January 21

Innovation Day

As you may have seen on the calendar, or remember from previous years, we always have a day where we welcome parents in to see what students have been working on in Science. In the past it was called Science Fair, then became STEAM Fair, and this year we are calling it Innovation Day, and it will be taking place on March 5 (more info about this to come).

Before I give you any more information, I just want to say that this is a project where students will have ample time to work on it IN SCHOOL. There is no obligation for students to work on this at home. Even more than this, I have told the students that they are not allowed, under any circumstance, to have their parents help them with their project.

Whether this makes you go Bitmoji Imageor          Bitmoji Image

here’s our thinking behind this. The point of Innovation Day is for students to learn about something they are interested in, think about solutions to real world problems on their own, be creative, and have fun! They are not being graded on how fancy their model is, how perfectly cut their papers are, or how creative their presentation board is. They ARE being graded on the information THEY collect. The way THEY can explain what they have learned. And how THEY document their learning throughout the process. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions or give suggestions. We’d really like this to be a student led project though, where they can feel ownership and pride over their work.

Here are some useful documents for students, and for you as well, if you’d like to see how we will be working through this project.

I am encouraging students to make their models from mostly recycled materials. We also have some new materials in our Marker Space that we will have access to. Hopefully, we will be able to provide everything your child will need for this project at school, including their presentation boards.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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January 17

To Memorize, or Not to Memorize?

When it comes to multiplication facts, I’ve often heard…you just need to memorize them.

Over the years, I’ve had students who knew their facts backwards and forwards, and others who just couldn’t remember them. It has always been my goal to find ways to help my students learn their facts. Should I be giving time to just practice and memorize in class? Should I teach them different tricks for each set of numbers? Is there another way I don’t know about?

In May 2019 I attended the OAME (Ontario Association for Mathematics Education) Conference here in Ottawa, and focused my sessions around building better fluency. One session I attended, led by Melissa Peddie, Chrissy Chabot, and Laurie Clayton, said that true fluency happens when three things are present: Efficiency, Accuracy, and Flexibility.

Repeated addition, or skip counting, is a great strategy to use when we are first learning multiplication, but these presenters believed that come grade 4, students should no longer be using skip counting as a strategy. We really want students to think about what they are doing, and how numbers relate to each other. “Add a zero” when multiplying by ten is a common trick students are taught. Let’s look at an example and put it through the fluency test.

12.2 x 10

If students were thinking of the trick they had been taught, they would simply add a zero to the end for a solution of 12.20

Hopefully, all my grade 5 students can tell you that 1) 12.2 and 12.20 are equivalent decimals and 2) this is not how you multiply a decimal by 10. Therefore, was the strategy efficient? Yes, I got an answer pretty quickly. Was it accurate? No, I did not get the correct answer. And was it flexible? It wasn’t, because the strategy only works for whole numbers.

Pam Harris, from mathisfigureoutable.com shares the opinion that multiplication facts should be thought about, rather than memorized. I recently attended one of her Facebook Live webinars (I highly recommend watching this recorded version, it’s about an hour long), and she reiterated the importance of having students come up with strategies of their own, breaking problems into more manageable pieces, in order to come to a solution. She offers some great ways you can start helping your child learn their facts at home, by talking about doubles and halves.

In class, students will be spending 10 minutes, three times per week, working on their math facts through Strategy Kits, inspired by the session I attended at the OAME Conference. In these kits, students will make strategy cards for each of the facts they’re working on, play games, and practice with one another until they master their facts.









Some of you may still be on the fence with this and want some good ol’ strategies to help your child learn their facts.

Here are some strategies from a book I got at the Scholastic Book Fair last year, Math Hacks by Vanessa Vakharia (if you follow the link, there are some suggestions for online sites and games for practice)




























I also wrote a post about strategies here and here, with links to some online practice sites.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Keep talking math at home 🙂


January 14

New Hebrew Vocabulary


Last week our grade 5 students started a new unit in Hebrew called:” חורף בישראל” (Winter in Israel). We are learning about the weather in Israel during the winter, the changes in nature (animals, vegetation) and of course human adaptation during the winter. After learning about winter in Israel, students will have to prepare their own booklets about winter in Canada. We will conclude the unit by comparing and contrasting the winter in Israel to the winter in Canada.

I am attaching the list of the new vocabulary and encourage my grade 5 students to go over the words at home.

Morah Ruthie

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January 12

Vendredi le 10 janvier- Les entreprises à l’oral de 5e année: Yossi, Jaxon, Joey, Ben, Maor

Criteria for business presentation.