We know that communicating with parents can be one of the toughest parts of being an educator. But as you set your expectations with students for the school year, it’s helpful to keep parents in the loop. Especially when it comes to math! In many states, shifts in math standards and teaching methods have left some parents bewildered. We frequently hear parents say: “This isn’t the way I was taught math.” Fear and confusion can set in. These feelings can cause tension with teachers and leave students feeling negatively about math as well.
Parent communication can help prevent these situations.
Here are four tips we’ve collected from math teachers across the country:
- Tell parents upfront that their children will be learning some problem-solving strategies that they may not recognize—and that’s OK.
- Tell parents where to go for help. Share instructions for e-mailing or using a classroom-management portal if they have questions. You can also share DynaMath’s video lessons or check out LearnZillion, where parents can see these teaching strategies in action.
- Banish negativity about math. Share with parents that such feelings can be self-sabotaging. We would never tell a child it’s OK to be “bad at reading.” Likewise, it shouldn’t be acceptable to be “bad at math.”
- Help parents make math part of their daily conversation at home. We recommend books in Marilyn Burns’s Math Reads collection or using programs such as Bedtime Math, which seek to make math talk as commonplace as a bedtime story.