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Could paper be a solution to SA’s maths problem?

On Thursday 4 December, Minister of Basic Education Angie Motshekga announced the results of the Annual National Assessments (ANA), noting that Grade Nine mathematics remained ‘our Achilles heel’.  The ANA assessed the maths and language skills of more than seven million pupils in Grades One to Nine and found the Grade Nine class of 2014 scored ‘an unacceptably low’ average of 10.8%.

The Minister plans to launch an investigation into the matter. Meanwhile a mathematics development project involving thousands of South African maths educators and over four million learners is under way – using the medium of paper.

The Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) along with the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) and the professional education and curriculum development organisation, SATeacher, launched a teacher-training project in 2012 which incorporates a paper and recycling component into the Foundation and Intersen Phase school curriculum.

The programme, which has the approval of the Department of Basic Education (DBE), shows educators how to make use of simple and inexpensive paper-based resources like paper plates and cut-outs so they can make maths concepts more tangible for the learner.

Teaching minus paper equals a problem

“As the world continues to push aside paper and schools replace textbooks with tablets, our learners suffer the consequences, and not just in mathematics,” says Jane Molony, PAMSA executive director. She adds that studies into paper and digital learning are beginning to reveal that the tactile experience of paper-based materials promote better comprehension and information retention.

SATeacher co-founder and director Liezel Blom explains. “The mistake we often make is to get children to memorise maths; we then test this memorisation.” For example, memory counting from one to 20 does not prove that the learner grasps the concept of one object versus 20.

“For there to be a deep understanding and connection with maths, we need to be practical – using our brains, eyes, hands and fingers – which is why we use the concrete-representational-abstracti method,” says Liezel.

Educators are also provided with printed DBE and SATeacher workbooks, lesson plans and guidelines for easy-to-make paper resources. “All of the resources share the message that paper is renewable and recyclable,” adds Molony.

The potential is exponential

A Gauteng-focused pilot phase in 2012 reached 1,726 schools, 40,000 educators and 1,25 million Grade R to Seven learners. In 2014, the programme was rolled out to the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal, reaching a collective 5,857 schools and a further 195 schools in Gauteng. In total, it has included more than 130,000 educators and four million learners in three years.

“Each educator trained has the potential to reach at least 20 learners,” says Molony who adds that many of the workshops during the year were over-subscribed. “We hope that through the continued support of the Department of Basic Education and our industry members we can take this programme to new levels.”

Ends

i – CONCRETE-REPRESENTATIONAL-ABSTRACT METHOD

  • Concrete materials such as counters, unifix cubes, blocks, beans, sticks and stones can be used. To this end, SATeacher provides paper cut-outs at the back of each workbook.
  • Representational materials could be semi-concrete in the form of dominoes, dice or pictures of cards and semi-abstract which involves the drawing of a particular number of pictures or shapes. “This level is not always dealt with in-depth in our schools in SA and without paper resources, this level of understanding is almost impossible,” says Liezel. “In the workbooks provide cut-outs at the back of the workbook and opportunity for learners to use pictures to solve problems.”
  • After the learners have mastered the two previous levels we can move to the abstract level, using only numbers and mathematical symbols. The workbooks provide input for teachers to demonstrate each concept. Liezel reiterates that without paper resources, these concepts are very difficult to explain.

 

PAMSA has been promoting the interests and efforts of the South African pulp and paper industry since 1992. It provides a forum for the development and presentation of common views on pre-competitive industry issues, and engages stakeholders on matters of legislation, skills upliftment, education, research, environment, sustainability, and recycling.  PAMSA, which currently represents more than 90% of the paper manufacturers in South Africa, is involved in numerous activities which are governed by an annual general meeting for members.  Any employer involved in the manufacture of pulp, paper, board, tissue and recycled paper may hold PAMSA membership. www.thepaperstory.co.za | @PaperRocks_SA

PRASA is an industry association representing processors and manufacturers of recycled paper fibre. Allied to the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa, PRASA seeks to promote a culture of recycling by driving education and awareness programmes within schools and engaging with business and government. www.prasa.co.za

SATeacher was founded by Dreyer Lötter and Liezel Blom in 2003 to focus on the professional development of teachers in South Africa. This gave rise to develop structured teaching plans and resources, based on the South African curriculum. To date SATeacher developed and published hundreds of titles and the materials are used in every school in South Africa. www.sateacher.co.za | facebook.com/SATeacher

 

 

 

 

Mondi’s recycled NAUTILUS® papers awarded Buyers Lab performance certification

Consistent quality of NAUTILUS® SuperWhite and NAUTILUS® ReFresh externally verified

Vienna, 06 October 2014 – Mondi’s recycled brands NAUTILUS® SuperWhite and NAUTILUS® ReFresh have been awarded with the Buyer’s Lab (BLI) performance certification based on independent testing across numerous digital imaging devices.  Buyer’s Lab (BLI), the leading global independent office products test lab and business consumer advocate, tested the NAUTILUS® papers on a total of 15 different office document imaging devices (including copiers, printers, fax machines and multifunctional products) representing Canon, Epson, Kyocera, Ricoh and Brother and evaluated the results based on paper dust, runnability (curl, double-sheeting and misfeeds), image performance, packaging and cut defects. According to the certificates awarded, both NAUTILUS® brands have proven to be highly reliable, with excellent performance related to image quality, dusting and curl. Continue reading

Cutting beautiful pieces out of paper

Photo: PisazzCreations

Photo: PisazzCreations

A little while back, we stumbled across a tweet by Sarah Denton (@PisazzCreations) when she shared one of her papercutting marvels. Born in England, Sarah spent eight years of her childhood in South Africa.

Naturally we love the medium she was using so we asked her to share a little more about the art of papercutting.

1.  What brought you into the world of papercutting?

I enjoy being creative and like to try new things. I had been browsing the internet looking for new craft things to try when I came across a photograph of a papercut someone had done – so pretty and elegant. It looked really interesting and I decided to have a go myself. My first cut I did looked good but I knew I could make my lines cleaner and improve so decided to have another go. Before long I was hooked and soon began sketching more designs to try.

2.  How have ‘sharpened’ your skills and developed your style?

As with anything you want to get better at, you have to practise. And practise. And practise. The more I cut, the more I enjoyed it. My cutting became smoother and cleaner, my lines became finer and my circles smoother, although I think there is still some room for improvement on those.Photo: PisazzCreations

I spent a number of years growing up in South Africa. I love the country and the wildlife and so I have been able to combine my love for nature and animals and papercutting and this makes up a large part of my subject matter.

Photo: PisazzCreations

Photo: PisazzCreations

3.  The end results look quite intricate. How long does a piece take you on average?

It depends on the size of the cut and the amount of detail.  A 10x 8 inch animal cut usually takes about half an hour to sketch and another one to two hours to cut. A larger piece like my recent woodland cut took just over six hours to cut.

4.  Do you sell your pieces?

I do sell my work via Facebook  and etsy. I sell my own designs as well as taking commissions for customers’ own ideas.

5.  What brings you the most joy?

The feeling I get when someone tells me how much they love a piece or when they tell me how the person reacted when they gave it to someone as a present.

Photo: PisazzCreations

Photo: PisazzCreations

Nature is inspiring so I rarely spend time trying to decide what I can cut. Sometimes I will see something or take a photo and think I can make that into a papercut. I also love the story of Alice in Wonderland so have cut a few Alice pieces and tried to capture a bit of the fantasy side of Alice.

7.  Paper is obviously the core medium. What do you love about paper?

Paper can change the feeling of a cut. The thickness, the texture, the colour it adds to the mood and emotion you get when you look at a piece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Sarah:

She lives in Northampton, England with her husband Martyn, two sons Thomas and William, and two dogs.

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Photo: PisazzCreations

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Photo: PisazzCreations

Photo: PisazzCreations

Photo: PisazzCreations

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clear the air by recycling paper

Beverage cartons are recyclable (Photo: Tetra Pak)

Beverage cartons are recyclable (Photo: Tetra Pak)

A National Recycling Day message from the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa

It is estimated that only 5% of South African households recycle their paper and cardboard. So what is the other 95% doing with it?

Chances are that millions of tonnes of recyclable paper are going to landfill every year. This paper degrades along with other food waste, adding to the levels of greenhouse gases in the air we breathe. Methane is 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In some cases, paper is incinerated, also causing air pollution.

By recycling paper, the carbon (originally stored by trees in the wood fibre) remains ‘locked up’ – and out of the atmosphere – for longer. It also saves landfill space. In 2013 1,2 million tonnes of paper were collected for recycling saving 3,5 million cubic metres of landfill space – the equivalent of 1,403 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

So this National Recycling Day – 19 September 2014 – why not make a commitment to start recycling paper?

Here are a few tips from the Paper Recycling Association of South Africa to get you started:
• Invest a paper-only bin or box in your home or office for easy recycling.

• Keep your paper clean and dry.

• Not all paper can be recycled so get to know your recyclables.

− Recyclable: magazines (including the glossy variety), newspapers, brochures, office paper, shredded paper, cardboard (cereal boxes, toothpaste boxes, medicine boxes, pizza boxes, tissue boxes) and cartonboard, liquid board packaging including beverage and food cartons.

− Not recyclable: wet, soiled paper such as used paper plates, disposable nappies, tissues and toilet paper; foil, gift wrapping, carbon paper; wax-coated, foil-lined or laminated boxes; used cement and dog food bags.

• Find a recycling collection programme or drop-off point near you by visiting www.mywaste.co.za. Many schools and community organisations earn money from recyclable paper collection. Support these initiatives.

• Support job creation by keeping your recyclables aside for an informal collector who walks your neighbourhood every week. This increases the quality of the recyclables and the collector could earn a little more for better quality.

• Don’t let the recycling pile get too big before you drop it off – keep a box/crate in your boot so you can do a weekly drop-off when you do your shopping or run other errands.

• Always keep in mind that you are recycling for a good reason – the future of our planet. This should be motivation enough to keep you going!
For more information on paper and paper recycling, visit www.thepaperstory.co.za or www.prasa.co.za. You can also follow @PaperRocks_SA on Twitter.

 

Get South Africa reading to get South Africa growing

Research has shown that paper-based materials promote reading comprehension, information retention and learning, and that print-based texts are superior to digital texts in facilitating learning strategies. (Photo: istockphoto.com)

Research has shown that paper-based materials promote reading comprehension, information retention and learning, and that print-based texts are superior to digital texts in facilitating learning strategies. (Photo: istockphoto.com)

JOHANNESBURG – September 8 was International Literacy Day, through which UNESCO highlighted the importance of literacy to individuals, communities and societies. The International Council of Forest and Paper Associations (ICFPA) is proud to represent the contribution of the global forest products industry to increased literacy around the world.

“According a 2010 study[i] by the University of Stellenbosch, the cost of functional illiteracy[ii] to South Africa’s economy in unrealised GDP is estimated at R550 billion annually,” says Jane Molony, executive director of the Paper Manufacturers Association of South Africa (PAMSA) and chairperson of the South African Book Development Council (SADBC). Continue reading

Share the beauty and bounty of reading with others during National Book Week

iStock_000030133986MediumAmerican astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist Carl Sagan said: “A book is made from a tree. It is an assemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called “leaves”) imprinted with dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Books break the shackles of time—proof that humans can work magic.” Continue reading

Clean-up our neighbourhoods and communities this Spring

PRASA-NEW-BOXTR

The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa is calling on South Africans to give our country a spring clean during the 2014 Clean-Up SA and Recycle Week from 15-19 September, on National Recycling Day on Friday, 19 September and the 29th International Coastal Clean-Up Day on Saturday, 20 September. Continue reading

National Book Week launched

Deputy_Minister_of_Arts_Culture_reads_to_the_kids_NBW2014_copyOne of SA’s longest running and most successful reading initiatives unveils its “Going Places” campaign in Johannesburg

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, accompanied by book sector stakeholders, marked the launch of National Book Week 2014 during an event highlighting the power of books at Emoyeni Conference Centre, Parktown, on Friday 29 August. Continue reading