Two words that we all value as teachers: Parent Involvement
I think we can all agree, though, that we don't mean just ANY parent involvement...we mean the kind where the parents are directly involved in their kids' learning.
This is where I got the idea for MATH NIGHT!
A night of parents and students....and math!
To be honest...the idea really stemmed from my frustration with hearing parents say that they feel that they cannot help their child at home on their math homework. Not that I always want the parents to help the kids...I want them to do it for themselves....but it is nice if the parents feel that they are able to help where they can. It definitely helps the students if the parents 'help' and don't just "do it to get through it". After scratching my head for a while trying to figure out how to teach the parents these skills AND make it more fun for the kids, I came up with Math Night.
The parents must attend with their children. I am not offering free tutoring here! Haha! However, the parents and kids come together, sit in my math classroom, and learn the concepts that are coming in the near future in math. This allows for the students to learn the upcoming math skills a little bit ahead of time, and allows the parents to know what is coming home on their homework soon!
Something I did not foresee, though, was what great results I would get! I was really excited about the parent turn-out for math night, but that's not all! Students got to see their parents trying the fifth grade math problems on their own whiteboards, while sitting at fifth graders' desks in a classroom. The parents struggled sometimes to get the new topics, but they always showed to be successful in the end! They watched their children learn new things AND their children got to see them learn new things! When do fifth graders get to see their parents learn something new, struggle with it, and then overcome it? Hardly ever! This is a super important thing for children to witness their parents doing. I did not expect the importance of it, but now I know it exists.
Below is a photo of a game we played at the very end of the night. The rows of parents and students became a "group" or "team". I displayed review problems from skills we learned throughout the night. The members of each team had a different color marker and they had to take turns, each doing 1 step of the problem before the next team member did a step. This way, they were all paying attention to what each person was doing so that they could see if the member was doing it correctly AND so that they would know what step they were responsible for next.