The Life of a Suzukian Mathematician!

GECDSB Mathematics Professional Learning Session for Parents

Tuesday May 16th, 2017

Thank you to Dr. David Suzuki Public School for inviting me to join parents in a conversation around mathematics education. I hope you all found the morning useful and enjoyed your time visiting each classroom!

Presentation Slide Deck

Feel free to access the slides from today’s presentation below:

Download PDF

The GECDSB Mathematics Strategy

GECDSB Math Strategy

Mathematical Proficiencies

The full GECDSB Mathematics Vision is here.

GECDSB Mathematical Proficiencies

Warm-Up: How Do You See the Dots?

We did a quick Dot-Card warm-up asking you to visualize how you saw a series of dots on the screen. We went around the table and it seemed that everyone had a different perspective.

Jo Boaler Dot Card Warm-Up

Here’s some of the ways you might have visualized the dots:

Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning

While we didn’t explicitly explore the Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning document, much of our focus today was about how we “see” the math. Spatial Reasoning is a better predictor of mathematical success than mathematical or verbal skills.

Download the document in PDF form below:

Paying Attention to Spatial Reasoning Document

Math Myths: Disspelling Misconceptions

We spent some time talking about some Math Myths including the notion that there is a New Math vs. Old Math and the misconception that using your fingers is a sign of mathematical weakness.

To address the New vs. Old debate, we looked at the Concreteness Fading Model. Here are a couple blog posts that might be helpful as you try to understand how we attempt to build conceptual understanding through the concreteness fading model as we head towards procedural fluency:

Also, there are some articles on “Finger Fluency” to dispel the myth that counting on your fingers is bad:

Incorporating Math At Home

We also looked at a bunch of resources to consider for incorporating math at home. Here are those resources as well as a bunch of other links you might want to consider as well!

Tiny Polka Dots

We briefly described Daniel Finkel’s game, Tiny Polka Dots and discussed the progression from dot cards to ten frames to different sized dots (abstraction) and conceptual subitizing (different coloured dots).

While we gave one set away in a draw, you can visit the site to buy the game from Amazon or purchase the $5 downloadable PDFs.

Tiny Polka Dot - Math Game - Daniel Finkel

Buy On Amazon

Buy Printables

Prime Climb

We later explored this image:

Prime Climb - Showing Numbers 1 to 20

After taking some time to notice and wonder in your groups, participants shared out what they noticed and wondered. Quite a bit of excitement filled the room. After making a few predictions like “what does the number 21 look like? 36? etc.” we shared out our thinking.

We then let you see this image:

Prime Climb - Numbers 1 to 60

Buy On Amazon

These images are from Daniel Finkel’s Prime Climb game from his website,

Math4Success offers some blog posts [here, here and here] involving ways that you might consider using these images in your classroom.

Daniel Finkel’s TED Talk: Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching

We then watched Daniel Finkel’s inspiring TED Talk:

Math Before Bed

Math Before Bed Book Cover by Jon Orr

The benefits of reading stories to our children at nighttime have been shared countless times over, and for good reason. Reading improves literacy skills.

Why is it that we don’t do math with our children before bed?

Math Before Bed is a collection of prompts that can inspire mathematical discussions that you and your children can have before bed, at dinner, or anytime. Each page in this book shows you and your child a perplexing problem. Sometimes there is one right answer and sometimes there are many right answers The purpose of each question is to generate a discussion about HOW you determined an answer.

If you find one answer, try to find another.

You could complete one page a night, or many pages.

Buy Hardcover Book

The site creator presents his students with an estimation challenge each day of the school year. He loves helping students improve both their number sense and problem solving skills.

He’s kind enough to share the estimation challenges with you and your sons/daughters/students.

What a great tool to use at home to inspire math conversations with your children!

Estimation 180 - How Many Small Vases Fit in the Large Vase?

Visit Site

Here are some other great sites we didn’t explicitly explore, but I promised I would share on the resource page:

iPad Math Apps

Endless Numbers [iPad App]

Endless Numbers iOS Icon

I love this app for young children. My daughter uses Endless Alphabet as well as Endless Numbers as a way to not only have some fun - and educational - screen time. Watch as your kids grab numbers on the screen and hear them moan their name (i.e.: "one... one... one... one...") until you place it in the correct spot. Soon enough, your child will be doing simple addition and subtraction, while ...

Get The App

DragonBox Numbers [iPad App]

DragonBox Numbers iOS Icon for iPad

From the App Store: Give your child the foundation they need for future math learning with DragonBox Numbers. DragonBox Numbers will teach your child what numbers are, how they work, and what you can do with them. The game makes it easy and fun for your child to gain an intuitive understanding of numbers. It's a great introduction to the wonderful world of math. DragonBox Numbers brings mat...

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DragonBox BIG Numbers [iPad App]

DragonBox BIG Numbers iOS icon for iPad

From the App Store: Put your child in charge of building a wonderful world for the Nooms. Learn how big numbers work through play and exploration. Learn to perform long additions and subtractions. Grow, gather and trade resources to unlock new worlds, and build houses, and shops. ***Perfect for kids between 6 and 9, or kids who have mastered DragonBox Numbers*** FEATURES - An inn...

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Zorbit Kindergarten – Number Sense [iPad App]

Zorbit Kindergarten Number Sense iOS icon for iPad

From the App Store: Description Zorbit’s Math Adventure apps actively engage students in math learning through entertaining storylines and a cast of charming space aliens. Based on rigorous educational research, the games integrate curriculum standards into gameplay and narrative to provide your students with a deep conceptual understanding of math. The Zorbit games are created by an exper...

Get The App

Virtual Math Manipulatives and Apps

Although we didn’t spend any time here, I think it’s important that you know these (and many other) free tools are available for utilizing at home:

I was truly honoured to spend some time at Dr. D. Suzuki Public School today for your The Life of a Suzukian Mathematician! day. I hope we get to spend some more time together real soon.

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