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St. Charles Elementary Math Buddies

January 18, 2016 - Students at St. Charles Elementary tried a new way to solve math problems recently. As a part of the school goals, students in all grades got together for Math Buddies.

Principal David Soehner explained that "as one of the SIPSA (school improvement plan for student achievement) goals for this year, St. Charles Elementary teachers identified that they wanted to focus learning in mathematics around the math processes of communication and problem solving. To improve how students communicate in mathematics, a problem solving template was developed to guide students through answering all the parts of a question. The concept of 'math buddies' was created, where older students get together with younger students to work through a math problem every week, using the template and math manipulatives".

Students in the older grades helped their younger buddies identify what they already know from the question, what they still need to know, how they are going to represent it in pictures and an equation as well as formulating the response in a sentence. Student Achievement Officer, Michelle Walton, with the Ministry of Education explained that "It was great to see how the older students really had the younger students work through the math problem".

Brent Peplinski, a grade 7/8 teacher at the school said that his students also benefitted from the buddies by sharing in the younger students enthusiasm to do math, and his students came back all smiles!

"We are going to measure the results of Math Buddies using a pre and post task at the end of a 9 week cycle. We expect that students will improve in their ability to problem solve and communicate in mathematics." explained Soehner.

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