How to Engage Parents in the Math Classroom

 


I'm a fifth grade math teacher. 

I'm also a mom of two girls that are currently in third and fifth grade. 

I thought that helping my own children with homework and studying would be a breeze. Boy, was I wrong! 🤯


AS A TEACHERMOM, I HAVE REALIZED A FEW THINGS:

  • As a mom, I often had a hard time figuring out exactly what my children needed to study. If they were taking a test on fractions...what exactly did they need to know?
  • We as teachers need to honestly do a better job of giving parents the resources that they need to help their children study or complete homework. I KNOW that we have a million things on our plate already, but trust me, THIS WILL HELP YOU!
  • Most parents want to help their children but they honestly don't know how (cue all the social media posts about their hatred of Common Core Math).

SO WHAT CAN TEACHERS DO TO HELP? 
HERE ARE A FEW TIPS:

1. Send home a parent math guide at the beginning of the year.
  • Parents should know what their child will be learning during the current school year even if they don't understand all of the strategies that will be used. 
  • At the beginning of the school year, I send home a 5th Grade Math Parent Guide that lists all of our learning standards for the year AND gives them sample problems. 


  • This is also the best way to help the parents who ask for MORE ways to help their child at home.
2. Simplify your math homework.
  • I've made the honest mistake of sending math problems on homework that were way too tough. The child struggled, the parent was frustrated, and I've received a few too many frustrated emails along the way. 
  • I strongly believe in spiral review math homework, but I keep it simple. I stick to 6-8 math problems focusing on algorithms only. I leave the higher level word problems for math practice in class. It's as simple as something like this daily decimal practice sheet:
  • This way, students are still practicing math at home, but they are problems that the students should be able to complete independently. 
  • This ALSO gives parents a snapshot of what their child is learning in math. 

3. Send home a math study guide before the test.
  • When my child's teacher sends home a math study guide, I am able to see the problems that she needs to know and use those to practice with her. I can also see what she is struggling with and create "new" problems to help her study further. 
  • A study guide does not have to be complicated. Simply create a document that lists concepts that students will need to know for the test. 
    • Quick Tip: if you are using these types of problems on homework already, simply keep the same homework format and change the numbers around. 
  • I often attach our math standards to the top of the study guide and tell parents when the test will be. I include a parent signature to make sure that parents will see it?
  • I wrote about it on this Instagram post, and it really resonated with a lot of teachers:

  • By the way, you should NOT be doing this all on your own. You work with a team for a reason. Split the workload! You can do the study guide this month, and your coworker can take your template and do the study guide next month. I have a hard time saying this because I am someone that has a hard time asking for help, but it will save your sanity. We cannot do it all. 
4. Parents should know when your math tests will be! 

  • I can't tell you how many times my daughters have told me "I have a test tomorrow!" the day.before.the.test. 😩 ALL kids do this.
  • This tip has been a game changer in my classroom!
  • Every month, I send home a calendar that lists all of our upcoming events, test dates, and due dates. 
    • Actually, I send home a printable copy, an email copy, AND I give each child a copy for the binder. Just to be sure! 
  • Parents have told me countless times how much the appreciate these! I encourage them to place the calendar on their refrigerator at home. 

I hope that I was able to inspire you today!

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Happy Teaching!


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