Tag Archives: curriculum

Counting Down…

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Countdowns are always exciting – whether it be for a New Year’s toast, a space launch, or in this case, the beginning of an exciting NEW school year at Posnack. Our NEW Fischer High School building and RAM Gym continue to exceed all of our expectations with impressive classrooms, science labs, a lecture hall, and a black box theater equipped with the latest in comfort and technology. Exciting programming is planned for all divisions as we integrate NEW electives into our curriculum including digital photography and theater production.

As you continue to enjoy your summer traveling, relaxing and spending time with family and friends, join us as we count down to what promises to be an amazing school year ahead. Thank you too for all the emails and texts I’ve received this week wishing me well as I embark on an exciting journey as the Middle School principal. The countdown continues as we move towards the best year yet!

Climbing the Ladder…

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I am excited to announce that this blog has been ranked by the Teach100 website!

 Blog rankings are updated daily, so with your assistance, we can watch together as Curriculum Corner moves up the ladder. Please share this blog with your friends and family so that they too can see what sets Posnack’s curriculum apart from all the others.

Leading the Way…

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It’s hard to believe the summer of 2014 is already coming to an end. Back-to-school specials fill the stores and children are returning home from summer camps and family trips around the world. Posnack families kept in touch through social media sites, and our very own Ram News featured students and their family members boasting of their Posnack connection by wearing Ram gear and holding up signs proclaiming #posnackeverywear.

So while Chaucer’s well-known proverb, “All good things must come to an end” seems fitting during these last few days, I prefer to think more along the lines of “The best is yet to come.” Posnack is proudly entering it’s 40th year with a wide array of NEW additions to the curriculum, NEW technology, and the ground-breaking for a NEW high school building and gym! Computer coding, a 3-D printer, personal finance courses, innovative engineering programs – these are just a few of the exciting changes students will find when they return to our school next week.

For those readers outside of the Posnack community, I wish you a school year filled with learning that is engaging, challenging, and interactive. This is a wonderful time to be a student in a school rich with technology, as well as for teachers with a passion for their profession. Experiential and interactive learning give students the chance to see their vision become a reality and to make the connection from classroom learning to real-world living. With all the tools and technology available to our students today, I truly believe that the best is yet to come. Thank you, Posnack, for leading the way.

 

 

Let’s not accept “I can’t…”

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I don’t frequently post “retweets,” but the following was begging to be shared. With the introduction this past year of our new math curriculum, an added focus was on engaging students in the Lower School by introducing hands-on activities, projects, and competitions. The goal was not just to “teach” math, but rather to change the mindset of so many students who feel they were born with a predestination to fail all things mathematical. Dispelling the myth that a math gene is part of our chromosomal makeup proved to be a challenge, but I know that we made tremendous headway in convincing students that practice and perseverance can go a long way towards mathematical success.

The following alternative suggestions to “I can’t” statements don’t just apply to math and they certainly are not limited to kids. Conrad Hall, a well-respected and brilliant cinematographer, was quoted as saying “You are always a student, never a master.” Retraining our brain to look for better methods, strategies, or solutions is the message we want to send to our children. Let’s not allow them to settle for “I can’t” when “I CAN” may be just a strategy away.

Thank you to @casas_jimmy for tweeting this picture, as well as to the unknown originator.

If the answer is correct, why do I need to show my work?

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Remember when it was enough to just come up with the right answer? While your teacher may have admonished you to “show your work,” credit was given simply based upon whether or not you got the correct answer to a given problem.  An algorithm was taught in Math class, you used that algorithm to work through several problems, and it didn’t matter if you really understood what you were doing as long as you memorized the necessary steps.

Fast-forward now to “Mathematics the Posnack Way” where the standards for demonstrating proficiency in Mathematics have changed. Research has shown that as a predictor of future mathematics success, a student’s understanding of a mathematical task is equally as important as his ability to demonstrate computational skills. But how do you know when your child “understands” a concept or idea? If your child can recite his multiplication tables without hesitation, isn’t he demonstrating proficiency in a valuable skill?

The answer is a resounding “YesANDNo!” Yes – your child has memorized an algorithm for finding the product of two numbers. This IS a necessary skill and will greatly benefit your child as he moves forward to higher levels of math. But does this ability to recite numbers based on rote memorization demonstrate a strong number sense? No – it does not. A strong number sense is not developed from memorizing facts or algorithms, but rather when children use learned strategies and an understanding of numerical relationships to solve problems.

At Posnack, our focus is on a problem-centered Mathematics curriculum. Students are encouraged to use manipulatives, drawings, games, and graphic representations to solve a variety of word problems. By discovering not just the “how” behind problem solving, but the “why” as well, your child will not only become a mathematical thinker, but will develop a life-long love and appreciation for Mathematics.

So what will your answer be the next time your child asks the question “Why do I need to show my work?” Before answering, consider this quote from Paul Lockhart, a mathematician, teacher, and author:

It is the story that matters, not just the ending.