Principal's Monthly Message

From The Principal’s Desk
October 13, 2017

Dear Glen Grove Families,
The weather has been so unseasonably warm that it is truly hard to believe that it is already the middle of October!!!! Whether it has felt like autumn or not, the activities around Glen Grove continue with the very important upcoming Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences. The conference is a most effective way for teachers, students, and parents to discuss areas of strength, address areas of concern, and set goals – a powerful process to motivate and help our students think about and take responsibility for their own learning. Conferences have already begun and will continue through Friday, October 20th. If you have not scheduled
a conference yet, please contact your child’s teacher to do so immediately.

October also brings fun-filled, spooky Halloween fun! Glen Grove Halloween festivities will take place on Tuesday, October 31st. For information about the day’s activities, please review page 5 of this newsletter carefully.

Other beginning-of-the-year successes include the work of the Glen Grove School Improvement Team who met to review school-wide data, develop academic goals in the areas of reading and math, and identify the strategies we will use to meet these goals. This year in the area of math, we will continue to focus on the approaches we studied last year when we participated in the book study of What’s Math Got to Do With It? by Jo Boaler. In the area of English Language Arts (ELA), we are adding an emphasis on speaking and listening skills that can be incorporated across all content areas. As we increase our expertise and repertoire of strategies in the area of speaking and listening, I will include tips for ways parents can support this important ELA goal at home, but in the meantime, here are a couple of reminders describing simple things you can do to support your child’s math learning at home that aligns with what we are doing in our classrooms:

- Please allow your student to grapple with a word problem. In trying to solve a rigorous problem, children are
maintaining the high cognitive demand that will help them build stamina, enhance their computational fluency, and hone their mathematical reasoning skills. Even if they give up at some point, or are unable to find the final answer, the mere exercise of thinking through a problem will have benefited them. If your child can’t solve the problem, write a short note to the teacher explaining that your child tried the problem but couldn’t solve it. The teacher will come back to the problem in class the next day and provide more opportunities for your child to solve it with the support of his or her peers and teacher.

- If your child is resisting the experience of grappling with a difficult problem and gives up before even trying, set a timer and ask your child to give it his or her all until the timer goes off. Although we want our children to think, reason, and be excited by the prospect of solving a challenging problem, we do not want them to be frustrated and discouraged to the point of disliking math. I’m sure you want to know how long to set your timers for, right? Well, this will depend on your child; you know your child best of all and will need to be able to gauge a “just right” amount of time for him or her to engage in this “brain workout” before reaching the point of complete frustration and emotional discomfort. Error on the side setting the timer for a shorter amount of time (10 minutes or so), and increase the amount over time as your child builds his or her stamina and skill set.

- If you want to help as your child grapples with a problem, instead of showing them how to solve the problem, try helping them solve the problem by asking them questions such as the ones below:
o What are you being asked to find out? Can you describe this problem in your own words?
o Have you seen a problem like this before?
o Is there any part of the problem that you already know how to do?
o Is there anything you don’t understand? Where can you find the answers to your questions?
o Will it help to make a list, a chart, a table, a drawing, a diagram? Can you act out the problem?
o What do you estimate your answer will be? Why? Is there another way to check your answer?
o Is your strategy working? Why or why not? How do you know if your answer is right or wrong?
As autumn finally starts to make its presence visible, I hope that you and your family find time to enjoy the season with all its glorious colors!


Helena Vena