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New cash to cut sizes of classrooms

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The Selinger government outlined a $15-million plan Wednesday to fix or build 28 new classrooms in six school divisions to meet its 2011 promise of capping kindergarten to Grade 3 enrolment at 20 students provincewide by 2017.

Premier Greg Selinger and Education Minister Nancy Allan made the announcement at 400-student John de Graff Elementary School in Valley Gardens, which will see two additional classrooms.

"Two additional classrooms will allow us to meet the objective of getting it down to about 20 children per class," Selinger said.

Selinger said the money for the classroom expansions, mostly in growing neighbourhoods, will come from the new Manitoba Building and Renewal Plan, which is to be funded through the July 1 increase of the provincial sales tax to eight per cent.

"It does make a big difference," Selinger said. "We can then afford to plan these things ahead of time, put them in place and then pay for them."

During the 2011 election campaign, the NDP also said capping kindergartento- Grade 3 class sizes at 20 in Manitoba would require 240 more teachers. The province has committed $20 million for new teachers over five years to reduce early-years class sizes. That includes $4 million in the coming year to hire 69 full-time teachers.

The NDP also estimated it would cost $85 million to expand schools to meet the new requirement.

Selinger said other school expansions — not just more portable classrooms — are in the works.


Can you do the math? It’s time to put parents to the test

Parents have likely been doing cartwheels since learning this week Manitoba is going back to the future with the kindergarten-to-Grade-8 math curriculum this fall.

Kids will memorize their times tables, and they’ll be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide on paper and in their heads before they even dream of using a calculator to do math.

In addition, Education Minister Nancy Allan is providing parents with a website to help them know what their kids are learning and help them work with their kids.

All fine and dandy, but what about the math the kids will learn after they nail the basic skills of arithmetic?

How would parents do on a typical school test?

Here are some typical questions, with answers below. Note that students get marks for understanding the problem and showing how they solved it, not just being marked for the right answer:

1. Department of Education: Grade 7 question involving percentages.

Grade 7

Question: 1 per cent of a number is 8.6

a) What is 10 per cent of that number?

b) What is 25 per cent of that number?

c) What is 100 per cent of that number?


2. Winnipeg School Division Grade 8 common test:

a) 3:5 is the same as 12:

b) 5 divided by ½=

c) 125 per cent of $40 is


Pan-Canadian Assessment Program, provided by the Canadian Council of Ministers of Education:

3. A talent show will start with a 10-minute introduction, and each skit is allowed 5 minutes. The talent show is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. and end at 9 p.m. The total length of time of the talent show can be represented by the equation T=10+5s, where T represents the total time of the show in minutes, and s represents the number of skits. Using the equation, determine how many skits will be in the talent show

4. Sarah plays a game. After two weeks, Sarah has 105 points. After the third week, she has 135 points. Which of the following could be used to calculate the percentage increase in Sarah’s point total?

a) 135-105, /135, x100

b) 135-105, /105, x100

c) 135/105, x100

d) 105/135, x100


Math teachers use Singapore Math (R), a registered trademark of Singapore Math Inc., to challenge students. These are Grade 6 examples:

5. The average price of three shirts is $12. One of the shirts costs $p and a second shirt costs $10.

a) Express the price of the third shirt in terms of p in the simplest form.

b) What is the price of the third shirt if p is $13.50?


6. Simplify the following:

a) 20a+14-8a–7

b) b+6b-2b



1. — a) 86 b) 215 c) 860

2. — a) 20 b) 10 c) $50

3. — 22

4. — b)

5. — a) $(26-p) b) $12.50 6. — a) 12a+7 b) 5b


— compiled by Nick Martin

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