Chapter 19 - Parents Evaluations of This Class

Once each semester, our school had a "Parent Night", when the parents came to the classrooms and visited each of their son's or daughter's teachers. I created a display of student work in the students' portfolios, and also gave each parent a written explanation of the media and methods that I used in teaching my classes. I also passed around copies of some of the student's comments and reflections.

I had prepared a "letter" which gave to each parent. The letter said: Dear parents, We have now come the end of the second semester of Geometry. It has been an interesting and productive semester, and we have explored many new concepts. Once again I am asking you to look through your son or daughter's portfolio, and see their accomplishments. I consider it an honor and a privilege to work with these delightful young men and women. I hope that their reflections and comments in this portfolio will give you some insight into their experiences in this class.

The parents were always very interested to find out what their son or daughter did in this class, and were impressed by the student work that they saw, both on the walls of the classroom, and in the "handout" that I gave them.

I then asked the parents to do a writing assignment, just as their sons and daughters had done! They were surpised, but willing to participate in this way, and I found their comments very interesting and positive. This is the "handout" I gave to them, with a request that they write a response:

"The purpose of the student portfolio assignment in this class is to give students the opportunity to reflect on their work in geometry. I believe that these portfolios give the students the opportunity to show off their hard work and their accomplishments, to think about what they have learned, and to learn from their successes and their failures. I would like you to reflect on what you have read in your son's or daughter's portfolio and comment to me, and to them, your thoughts and ideas about what you have read."

The parents' comments include the following remarks:

"It was a genuine pleasure to read through Laura's portfolio! What a wonderful approach to learning geometery. I have watched her enthuiastically work on her geometry projects at home, but reading her own insights and reflections about these learning experiences offered a unique window into her personal growth that a mere grade on a report card could ever reveal. I was very impressed with the clarity of Laura's procedural descriptions, as well as the quality of the graphics! Thank you, Mrs. Sanders, for offering more 'dimension' than the usual geometry class has! Your methods and innovations have taken Laura to new heights. And Laura, as usual, you continue to amaze us and make us proud!"

"Elyse has a good understanding of mathematical concepts and always enjoys the challenge of solving new math problems. I believe that her class portfolio work and assignments have given her a new outlook, and an even better grasp of concepts. This is evident in her explanations and her mathematical reasoning in her writing assignments. And Elyse, I would like to tell you that I am very impressed with your work, including your explanations, comments, and reflections. "

"I was surprised and delighted to see the variety of work the students do in this class! Not only are they learning all the usual content of a geometry class, they are composing essays, writing reflections, and applying math concepts to geometric drawings. I can see why Janine is so enthusiastic about her math class this year! "

"I enjoyed reading Brandon's portfolio. It shows clearly that he has learned a lot in this class, and benefited from this new approach. He has certainly been given a wide variety of assignments which were both interesting and challenging. He is definitely putting forth much effort and seems to be determined to be successful. I am extremely proud of him and encourage him to keep up the good work. Thank you for sharing this with me!"

"Dear Mrs. Sanders, My husband and I are delighted and touched at Ian's portfolio. Geometry has certainly changed or else you have a wonderful and novel approach to the subject. How lucky Ian is that you teach the class in such a creative way. Your love of math is passed on to the the students - a parent couldn't ask for more."

"When Laurie asked me to review her math portfolio, I thought I would just be looking at numbers. What a fascinating surprise to read her reflections and see her discovering the beauty of math - and her own ability to think logically. I can't help but be proud of her and the work she has done! Thank you, Mrs. Sanders, for putting together a fine program. Your method will provide a great foundation for the years ahead!"

Sometimes both parents would write comments, and I was pleased to see the level of involvement this showed in their participation in their sons and daughters learning experience. "We found ourselves fascinated by the problems and the methods used to solve them, in this class. So different form the 'rote' learning style when we were in high school. Students writing math essays! Teacher's writing comments on students test and homework pages! What a wonderful approach. Thank you for all that you have done for Mark; learning about how one learns is of great value to students and has certainly been helpful to him. We agree that the learning process is sometimes more important that the content, or even the grade."

"Mrs. Sanders, Ian has thoroughly enjoyed this class. He has been especially fond of the creative 3-D work. Thank you for taking your students down so many creative paths. You have made class not just challenging but exciting as well. Ian brings his enthusiasm home with him, and can't wait to show us his latest assignment!"

In summary, the comments that both the students and their parents wrote have been interesting, complimentary, and valuable. I am grateful for their efforts and their involvement. I truly believe that teaching is so much more than putting knowledge into the students heads, but rather, a reciprocal process - asking, sharing, questioning, discovering, answering, explaining and reflecting. There are 3 people involved at every step - teacher, student, and parent. All of us are engaged in the learning process, and the more we communicate with each other, the better the outcome will be. Students deserve the opportunity to play an active role in their learning; given the opportunity, they have much to say.

"The science of pure mathematics may claim to be the most original creation of the human spirit."

Alfred North Whitehead (1861 - 1947)

Go To Homepage         Go To Introduction

1) Constructions         2) Clock Problem         3) Test Corrections         4) ASN Explain         5) Thoughts About Slope         6) What is Proof?

7) Similar Triangles         8) Homework Corrections         9) Quads Midpoints         10) Quads Congruence         11) Polygons

12) Polygons Into Circles         13) Area and Perimeter         14) Writing About Grading         15) Locus         16) Extra Credit Projects

17) Homework Reflections         18) Students' Overall Reflections         19) Parents' Evaluate Method         20) In Conclusion