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Topic: Ron's Questions
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Posts: 75
Registered: 12/6/04
Ron's Questions
Posted: Mar 31, 1995 12:30 PM
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Well, Ron, you didn't list the five areas and I don't have a copy of
Everybody Counts, so will you please list them, or do you want us to
see if we can figure out what they are?

Interestingly enough in my experience in teaching math radically differently
from the way my parents (and I) were taught, as long as I can intelligently
discuss with parents WHY I'm doing what I'm doing, they are usually VERY
pleased that we're doing math the way we do in my class. Most of them
are actually embarrassed about their lack of understanding about
math, some have asked me to teach them (the parents) mathematics,
not just how to teach their kids at home. They ALL seem to consider math
important and want their children to have success in math. They are
often VERY impressed with the kinds of problems we do in 2nd grade.
They do have trouble, though, when I give the kids problems that COULD
involve "carrying" and "borrowing" because they feel they have to TEACH
their children these processes. I ALWAYS include a note with these problems
that the children CAN solve the problems in other ways and that it isn't
necessary (or actually very desirable) for parents to teach the
processes. The problems are always part of a situational story problem
and either the exact one we've worked in class or one very similar.
If they will ask their children questions, or get their child to talk
about the problem they can usually get the child to come up with his/her
own solution. I also encourage drawing pictures, using manipulative objects
at home, etc. Anyway, my point is that although I think it used to
be the way the question indicates, my experience with parents is that
these attitudes are changing.

The one area parents have concerns about is mastering basic facts. I
send lots of information on the importance of concept understanding and
then lots of ideas how to help children learn basic facts and have the
parents work on this at home. Parents feel they are doing something
important and I don't have instructional time wasted in class. ANd,
the truth is, some knowledge of basic facts is really helpful to children,
as long as we've at least worked on the concept of the operation in
meaningful ways in class--and certainly as long as we continue to do so.
I have had difficulties with a student who had spent a lot of time in
Kumon classes and had done a great deal of drill on basic facts with
little or NO conceptual understanding. She's had a lot of trouble with
the situations and contexts of true problem solving this year--couldn't
apply her facts and saw math as merely procedures. But, as long as
it isn't that extreme I think this partnership with my parents works
pretty well.

It doesn require a LOT of communication with parents, though. I send
weekly newsletters explaining what we do in class and why-- and a lot of
that deals with math. I've held evening sessions for parents. It all
pays off! Cindy

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