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As a 6th grade math teacher, I spoke with many parents who were concerned that the math doesn’t look like it did when they were in school. The important thing for parents to understand is that when we were in school, we focused on process and following written rules. It worked for some kids but not for others, and we walked away not remembering any of it. You can even ask parents, "What do you remember from 6th grade math?" They're not likely to remember much.
Explain that now we're focusing on deep understanding so math is not such a mystery to students. It's about truly understanding why math works the way it works. It can be applied to different problems that students will have to solve in the future. We're teaching them this way to develop them into lifelong thinkers and problem-solvers when they go out into the world.
I have seen a drastic difference over time between students who had deep conceptual understanding of math versus those who didn't. Even high school teachers could see a difference in the students that entered their classrooms from our middle school.
Explaining the why of the math helps students both understand how math works and successfully retain that learning for the future, so they can go on to apply these foundations to more abstract thinking later. They're becoming faster and deeper problem-solvers, which makes them successful on the SAT, AP and college readiness exams, and beyond.
Some parents are concerned about the math looking different from what they learned because they don't know how to help their children with homework. I created "Homework Helper" videos for my students so they and their parents felt supported at home, and parents loved them!
My colleague Jami also shared some strategies in her blog post, "4 Surefire Ways to Get Parents to the Math Table."
Meagan has 10 years of classroom experience, having started her teaching career at the Texas School for the Deaf before moving to J. L. Long Middle School in Dallas ISD. In 2013, she began working as an Elementary Resource Math Teacher in Frisco, Texas, then transitioned to a Math Instructional Coach and Middle School Math Teacher at Scoggins Middle School.Explore more related to this author
Explaining the why of the math helps students both understand how math works and successfully retain that learning for the future, so they can go on to apply these foundations to more abstract thinking later.
Meagan Venstad, Manager of School Partnerships, Carnegie Learning