I am not sure I ever realized how difficult it is to help children with homework and school work until I had school aged children of my own. I (wrongfully) assumed that as a teacher it would be easy for me to jump in and provide assistance, conversation points, and talk to my kids about their school day each night. I can clearly remember those first few years of my teaching career when I would talk to parents whose kids weren’t sharing all the amazing things they were learning or the cool things we were doing in class – I was sure that would never be me.
Having Kids Changed My Perspective
Then I actually had kids and started that ever so fun “what’d you do at school today” conversation that is inevitably answered every time with “nothing.” I would try to talk to them about math and they were sure I knew nothing because I didn’t use the same words their teacher did. I was wildly unsuccessful, and for the first time I understood the struggle of parents everywhere. Of course my kids were doing lots of amazing things at school and learning daily, but as a parent I didn’t know how to talk to them about it.
One of the details I admired most as a teacher about the Open Up Resources 6–8 Math curriculum was the parent materials that were provided for each unit. I found them to be a great resource to refer parents to when they needed a quick refresher on the math so they could better help their kids study and understand the mathematics from class. However, over the course of the last year I’ve also realized that we can do even more as a Community to help parents and kids have better mathematical discussions at home to support the learning that is happening in the classroom.
A New Opportunity For Collaboration
That’s why I immediately got excited about the opportunity to work on a collaborative project between John Stevens and our Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Community to create stronger family materials for our curriculum. If you aren’t familiar with John’s work, he’s a guru of home and school collaboration. He is the author of Table Talk Math and its accompanying materials, Classroom Chef, and Would You Rather Math, a tremendous website to get kids justifying their reasoning in math class.
John will be working with teachers in our Community to create family materials for each unit that go beyond explaining the math and provide discussion points and materials for families to use in the real-world. Parents will have examples and ideas of how to do a Notice and Wonder with their children, how to connect proportional reasoning to what they are doing in the kitchen, or how to talk about integers and distance from zero while driving. For many of these families it will be the first time math has been a true family activity and more than just a homework worksheet.
I am so excited to debut these activities for the ‘19–20 school year so that teachers and school districts using Open Up Resources 6–8 Math will have another resource to support student learning and family engagement. I am currently looking for members of the Community to volunteer for this exciting project. If you are interested in working together and learning a lot along the way please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Up Resources knows that it takes a village. This is just one more way we hope to put kids, families, and teachers first.