Doing Mathematics with Your Child (Kindergarten to Grade 6)
Today, critical thinking, problem solving, reasoning ability and ability to communicate mathematically are essential skills. These processes are the foundation of mathematics instruction in Ontario schools. “Doing Mathematics with Your Child” is a guide available for parents of students in Kindergarten to Grade 6. This guide offers ways to engage their child in thinking and talking about mathematics around the four strands: number sense and numeration, measurement, patterning and algebra, and data management and probability.
Please use the link below to access the guide in English and 13 other languages:
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/parentGuideNum.html


Art and Math
Art and math have a lot in common with each other. In fact you can see the math in art and the art in math! Patterns, shapes, geometry, symmetry, spatial reasoning, proportional reasoning, etc… are all a part of the arts (visual art, music and dance), as they are of mathematics.
Some of what you see your child doing in school in the arts, is also an engagement with mathematical ideas at the same time! By blending mathematics and the arts, students learn in ways that are intellectual, emotional and physical. Children learn in many different ways, and research tells us that participating in the arts is one way that is very engaging for all of us.
A child stringing beads in a pattern on a string or creating a patterned bracelet is creating an understanding of patterning, although to them it may look simply like a pleasing design. When a child learns to play the piano, they are developing mathematical understanding of the relationships between scales, notes and chords. Symmetry can be seen in the symmetrical features of a butterfly or in a design when building. Children may notice patterns in wallpaper, tile tessellations on the floor or on a phone cover, rhythmic beats or repeated choreography in music videos or chords in a popular song. There is math everywhere!
How might you and your child notice and name the mathematics in the arts (visual, music and dance) that you encounter? Making the links helps deepen the understanding of both!
Interested in more?! Search on the internet for “golden ratio” to see an example of mathematics at work in nature and art!


Communicating with Children Using Math Language
Talking About Math:
Talking about mathematics with your child – whatever his or her age – helps strengthen his or her mathematical reasoning and understanding. Some ways to keep the talk engaged and focused while you support your child include:
 Revoice  Repeat what you heard your child say, then ask for clarification (e.g., “So you are saying it’s an odd number?”).
 Repeat/Restate – Ask your child to restate your reasoning (e.g., “Can you repeat what I said in your own words?”).
 Reason – Ask your child to apply his or her own reasoning to someone else’s reasoning (e.g., “Do you agree or disagree? Tell me why.”).
 Adding On – Prompt your child to participate further (e.g., “What more would you add to that?”).
 Think Time – Wait several seconds (try five) to give your child time to think (e.g., “Take some time to think.”). You may be surprised by how hard it is to stay silent in that time!


Everyday Mathematics:
Daily Decisions
We all use mathematics daily in what we do. Involve your child in using numbers to solve problems and make those everyday decisions with you. For example:
 “Do we have enough plates and utensils for all the guests coming for the birthday party?”
 “We are doubling this recipe. How much of all the ingredients will we need?”
 “We are fertilizing the lawn. The fertilizer bag covers three square meters. How many will we need?”
 “This store is selling the game you want for 20% off of $27.00. That store is selling the same game for $19.99. Where should we shop?”


Growth Mindset in Math
In general, a growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and ‘smartness’ can also be learned and that the brain grows from experience and effort. The opposite, a fixed mindset, is the idea that you are smart, or you are not. In math, that translates into “some people are good at math, and some are not.” Did you know that praising efforts rather than intelligence or results can impact your child’s ability to persevere in challenges?! The goal is to have children thrive on challenges and see failures, not as a sign of low intelligence, but as a learning opportunity. Brain research tells us that making mistakes actually wires more connections into the brain! When a person has a growth mindset, they accept challenges, see their efforts as worthwhile, and are open to learning from mistakes. Students with a growth mindset achieve at higher levels than those with fixed mindsets. How can you help? Some simple ways:
 Adding “yet” when they claim they are “not good at this” (Respond: “You are not good at this yet.”)
 Ask questions that focus on their effort and choices and get them to reflect on satisfaction of that effort (e.g. What did you learn today? What mistake did you make that taught you something? What did you try hard at today?)
 Model this yourself as you share about your day


Holiday Math: Take advantage of math in the world
Summer is a great time to learn how math relates to the real world. Math is everywhere!
Help your child prevent “summer learning loss” by taking advantage of the many great opportunities to practice math naturally!
Below are a few ideas to get you started:
 Cooking can involve weighing, measuring, ordering, estimating, adding, multiplying …
 Restaurants and shopping can involve money, number identification, estimating, adding, subtracting, division …
 Parties can involve matching numbers of people to plates, cutlery, area of tables, estimation,
multiplication …
 Trips can involve time, distance, budgeting, speed, evaluating various routes, license plate games (e.g. adding or multiplying the numbers on the plate) …
 Home projects can involve estimation, measuring, multiplication …
 Gardening can involve measuring, counting, area, division …
These ideas all demonstrate how much math is involved in our daily lives and will support your child in his or her basic computation and problemsolving skills in natural, fun and real ways.


Homework Help for Students Grade 7 to 10
Homework Help is a free online math help resource for students in Grades 710. Homework Help provides free, live oneonone tutoring from Ontario teachers Sunday to Thursday from 5:30pm – 9:30pm ET. The program is funded by the Ontario government and administered by TVO's Independent Learning Centre. To log in, students will need to register with their Ontario Education Number (OEN), found at the top of their report card near their name.
(Your child’s OEN never changes so any of their Ontario report cards will have it.)
https://homeworkhelp.ilc.org/
Note: Homework Help is offered in English and is only available to students at publicly funded schools.


Inspiring Your Child to Learn and Love Math
Inspiring Your Child to Learn and Love Math is a tool kit for parents developed by the Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE). This toolkit was created specifically for parents of children in the elementary grades in Ontario (Junior Kindergarten to Grade 8). The toolkit emphasizes the many ways in which parents’ help and support plays an important role in inspiring their children to learn and love mathematics. The goal of this resource is to provide parents with the most significant researchbased information to help them be the best, most knowledgeable and most confident supporters for their child's mathematics education.
Inspiring Your Child to Learn and Love Math provides modules with simple, but effective methods and materials for parents to support their child’s math learning. It shows parents how to get involved in their children's learning, and offers guidance for working with students of different ages. This Parent Tool Kit was developed by experts in mathematics education, with input and advice from parents and students. When families and educators join together, students of all ages can experience greater success in their learning.
Parents and educators alike can use the Implementation Guide to host a parent engagement session, and give parents in their school communities information they need to help their children navigate the K8 mathematics program.
The complete tool kit is available at:
English: http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/parent_engagementmath/en/index.htm
French: http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/parent_engagementmath/fr/index.htm


Learning to Count
When children are learning to count, they like to touch, point to and move objects as they say the number aloud – so encourage them to!
 Have your child count toys, kitchen utensils, items of clothing as they come out of the dryer, collections (such as stickers, buttons or rocks) and any other items your child shows interest in counting.
 Mix it up! Have your child count a set of objects but start at different places in the set (for example, start counting in the middle of the set rather than at the beginning). This helps to develop the idea that the counting of objects can begin with any object in a set and the total will still be the same.
 Sing counting songs and use counting in meaningful ways in games, such as HideandSeek. Counting games, rhymes and songs exist in every culture. Some counting songs and rhymes help children to count forward and backward as well.
 Have your child skip count (counting by twos, fives or tens) to count larger groups of items quickly. Use such objects as blocks, pasta pieces, toothpicks or buttons.
 Develop your child’s awareness of the symbols used to represent numbers by making it a game. Look for number symbols in your home and neighbourhood: on the television remote, on the microwave, on the telephone keypad, in flyers and media, on signs and on team sweaters.
 Play a number version of I Spy. For example, “I spy something that has the number five on it,” or “I spy something in this room that there are three of.”
 Ask for your child’s help to count items in your home. “I wonder how many chairs we have around the table? In this room? In the house?” Count windows, light switches, lamps or beds. You might record “how many” by using a combination of numbers and pictures.


Literacy and Numeracy on the Fridge – Video Podcast
In any household, the refrigerator door attracts a lot of traffic. That makes it the perfect place to post puzzles for children. Being able to solve problems and communicate your thoughts are skills that everyone needs. In this video podcast, Simaya age 6, thinks aloud as she solves the puzzles by herself. Her mom, Caroline, encourages her daughter to experiment and take risks. Asking her a question such as, "Why did you choose to do that first?" helps Simaya adjust and clarify her thinking. http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/abc123/eng/podcast/onfridgePod.html


Mathies.ca
Mathies.ca, hosted by Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME), is designed for Ontario K – 12 students and parents. This website includes games, learning tools, activities, and additional supports for students to explore, build and enhance their mathematical thinking. A parent ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section includes: “How can I help with the learning of mathematics?”, “What mathematics activities can we do together?”, “What digital supports are available?” and “What additional support is available?”
http://oame.on.ca/mathies/


Math and Picture Books
Reading to your child is both a wonderful way to spend time together and also an effective way to engage your child in conversation. Students of all ages love stories and love to talk about stories. “Literature provides students with opportunities to make connections with their own lives, provides a context to think and practise mathematics, and enriches students’ view of the world of mathematics.” A Guide to Effective Instruction in Mathematics, Kindergarten to Grade 6.
Listed below are a few titles to begin the conversation about mathematics at home. These picture books are connected to several math strands of the Ontario mathematics curriculum from your child’s report card:
 Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina (Number Sense and Patterning)
 The Doorbell Rang, by Pat Hutchins (Number Sense)
 Count to 10 with a Mouse, by Margaret Wise Brown (Number Sense)
 Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There IS? by Robert Wells (Number Sense and Measurement)
 Actual Size, by Steve Jenkins ( Measurement)
 One Grain of Rice, by Demi (Number Sense and Multiplication and Division)
 Grandfather Tang’s Story, by Ann Tompert (Geometry)
 Stone Soup, by Heather Forest (Data Management and Probability)
If you and your child are more comfortable in a language other than English, then read to your child in that language.
Your local public library may be helpful in choosing books connected to mathematics.
The link below may also be helpful to access digital books online in a number of languages:
International Digital Library: http://en.childrenslibrary.org/
