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Curbing the summer slide: How to keep your kids’ brains sharp over vacation

CBC – Staff Writer

“Summer vacation just started for children across Quebec, who now have eight weeks to forget everything they’ve learned in school over the last year. It’s a phenomenon called the summer slide. Some experts say it’s important to read, or even do homework during the summer to stop or slow it down. Here are some tips from Grade Six teacher Amelia Crerar on how to keep your kids’ brains sharp without hindering their summer fun.” (more)

Improving math starts with getting teachers excited about curriculum, Wynne says

CBC – Staff Writer

“During a roundtable discussion with students at the University of Waterloo Friday afternoon — known for its math, science, tech and engineering programs (STEM)— one student asked Wynne, who was joined by former Prime Minister Paul Martin at the event, about the gap between Canadian and international students. He said when it comes to math in particular, international students at the university seem to have better skills and do well in their first year while Canadian students struggle. “Is there any way that we can kind of get to their level when it comes to education … because it kind of seems like we’re lacking somewhere,” the student said.” (more)

LEVY: The new math must focus on basics

The Toronto Sun – Sue-Ann Levy

“PC Ontario leader Doug Ford says he’s talked to an “endless number of teachers” who are frustrated at being dictated to by Queen’s Park about how they must teach math. He recently told me he intends to seek input from teachers on the best way to scrap discovery math and get “back to the basics” — which means teaching students how to properly add, subtract, multiply and divide (without a calculator) by the time they leave Grade 6.” (more)

Are you smarter than a 10th Grader? Try Ontario’s literacy test

The Toronto Star – Staff Writer

“Grade 10 students in Ontario write the literacy test — which they must pass in order to graduate — on Tuesday. After a pilot project to move the test online ended in digital disaster, this year’s test is old school — pen-and-paper. And extra time to complete the mandatory test will be given to any student who needs it. Many people question the value of the test — saying it is out of step with contemporary literacy evaluations. But how would you fare? Here’s a selection of reading and writing questions from a sample test produced by EQAO (Education Quality and Accountability Office).” (more)

The man who’s fighting girls’ ‘mathematophobia’

The Toronto Star – Paul Hunter

“As a teenager beginning high school in his Ivory Coast homeland, Ismael Mourifié looked around his classroom and understood something was inherently wrong. He’d been placed in the math stream based on an admission exam that determined aptitude. But among the almost 45 students, there were only four or five girls. The next year, that number dropped to two. It didn’t make any sense, Mourifié thought. Math isn’t an innate skill; there shouldn’t be such a dramatic gender disparity. Fast-forward almost two decades and Mourifié is now an assistant professor of economics at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses in applied econometrics and quantitative methods but his passion, and a big part of his research, is grounded in his memories from the classrooms of West Africa. He is driven to understand why there aren’t more women that pursue studies, particularly math, that lead to STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) jobs and how that imbalance can be corrected.” (more)

How to teach your kids empathy and self-control

The Toronto Star – Pam Moore

“My daughter attends public school in Boulder, Colo., where her teacher is one of a handful of educators integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into the classroom. But the Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) board recently approved a grant to fund the investigation of SEL Competencies, with the goal of creating a system-wide approach to SEL. That means more kids will be learning how to understand and manage their emotions, set goals, build healthy relationships, make good decisions and have empathy, according to the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning. SEL is based on five core competencies — self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making. These skills can help kids in the classroom, but more importantly, they can make children and parents happier.” (more)