# Numeracy @ Seba Beach – washing away with “I can’t do math”

Numeracy is defined as the ability to reason and to apply simple numerical concepts. Basic numeracy skills consist of comprehending fundamental mathematics like addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. For example, if one can understand simple mathematical equations such as, 2 + 2 = 4, then one would be considered possessing at least basic numeric knowledge.

Numbers are everywhere in the world and on a given any given day we do math without even thinking about it.  A numerically literate person can manage and respond to the mathematical demands of life. However, this is a skill that many take fo granted, there are a lot of individuals that struggle with Numeracy.

At Seba Beach School, we have collected data, that reveals that many of our students would benefit from a Numeracy program, somewhat similar to the literacy programthat we have in place. Similar to the Literacy program, the Numeracy programs philosophy is that students learn best when they are taught at their level, with students at their level, in small groups and that the basics need to be learned and understood before moving to a new concept.

To ensure that the students are working at the appropriate levels and that they are also being challenged, at the beginning of the year the literacy level of each student was assessed. After the students were assessed they were placed into groups with students that are at the same level and to this group was assigned an educational staff.

In October the majority of students have been working on improving and fine tuning their skills and tools related to mental math. An example of this would the skills and tools that students can use to solve. Everyone chooses a specific method to complete a question, but the idea is not to have every student complete the question in the same way, but for students to be familiar with all of the techniques and choose the one that appeals the best to them. Below are three examples of this.

Rounding                                                    Breaking Down                                                           Counting On

74-38=                                                        74-38 =                                                                          74-38=

round up by 2 to get 40                       74- (30 & 8)                                                                  38 to 40 is up by 2

74-40 = 34                                                74-30 = 44                                                                   40 to 70 is up by 30

34 up by 2 is 36                                       44-8 = 36                                                                      70 to 74 is up by 4

Ans = 36                                                     Ans = 36                                                                       2+30+4 = Ans 36

Students are shown these as well as the traditional format and others and practice using them, then students are free to choose their method of preference.

Not only are the Numeracy groups great for interventions to assist children in Math, but the groups also allow for more individualized focus for where students need the help and alternative practice in an environment where competition is not present, because students are grouped based on abilities.

Personally, I know that the students that I am working with are having fun, and they are still being challenged to do better and make improvements in their skills. As well, since the groupings and the information being covered is directly tied and coordinated with the new JUMP math that is being used in all of our math classes, our students are seeing the continuity. If you have any questions or would like some information, please feel free to contact the school and ask for Mr. Ram or Mrs. Wong.

Staff are excited about the design and implementation of our Numeracy program and all of its possibilities. . We are looking forward to the successes of our students, to seeing the results of students being more independent and confident. Overall, the staff at Seba Beach are looking forward to making our belief and mindset that “ALL STUDENTS CAN LEARN” a reality.  Come, join us.

# A Communities Perspective.

Recently I had completed a post that shed light on one of the reasons why Seba Beach made some changes to our options program as well provided some insight into how the schools in the western end of Parkland School Division were working together to provide more opportunities for our students.

On October the 4th, The Stony Plain Report/ Enquirer made a visit to Seba Beach when all of the schools were present for the WEST options. Here is what was published:

W.E.S.T. Option benefits multiple schools

Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:39:40 MDT AM

Entwistle School Principal Les Worthington and Seba Beach School Principal Shawn Ram stand proudly in the Seba Beach shop class. Seba Beach is home to the W.E.S.T. Option program which also includes Wabamun School and Tomahawk School.

ChangePARKLAND PARKLAND COUNTY – The Wabamun, Entwistle, Seba Beach and Tomahawk schools have continued their W.E.S.T. Option program into the 2012-2013 school year.

The initiative gives students in each of the schools a diverse variety of education and helps form a sense of community within the Parkland County School Division.

Seba Beach School serves as the main hub of the project, due to its bigger size and array of academic amenities.

Seba Beach Principal Shawn Ram explained how the W.E.S.T. Option is increasing learning opportunities for all of the schools involved.

“It provides more opportunities for the students of each school. Seba Beach used to be a full high school so we were fitted with a full shop, kitchen and home economics lab. This allows for the other three schools to come in and have some of those options that they’re going to see when they get to Memorial Composite in Stony Plain,” said Ram.

The program has been running for half a decade, with the Tomahawk School re-joining the fold last year.

It opens the doors to rural students who are picking up real-world skills from farms and acreages. W.E.S.T. Option gives them a format to apply these skills so they are properly trained and also prepared for higher levels through high school.

“It gives them an insight when it comes to career choices, especially the junior highs. They’ll be looking at things like woods, cooking, outdoor sports, first-nations, music and robotics. So the gambit is there for what can be taught,” Ram explained.

Entwistle Principal Les Worthington has seen first-hand enthusiasm from his own students about the W.E.S.T. Option initiative.

“For our kids it’s super unique and for our kids the buy-in is huge. They know it’s a unique opportunity that a lot of kids won’t get,” said Worthington.

W.E.S.T. Option allows for instructors to collaborate together. They share ideas and strategies during their time together and build lasting relationships within the school division.

Students are able to build a sense of community between the four schools that will last far into their high school years.

“It is unique for schools to come together to do a set of options. This also allows for familiarity between students and the different administrations. They know we’re administrators, and they’re comfortable talking to any of us throughout the year. If we see them in town or at sports games, we’re not unfamiliar. It brings a sense of community for the kids by coming together it shows them they’re still the W.E.S.T.,” said Ram.

Worthington is excited to give his students an opportunity they wouldn’t receive without the combined efforts of each school.

His students have been optimistic and positive about their new opportunities, even though the commute can take a fair amount of time.

“They see the bigger picture that they’re part of Parkland School Division and not just part of one small rural school. They’re part of the bigger vision and this gives them the opportunity to see that. The school division wants to provide them with as many opportunities as they can. Although the bus ride may be a little bit lengthy, it’s worth it for the opportunities that they have,” said Worthington.

lee.butler@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: @Lee_RepEx1

# Changes to improve student engagement.

Many junior high schools in rural areas are limited by factors such as staff, resources, space, time, money and experience when it comes to providing optional classes to students. Seba Beach is also in this predicament, being a school of less than 150 students ECS through grade 12. To increase the opportunities for the students for students at Seba as well as the three schools (Tomahawk, Wabamun, Entwistle) which are all thirteen minutes away. The schools in the far western portion of Parkland School Division run collaborative WEST end options. Ironically WEST stands for the four schools that are involved:

Wabamun  – W

Entwistle    – E

Seba Beach – S

Tomahawk – T

By joining the schools for options we almost double the number of optional classes that the students can choose from, which is amazing for the students.

However, at the end of the last school year, while planning for the next school years scheduling. I noticed that there is a sufficient amount of time during the week that Seba Beach could run some of these same options as in-house options. Now, I know that some teachers and administrators out there are thinking two things :

This is going to be more work for the teachers?

Are teachers going to be taking away time from the core subjects to allocate for this additional option time?

The truth of it, is the answers for the questions are yes and no, respectively. Yeah there many be some more time that the teachers have to plan for and some more work in relation to keeping students motivated, but what it the outcome.

Students that are participating and enjoying their learning experience

That is a more than acceptable trade off. Remember it is all about the kids. Aside from this there is another benefit and it is not solely to that of my students. With the students in my school having the other options earlier in the week. It leaves additional spaces for the other schools students to participate in those options instead of competing for spots. I will be honest, it does mean that my students do get two options per term instead of one., but that only means that they have a better rounded year. I am looking forward to the start up and running of our new in-house options program.

I do however have one request, if you have an idea for an option that you believe would be feasible in a small rural school please share. It will be greatly appreciated.