John Fuller Elementary

51 Pine Street

North Conway, NH 03860


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Dear John Fuller Families:

   Happy Pi Day!  No, I’m not talking about pastry filled with yummy fruits.  Pi is the mathematical term used to represent the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter.  It is equal to approximately 3.14, therefore celebrated on March 14th, or the 14th day of the 3rd month.   One of the cool things about pi is that it is always the same, no matter the size of the circle.  Babylonians, Egyptians and Greeks have made use of this relationship for thousands of years.   We continue to use it today to solve real world problems.  Engineers solve electrical problems, aviation experts to calculate fuel needs for planes and statisticians track population dynamics all using Pi.

While working with a number that has over a trillion digits after the decimal point may be a little intimidating, Pi represents one way in which mathematics is used as a tool to solve problems.  As we implement Common Core Standards in mathematics, we are working to develop students’ abilities to apply the concepts and skills they are learning. Research shows that in high-performing countries their mathematics curriculum is much more focused and coherent.  Mathematics curriculum in the US has often been described as “a mile wide and an inch deep.”  In tackling this challenge, the authors of the Common Core Standards have identified Eight Standards of Mathematical Practice.  These standards outline areas in which teachers of mathematics should seek to develop skills in their students.  They include:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively

  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

  4. Model with mathematics

  5. Use appropriate tools effectively

  6. Attend to precision

  7. Look for and make sure of structure

  8. Look for and express regularly in repeated reasoning 


Fluency with math facts is of huge importance to children’s success.  Accuracy and speed are key. If children are spending significant time and energy just trying to figure out the product of 6x4 then there is little left for them to understand what it really means.  Think about it in terms of reading.  Learning letters and sounds is just as fundamental in learning to read as knowing math facts is to future math learning. Becoming fluent with math facts takes practice, practice, and more practice. But, it is time well spent.  Having the ability to manipulate numbers mentally is critical to mathematical thinking and future success in higher mathematics.  That is one reason we are working to reinforce math facts through our March Madness program.  Our goal is to encourage students to develop fluency with their facts and have some fun at the same time.  

So how can you support your children in this new era of mathematics instruction?  First of all, keep a positive attitude about mathematics.  So often I hear people say, “I’m not good at math.”  Why is that okay?  Most people would readily admit that they struggle with reading.  It is fine for math to be challenging.  It just can’t be a reason to give up or not try. As author Stephanie Harvey said, “Smart is not something you are.  Smart is something you get.” We also encourage you to reinforce those math facts at home.  Children can practice with flash cards, games, or on the computer.  You could have a “fact of the day” that you rehearse over and over.   Rote drill is a popular and proven method for learning math facts.  You can also look for opportunities for real life application of math skills.  Take turns estimating the cost of a series of items at the grocery store.  Figure out how to double or halve a recipe.  See how quickly children can estimate quantities. Finally, we encourage parents of children in kindergarten through second grade to attend our Family Math Night on April 3rd sponsored by Title 1.   By working together, we will be able to better support our students in the development of their mathematical thinking skills.               


                                                        Mrs. Wilson

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Thank you to all of the Grandparents for spending the morning with us here at John Fuller School!

Monday, April 21st-Friday,  April 25th, April Vacation

Thursday, May 1st, Kindergarten Info Night, 5:30-6:30

Thursday, May 15th & Friday May 16th, Kindergarten Registration