Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Family Math Night Math Standards in Action

by Jennifer Taylor-Cox, Ph.D is an essential book for planning a family math night for your classroom or a school wide event! To quote Jennifer, "By participating in a Family Math Night, parents can serve as models of motivation, persistence, and competency to their children." She begins her book with organization tips, questions with answers parents may ask, and a great piece on why we should use mathematics. I have been planning Family Math Nights school wide for a few years and had never thought about color coding the direction sheets for primary, intermediate, and everyone. She then provides about a dozen activities for primary, intermediate, and everyone. The everyone section makes great sense because the activities are appropriate for all grade levels. An entire family can participate at the same time with varying ages. The activities are correlated to the five content standards including number and operations, algebra, geometry, measurement, and data analysis and probability. If you were to try and plan a Family Math Night for the first time either in a classroom or school wide section this would be my first choice as a resource.

I will be using this resource in my room all year for my Family Math homework component. Each week I send home an activity, usually a game format for my students to play with their family. They can actually play with anyone; a sibling, a parent, a caregiver, a relative, or a friend. I feel homework has to be relevant, meaningful, and engaging. The game is something we have done in the classroom and the children love going home as an expert for how to play. I send it home in a Family Math folder on Fridays with the expectation for it to return on Thursday. This way they have an entire week to play it multiple times and they can do it when it is best in their schedule. I think providing the weekend for working parents is helpful. I also provide a Family Comment sheet to help foster communication between home and school.

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