Ok, I am breaking the rules and doing a second blog post. I am back for chapter 7 of the Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics hosted by:
So let's get started!!!
Chapter 7: Collaborating with Families, Community, and Principals
This was a great chapter! The entire focus was on discussing ideas for developing a collaborative community that understands and is able to support high-quality mathematics teaching and learning for every student.
The author stresses the fact that it is very important to communicate your mathematic goals to parents at the beginning of every year stressing the fact that the instruction their child receives might differ from what they experienced in their own schooling.
One great suggestion was a Family Math Night. This is something that I have always wanted to do. After reading this chapter, I just might plan one this year. They gave several examples of types of activities to do for a Family Math Night so parents can see and experience mathematics through a problem solving approach.
I also loved how the authors explained how to address the role of the teacher. The teacher is an organizer (organizes a worthwhile mathematical task), facilitator (facilitates students interaction), and questioner (asks questions to help children make connections or to deepen their understanding). I must admit I will be sharing this with my parents come Back to School Night.
Have you ever had a parent question you about cooperative groups? I loved how the author showed the different ways for parents to see the value of cooperative groups. I might have to try number 3 just to break the ice at Back to School Night.
- Include a feature in your parent newsletter.
- Send home letters introducing mathematics units of study.
- Do a cooperative learning mathematics activity at a family math night or a back-to-school event.
- Invite parents to assist in a mathematics group assignment.
I know there is a big debate over the value of homework in the younger grades. I try to give 5-6 math problems a night for practice and also so parents can see what we are working on. I really enjoyed the recommendations the authors gave to think about when assigning homework to your students.
- Mimic the three-phase lesson model. ( p.24-26)
- Use as a distributed-content approach.
- Promote an "ask-before-tell" approach.
- Provide good questioning for parents.
We always stress to our families how important it is to support literacy by reading to and with their children at home. These authors made you see that it is just as important to support mathematics in the home too! There is a great letter on page 95 that would be great to share with parents. I just might have to type up my own version to send home.
I think the thing that is most important to remember when dealing with your students and their families is know who they are and be aware of their similarities and differences. All parents, regardless of their school experience, just want their children to be successful. As educators, it is our jobs to be effective communicators with both students and their parents!!
I would love to hear any of your experiences with Family Math Night! Don't forget to check out the other bloggers participating in our book study!!