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A blanket ban on cellphones in class would not be smart

The Toronto Star – Staff Writer

“France is going in a similar direction. When millions of French elementary and middle-school students returned to class this week, they were forbidden from using their phones in the classroom or even during breaks. The government of Emmanuel Macron ordered a phone “detox” for all pupils under the age of 15. These are simplistic solutions to a complex problem. The problems presented by addictive cellphone use are clear, but it’s impossible and unwise to ban such technology entirely from schools.” (more)

How to find the right tutor for your kid so homework doesn’t ruin your relationship

The Toronto Star – Brandie Weikle

“Vanessa Vakharia, founder of the The Math Guru, a math and science tutoring facility on Toronto’s Yonge St., says the parents she hears from report younger and younger kids declaring that they hate math — even, sadly, some in kindergarten. “Our bread and butter used to be high school students and now we’ve got so many younger kids,” says Vakharia. At a time when anxiety about school work is already on the rise, the political drama around Ontario curriculum hasn’t helped, she says. “Now parents are, even more so than they were before, really going to be looking for tutors who can make sense of what’s going on and give kids what they need.” Her approach is to match student with a tutor who not only suits their learning style, but helps them picture themselves as the kind of person who can excel in math and science.” (more)

In the continuing ‘math wars,’ both sides have a point

The Globe and Mail – Brent Davis and John Mighton

“On Wednesday, math scores for Ontario students in Grades 3, 6 and 9 were released by the Education Quality and Accountability Office; they revealed that the percentage of students who met the provincial standard has dropped for students in Grades 3 and 6, and remained relatively stable for Grade 9 students. There is a risk that this will add more fuel to the province’s math wars, which flared up again during this year’s provincial election campaign. We think there is a better way forward. Here’s why.” (more)

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)