Let’s face it, the math instruction today is quite different than the way we learned math as kids. As mathematical instruction shifts, many parents are curious as to how they can help their child at home. Teachers also desire consistent messages for students while they are completing work outside of the classroom. One way I attempt to accomplish this is by creating video tutorials for parents to equip them to support their children with school work at home.
The topics that are covered in the first few weeks of fourth grade are double digit multiplication and division with three and four digit numbers. As a student myself, I remember doing these types of problems on graph paper and making sure my numbers stacked up “just so” and following steps to solve the problem. This definitely contributed to strengthening my “following procedures” skills but left me with little to no problem solving skills or number sense. Don’t get me wrong, traditional algorithms are quite efficient and speedy, but it does not show as much true math understanding. As a teacher, I am trying to create students who are problem-solvers instead of students who can follow the steps.
To help students recall the different types of strategies taught in class, I decided to videotape myself during introductory lessons. Our school has a GSuite which includes Google Photos and YouTube. After the videos are uploaded to Google Photos, I upload them to a private YouTube account for students to access while they are at home. After uploading the video on YouTube, I select “unlisted”. This is important because now no one can search the video on YouTube; they can only access it via my email with the link. After copying and pasting the link to an email, I send it out for parents to watch. It is also a good, short mini lesson for kids if they need reminding of how it was taught in class! Click here to see an example of one of my videos on division with remainders using a method we refer to as the “break it down” method, which requires number sense while decomposing numbers.
I have had many parents thank me for this and share with me that they feel more equipped to help their child with their math homework without teaching differently from what their child’s teacher taught. In doing this, I feel like my parental relations are stronger, making me feel more supported in my teaching strategies and strengthening partnerships with families as we work together as a team to meet students’ needs.