Terry Fox Run, Chess & Math

Hello Division 2,

Today we started our day outside in the sun. We reflected on the legacy of Terry Fox while stretching in preparation for our 20-minute symbolic Terry Fox Run around the perimeter of the field, joined by divisions 1 and 3.

Today we had an extended math block, wrapping up our learning in a unit on patterns and diving more deeply into learning “mental math strategies”. And we continue our work exploring place value and working with numbers to 10 000 (grade 4 math) and 1 000 000 (for grade 5 students).

Our approach to learning math is structured and sequential, yet individually paced to meet the needs of students—to keep them feeling challenged while having regular success. Any given math session involves whole-class instruction, small group instruction, and one-to-one support. Our class benefits from having support from Ms. S. and occasionally Ms. Holman who are able to spend targeted time with students. We explore math problems in a hands-on way using a variety of math manipulatives to grow our understanding. We also have “Math Leaders” in our class who volunteer to help coach others in areas they have demonstrated mastery. I will be posting more about our math program in a future post—this is an area or teaching about which I am especially passionate and I enjoy sharing that love of math with students.

After lunch, our class enjoyed our first of six 1-hour lessons with Mr. Churchill, our Chess teacher. I was blown away observing the high level of student engagement as Mr. Churchill led what I felt to be a high-level strategic session—I’m a good enough chess player myself, but I can see that compared to the many Margaret Jenkins students who have been studying with Mr. Churchill for years, I have a lot to learn. In fact, I am even amazed and proud to admit that one student did beat me at a game today in class after quite a battle! I cannot overstate this: our students are so lucky to learn this beautiful and complex game from a true master. What a gift!

*Reminder that tomorrow is a day to wear an orange shirt as we continue exploring the meaning behind “Orange Shirt Day”, “Truth and Reconciliation” and the history of residential schools in Canada. Our learning in this area emerges from both students’ own questions and also curriculum guides and books recommended for the grade 4/5 level by the BCTF and SD61. We endeavour to approach content in sensitive ways and to honour Indigenous perspectives which are the central focus of our learning journey. Please accept this invitation to share with me your thoughts, questions, concerns at anytime with me through phone or email.

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