Resources for Parents & Guardians
I hear frequently from parents that, "the math my kids are doing is so different from how I was taught. I just don't know how to help my child."
I get it!
I am teaching math far differently than the way I learned it and I'm teaching math differently than I had taught it myself in the past. The change in how we are teaching is based on research into best practices in mathematics instruction. As foreign as it may seem, it is backed by evidence. The most difficult task for us both is to accept and practice our new roles. In the past, the role of a teacher was the owner of the learning. Now the teacher is the facilitator of the learning and the students are the owners.
Just as different as this may seem to you, it is also new for some students. It can feel to some as if "I'm not being taught anything" or that "the teacher won't help me". I want to dispel that rumor right now. Yes, it is true that this year in math your student will be taking on the role of mathematician, but when they are stuck I will offer support by acting as a guide, providing hints, asking questions to push their thinking and providing a synthesis of the learning performed in the classroom. Just to be clear, I will not be giving your child answers and I will not be doing the thinking for them, which sometimes students prefer over the struggle.
That being said, I need you on my team to help your child to be successful. I am including below, resources and tips for success.
Is your student stuck on their homework?
Don't have time to read the article? No worries, here's a summary:
If your child is stuck on homework ask them these questions:
- What is the problem asking?
- What do you already know?
- Where have you seen something like this before?
- Can you brainstorm 5 different ways you could try to solve this problem?
- Can you make a guess? How would you know it's right?
Note from Ms. Zeigler:
Please know that I am expecting students to TRY only the problem of the homework they feel they need review, extra practice or to challenge themselves. I expect every student to reflect on their learning explaining whether they attempted the homework or not, if they did attempt the homework which problems they tried, and write down the questions they have about the learning target being practice. I am not expecting kids to have every questions completed, nor every question correct (if they do great, but we are focusing on the mathematical journey not the destination).
The road to success is often a bumpy one!
Take a moment to reflect on the process it took for your child to learn how to walk, or talk or tie their shoes, or feed themselves. It took time to develop the muscles, the coordination and the skills. Learning math, learning anything, is very similar.
When it comes to baby steps (no pun intended) we as parents are ok with kids struggling but when it comes to education it tends to be very uncomfortable and down right difficult to watch our children struggle. It is important to remember that learning math, like learning to walk, is a process and it happens for each child differently. There is a Chinese proverb that I feel describes this the best, "Failure is not falling down. Failure is refusing to get back up."
You child's success in math will be cultivated over the course of their educational career. This year a just a step in that journey. My goal for this year, for every year, is for each child to grow in mathematical thinking, proficiency, confidence and attitude. If your child experiences struggle, difficulty on homework or a low test grade, take a deep breath and remember this is a learning moment for them. And remember, we will all get through it together!