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4 Ways to Help Parents with "New Math"

     It happens whether you use Common Core standards or not. It happens in every state, and it's all over social media: "New Math blah blah blah!" No matter how much you want to comment, you don't because you are a professional, but your poor spouse...they get to hear how dumb these comments are and how mad it makes you to see them. #sorrybabe
     How can we stop these comments? There is no good answer for that, but I do have a few ideas that may help prevent them so often.

1. Flip your classroom
     A flipped classroom is one where students do the lesson (teacher instruction) at home, then come to school ready to practice (homework) the new skill. I make my own {math videos} for my students, but you can always find good videos through Kahn acadamy or on YouTube. I use Google Classroom to push out the videos. There is a class that is for math videos specifically. Students are also able to access past videos. Videos can also be placed in Google Drive for student access. These can even be made avaliable offline. By flipping your classroom, parents are able to watch the math video at home with their student. They can learn together! 
2.  Math videos with homework
     QR Codes are magical things! They can easily be printed small and copied on any paper. I like to use {QRstuff} to make my QR codes. Even if you aren't 1:1 with technology, most parents have a phone that can have a free QR scanning app. If the student is having trouble on homework, scan the code and watch a video that teaches the lesson. If the parent and student are disagreeing on how "the teacher wants them to do it," scan the code and watch the video! Problem solved! I have created an entire {math curriculum} that uses this method of helping parents, help students with homework. 

3. Hold a Math Night at school
     "New Math" looks scary. Breaking numbers down by tens then by ones looks complicated to parents who are use to doing these types of things in their head, without even realizing it. Many adults also hear the word "math" and freeze up like they are in middle school again. Make it less scary for parents, who in turn can make it less scary for their kid! I love how Brett Berry, blogger at {Math Memoirs} explains this "new math." 

"We call this new math, but it isn’t new at all.
In fact, it has been around for a very long time. It’s called number sense. And it’s the way mathematicians have been thinking about numbers for centuries."
Most math series come with online access for students and teachers. During math night, teach parents how to use these resources. If you have online videos, teach parents how to access them. Prep them to help guide their student. Show them easy things they can do at home using food from the cabinet or even all those Shopkins! We can't do it all folks, put some of the work back on the babymakers, AKA parents! Become a team with your parents. It's better to have them working with you than against you. Also, cookies and juice don't hurt. 
*If you can't have a math night, utilize conference time! You explainition doesn't have to be more than five minutes. 
4. It's all about the stratigies
     We spend a week on adding, a whole week, if not more. We are teaching the students different stratigies they CAN use, not that they HAVE to use. "Making a Ten" may work for some, but that is WAY over my head. I have to reteach it to myself every year, to be honest. {Good thing I made a killer math video just for that! ;)} That just isn't how my brain works. For some students, they LOVE this method, they get it. I. just. don't. I am honest with my parents about some of the stratigies. I explain the can/have idea I have with the math stratigies we teach. Yes, for the specific lesson the student needs to pracitce this way. But in life, let's just take a reality check here, they are going to use whatever method stuck with them. 
      The more ways we can show a student how to do math the better. They will have so many options and there will be that ONE way that will stick. That is how they will do math. If parents want to use different stratigies at home, great! That is just one more way the student will know how to answer a problem. 
To find more information on why I use Math Videos {Click Here}.
To find my math videos {Click Here}.

Aimee <3


3 Reasons I use Math Videos

    The first series I taught with was Pearson. We would watch a video "over the lesson," I would then pause the video multiple times to reexplain what the video was trying to teach them. When the video was over, we would do several problems together, then finally go to groups. After a couple years doing this, I thought there had to be a better way. A way to use time better, a way to explain to the students better, and a better way for students to take learning into their own hands. 
Here are my 3 reasons to use math videos!

1. " I just don't get this "new math. Why can't they teach the normal way?" 
     Hearing or reading this on Facebook makes me instantly angry, as I'm sure you can relate! Math videos that are accessable to students outside of school will give parents NO reason to say they don't understand, they just need to watch the video along with their student! Videos can be made accessable through a QR code, {Google Classroom}, or simply by sending the Google Drive link over {Class Dojo} or email. 
     Of course, this won't stop the complaints completely, but when you see Parent A complaining and Parent B ask what their problem is because they watched the math video and can help, it sure makes you feel good! 
2. Reteaching
    Students have good days and bad days. Days they focus and pay attention and days full of distraction and daydreaming. Having math videos accessable to students allows them to rewatch the parts or the whole video if they need to. They are amazing for helping absent students keep up with the curriculum too. 
    When it comes to regrouping, there are days students know it inside and out. Then a week later, nothing, like they have never heard of it! Math videos can be used to refresh their memory during their work time. They can be used in small groups, individually, as homework in a flipped classroom, or even for morning work!  
3. Videos save time!
    I am able to set up my math block to center around my small groups by assigning math videos for homework, morning work, or one of my groups itself. By having students watch the videos individually, I have more class time to work one on one with struggling students or expand the lesson with the high learners. 

    In my classroom, our homework/work page has a QR code on it that can be scanned with any QR reader. The code goes to a Google Drive link where the person scanning has access to the video. I also have videos loaded into Google Classroom individually (without the work page) in a Math Video Library class. 

Interested in math videos? Check one out for yourself! 

Want to see more math videos? Click below! 

Book Character Day

Hey guys! Halloween can be such a fun time in the classroom. At our school, we don't let kids just dress up, we do a Book Character Day! This is one of my favorite days of the year!
My teaching partner/bestie {Primary Scribbles} and I like to make our costumes go together. The past couple of years, we joined 3rd grade to add to our mix!
Our neighbors around the hall, 4th and 5th grades always kill it with their costumes too! 
Our first grade teachers are a little more creative than everyone though I think! Miss Spicer will not tell ANYONE her costume until she shows up that morning! The kids can't wait to find out what she will be every year. 
For the record... The Cat in the Hat was actually for Dr. Seuss day, but it would have been perfect for book character day too! 
Almost a month in advance, we send home a letter for parents giving them a heads up for when our Character Day is going to be. The letter explains that students must have the book, and be able to tell about their character from the book. They have to send in a slip that states the book and character for the teacher to allow. 
The morning of Book Character Day, we have a school wide parade so everyone can show off their costumes!
I love that Book Character Day allows the kids to dress up at school while still being educational. After the parade calms down, I have my students show off their book and tell us something about their book to show they have actually read it before. I do the same with mine! 
Book Character Day is always right around Halloween time so costumes are easy to find. We also talk about how to be safe while Trick or Treating. This infogram from {Andy Mohr Kia} gives great tips to help you get the conversation started!