Rosemary Stagg, and Barb Belanger. We are very glad that
you are with us tonight. Just a few things for
the presentation tonight, the webinar is being recorded
and will be available online on YouTube at
the Halten-CPIC page. Also, that we will
take questions during the presentation. You can ask the questions
in the Questions tab, which is on the webinar screen
tab on the right hand side. When you ask the questions,
any of technical nature, we will answer them
during the presentation. Any questions directed
to the presenter, we will take a selection
of the questions at the end tonight to answer. If your question isn’t
answered, you can email CPIC, and we will forward
them to Angelina. Barton has been a teacher with
the Halton Catholic school board for 13 years. She has taught in both
panels, but had the pleasure of teaching grade eight
for the last five years. A love of math and new
learning brought her into the curriculum this year. Most importantly though, she
is a mother of four kids. Her children range in
age from 18 to eight, and she had experienced
the at-home struggle of supporting her own
children through the trials and tribulations at math. At present, she is the
curriculum consultant and math K to 12 contact for the board. So without much
further ado, Angelina, you can start your presentation. Thank you, Josh, and
welcome everybody. This is going to be a very
different forum for me to be working with
tonight, but I’m thankful for this opportunity,
especially on a snowy day like today, that we have
the opportunity of using a webinar instead of
having to have gone out in the snow for this meeting. We will begin with
what I thought might sum up a lot of
feelings for most parents when they see their children
coming home with math homework. I know myself, I have been
told by my own children that I don’t understand the
math that they’re doing, or I don’t understand the
way that they’re learning it, and I can’t help them. I think that the point
of tonight’s session is to give parents some tools,
some resources, some comfort level to let them start having
those conversations about math at home. Math seems like a very
complicated process for most people, but it really
is just some simple steps that really help create
positive learning environments at
home and at school. And those are going to
help us really create innovative and creative
learners that are independent, which is what we’re
looking for most. Lisa, you have this
opportunity now to maybe– we can look at
some of those poll questions. I’ll put up all of them. I know Lisa is going to
give some feedback out there on the first few so
that we can see what peoples own feelings have
been about math in their past. Are we able to get
some polling, Lisa? It’s hard for me to
see that happening. Unmuted. Sorry about that, I was trying
to find my Unmute button. No worries. OK, so the first
one came through, you can see the results. I will put up the second one,
do you want– it’s amazing. I can’t see the results. Oh, they’re not on your screen? They’re actually not. OK, so we had 48%
of the respondents felt that it was their
favorite subject, 40% said that it was OK, and
the remaining 12% dreaded it. OK. So this is for the first– Elementary? Elementary. So let’s see what they
say for secondary. Secondary, yeah. So we’ll just wait– I have a feeling our numbers
might drop a little bit. Yeah, so far they have. Well, it’s still pretty good. The nice thing is that
67% of them voted, so give it a couple more
minutes or another minute, then we’ll– it’s too bad you
can’t see it on your screen. Yeah, I’m not sure why that is. I believe everybody
else can though. Josh, maybe you could
kick in and tell us if you could see it. Give it another second. They’re still voting. OK, I think we’re
just about done. OK. So we’ll share that. So we still have
40% of them felt that it was one of
their favorite subjects, 33% felt it was OK,
and 27% dreaded it. So we have a bit of an increase. Yeah. So maybe while
people are thinking about the other
questions there, we can address some of these
ideas that more people enjoy math in elementary school. There seems to be a little
bit more flexibility when kids were younger, or
when you were remembering back to your days in
elementary school, when there wasn’t maybe quite
as much pressure on math. Secondary, we started
to feel the pressures. We started to, where
if you’re really old, we remember those days when we
were doing general and academic classes and what you fell into,
and where you should be going. So I think that it’s
important for us to start to examine our
own feelings about math before we really
realize what’s happening with our own children. Because lots of times,
we inadvertently pass on some of our ill
feelings of math at home when we discuss things about
what we didn’t like about it, or what we had trouble in. And kids pick up on those
things really fast from us. I don’t know, Lisa, we
can do just the third one. Some people are born with
the ability to do math, because I’d be really
interested in what people have to say about that before
we move onto the next. OK. I’ve launched it, so we’ll
wait for the responses. Thanks, Lisa. Angelina, just as
an aside, everybody can see it except
you, because you’re watching your presentation, your
PowerPoint presentation, live. You’re not watching
it through the system. Right, so that
would explain why. Excellent. Almost there. OK. [PHONE RINGING] Sorry. I’m used to being muted. All right, I think
everybody who’s– oh, still a couple more coming in. All right, so we have
61% of the people agree with that statement. 16 strongly agree. So 77% total agree
or strongly agree. 7% don’t know, and the
other 16% either disagree or strongly disagree. OK. OK. I think that that’s an
interesting question, because I think innately, we all are born
with the ability to do math. I think we start to lose
that, and as we get older, people start to think that
only certain people are born with that ability. As a teacher, I
know that I heard that many, many
times from parents coming in and explaining to
me that they weren’t very good in math, and so they
assumed their children were not going to be
very good in math. Or they would say
the opposite, “well I have the math gene, so my
child will have the math gene.” And I think that that
does a disservice to some of the
fundamental things that we need to learn
about math, which is first of all, that everybody
has that ability, and everybody can excel in it. So I’m going to move on. We may come back and look at
some of these ideas later. I might ask to put up a few
more of these poll questions. But I’m going to move on to
this idea of a growth mindset. And this is something
that we seem to be– it’s kind of a new
educational jargon that’s come out, but it’s a really
powerful jargon and one that I think a lot of
people need to embrace. And I know for
myself at home, it’s kind of changed my own
parenting practices of how I speak to my children. So I want to take a little
look at these questions first. What is a growth mindset? How will it affect my
child learning math? And what can I do at home to
promote this growth mindset? So I’ll tell you first that a
growth mindset is the belief that a person has that their
most basic abilities can be developed through
dedication and hard work. The idea that talent with
out hard work and dedication will get you nowhere. Sometimes we refer
to this– there’s lots of articles that talk
about the 10,000 hours that athletes need to really
hone in on their abilities. And we need think sometimes,
that people have natural born abilities, natural talents,
but those talents really can’t do anything if
you’re not planning on putting in the work
and the dedication to really improve on those,
and have them experience the amount of growth. My go-to example is always
going to be LeBron James, right now arguably the best
basketball player in the world, but someone who still
practices five or six hours every single day. So not a person who’s afraid
of a challenge or who says, “well, I’m really
good at this, so I don’t need to do any
work at it anymore.” And I think that that’s the
key to understanding a growth mindset. How this affects my
child’s learning math is that sometimes we have
a fixed mindset, this idea that people’s
abilities are fixed. And we excuse people from being
successful in certain things. And I think that the
biggest problem we have is that we excuse people from
being successful in math, and math is really fundamental
to success in life. We need to lose the notion that
some people are math people, and some people
are English people, and some people are artists. I think we need to see
that all of these things are fundamentally tied
together, and that it’s just a matter of how much
dedication and hard work you’d like to put
into those things. We need people in our
society to be numerate, much the same way as we
need people to be literate. It doesn’t mean
that everybody needs to be a mathematician
or an engineer, but we need people to have
very good number sense, and we need people to understand
that they have that ability to excel. We need to put work into it. We need to examine the process
of math, not the product, not the performance of math,
but all the components that go into it ahead of time,
kind of the ingredients that we use to
make it what it is. And if we only emphasize
that kind of end result– “did you get the
right answer?”– we lose out on a lot of
really important key learning. And so that’s what we’re
going to talk about now is what can we do at home
to promote this mindset? And what can we do
just to kind of tweak how we speak to our children,
or how we speak to each other so that we start
to understand that. The leader in thought on mindset
is a woman named Carol Dweck. She’s written a number of
books, one of them is here, Mindset, The New
Psychology of Success. She’s a professor
at Stanford, and she has done a significant
amount of research into this idea of people with
fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. And I’ve picked two
quotes to use from her that I’d like to
pick apart a little. So the first was
this, “so what should we say when children
complete a task? Say a math problem
quickly and perfectly. Should we deny them the
praise that they have earned?” And her answer to that is, “yes. When this happens,
I say ‘whoops. I guess that was too easy. I apologize for
wasting your time. Let’s do something you
can really learn from.” She’s done a number of
studies in which she took young children and had
them working on puzzles. And when the children completed
the puzzle, some of them she said to them, “wow. You’re very smart. You did a wonderful job.” And other students, instead
of giving the praise about them being smart,
she said, “wow, you worked really hard on that.” And then, after she
went back to them and presented them with puzzles
that were more challenging, and students who were told
they had worked really hard were up for the challenge. They wanted to move on. They wanted to try something
a little bit more meaty. And the students who
had been told, “wow, you must be really smart,”
were afraid to move on to something more
challenging because now it made them need to consider what
a person’s thought were going to be about them afterwards. What if they didn’t complete
the puzzle properly, the more challenging one? It would leave them feeling
vulnerable and feeling that perhaps they
weren’t smart, and we don’t want that to happen. We don’t like that
feeling for ourselves. So she’s very quick
to point out this idea that when students do something
very easily, when something comes innately to them, that
instead of praising them, we should be looking at
them and saying, “wow, this really wasn’t
a challenge for you. Let’s find something that really
is going to challenge you, something you’re really
going to learn from.” That’s a really
powerful thing for us to be able to do
at home, is for us to look for those
opportunities with our children when they do something
easy and say, “look it. You could be doing something
so much more challenging.” And I’m going to move
on to the next slide because this one might cause a
little division amongst people, because it is aimed by Carol
Dweck right at parents. This idea that
parents think they can hand children permanent
confidence, like a gift, by praising their
brains and talent. It doesn’t work. And, in fact, has
the opposite effect. It makes children
doubt themselves as soon as anything is hard
or anything goes wrong. If parents want to give
their children a gift, the best thing they can
do is teach their children to love challenges, be
intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and
keep on learning. That way their children don’t
have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong
way to build and repair their own confidence. And I think that as
a society, we really need to start
focusing on this idea, because our children
are going to grow up, and they are going
to face adversity, and they are going to have
to face difficult moments and challenges, and if we
have given them those tools, by teaching them that
they have the power to work through things,
that they have the ability to always be learning
and to always be growing, then we are giving them
those tools that they need to be facing these
adverse moments in their life. It is a fascinating read if
you are up for the challenge. Carol Dweck has done
some wonderful work and will give you some
wonderful insight. And I think this brings us
to some very specific things that we can be doing at home. The first idea is
that if we looked at fixed mindsets, the things
that we say– and I think if we take a moment
and we reflect, we can think about
the times that we have done this, in
our own parenting, in our own interactions–
that in a fixed mindset, we praise quickly
for being smart. We are having a discussion today
about this idea of how often we say to our own children
when they’re little– “oh you are so clever. You are so smart”–
and not giving them any kind of genuine
feedback about why they are or what they’ve done, that
is giving you that impression that they’re smart,
that in a fixed mindset, we praise for achievements
that come easily. We praise the person
who can score 10 goals, instead of all the
people that helped facilitate those
goals happening. We emphasize the actual
achievement at the end, instead of the process
that went with it. And that we focus on grades
and levels far too often, and I think that translates
very quickly to our children who want to know a grade on
something immediately. And research has
shown over and over that grades are very
limiting for students. They don’t learn
anything from a grade. They learn when we
give them feedback. They learn we can give them
specific points of things that they had done well
and things that they still need to work on. But grades are something that we
look at and then we toss away. And so I think that
we need to start focusing on the process
that went into that. So it’s not that if
a student gets 100% that we would say, “OK,
thanks,” and walk away from it. But we look at all
the hard work that had to go into doing this,
to getting that 100%, if it took that hard work. And we look at all
the actual process of what they did
to do it, and we go through those
components with them, and then we can say, “wow, all
this hard work gave you this. Isn’t that awesome?” So we can look at these
growth mindset ideas, and that’s kind
of what I was just saying that we praise
effort and strategies, so instead of looking at just
an answer, especially in math, we look at the thoughtful way
that they have done things. We talk about why
they got an answer that they did, how they solved
it, what they were thinking, kind of praise that
ingenuity on those things. In a growth mindset, we
comment on the emphasis is on application and effort,
not that final result. And we work really hard at
building their self confidence, but not falsely. So we’re not
praising and building confidence that is built on
that idea of the house of cards, that it really doesn’t have
anything to substantiate it. We build their self
confidence by really getting them to understand that
hard work and dedication is an awesome thing,
and it will pay off. It sometimes takes
a while to see that, but it is eventually
going to give you that payout that
you are looking for. We provide
constructive criticism. No one can do well
just on praise alone. We need to know the things
that we still need to work on. None of us are perfect, I
especially can attest to that. And we have to take
those moments to be able to receive
feedback, and we have to learn how to give good
feedback as well, as parents and as from our children, to
realize that there’s always moments of growth, that
nobody is done growing. Nobody is done learning. So when we’ve done
something well, we say, “great, now here are
the next steps to doing it.” And placing real importance
on that learning process instead of on that
grading process. So having your child
come home– and I’ve had this experience of
having my child come home and saying to me,
“look, I got an A.” And I said, “what
does an A mean?” And they had no
idea what it meant. So we went instead and looked,
and said, “OK, well tell me all the things you
did well on here. Show me why you think that
this is something awesome.” And it was amazing when
they could pick those out, and now I have something
tangible to say, “yes, you did. You did. You’ve learned so
much from this. That’s fantastic.” Instead of only focusing
on what that A meant, because to an
eight-year-old, an A didn’t really mean
anything at all. And so I think that that’s
an important component. And then this last component
is a really strong one. It’s called the power of yet. I can’t do this yet,
but I will do it soon. And I think that
whenever we– it’s hard, and I know that when
you are at home, and your children are upset by
something, especially when it comes to homework, we
want to console them. And sometimes we console
them by saying, “oh, it’s OK. It’s OK. It’s not a problem. You don’t have to. You don’t have to do it. It’s not a big deal.” But I think that we
need to give them this really powerful
statement of yet. You can’t do it, but
you can’t do it yet. You will be able to. Let’s keep trying. Let’s keep looking through this. And I had some tell a
story today about an author that they know who it took 13
tries before someone decided that they were going
to publish her book. And if she had given up on
the first time, or the second, or the third, or the
fourth, or the fifth, et cetera, none of
us would have had the experience of
reading her books, and they’ve been wonderful. So I think it’s important that
we realize that there’s always a yet, that I might not
have it at this moment, but I will get it because
I’m going to keep trying. And I think that we
need to focus on that. Now, I know that
people have tuned in because they wanted some real
tangible things that they might be able to introduce at home. And I know that there have
been previous webinars that have talked about this power
of mindsets and growth, and so I don’t want to
linger on this anymore. I would like to
kind of move into some practical
applications for what you can do to help your
children succeed in math class with practical tips, instead
of continuously just– you, it’s great to give them the
idea that you can’t do this yet, and praising them
for their effort, but now how can
you actually help them to face up to
those challenges? What can you do to get them
through those kinds of things? And so now moving
on to that idea, I found another
little cartoon that I think some things up
very good for us, which is, “Houston, we
have a word problem.” Because nothing seems to invoke
fear faster than word problems when students bring those home. So we will come into the idea
of what does a math program look like in Ontario, and how
can you support it at home. And so I’d like to go right
into the curriculum document that the idea of a balanced
math program in Ontario. Ontario mathematics curriculum
is based on the belief that students learn mathematics
most effectively when they’re given opportunities
to investigate ideas and concepts through
problem solving. They are carefully
guided into understanding mathematical
principles involved, at the same time it
promotes a balanced program in mathematics. So I think we need to look
that balanced truly is balance, that there are wonderful
instructional approaches happening by teachers. Students are given problem
solving models to work with. They’re given time for
purposeful practice. We also give time for basic
facts and operational skills, explicit teaching of
those kinds of things, and then thoughtful
use of resources. So I think that the most
important component though, the kind of key that
we can transfer at home and that really supports
a truly balanced approach, and truly helps our
students, is understanding the language of math at home
and using the four-part problem solving model. Now, you might not
completely understand what the four-part
problem solving model is, and so I think that I will give
you a breakdown into all four steps and how you can use these. The most important
component of this is that all of our students
are using this component. You can walk into almost any
classroom in a Halton Catholic school, and you would
be able to ask students, “how do I solve problems?” And they will be
able to give you this, “well we do
it in four parts, and these are the parts we do.” So if you at home
are aware of that, and your student or your
child is struggling, this gives you an
opportunity to be continuing that same language and
to help them activate some prior knowledge, to
activate their thinking that they’re doing
right now, and get them ready to start
to reason out answers. So knowing the steps of
the problem solving model will give you that direct link
and help support your child into greater independence,
which is ultimately what our goal is going to be. And so the very first part, as
you can see, is that we think. We need to think
through a problem, and children– you
know, brains make really interesting connections
in that sometimes we pick out only the words that we want to
when we’re reading it quickly. The most common mistake that
happens in math is reading. It’s that we just don’t
read the problem properly, or we don’t read the
question properly. So by taking some time
to slow down and think about the problem, we are giving
our brain that opportunity to adjust, and even more
powerful is having your child read you the problem out loud. It allows for you to
maybe see if there’s any misconceptions in
what they’re reading, just in wording alone,
but it also allows you to hear what
they’re emphasizing and what they’re not. My next suggestion would be, you
read the question back to them if they really
struggling with it. So you read it to them and
see what they get out of that. I know in a classroom, my most
effective teaching method when students say I don’t
understand, is the first thing I do is read the
question to them. And most of the time, they
go, “oh, now I get it.” And you might see that
really fast at home, is that it just took a different
voice to be able to hear that. The next point is to
have them summarize what the problem is asking. If they can pick out those key
things, that key information, or explain what the problem is,
then you can see what they know and what you might need to ask
a few more questions about. And math is really, from
a parental perspective, about you asking good questions. Because you giving
answers to them isn’t going to help
them know the material or really understand
the concepts. But you asking really
good questions– and sometimes that really good
question is just the question, “why do you think that? What makes you say
that?”– allows them to have to
search their brains and start thinking it through. If you remember that
kids respond really well to “why” questions because
those are their favorite when they’re little is
to ask you “why? Why? Why?” So you could have
this opportunity to turn it back on them,
and start asking them why they think that. When they’re thinking, ask them
to talk about the math language that they hear in the problem. So does the question say, “the
difference between two numbers is,” well what does
difference mean? See if they know. Let them tell you.
“Oh difference. I think that means subtraction.” OK. Well, now we have something. Write down the word subtraction. Do we see any other operations
that might be in here? Do we see things like
the word product? Do we see the word more than? Less than? Help them to pick
out, highlight, those key pieces of information. Next you can say
to them, “do you think there’s more than
one step involved?” Because that gets
them to see that there might be more than one
thing that they have to do. So maybe if I focus
on this first, then I can move to
the second portion. Once we have solid
thinking happening, we can ask them,
your child, are they ready to move on to
the planning phase. And so planning means
a team is thinking, I’ve broken apart the question,
I know what kind of operations are going to be there,
so now what can I do? What materials do I
think I might need? What resources do I have that
might help me solve this? Do I have a note that
I’ve taken in class? Do I have a class portal
that may have examples? Do I have examples
in my textbook that I can go to and look? Do I need a calculator
to answer this question? Is there a formula
somewhere that I know that I have
written down that I think might apply to this? So make a list. Make a list of the
actions of what you think you’re
going to need to do. Look for patterns and numbers. Look for patterns in the type
of questions you’re using. Make the connections of what
you’ve been doing already. And then maybe even try
some educated guesses. Sometimes we call
that guess and check. Sometimes we call
it guesstimating. Throw out some numbers that
you think might work in it. And then what about a
model or a representation? In my house, we use
what we have at hand. I have lots of little
boys in my house. We use LEGO pieces
for everything that we are going to model. So when we are adding
and subtracting, and I need manipulatives,
I grab the LEGO, very fast. Use what you have at hand. Oftentimes, students just need
a quick visualization for them to really get them started
and get them on their way. Once we have got our
plan in place, we do. We carry out the
plan that we have. I’ve broken down the steps. I’ve broken down the question. I’ve made a plan. Let’s give it a try. And I’m having some difficulty. So if you still have a child
sitting in front of you, frustrated and having
difficulty, say to them, “OK, maybe we need to go back. Maybe we need to just look
quickly again at our plan. Maybe we need to
take a quick look at what we thought
about it at first. Maybe we missed a step. But have them try to
solve the problem. See if they can do it
in more than one way. If they get an answer
pretty quickly, have been try it in
a different fashion. See what they can get from it. And then I think that takes us
to really the most important concept, and this is the
concept that we in schools are trying very hard to
get children to understand. And this is that idea of
looking back, checking, to make sure that
things make sense. And the more that children
start to hear this idea, look back, at home,
at school, it really allows them to start to test
out reasonableness of answers. I was in a classroom
recently, and someone had the number two over four,
and they said it equals one. And the teacher said to
them, “two divided by four. How can equal one?” And he said, “well my
calculator says it.” And she said, “but
does that make sense? Does that sound
reasonable to you?” And he said, “well no. It doesn’t make any sense.” And she said, “well, maybe your
calculator needs to be reset. Because a calculator is a tool. We need to really rely on that
exceptional thing that we have, which is our brain.” So asking your children,
go back, look at it, is my reasonable answer,
is my answer reasonable? Does it look like I’ve got
the right pieces in place? If your answer
doesn’t make sense, and they can’t really
explain it to you yet of why it doesn’t make
sense, that’s OK because now when they go back
to school, they have a blueprint
in front of them that they can show to a teacher
who can very quickly pinpoint where a misconception might have
happened, where something needs to be tweaked. It’s almost impossible when a
student comes back in and says, “I don’t understand,”
and they show you blankness,
because we don’t know. “What don’t you understand?” But if we see this process,
this wonderful amount of thinking being done,
and trying, and work done, it usually means that
there’s just something small that we need
to take a look at. And I think that this
is fundamental for us to be enforcing at
home and fundamental for us to be
enforcing at school. Because these mistakes
actually are really important. Now, if we go back to that idea
of growth mindsets, the idea that mistakes actually
compound our learning, that when we make a
mistake, we learn twice. Because we have a
brain synapse that fires the first time a
mistake happens, and then as it gets corrected
and we really understand the misconception, it
fires again for us, and we actually experience
a greater amount of growth. Now if a student gets it
right in the look back phase, look at that. Wonderful. Look at all the hard
work you put into this, and eventually as our
students become older and as they move into
secondary school, obviously they
may not be looking at each individual phase
by writing them down. But this idea has
been reinforced since they have been
in their primary years, and it becomes an
innate thing for them. That when I go to a problem
and I’m starting to experience, my first steps are going to
be, first I’m going to think, then I’m going to plan out what
I do, then I’m going to do it, and I’m going to do a look back
to make sure that it’s done. And that it’s done reasonably. And I think this is one of
the most important things that we can be giving our
children at home in helping them with their
homework and then I’d like to point out
that none of it actually involved you having
to do any math because I have previously sat through
watching YouTube videos and trying to figure
out the math myself so that I might be
able to help my child. And it hasn’t helped any of
us in our home conception, so I think that this is a
much more powerful tool for us to transfer that thinking
back into their hands, but to show them
that you’re there, and you’re supporting
them, and you’re giving them what they need. Now, sorry we’ve gone
a little bit ahead, but the last comment
is a component of what you can be doing at
home, are these kinds of digital resources. I’ve got a few listed that
we’re going to go through. They are resources that
we, as a board, support. I understand that there are
a multitude of resources out there that you
can find online. There are games. There are apps on your iPad. There are math programs. There are lots of things
that are fun and interactive. And I think anything
that you find and that you find are working
for you and your children at home that makes math fun
and interesting and challenging for them, is a wonderful thing. But if you are looking for some
resources that will actually help a student
who is struggling, a student who might be
experiencing some learning gaps, who might be missing some
of those kind of key building components, building
blocks of their learning, then I think that we have
some very specific resources that we can go to. And that first one
is SuccessMaker. Now we, as a board,
are implementing it out there for our struggling
learners in grades two to six is kind of our target
audience for that. And SuccessMaker is an online
program that you sign up for, And it takes your children
through a diagnostic that accurately assesses where
their learning strengths are, but most importantly, where
some weaknesses might be. And then it goes
about setting up a program that will
take them through cycles of learning in order to help
build where those gaps happen to be. And it does align with
our provincial curriculum. It is a great program to use. It is not probably going to
be as fun for your kids who are excelling in math and are
looking for wizards and fun things like that. But it is fun and
interactive for students who might be a little
bit weary of wanting to do more math homework,
but who you know need a little bit of
extra time on it. And it is to take
students up to the levels that they need to be. And next is the Edugains site. Edugains is a Ministry website. It’s put out by the
Ministry of Education, and its educational resources
can be accessed by anyone. So what I’ve gone into and
shown you on the screen is where you would go. So you go to Edugains.ca. If you go into the tab that says
Ministry Developed Resources, and you click on the
Mathematics button, it will take you to you all of
the resources that are housed, videos, PDFs, articles,
monographs, things like that, that you might want
to access from home, and it is all directly tied
into the Ontario curriculum. So I’ve highlighted
a couple of sites that you might want to go onto. These sites now are aimed more
for our learners in grades seven to 10, success makers
for our younger students, primary into junior,
and then Edugains has a lot of materials for
our grade seven to 10 students who really need these kind
of the interactive ways to develop their math
sense a little bit more. So the first one is
clips, that you can see. They’re student clips. It’s an interactive
math coaching site that allows students
to practice lessons they’re learning in their
grades seven to 10 classrooms. The site has an
interactive whiteboard that allows students to
experiment with fractions, integers, graphing,
patterning, algebra. It has things like
interactive fractions to find equivalent fractions,
number lines for integers, algebra tiles. It allows students to play with
things like the Pythagorean Theorem, so it really
supports the kinds of learning that they’re doing in
school, but it gives them a digital manipulative, I think would be the
best way to put it, so that they are actually
able to tangibly see the things that
they’re working on. It also gives you
access to the gap closing materials,
which help support students in their EQAL
grades, of grades six to nine. Grades six and nine. So if you were to go
into student clips, you would be able to find
gap closing materials. And in grade six, it
will cover information from grade four, five, and
six, and in our grade nine gap closing, it will cover grades
seven, eight, and nine. And it’s a resource that if
you find that you’re in an EQAL year, this year if
you have a student who is in grade nine that’s
struggling a little bit, and they have EQAL coming up, or
you have a student in grade six at home, then you
could be accessing these kinds of materials to work
with them at home, just to help them feel a little
more prepared, I think, would be the best way to go. The resources are meant
to help close gaps and look for areas that
they still struggle in. Mathies is another site which
has everything listed above, but has some additional
supports, like games and digital and learning tools
that some students really find kind of fun
and interactive. And it’s nice that
they can actually be using these things in
school, and lots of times, you would find in an
intermediate classroom, or in a grade nine and 10
classroom, that teachers are using student clips on
their smart boards, et cetera, and so it’s nice that
they could go home, and they could be interacting
with those very same materials. Now if you’re looking
for very specific help, and you have a student in your
house who is in grades seven through ten, they can
sign up for homework help. And in fact, most grade
seven and eight students have been signed up in
their own classrooms. You can talk to their teachers
if they’ve never told you that they were given a password. But Homework Help is an online
tutorial for our students that we subscribe to. It has Ontario
certified teachers who are tutors on
the site, and you can see that it tells you
the times for tutoring, so most of the
time it’s from 5:30 to 9:30 in those kind
of peak tutoring times. You’ll see that they don’t do
it on Fridays and Saturdays. We feel that most people aren’t
doing homework on those nights. You can also see your
tutor’s schedule, so if your child ends up
liking one specific tutor, they could see when they’re on. But even better than that
is that if the tutors aren’t available, there
are resources that have been logged on
there like video clips of specific
assignments and things like that they can
be using, and lockers where they could be doing
worksheets and problems and housing them
in their own locker to pull back out for a tutor. But it’s a great
way that if they’re struggling with a
specific concept, and they’re frustrated
by it, and they don’t want to wait till the next day
to be with their own teacher, and you don’t really
know how to help them, Homework Help is an
awesome way for them to go on and get a live
voice to talk them through and to give them multiple
representations of doing a question. And so it’s very,
very helpful, And one of those things that I think
is fantastic for our older learners. So I’m going to move into
the wrap up phase here, so that we’ll have some
time for a few questions. It’s kind of my last
thought came from Jo Boaler, and she is a studier
of Carol Dweck, who we talked about earlier
for growth mindsets, Jo Boaler is a professor at
Stanford University as well. And she is taking this
idea of growth mindsets and applied it strictly
to the idea of mathematics and the idea that
everybody can Excel. We can always be learning. Our brain is always working,
it is always growing, as long as we are
challenging it. And she says
mathematical discussions are an excellent resource
for student understanding. And so I want to
leave that as being the most important
resource that you can have at home for
your child is you. That you talking
to your children, you having discussions, you
discussing math with them in an open and creative
way, in a way that brings about real world
connections to them, is probably the most
imperative component to the idea of how you can help
your child succeed in math. Having your kids participate
in activities like estimating the price of groceries when
they’re shopping with you, setting their own
budget, allowing them to go to the
store with them and you giving them
some money and them having to work out
how much something’s going to cost, how much
tax would be involved. As children get
older, and they start to need to have those, having
those discussions with them is powerful and
teaches them that math isn’t always about sitting
with a piece of paper. And that the most
important math we can do is those mental
exercises in our brains where we get really good
at estimating and things like that. Playing cards with
your children, having kids
determine probability of when the next ace might
come out can help them. Discussing sports averages,
so if they win another game, what would this bring their
overall average up to? Or what are they
averaging per game? You can get a lot of
data management questions into one hockey or a
basketball game in an evening. As your kids get older, talking
to them about real things, like the economy. Prices for things. You know, most of
us have probably been sitting around
at home working out how much money we’re
saving on gas right now because the prices
keep going down. Well those are things that could
be of interest to our kids, especially some of
our high school kids as they get a little bit older
and closer to driving age. But someone told me
yesterday, “wow, I’m saving $12 a week in gas.” Well, how did you
figure that out? Let’s talk a little
bit about that, and how many liters does my
car fit, does my gas tank take? And then if I’m saving $0.3 a
liter on gas, what am I saving? It’s amazing how those
real world connections can start to play out, and we
do these things every day when we talk about
reading with our children because we innately
read with them. We read stories. We read newspapers. We watch the news. We talk about those
kinds of things. We talk about current events
lots of times with them, but we don’t always include
math in those things. So I think that really just
opening that up and having those conversations
can take a lot of fear away from both sides
of everything, so from parents and from children
about what math is all about. And then I’ve kind of left
it on a little funny note that I’ll give people a
moment, because kids always ask this question, “how am
I ever going to use this?” Well, they do a lot of
things that don’t necessarily translate into
their everyday life, but we still have to do them. And I think that the
more that we can enjoy math, the more that we
can understand that math is about creativity not formula. That math and art and
music are tied together, and we stop seeing
things in isolation. I think that that could be
the most powerful tool of how we can help our children. And so I think that
brings us to questions. Josh? Barb? Barb, you’re online. OK. Come on. Barb? Hello. There you are. OK, good. Did you want to ask
the questions, Barb? Is she there? Maybe no one had any questions. Oh, no, we have
a number of them. There’s a lot of them. Oh, no. Well one I thought was really
good, especially because it wasn’t addressed, was
is there any online help for grade 11 and 12 students? Well, I’m going to be
honest, grade 11 and 12, depending on what
they’re taking, we would have no
specific information that I can give at
this point in time. Normally their best resource is
going to be their own classroom teacher, especially for those
classes, the u classes, where they start to get very specific. Those teachers are often–
most of our secondary schools do offer some extra math help,
during periods at lunchtime or after school, and
the teachers themselves will usually provide
any electronic resources that are available. I know lots are even creating
their own webinars of lessons, et cetera, that students
can access to help them. So those would be my real go-to
for those 11 and 12 students who are experiencing
difficulties. It’s Renata. I just want to ask one of the
questions that’s come through is, are there any apps that you
can suggest for people to use? I’m going to be honest
and say that I’m not going to endorse
any specific apps. Anything that you explore
and you find useful, and your children
enjoy using, then I can’t see that there’s
any harm in them, but I think that
there are probably thousands that you could
log onto and start using. I know that some of our schools
are using gizmo apps, which are tools that they can
use in the upper grades. It’s just an app on your iPads
of different manipulatives and mathematical tools, but
otherwise I don’t really have any specific
suggestions for apps. I wish I could say
yes, but I have to go with what the board
is, what we access ourselves. And so I’ve given
what those resources that we’ve vetted and
used, and that I could say have a tried and
true record to them. There are still lots of
questions coming through, so I apologize that we
probably won’t get them all, but one question we have
there, “when a child is working on a problem, is it more
effective to continually correct writing errors while
they work out the questions, or let them finish
and then correct like the typography
afterwards or other errors?” I think it’s more effective to
let them continue unless you notice that the error is
something significant that could affect the
overall outcome, but if we’re talking things like
spelling mistakes or placement errors, then I
think that it’s more important to let them
continue working through, and let that
thinking process go, and then say to them
at the end, “OK, so what’d you
notice about this?” Because those are things
that you can probably easily correct as you get to the end. But if you did notice
something significant, like they had told
you originally that they were going to be
doing division in the problem, and now they’ve changed
it to subtraction, you might want to
say to them, “I thought you told me that you
were going to use division, so what are you using now?” And just see if they can
make that connection kind of, on their own. Thanks. Another question. We actually have questions
even prior to the webinar come through so, I was wondering
how math questions on a test are categorized into thinking,
application, or communication marks. Sometimes it looks like the
questions are almost identical. Are they just marked with
a different viewpoint? It’s going to depend
on the questions. Lots of times, teachers
are drawing from resources, like resource banks, that
actually have already put those categories
in place for them. So when we look at
thinking problems, it’s difficult always for us
to assess thinking problems on a test because it’s
looking at all the things that a student had to think
about in order to do it. All those messy parts. All the trial and error parts. Application though, is very
easily accessible for a teacher to point out. It’s that they take a
concept that has been taught or has been learned, that we’re
asking the students to apply it into a new scenario. And then our
communication is our idea of how that student can
explain what they were thinking and how they
arrived at an answer or why they arrived at
the answer that they did. So that’s where those
categories come from. The categories are
very clearly explained if you want to go into,
you can access them on the ministry
Ontario curriculum site under Mathematics
for K to eight, categories are explained. They’re explained again in
our secondary panel curriculum as well, or in the
growing success document. All of those are on
the ministry site. You can even access
them through Edugains, the site that we showed earlier,
and they’ll explain each of the categories and how
they are broken down . Great, thank you. A question I think
a lot of people have is why is there no emphasis
teaching the multiplication tables? You’ll notice there are grades
sevens and eights that can not do the tables
without a calculator. OK. So that’s a really
contentious issue. I think that there
are a couple of things that we need to look at. Multiplication is introduced
students in grade four. Now, the idea of
multiplication, the idea that something is growing,
is what conceptually we want students to
understand when we’re looking at multiplication. And the memorization
of facts has been, for lots of
people, something that they’ve moved
away from simply because we have a tool
that does that for you, and that the emphasis should be
on the idea of whether we can understand things like
estimating and place value in multiplication,
so that I can decide if an answer sounds
reasonable or not. So it’s not that we
don’t want students to know their
multiplication facts, it’s where we have to
put the emphasis on. Do we want them memorizing
because what we learned from research is that
when students memorize, they will memorize and forget. So they will memorize
for the time being, and do what they need
to, much the same way if you are given a test
on a specific set of dates in history or
something like that, that you will memorize those
things because you know you are being tested
for those things, and so lots of
students in grade four have memorized their
multiplication tables, but then as calculators get used and
it doesn’t become something that they need, by grades
seven and eight, they tell you, “I’ve never learned my
multiplication tables. I don’t know them.” Now, from a parent
point of view, you’re always free to have
your kids learn multiplication tables at home too. My children have
the unfortunate time in between their summers
of grade three and four, in which we work on
multiplication tables over the summer, just to kind
of get the basic facts down. But I think that
for lots of people, it’s so much more important
that they understand the idea that 12
times 12 is 144, only because I can see that
if I multiply 12 times 10, I just have to add a
zero, and I get 120. And then I multiply two
times 12, and it’s 24, and I add that, and I get 144. That that’s a much
greater understanding than the memorization
of 12 times 12, because I don’t really
understand what that means, but when I break numbers
apart, and I see them as being elastic, for lack of a
better word, that they stretch and they move, and that they
can be placed in new places, I get a better understanding
of what place value means, and the concept of what a
growing pattern really is. Another question is,
Why does each teacher have a different
way to teach math? [LAUGHS] I don’t know every teacher. I’d say that every single person
has a different way that they teach something or
that they do something. And so our teachers aren’t
carbon copies of each other, and you have to remember
that they’re also going to bring their own
experiences that they’ve had and how they have learned
math to the table. Our teachers engage in lots
of professional development. We all use the same curriculum. We’re using the same
resources in a classroom, so those things create
a continuity in the fact that if I leave a grade four
classroom in Burlington, and I go to a grade four
classroom in Toronto, I will be learning
the same materials. There will be nothing different. Now, how that teacher introduces
it, and their comfort level, and their experiences might
have an effect on how that comes out, much the same way that two
different salespeople selling a product might
approach that product. Because they’re each going
to have their own perspective from it. So I think that we
look at the fact that are foundations are all built
on exactly the same components, in that we are drawing
from the same curriculum, that we are drawing
from the same mandate, that we’re drawing from
the same resources, that that allows that
continuity but to take away the individuality of
the teacher would mean you’d have a computer teaching. Yeah. Yeah. Do you have any information
on how the growth mindset principals have worked
out when applying them to children with ASD? So autism spectrum
disorders, and NOS, non otherwise
specified, disorders? I do not have anything
specific on that. If the person had that
question and wanted to forward it to me, that I
could look a little bit more into it and look
at that resource within our special education
resource team as well. I know that Jo Boaler, who is
kind of powering the growth mindsets for math,
has spoken to the fact that only students with very
explicit learning disabilities do not benefit from
a growth mindset. So I think that
students with ASD absolutely would benefit for
being praised for their effort, for their rise to challenges,
for those kinds of things. And that it benefits
everybody when we are looking at the process
of what people are doing, as opposed to only a
product that are doing. So that when we’re
praising students for working to the best
of their abilities, I think that that’s
what it would focus on. But I’m happy if an email
wants to come in, I can forward that to, or look
into more specific research because I don’t really want
to talk to something that I couldn’t give very specifics on,
or say 100% certainty that this is how I felt. OK. And I think one last
question for the night. There’s questions about why
the Halton Catholic school board stopped using
the jump math method, and why it does not have
access to the Dream Box. To be honest with you, I
don’t know that program, but I gather that
the Halton school board does use that program. OK, so two questions. The jump math isn’t
something that we don’t use. We use it for very
specific cases. Jump math is a very literal
interpretation of math, and it is meant and use most
often within our students with exceptionalities who
might have difficulties with understanding
conceptual understanding. So jump math is a
step-by-step process to solving, for lack of a
better word, more equations and things, not
understanding word problems or picking out things like that. So jump math is not
something that we don’t use, it’s just used
sparingly, and it’s used with a targeted audience
because for the majority of students, it would
do them a disservice to be continuing learning
math in that fashion. Dream Box is another digital
resource that is sold. Halton public is
using it selectly, so it is a misconception. I’ve spoken to Dream Box’s rep. It’s a misconception that
all Halton public students are using Dream Box. It was purchased specifically
for their grade four students in a target ministry project. And then schools were given
the option to purchase it. It’s an expensive license. It costs somewhere in
the neighborhood of $25 a student for a
one year license. And it’s been looked into. There’s always possibilities
that resources come and go. We have to look at
them very closely. We have to vet them. We have to really
understand what their impact is going to be. Dream box is a math
digital program. It’s a math game. And it doesn’t
replace what really should be our focus, which
is fundamental, really good teaching, and
conceptual understanding with our students. So, that’s kind of
my extent of Dream Box at this point
in time, but I do like to point out that I have
spoken to them, specifically about Halton Public,
because we had heard also that it is something
that’s being used by every student
in Halton Public, and I was told that
that is not the case. So we are giving Success
Maker a try at this point, and aimed at those
same target students to see how they do with it. Are there anymore questions? Angelina, this is Josh again. I want to thank you
on behalf of everybody for doing this wonderful
and great presentation. Thank you for your time this
evening to put this together, and to come online
and share it with us. For everybody, this
webinar has been recorded and will be available
on our YouTube channel. If you go to YouTube and
then just type in HaltonCPIC, you will see all our previous
webinars, and in a few days, it will be online. And please keep in mind that
we’re a parent volunteer committee, and we try to do
this outside of our regular jobs and commitments, so once
that will be online, you can view it as well. OK? Any questions that
were not answered, we will forward them to
Angelina, and if you know she can get back to you or
she can add that to an email that we send out to
everybody else, OK? So again, to find the YouTube
channel, all you have to do is go to YouTube.com,
type in Halton CPIC, and all the previous
webinars will be displayed. So again, thank you
very much everybody. We will be back next
year with more webinars. On behalf of all of us at
CPIC, on behalf of Art, Elisa, Renada, and Rosemary,
I would like to wish you, and the rest
of the CPIC, a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year. Thank you, and have
a great evening. And we’re done. OK. Hold on, let me
unmute everybody else. Who didn’t I unmute? Barb. It’s back. Lisa–

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