On Thursday May 24th, 2018 Moraine Hills Public School hosted our 3rd Annual Family Math Night. This is the second year in a row that I have had the honour of being the Chairperson for this event! It takes wonderful and supportive Administrators like Principal Deborah Snow and Vice Principal Jonathan Weisinger and dedicated staff members and volunteers to help make this event so successful. This post will highlight the new additions we made to this year's event, as well as some Tips for Educators who wish to implement a Family Math Night at their school next year. Click here AND here for more information about Family Math Night at Moraine Hills P.S. in past years).
This year we decided to create passports so that the students and their families had the opportunity to participate in all of the Mathematics Learning opportunities that we had to offer. At each station they visited, they were given a stamp on that corresponding page in their passport. At the end of the evening, the families drop their passports in the drop-off bin on their way out. Completed passports were drawn for the grand prize which was a 1-2 Hour Coding Session for the student and their entire class from Hatch Canada. To learn more about Hatch Canada or their programs for your children, click here.
- Community Partners & More Prizes
I like to keep some prizes the same, oldies but goodies; but also wanted to add a bunch more options to the mix to keep things interesting and exciting. Prizes are usually for the top 3 winners of each Estimation question. This year, the top prize at the Estimation Station was a Learning Resources STEM Robot Mouse Coding Activity Set valued at $59.99. This prize also connected to one of the Math stations we had available called, "Bee Bot Challenge" where the students had the opportunity to practice basic coding skills. To obtain this Coding Set click here. Other amazing prizes included: SimonAir, Blokus, Q-Bitz, Wooden Tetris, and Math Storybooks such as "The Action of Subtraction."
- Outdoor Learning Opportunities
As a school and school board, we encourage learning in the outdoors as we believe the outdoors to have many benefits to our well-being (Click here to learn more about Outdoor Education). This year, we started small and offered two really great learning opportunities outdoors and that was: Outdoor Math Story Walk and Transformational Geometry. The Math Story Walk allowed students and their families to take a walk outside, breathe in the fresh air, read a story together, and participate in some hands on learning experiences about addition and subtraction. The Transformational Geometry station allowed students and their families to physically experience the concepts of Translations, Reflections, and Rotations.
- ELL & Math Booth
Our English Language Learner Teachers put together a variety of assessment samples that show how modifications or accommodations can be made to that piece of assessment which meets the needs and abilities of English Language Learner Students. This gave families a better understanding of what it might "look like" in practice.
- Be Kind to Yourself & Town Hall Booth
Moraine Hills has done a lot of work around promoting and raising awareness for Kindness. Kindness to Yourself, Kindness to Others, and Kindness to the Environment. We have also conducted and analyzed research for our Town Hall initiatives around Grades and Student self-worth and well-being. This station facilitated the creation of a Wellness Toolkit so that students and their families were provided with some information and coping strategies to use at home. The information and strategies that were presented at this station were very well received by students and their families.
- Coding Activities
To support Modern Learning and technology use, we also had some educators facilitating a coding station called, "Bee Bot Challenge". This station allowed students and their families to gain exposure to the basics of coding and learn more about the curriculum connections.
- Math Night Banner
This year we decided to purchase a professionally made banner from VistaPrint. Since Family Math Night has become an annual event at Moraine Hills, we decided to create a reusable banner for efficiency and aesthetic.
Math Night Tips
- Stay Organized: Have a plan and organize achievable steps to attain your plan. If your event is on the beginning of May, start planning the beginning of April. Some web-based APPs/Programs that helped me stay organized this year were: Google Keep and Google Drive.
- Meetings: Try your best to arrange for meetings that meet the needs of your volunteers and try not to schedule meetings too often because all Educators are busy. Also, have an agenda prepared to help guide your meeting and stay on track.
- Accept Input: It is important to listen and accept input from other Educators/volunteers. You may not agree with everything, but everyone should feel welcomed, supported, and that their ideas are valued.
- Offer Help: Offer extra periods of time that you will be available to support staff who would like assistance with ideas for a station, gathering or creating materials, etc.
- Make Yourself Available: If you are the person running the event, it is important to make yourself available for the "just incase" circumstances. Try not to station yourself at one activity. I like to be responsible for the Estimation Station. This activity is self-run which allows for me to go where I am needed. For example, one year someone had to leave early so I was able to cover their station. This year we had more families than anticipated and we ran out of passports, so I (among others) were able to run and create more passports (a good problem to have).
- Document the Learning: Keep a Math Night Binder which includes all activities and resources for each of your events so that you have a repertoire to choose from/refer to when needed. It also makes for a nice portfolio ;)
- Share Resources with Staff: Many of our staff have volunteered for the Math Night event so they know all the activities and resources but I have also encouraged that everyone upload everything to our school shared team drive. This will allow all staff at our school community to access and implement these activities in their classrooms. *Resources and activities have been shared with families at Math Night
- Have Fun! : The most important tip is to have fun and enjoy the event because a lot of planning goes into it and it goes by very quickly.
I have said it once and I will say it again...
Thank you to everyone who dedicated their time and resources to the event! It is really valued and appreciated, not only by myself but by our Administrators and our school community!