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RTG Education | Lifestyle | Recipes | Math Games | Did You Know?!





Working successfully within a diverse environment | pg. 2

How to get your child interested in math contests | pg. 5

Our Kindergarten curriculum is growing rapidly | pg. 3

Halloween treats | pgs. 6-7



Treat yourself with this issue’s Special Halloween Edition of Spooky Play. Solve Brain Splatter and learn Scary Jokes | pg. 8

KIM’S KORNER Reaching Out


Spirit of Math Schools Inc.

About Kim A loving mother and wife, an innovative entrepreneur, and a voice of authority in education; Spirit of Math Schools CEO and Co-founder, Kim Langen, is dedicated to “Releasing the Genius” in every child around the globe. Kim has an extensive background in mathematics and education; she holds a Bachelor of Education degree in Math and Science from the University of Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Science Honours degree in Biology from Queen’s University. A Canadian teacher; Kim has taught at numerous high schools in Toronto and was the Head of Academics at The Bethany Hills School before incorporating Spirit of Math in 1995. Kim was named Entrepreneur of the Year by EY (Ernst & Young) finalist and is a member of Chatelaine’s W100 2015 List of Top Female Entrepreneurs, amongst her many mentions and awards.


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The last time I went to Pakistan I brought a special flask that could keep cold liquids cold and hot liquids hot for many hours. I thought this would be the perfect gift for our driver, Afzal, who would, at times, sit for several hours waiting for us to finish our work. Afzal accepted the gift with a great big smile and grateful bow – he couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t speak Urdu, so this communication style worked for both of us. A couple of days after the gift was given to him, Afzal told Zorain, our translator, that the flask was empty. Zorain told him, “yes” that is right. “But why would someone want to give me something that is empty?” replied our driver. Zorain explained to him that it wasn’t what was in the flask that was the gift: it was the flask itself. This discussion ensued for a while, with Zorain trying to link the ideas and values of one group of people with another. This is an example of the extreme dichotomy of our world. What one person may believe is the right way to think, and therefore how to understand this world, is often dramatically different than another. The reality is that all of us grew up differently and therefore understand the world differently. To understand from another perspective is very complex and critically important. The focus of our most recent conference for all those who work with Spirit of Math was “Reaching Out”, with special attention to how one understands people from different cultures. In Spirit of Math, our cultural diversity exists within employees and students. Understanding others, and learning to understand how those from very different worlds understand “how to understand this world”, is extremely important: not only to work well with one another, but also to teach others. As a parent who is looking to ensure that their child is educated as well as possible for the future, I believe that learning how to work with others is one of the most important skills for a child to learn. For our children to be able to be excellent problem solvers of tomorrow, and our future leaders, they will have to understand this world in multiple ways. They will need to see this world from a variety of perspectives. Providing opportunities to learn in an environment that allows students to share their ideas, and to listen to the ideas of others, will teach them to think and reason from different viewpoints. Providing them with problems that require the input and discussion from many team members will help them understand the value of others, and the value of different perspectives regarding how to think of a problem – not just how to think through the problem. This is what we are doing in Spirit of Math with our cooperative group work, and this is why we don’t just do individualized tutoring. Reaching out isn’t only a one-way transaction: it requires a multiplicity of understanding that can be profoundly different than the way we initially thought. Working with our students, to be open to a new understanding, is opening the world to new thinking, which will generate original solutions to the biggest problems of our world. z Spirit of Math® is a thought leader, influencer, change maker and an authoritative voice in higher education. Spirit of Math (SoM) is an exclusive Canadian after-school preparatory math enrichment program for high-performing and gifted students from Kindergarten to Grade 11. For over 30 years, students are being taken from the top of their class to the top of their world with nearly 7,800 students, impressing peers and faculty across 40+ campuses throughout Canada, in the United States and now in Pakistan. The unique curriculum challenges and enhances students’ problem-solving strategies and logical thinking, resulting in students finding themselves on national and international mathematics honour rolls year-in and year-out. SoM has been increasing the standard of excellence in global math education; its successful program was asked to exclusively represent Canada at the World Mathematical Olympiad (WMO) in Beijing, China on August 12, 2017. SoM’s Team Canada (Grades 3-6) competed on the world stage and proudly earned Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. SEPT/OCT 2017 ISSUE

SoM NEWS The Development of Our Kindergarten Curriculum

Spirit of Math’s youngest students tackle complex mathematical concepts early in their educational development. Enter a SoM campus, and you’ll find students as young as four years old fully engaged in our Kindergarten curriculum of drills, working collaboratively to solve puzzles, and developing their numeracy skills as they improve their mental math abilities. Spirit of Math’s Kindergarten curriculum was developed from the ground up through in-class examination, experimentation, research and analysis, using the SoM approach of integrating the four elements of drills, problem solving, core number theory, and cooperative group work. Kindergarten classes introduce various concepts that develop skills in automaticity, logical thinking, spatial sense, and the language of mathematics.


WARM-UP: The warm-up element of the Kindergarten class prepares students for the lessons ahead. It involves practice writing to build communication skills and solving a variety of puzzles. In their warm-ups, the students work in pairs to solve Tangrams and 3-D Building Block puzzles to build spatial sense and develop their cooperative group work skills, and students also play the Rush Hour Logic game to enhance their strategical thinking skills. DRILLS: Drills are designed to teach students to recognize SEPT/OCT 2017 ISSUE

patterns in mathematics and number-fact-automaticity. Drills help students increase their speed and accuracy. Drills in skip counting help build the early foundations of repeated addition (multiplication) by 2, 5 and 10, addition by 2, 9 and10, regrouping to 10 and 20, and super speed. PROBLEM SOLVING: The problem-solving element of the program engages students in their understanding of the core principles of the lessons with a focus on patterning, students solve word problems designed to encourage detailed reading of instructions and number order. CORE NUMBER THEORY: SoM’s Kindergarten program lays the foundation for students to approach addition equations in a more efficient way with lessons in making tens, regrouping, and strings. Strings help students build automaticity, teaching them to mentally keep track of numbers so as they age they can use this skill to keep up with Mental Math exercises. Once Kindergarten students acquire the skill-set of skip counting by 2, 5 and 10, they can tackle multiplication and integers. Other units include Cartesian planes, data analysis, geometry, integers, multiplication, symmetry, money, and Tiles and Tessellations. INDEPENDENT ASSIGNMENTS: Students work at home independently with the assistance of their parents or guardians on 4 different assignments. z pg. 3

SoM NEWS Reaching Out At Our Annual SoM Conference 2017 We realize that the more we continue to educate our employees, our franchisees and ourselves, the better we can continue to successfully teach our students and teachers. “The development of strong professionals is a continual process and requires not only regular professional development times during the year, but also times to meet as larger groups to gain new insights and strengthen skills,” says Kim Langen, CEO and Co-Founder. “The SoM conference was a time to do just that, and more. This year we met to share ideas about mathematics education in addition to learning how to effectively use vertical spaces, how to work with students with specific disabilities and how to work more effectively with auditory and visual learners.” This year our annual 2-day Business and Education Conference, held in September and themed Reaching Out, focused on engaging discussions about relating with others through leadership, innovation, cultural diversity and giving back. Our conference involved team collaboration

to math, teaching students ‘why’ is super important, not just telling them ‘here, memorize these facts. Here is an equation, plug the numbers in.’. At Spirit of Math, right from the get-go we encourage the students to figure out the ‘whys’. Right off the bat we present them with a problem and right away they can look at it and experiment, and learn, and understand connections, eventually working up

“This year we met to share ideas about mathematics education in addition to learning how to effectively use vertical spaces, how to work with students with specific disabilities and how to work more effectively with auditory and visual learners.” grade-specific sessions, fun team building exercises, and multiple round-table discussions that included topics on How to Create Excitement for Math Competitions, Prepping for Class: What Works, Challenging Your Stronger Students and so much more. According to SoM Teacher Mary White, the annual education conference is the perfect demonstration of Spirit of Math’s ongoing commitment to the development of its educators. “Teachers at Spirit of Math are held to a standard of content mastery and pedagogical excellence, and I am consistently inspired to meet that standard,” says White, “Feedback from other teachers is invaluable, and we learn so much by seeing how others are delivering the same curriculum. All teachers could benefit from training in the Spirit of Math method.” One Spirit of Math teacher Christie Cooper, who looks forward to the annual conference, said: “When it comes pg. 4

to the concept.” Guest speakers included Michael King (National Director: Solutions and Data Analytics at Drake International), and Naheed Bardai (Head of Middle Division at Upper Canada College). Michael King gave a riveting talk about the important role diversity plays in any organization, while Naheed Bardai inspired our teachers with his stories about giving back and helping less privileged students. “The focus was ‘Reaching Out,’ so that we could better understand the thinking of people and students from different cultures,” emphasized Kim Langen. “Our Campus Directors, Campus Owners and Principals focused on leadership in a culturally diverse organization, and all our educators heard from Naheed Bardai who spoke about his work with the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa. He focused on his passion: pluralism and our role as educators. The content was serious, and the mood exciting!” z SEPT/OCT 2017 ISSUE

SoM TIPS Getting Students Excited About Math Contests Math contests are an effective and engaging way for students to apply their knowledge and challenge their skill sets. During the past few weeks, letters have been handed out to invite SoM students to write math contests created by math organizations and universities, and hosted at select Spirit of Math campuses “Competitions are important for math students, because they can learn new things,” says Tristan Scarlett, an avid math contest participant who recently represented Spirit of Math’s Team Canada at the 2017 World Mathematical Olympiad in Beijing, China. “For example, a new type of division they didn’t know before, then they can work on that and it can potentially become something very big in their future.” Math contests serve as a fantastic way to introduce the concept of competitions to students and help them to prepare for more challenging competitions which offer valuable scholarships. The CEMC contest for example, created by University of Waterloo, is open to students in Grades 7-12. Students who write the Euclid CEMC Contest are eligible for scholarship consideration by UoW’s Faculty of Mathematics. Students who tend to participate in math competitions build their character and confidence, while demonstrating that they are risk-takers who are willing to overcome adversity and are always ready to step outside their comfort zones. These are the character traits that will help your child excel in our increasingly competitive world. Most recently, Spirit of Math students proudly achieved Gold, Silver and Bronze medals at the 2017 WMO Competition in Beijing. Last year almost 1,300 SoM students were named to national math contest honour rolls. z


Internal contests are offered during regular Spirit of Math class time and are a part of the curriculum. However, students do not need to be enrolled in the program to participate. These contests include the annual SoM contests for students in Grades 1 to 4 and the Grade 4 Canadian National Math League (CNML) contest. SoM contests are prepared by our teachers and aim at giving students in grades 1 to 4 the opportunity to apply the knowledge they’ve learned in our program while comparing their approach to various problems and solutions with their peers.


External contests are those offered outside of Spirit of Math’s after-school class time. These contests are designed by universities and other education institutions; students will compete against other students from around the province, country, continent and world. Many are hosted by Spirit of Math as well as offered at students’ day schools. Examples of these contests are the COMC contest (Canadian Open Mathematics Challenge), CNML Grades 5-8 contests (Canadian National Math League), Mathematica, and the wide range of CEMC contests (Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing) offered by the University of Waterloo.

CAN YOU SOLVE THIS SoM GRADE 1 CONTEST QUESTION? Omar could hardly wait! This was the day he would have his favourite meal, a juicy hamburger with french fries. Today is 2 days after 3 days before Saturday. What day of the week is today?

A) Tuesday

B) Wednesday

C) Friday

D) Saturday

Answer: C Solution: Start at the end of the sentence: 3 days before Saturday is Wednesday; 2 days after Wednesday is Friday, so today is Friday.


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SoM TIPS RECIPES Ghostly Macaroons

Trick ‘r Treat Snack Mix



Peanut butter, candy corn and macaroons are three of my favorite things, so I combine them all to make one magical sweet that’s perfect for Halloween.

Here is a simple snack mix I created on the spur of the moment. It’s easy to toss together for a Halloween party or to package in individual bags for a fall bake sale. INGREDIENTS: 6 cups caramel corn 2 cups salted cashews or peanuts 1-1/2 cups candy corn 1/3 cup raisins DIRECTIONS: 1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 quarts. z

INGREDIENTS: 2 large egg whites 1/2 cup sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar 1/8 teaspoon salt 2-3/4 cups sweetened shredded coconut 1/3 cup candy corn, chopped 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips 1/4 cup peanut butter chips 1/4 cup finely chopped macadamia nuts 2/3 cup white or dark chocolate baking chips, melted DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat oven to 300°. In a small bowl, whisk the first five ingredients until blended. In a large bowl, mix coconut, candy corn, dark chocolate chips, peanut butter chips and nuts; stir in egg white mixture.

Werewolf Candy Bark BY PEGGIE BROTT | TASTEOFHOME.COM Here is a simple snack mix I created on the spur of the moment. It’s easy to toss together for a Halloween party or to package in individual bags for a fall bake sale. INGREDIENTS: 2 teaspoons butter 1-1/2 pounds white candy coating, coarsely chopped 2 cups pretzels, coarsely chopped 10 Oreo cookies, chopped 3/4 cup candy corn 3/4 cup dry roasted peanuts 1/2 cup milk chocolate M&M’s 1/2 cup Reese’s Pieces

2. Drop by tablespoonfuls 1 in. apart onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Bake 20-22 minutes or until light brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

DIRECTIONS: 1. Line a 15x10x1-in. baking pan with foil; grease foil with butter. In a microwave, melt candy coating; stir until smooth. Spread into prepared pan. Sprinkle with remaining ingredients; press into candy coating. Let stand about 1 hour.

3. Drizzle cookies with melted chips; let stand until set. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2 dozen. z

2. Break or cut bark into pieces. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 2-3/4 pounds. z

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SoMSoM RECIPES TIPS Spooky Spider Licorice Legs Cupcakes BY DARLA WESTER | TASTEOFHOME.COM Spooky Spider Cupcakes are creepy—and easy! Make a chocolate cupcake into a spider by adding a half-marshmallow “body” under the frosting, licorice legs and mini M&M eyes. Add chocolate sprinkles for a “hairy” effect. INGREDIENTS: 1 package chocolate cake mix (regular size) 2 cups sugar 1/2 cup baking cocoa 1/2 cup butter, cubed 1/2 cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 12 large marshmallows Chocolate Sprinkles 24 miniature marshmallows, cut in half 48 M&M’s minis 192 pieces black licorice (3 inches)


DIRECTIONS: 1. Prepare cake mix batter according to package directions. 2. Fill 24 paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350° for 21-26 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely. 3. For frosting, in a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; stir in vanilla. 4. Cool to 110°. Transfer to a large bowl. Beat until thickened and mixture begins to lose its gloss, about 8 minutes. 5. Cut large marshmallows in half crosswise; place a half on each cupcake. Frost marshmallow and top of cupcake. Dip cupcakes in sprinkles. Place a dab of frosting on each miniature marshmallow and press on to cupcakes. Place a dab of frosting on each M&M and press on to marshmallows for eyes. 6. For spider legs, use a metal or wooden skewer to poke four holes on opposite sides of cupcakes; insert a piece of licorice into each hole. Yield: 2 dozen.. z

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Find more SoM math problems, answers and solutions at engage.spiritofmath.com

Brain Splatter Answer: There are 9 Scary Zombies.

In the Spooky Math School there are very Creepy Spiders and Scary Zombies. If the Spooky School Teacher counts 14 heads and 58 legs, how many Scary Zombies attend the Spooky Math School?

Scary Math Jokes!

Spooky Word Search BAT

Did you know that if you laid all the candy corn end-to-end that is sold annually — more than 35 million pounds, according to the National Confectioners Association — it would circle the moon 21 times. And if you took all the bones from your body and laid them end-to-end…well, you’d be dead. What is the weight of all the bones in an average human body?


One skele-ton.


Did you hear about the vampire who became a logician?


He studies Boo-lean algebra.


What does a math teacher say to his students on Halloween?




Profile for Spirit of Math

RTG NewsMagazine | September/October 2017  

RTG NewsMagazine | September/October 2017