The Simple Things Lost

There are times when I walk into a classroom or have a conversation with a parent or student where I ask myself "What happened to the simple things in life. The days of tying your shoes with laces, telling time with an analog clock or just playing outside for fun?" Yesterday was one of those times.  Last night I walked into our before and after school program room to deliver a package before heading home. As I walked into the room there was the usual hustle and bustle of children playing games, making art, listening to music and working on the computer. In the centre of the room a group was playing a familiar board game, one that I played with my family every week during my childhood - Monopoly. My token of choice was the top hat. I loved the idea of building an empire of properties, putting up houses...
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Math Anxiety

On Friday I attended a Safe Schools Professional Development session with our school team which consisted of myself, a parent, a teacher and an educational assistant.  The afternoon was a great opportunity to hear from experts in the field and discuss how our students and community feel regarding safety.  However it also gave me insight into some of the concerns parents see when it comes to academic issues, and in particular math. The concept of timed math tests came up with the idea that these are good for children to develop automaticity and recall of facts.  One might think this is reasonable.  In fact a quick Google search of "timed math drills" will net you thousands of websites where parents and teachers can print off worksheets or direct children to play games all focused on improving the speed at which computations are recalled.  But do these develop solid math abilities in...
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