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MemberNovember 9, 2019 at 8:38 pm
I was recently consulting in a school district who had asked me to present during their Parent Math Night. It was one of the most powerful experiences! Their format was to serve pizza to the families for 30 minutes, then the parents listened to me speak about why we are teaching math they way were are now (so that it sets a foundation of math understanding that follows them throughout their math journeys) while the kids played games with their teachers, and then the last 30 minutes was parents and children playing games together.
The frustrations on the parts of parents was palpable as they complained as they came in (some rather loudly to their friends next to them) about the homework their 1st and 2nd grade children had and the arguments that ensued between parents and kids. After my 30 minute presentation, I had many parents thank me for sharing the why’s behind how we are teaching math. Their excitement was so real. One couple even refused to join their daughter because they wanted me to share more with them. After hearing my messages about the growth mindset, they shared how just that morning they had bashed math to each other in front of their daughter and how they know they need to change that now.
The principal had many parents express how much they enjoyed the night. He even told me he had a cashier that morning share with him how much they enjoyed it. We are now planning another one when I return in February.
Change takes time, but we need to start somewhere. There was minimal preparation on the parts of teachers. The gifts to all families of dice and a deck of cards was minimal as well. I truly believe it is one of the most impactful things we can do to change the tide of math dispositions.