Teaching math remotely can cause some challenges for teachers and students, but parents are also struggling during this time. Even for parents who are doing the best they can to support their students at home, math is a content area that they can struggle to help their children with. I’ve talked to many parents who say, “I am not good at math” or “I don’t like math”. When parents don’t have a math mindset, that can translate into their children’s attitude when it comes to doing math work at home. Instead of becoming frustrated with parents that may not feel comfortable helping their kids with math, you can share ideas, tips, and tools to help parents who don’t have a math mindset during this time of distance learning.
Take an active teaching role.
Don’t expect parents to teach their children math skills that you expect your students to master. You are a trained teacher, and parents’ roles during this time should be managing their students and helping them get organized and focused to complete work. They may help them with content, but you are the teacher. Accomplish this by sharing screencasts you make with extensions like Screen Cast o Matic or Screencastify. Another way to teach your students new concepts is by having live Zoom or Google Meet sessions once or twice a week to review content or practice new skills. You can also record these sessions for students that are unable to attend live.
What if your students don’t have internet access? You can check in with your students via phone or provide packets with step-by-step instructions. Your district might have packet pick-up times, mailings, or parents may choose to print resources from home.
Lists and lists of required assignments and problem sets can frustrate parents and students. Giving various options for students to practice skills will give parents more flexibility and let them help their students with activities that they are comfortable with. The various activities can focus on the same skills and standards in different modes.
One option I love to share with my students and their families is Boom Learning Cards. Because the cards are self-checking, students can work at their own pace without stressing parents to teach math skills. Boom Cards focus on multiple skill areas including: Addition Facts, Comparing Numbers, Place Value, Geometry, Fractions, Money, Arrays, and so much more.
Another option is to share math apps or websites for your students to practice math skills. The math applications I recommend are ones that are adaptable to student levels and involve gaming to keep students engaged. Some student and parent favorite applications include: Prodigy, Kahoot, SplashLearn, and DreamBox.
Many parents are worried about the “new math” teaching methods today. Share a newsletter or quick video with your parents reassuring them of your students’ skills and abilities. Your students have been practicing understanding the why behind their math methods and skills all year long! During remote learning, assure parents that most of the things you’ll be sharing with your students are review and practice of skills they have already learned in your classroom.
Let parents know that you are there to help their children! Use an online platform like Google Classroom or Seesaw to allow your students to interact and ask questions. Be a cheerleader for students and parents to help them develop a positive math mindset during distance learning!