Dear Lower School families,
We have turned our clocks back an hour which is usually a signal that reminds us of winter coming soon. This afternoon, I found myself walking outside on a sunny 60 degree November day . . . unbelievable! While I do love a crisp winter day with new fallen snow, I’ll have to admit that I welcome another week or two of this balmy weather.
During our professional development workshop in October, we spent two days with our math consultant. She planned with grade level teachers, demonstrated math strategies in the classroom as we observed, and introduced parents to Singapore Math In Focus. I hope those of you who attended math night found it to deepen your understanding of the program.
I’ve had the opportunity to observe math lessons and talk with teachers about their experiences, and the overwhelming response has been positive. Teachers are seeing students dig deeper into understanding concepts, demonstrate their thinking using concrete and abstract examples, and express enjoyment for math. The other day, a third grade teacher noted that her students have a stronger ‘math mindset’ than she’s seen in years past. As I reflected on her comments, I thought I’d share my ideas about how you, as parents, might cultivate a ‘math mindset’ in your children.
First, the messages we share with children have an impact on how they view learning and the importance of an area of study. Remind children that math is important and all around us. Talk about ways in which math is a communication tool . . . for example, we use numbers to order something, pay for groceries, share a recipe with a friend, and give directions. Make a connection through metaphors - Math is like riding a bike – in order to get better at it, you have to practice and stumble along the way.
Second, model math at home! Use the language of math in everyday conversation . . . read the sports trivia from the paper, ask your child to help with measuring while baking, give allowance and add the money your child saves, estimate the number of steps it takes to walk across the lawn, point out the number of pages you read together, and read the time on a clock when he/she is going to bed.
Third, read math books/literature together. If you need ideas about good children’s books that have a math theme, come to our library and talk with Mrs. Jones or Mrs. Kulick.
Fourth, play math games at home. Fun board games that have a math theme include Mancala, Rummy, BrainQuest, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Cards, and Concentration. Board games are super fun for family time! Computer apps are plentiful for practicing math facts and problem-solving activities.
Fifth, support your child with his/her math homework. Remember that your child’s homework is based on a concept or skill that he/she learned at school. The homework is for independent practice and is used by teachers to inform their knowledge of your child as well as guide their teaching. Show an interest in math homework, ask quetions and encourage your child to ‘think aloud’ when challenges are encountered.
Research is teaching us about the importance of having a ‘growth mindset’ and the how critical this is to developing confidence. Let’s work together to empower our children to develop a ‘math mindset’.
Enjoy the remainder of fall and the upcoming holiday season,