This was an email I sent to my parents Saturday night. I've always said, "Send me 20 students or 200, I'll love and teach them all." This is my way of sharing strategies and insights to any parents who might be able to use it.
Parents (and Partners),
I'm playing math games tonight with my own kids and doing some thinking about yours. Unless the class averages 90% or higher on assessments I'm not satisfied with my teaching and wondering what I could do better or differently. Exponents gave alot of kids trouble. If your child had trouble with exponents try some of the following games:
Roll two different colored dice: one color is the base number and the other is the exponent. Let's say the green dice comes up 4 (base number). The white dice comes up 2 (exponential number). Your child should say "Ah-hah. 4 * 4 = 16."
The same thing can be done with playing cards in several different ways. Each player puts 2 cards from their hand face up. The card on the left is the base number and the card on the right is the exponent; highest resulting number (product) wins the hand.
For those having trouble with multiplication, try this. Tonight my son and I played a dice and ball game on the stairs, but with multiplication. We took turns rolling 3 dice, multiplying all 3 numbers (factors) and when he got the correct answer (the product) he and I took turns seeing who could land bouncing balls on the highest step. He is motivated by play and not by school. He got every roll correct because he was "playing".
We also played "Multiplication Baseball". Even my daughter and I played although she hasn't done multiplication yet (3rd grade). She still figured out how to do it by thinking of "what are three 6's" v. "what is 6*3?"
She and I also played on the stairs only we added 2 of the dice and subtracted the third from that. This went well until the stairway was turned into a fort by her 4-year-old sister :-)
Many more games specific to what we are studying can be found in your child's Student Reference Book (SRB). Look in the index under "games". I dug around in my things at home and found game mats for these that your son or daughter can sign out and take home. Also, have your child take their Study Links book home and rip out the letters to parents that contain the answers. Use them to check their work and to recognize where they could use reinforcement using the games.
The trick is to figure out how your child's brain "sees" knowledge. This happens in their recognition brain network. If their brains can't recognize the new knowledge then their strategic brain network can't solve problems using this new knowledge. Every single one of your children has genius inside of them. History shows only about 10% of them ever fully develop it. My goal is 100% of them will; and I'm a pretty stubborn man once I set an important goal like this one.
"We either find a way, or make one." – Hannibal
Writer & 5th Grade Teacher
Sand Lake ELementary
"By passionately believing in that which does not exist, we create it."