Fostering proficient mathematicians who see the value and relevance of mathematics helps students be confident and curious as they build their computational skills and reasoning abilities.
The June 5 meeting of the Board of Education heard how the idea of cultural math bins gave Grade 1 students at Willowgrove School the opportunity to engage their families in the theme of 'Math is Everywhere.'
The project combines math curricular outcomes and culture. Families were asked to send cultural artifacts, games and manipulatives that the students could explore in math class. Examples include a Nigerian game that involves counting and estimation, versions from many cultures of the traditional game Snakes 'n Ladders as well as popular family games such as Connect 4. Family members also visited the classroom to share and teach the games.
As more games came in from students they were able to see where math lives, teacher Kirsten Kobylak said, and it helped them open up conversations about their culture. The math bins created as part of the project are popular with students and serve as a culturally responsive way for students to learn math outcomes while acknowledging families as a source of knowledge.
Other highlights of the meeting were:
- Members of the First Nation, Inuit, and Métis Education Unit shared current initiatives and successes from the 2017-18 school year. The unit supports responsive assessment and instructional practices within the division and works to strengthen the cultural competencies of teachers and leaders. The effort is part of the division's focus in improving the achievement and graduation rates for First Nation and Metis students as part of the provincial education sector plan.
- The Information Services department compiles an annual report of pertinent data and facts relating to technology. Division-wide, the number of computers for student use is just over 8,000 — a 13 per cent increase over 2016-17 — while the number of tablets available for students is nearly 2,600. Technology is used extensively each day with approximately 10,600 logons using division devices and an additional 5,500 connections with non-SPS devices.
Reports and information presented at board meetings can be found at www.saskatoonpublicschools.ca. The next meeting is Tuesday, June 19, 2018, at 7 p.m. The public is welcome to attend.