Inquiring Minds is pleased to take this opportunity to feature this video of John Maeda, a Japanese-American graphic designer, computer scientist, academic, and author. His work in design, technology and leadership explores the area where the fields merge.
Mr. Maeda is currently the President of the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and believes that creativity should be at the core of the educational agenda. He makes a very compelling argument, and explains why integrating convergent and divergent thinking enhances innovation, and how creativity and innovation will lead to economic recovery. Definitely worth watching!
“Emergent mathematics is a term we will use to describe how children construct mathematics from birth and continuing throughout the life of the person through a combination of cognitive development and interaction with their environment. Children begin to construct the foundations for future mathematical concepts during the first few months of life. Before a child can add or even count, they must construct ideas about mathematics that cannot be directly taught.
Ideas that will support formal mathematics later in life such as order and sequence, seriation, comparisons, and classifying all are beginning to emerge as early as infancy. Educators of young children need to emphasize and encourage children’s interaction with their environment as a means of promoting and encouraging emergent math concepts. Children’s logic and mathematical thinking develop by being exercised and stimulated. Teachers who promote children to put objects into all kinds of relationships are also promoting children’s emergent understanding of mathematics.” – E. Geist
We encourage the children to discover mathematical concepts in the same way that mathematicians problem solve. We introduce the children to strategies that mathematicians will use as the children engage in everyday activities, projects and provocations.
Work on one type of problem for a long period of time
- Through project work, the children have discovered many ways to measure as they create a life size scarecrow for our school gardens.
- During ‘messing about’ with ‘loose parts’, the children use natural materials and create symmetrical designs.
- When creating beaded snails as part of their garden investigation, the children create patterns, (AB/ABC)
Collaborate and learn from each other
- The children watch each other as they are introduced to new mathematical materials. Often the children want to share their new found knowledge with their friends, and spontaneously offer “to teach” each other.
- A teacher cuts carrots from the garden into equal parts. One child shares, “You cut it in half.” Another child watches intently, and wonders what the pieces are called if the carrot is cut into four pieces.
- The children decide on a game. “He’s first, then you’re second, and A. is third.”
- One child becomes an expert at building paper planes. He shows his friends the sequence of folds needed to create a paper plane that can fly. “You have to fold it eight times!”
- Two children compare the sizes of their shoes as they change for recess. This leads to a class experience, where the children compare the sizes of their shoes, and also begin to measure them.
- The children use self correcting materials, such as wooden number blocks, or work in pairs to check each others answers.
- At circle time, the teacher inquires as to ,”How many children are missing?” One child responds, “It must be three, because altogether we have sixteen.”
Mathematicians get satisfaction from the process
- The children are given a variety of objects to sort, and enjoy sorting them in many different ways. They sort and resort, and discuss with each other what attributes they have chosen.
- At circle time the children enjoy counting sticks and putting them into bundles of ten. “That’s the quick way to count.”
- The children learn to recognize 3D shapes during block play. New shapes are introduced to extend their learning through play.
- Some of the children spontaneously begin to measure objects in the classroom, using nonstandard units of measurement, such as hinges, cubes, and beads.
- The children are challenged to measure the circumference of a pumpkin. They quickly realize they cannot use a straight ruler, to measure a curved object. They begin to create their own rulers out of paper which will bend, or use beads or number tiles to go around the pumpkin. One child highlights the lines on the pumpkin and counts those to come up with his own solution.
Inquiring Minds is pleased to share today’s blog post from Ms. Isabella Bei, Richland’s 5/6 teacher, on her class’s recent experience with poetry.
The Grade 5/6 Students have begun a journey in reading and writing poetry! Students have blossomed in their writing, showing creativity and emotion like never before. The students and I have shared in laughter, and even some tears as we brainstormed, drafted, critiqued, wrote and performed our own works of art.As students were asked to contemplate, “What makes good poetry?”- Heated discussion ensued. Ideas and opinions were shared, debated and layered. Finally, one student pointed out that a theme was emerging; “Really…poetry is a short but powerful piece” that shows “deep thoughts, words and wisdom”. Finally – consensus!
Through this unit, we have been exploring issues around remembrance, peace and conflict, in honour of Remembrance Day. Mature ideas such as nostalgia, loss and death have emerged in their words. Through the course of the study, I have been continually impressed by the lack of inhibitions and their willingness to expose their emotions and ideas around these deep issues.In the end, our poetry study has become a powerful method of communicating, and bringing our peers together. Poetry is helping us build community! Each week, we look forward to our Poetry Coffeehouse. Where we read and share our poetry. Within out coffeehouses, I have enjoyed watching the students engaged as supportive audience members. The lights and dimmed as each audience member sips tea. We watch, enjoy and appreciate with “snaps”!
We continue to write and reflect! Stay tuned for more news around our “deep thoughts, words and wisdom” on Inquiring Minds or our Twitter @RichlandClass.
Mrs. Daniel, one of Richland Academy’s Senior Kindergarten teachers, recently attended a conference for early childhood professionals from across York region. The keynote speaker talked about the importance of early childhood educators, who he considered “To be emotional rechargers” for the next generation. He suggested a key role as teachers was to model empathy and relationship building, vital human skills. These he considered were just as important as the development of early math and literacy skills which, in fact, impact hugely how successful children are at future learning.Mrs. Daniel then attended a math workshop stressing the importance of developing fundamental math skills in the early years, to build a strong foundation for children’s later success. Reference was made to Howard Gardner, and his research into different learning styles. It was noted that it is important to consider the different learning styles of children, and ensure all these are met, as mathematical concepts are explored in the early learning classrooms. “Recognize the learning styles of a child and teach him through that.”Interestingly at age three, the brain is most able to learn mathematical concepts, and thus the early years are critical learning periods for a child. Understanding mathematical concepts using concrete materials is essential at this stage of development. Repetition of basic concepts and extending these ideas from the concrete to the abstract is the key to success. Worksheets were not recommended for the younger learners.The workshop enabled its participants to use common materials such as play dough, Lego blocks, cards, books, beads and measuring spoons to explore such ideas as counting, patterning, sorting, and one to one correspondence. Learning through play was considered developmentally appropriate, with the teacher entering the play and providing the children with the language of math, the materials as well as the environment to purposefully support the development of fundamental mathematical skills in the early years. Making the learning visible through documentation, and referencing the learning to the ELECT document was also suggested.
Inquiring Minds would like to share some important links to TVO programming which covered the Learning 2030 Equinox Summit last month. The insight and opinions shared in this series are immensely valuable for educators and parents alike. Here is some background about Learning 2030 for you: It has never been more important to invest in the next generation and their capacity to tackle the increasingly complex challenges in the decades to come. Children born this year will – if all goes well– graduate from high school in the year 2030. But with what kind of skills? Global reports indicate a persistent and complex shortfall in education: high school is the phase of education when students report the least engagement in learning and question the relevance of what they are learning.
The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Learning 2030
- How Technology Can Customize Learning
- Digital Promise: No One Left Behind
- New Perspectives: Outsourcing Memory to Google
- Award-Winning Teacher on Technology and Learning
- Skype as Teaching Tool
- Why Are Finnish Kids So Smart?
- Teaching and Twitter
- Gaming and Education
- Learning 2030: The Question of Marks
TVOParents: Learning 2030
- Everything You Wanted to Know About Digital Literacy
- The Value of Digital Technology in the Classroom
- Making to Learn in the Digital World
- Learning in the Digital World
- The Value of Social Media in the Classroom
- Girls Learning Code
- Club Penguin Founder on Creating Safe Online Games for Kids
- Cory Doctorow on Kids and the Impact of Technology
- Is technology ‘dumbing down’ kids?
- Groups Join Up To Inspire Kids to Hack, Question and Build
- Mom Bloggers at the Launch of TVOKids Educational Games
At Richland, we are committed to re-defining education for a changing world. We may not know what the future holds for our students, but our Faculty and staff dedicate each day to preparing our students with the skills and dispositions necessary to face that world with confidence. Insight on the topics covered by TVO through the Equinox Summit assure us that we are moving in the right direction to support our students.
Today Inquiring Minds is pleased to share an update from Richland Academy’s Grade 3/4 Teacher and Athletic Director, Mr. Lionel Ownsworth, on the Small Schools Athletic Federation events that Richland teams have competed in. Go Huskies!It has been a great first part of the year for Richland athletics, and our students have represented the school with Husky spirit at the Cross-Country Championship run, the Under 10 and 12 Soccer Tournaments, and the Ultimate Frisbee Event to start off the year.
The Ultimate Frisbee Tournament was new for Richland this year, in large part due to Ms. Bei’s enthusiasm for the sport and her inclusion of it in her grade 5/6 P.E. schedule. We had a great time at Shepard’s Bush Park and competed well, but the experience of the other teams was apparent and we ultimately did not make the final rounds. We played games against TCMPS, VIS, and RMS, and we finished off with an exhibition match against a team from Burlington. Overall, we learned a great deal about how to play the game, and we will be ready for next year. Many thanks to the grade 5/6’s for playing hard and learning some new skills in this event, and Ms. Bei is already planning out strategy.The Cross-Country run was held at Sunnybrook Park, and we had perfect fall weather for the event, with the predicted rain holding off until the very end. All our runners finished their races, with Z.P. finishing 10th in the U-8 event, and A.H. and A.L. coming in the top 20 of their division, the U-10 girls.There were over 150 runners in each event! All the students were happy to have competed, and in some cases improve upon results from last year. It was a fun day overall, and many thanks to Mrs. DeSimone and Mr. Gandhi for acting as field marshals (and taking pictures), and Mr. Hilkowitz for helping the students off-side with Mrs. Brown while I took care of race starts and finishes with the runners.
We had an equally fun day at the U-10 Soccer Tournament, and while it took us several games to find our footing at ‘The Hanger’, we did eventually win our final game and thus capture the Division B Consolation Championship title. Everyone played hard and worked as a team throughout, and we lost, tied, and won our games with Husky dignity. Our three girls had to play every single minute of each game(regulations), and they were our rock at defense. Playing with heart and intensity up front, our players had many fine chances to score when the opportunity arose. H.G. was a strong mid-field presence throughout, running up and down the field to attack and defend, and G.B. showed us how quick he can be with defenders having difficulty keeping up with him. D.C. and A.H. showed us their skill as attacking and defending mid-fielders, keeping and maintaining play whenever they were on the field. They were always a threat, and A.H. scored the winning goal in our final game. Z.P. played an outstanding game in net, virtually stopping our opponents cold at every turn. Many thanks to Mr. Hilkowitz and Mr. Carter for helping out as trainers/coaches for the event, keeping the children in form with drills and pep talks when we were not playing. More »