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Month: December 2015

Civic Garden Center: Aligning Garden Lessons to Common Core

Civic Garden Center: Aligning Garden Lessons to Common Core

The Civic Garden Center offers bimonthly workshops to teachers free of charge in an effort to build a community of gardeners to support all of the amazing efforts happening in our region.

The December workshop is happening December 17th and is titled “Aligning Garden Lessons to Common Core.” This workshop is presented by the Greenacres Foundation Garden Educators.

Programs officially start at 4pm but you are welcome to come at 3:30pm to enjoy a “beer with a botanist” and work through current garden challenges.

Advance registration is appreciated but not required. Each session we will have a table of free resources and certificates for continuing education units.

Contact Mary Dudley at 513.221.0981 for details and registration.

Visit the Civic Garden Center website for more information:

2015-2016 PTO Family Directory

2015-2016 PTO Family Directory

This year, the PTO has been working on a publishing a PTO School Family Directory. After a lot of work transcribing, organizing, and proofreading we are ready to share the first draft copy of the directory.

If you provided your information to be included in the directory, you should have received an email message at the address you provided with a link to the directory.

If you didn’t get the message, or you want to add your information to the directory, please send an email message to: directory @

We will be updating the directory throughout the year and publishing new versions as we get new information.

Printed copies of the directory will be available for everyone who attends the PTO meeting on Wednesday.

Student Council Presents: A Winterful Spirit Week

Student Council Presents: A Winterful Spirit Week

Matching Monday

Match/Coordinate attire …may be same colors or clothes…your choice.

Top It Off Tuesday

Hats/Wig/Headdress of any kind. Can be festive/holiday if you choose.

Woke Up Like This Wednesday

PJ Day. Come to school in your warm and cozy winter PJs.

Throw Back Thursday

Any era, character…(ex: 80’s or old actor/singer).

Festive Friday

Any holiday wear. ex: Fancy, Ugly Christmas/holiday sweater, or traditional red/green.


Bedtime problems boost kids’ math performance

Bedtime problems boost kids’ math performance


“Mommy? Daddy? Read me a word problem,” is probably not a request that many parents hear. Yet if a school child’s parents replace a bedtime story with a math discussion even one night a week, the child’s math skills may improve markedly compared with peers who listen to nonmathematical stories, a new study shows. The effect is sizable: Over the course of one 9-month school year, students who do bedtime math gain on average the equivalent of a 3-month advantage over their peers, researchers report online today in Science. The approach even works if the parents have math anxiety and generally shy away from discussing math with their children.

Educational experts generally applaud the new work, though they note it will take more investigation to understand why the strategy works. “I think it’s a fantastic study,” says James Stigler, an educational psychologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, who was not involved in the work. “But it is just the beginning.” Andee Rubin, a mathematician and computer scientist at TERC, a nonprofit educational researcher and development company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, agrees. “I’m interested in teasing it apart and seeing what makes this effective.”

Most parents understand that to help their children develop academically they should read to them, says Sian Beilock, a cognitive psychologist at the University of Chicago in Illinois and an author of the new study. But parents often assume that the school will take care of math instruction, she notes. “Our hope is that this study helps change the notion that math is the purview of the school and shows that talking about math at home is helpful,” Beilock says.

To evaluate the effects of a little bedtime math, Beilock, psychologist Susan Levine, and colleagues at the University of Chicago recruited 587 first-graders from 22 schools, public and private, richer and poorer, in the Chicago metropolitan area. The parents of each child were given a tablet computer with which to read to the child at bedtime. Four hundred and twenty families were told to use it to work through word problems related to counting, shapes, arithmetic, fractions, and probability using a freely available and independently created app called Bedtime Math. Another 167 families were instructed to use a reading app. With a standardized test, the researchers assessed all the subjects’ mathematics performance at the beginning and end of the school year.

Not surprisingly, use of the reading app made little difference to the children’s math performance. In contrast, doing math at bedtime had a significant effect: Children who used the app two or more times per week outpaced peers whose family rarely used it. “It’s like they’ve had 3 months more of math instruction,” Beilock says. “In the real world that’s a pretty big effect.”

Perhaps most important, use of the app brought students whose parents said they were anxious about math up to par with those whose parents were at ease with the subject. Among children whose family rarely used the math app, those with math-phobic parents made only half as much progress as the children of parents comfortable with math. But doing bedtime math even once a week eliminated the performance gap.

Stigler says the study is particularly impressive for its size and for being done outside a laboratory setting. “You don’t have to guess whether [the technique] will work in everyday life because the study was done in everyday life,” he says.

Why the technique was so effective remains to be determined, Rubin says. “What makes this different from helping your kid with their homework?” she asks. “Is it because it’s on an iPad? Is it because it’s in place of a story? Why did the people who used it use it?”

Beilock says she suspects that the delivery mechanics—computer or paper—don’t matter, but that the key is talking to your child about math. That should become as routine as bedtime reading, she says. Stigler says it’s an attainable goal. “I don’t think you’re going to see a huge cultural shift,” he says. “But a study like this, if it’s well publicized, can make a difference.”

Bowers notes that the study was funded by Overdeck Family Foundation, whose chair, Laura Overdeck, established the nonprofit Bedtime Math foundation, which makes the app. Beilock acknowledges that connection, but adds that the authors have no financial interest in app and the foundation had no control over the data. “It’s all in the paper,” she says, “so people can draw whatever conclusion they want.”

And here’s the app on both the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.

End of the Year Ideas

End of the Year Ideas

Wanted: Ideas to make this End of Year Celebration better than ever. Please reach out to Liz Kitchell ( today to get involved. All ideas are welcome as well as any helping hands. This is a really fun day for everyone!!!

PTO Holiday Open House – December 16

PTO Holiday Open House – December 16

This month join us on the 3rd Wednesday of the month, December 16th, from 5:30-7:00 PM for our first PTO Holiday Open House. We will have festive foods, music and plenty of time to meet other parents, talk with school staff and share ideas. Child watch will begin at 6:00 PM and we will provide pizza for the kids. You are welcome to potluck in a favorite holiday side dish or appetizer to share but it is not required.

We will have free time to mingle, and also break out into some discussion groups to build plans for upcoming events and projects. We really hope to get to know more parents from our Parker Woods Montessori family, so please plan on joining us!