Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris

Ep 57: For Parents: How Can I Help My Kid?

July 20, 2021 Pam Harris Episode 57
Math is Figure-Out-Able with Pam Harris
Ep 57: For Parents: How Can I Help My Kid?
Show Notes Transcript

If my experiences as a student are different than my child's experience at school, how can I help them succeed? In this episode for parents, we provide two clear ways you can support your child to be the best math student they can be. Be sure to listen to episodes 55 and 56 for the rest our series for parents.
Talking Points:

  • We can all be mathy people
  • Parents' attitudes towards math affects your child's attitude towards math
  • Importance of student think time
  • Importance of parent involvement in math education

See Episodes 34-38 to learn more about best teaching practices for multiplication facts. 

Pam Harris:

Hey, parents and teachers, welcome to the podcast where Math is Figure-Out-Able. I'm Pam Harris.

Kim Montague:

And I'm Kim Montague.

Pam Harris:

And we teach math teachers. In this podcast, we help teachers refine their math teachings so that more students are more successful.

Kim Montague:

But in this week's episode, we're talking directly to you, parents. We know you have questions, so we decided to make a few episodes just for parents. If you haven't already, we invite you to check out the previous two episodes just for parents. That's number 54 and 55, where we discuss why math feels and looks so different these days. In this episode, let's get right at some suggestions for you parents, how can you help your child find more success? And you can feel like you're supporting them?

Pam Harris:

Yeah, what does this mean for you and your child? Let's talk about two major things, perceptions, and actions. So we're going to tackle two things today in this podcast, your perception about math and the actions you take with your students or with your child.

Kim Montague:

Yep.

Pam Harris:

So our number one suggestion is to work to upgrade your perception about yourself and your relationship with math if needed. Please don't ever say that you're not a math person.

Kim Montague:

Oh, yeah, please strike that from your vocabulary. Just don't say it. It's really not common to hear someone say, "I'm not a reading person. I just don't do reading." But somehow, it's socially acceptable to say, "I'm not a math person. I could never do math." For goodness sakes, there are t-shirts about it.

Pam Harris:

So let's make it not socially acceptable,

Kim Montague:

Right,

Pam Harris:

To say that you're not good at math.

Kim Montague:

Right.

Pam Harris:

It's not just about saying or not saying, but because we actually believe that Math is Figure-Out-Able.

Kim Montague:

And we also know that a lot of times kids pick up parent beliefs, right. So if your student hears that from you, they might pick that up as well about themselves. So let's instead have them pick up the opposite, that they can believe that Math is Figure-Out-Able too.

Pam Harris:

And if Math is Figure-Out-Able, then they can figure it out. We want that perception to be in them because Math is Figure-Out-Able. Let's do a quick example of what we mean by math being Figure-Out-Able. Yeah, let's talk about multiplication facts. Okay. Hot topic. Do we want kids to know their multiplication facts? Absolutely. But we also want them to know that the facts are Figure-Out-Able that when they don't have a fact instantly that they don't just have it like right there, pop right there.

Kim Montague:

Yep.

Pam Harris:

That it's okay. Because they can use relationships to figure it out. And frankly, quickly enough, that it's that it's okay. We want students to know that they're not stuck, that they're not left in a lurch. Nope. They have a way to figure that fact out. So Kim, give me an often missed fact.

Kim Montague:

Oh, that's got to be eight times seven, right? Commonly missed by lots of people.

Pam Harris:

Totally cool. So if a student's going to miss one, they're going to miss something like eight times seven. So Kim, how could a student reason to figure out eight times seven if they just don't know it?

Kim Montague:

Okay, so eight times seven is eight sevens. And if I don't know that one, when I might know seven sevens for whatever reason, kids know, seven times seven a lot. And so if it's seven sevens is 49, then eight sevens is just plus one more seven. So 56.

Pam Harris:

So 49, and seven is 56. And you're saying that that then is eight sevens?

Kim Montague:

Yep.

Pam Harris:

Yeah, totally makes sense. You can figure that out.

Kim Montague:

Yeah.

Pam Harris:

Now, if a kid doesn't know seven sevens, that's not a great clue for them, it's a not great relationship to use, though we could work on helping them know seven sevens. But in the meanwhile, we could say, well, I'm thinking about eight sevens. So another strategy could be do I know ten sevens? Wow, there's this great thing with times 10 in our base 10 number system. So 10 times seven. A lot of people know that that's 70. So if I can think about 10, sevens, a 70, but I only need eight sevens. So that's two less sevens, right? So that I could think about 70 minus 14. And that's also 56.

Kim Montague:

Right.

Pam Harris:

So that's a relationship we could use.

Kim Montague:

Yep. And then there are several other strategies to get to that eight times seven, right. So lots of different anchors. If you're actually interested to hear more about facts, you can scroll on back to Episode 34 through 38, where we talk really deeply about working with facts.

Pam Harris:

Working with multiplication facts, and what does it mean to actually have kids own them and not just rote memorize them because that's really going to help them build reasoning. So lots more about helping your students with multiplication facts, like Kim said, in episodes 34 through 38, we'll put those in the show notes. Okay, so we've just talked a little bit about perception. Please don't share the perception that you don't think you're a math person. Let's just all become math people, because we believe everybody can be.

Kim Montague:

Yep.

Pam Harris:

So secondly, what about actions? What are some things that you as parents can do to help your students realize that Math is Figure-Out-Able, and to be more successful as they figure out more?

Kim Montague:

So the first one I love so much, because we've been having a blast interviewing kids in their home environment for a current project that we've been working on, and time after time, we interview kids. And we consistently hear from parents how surprised they are by a couple of things. The first thing that they're surprised by is our wait time. And what I mean by that is we'll pose a problem and patiently wait as the kid figure stuff out. And parents are surprised by how much time we give, before jumping in and feeling like we have to supply what kids should do.

Pam Harris:

In fact, sometimes we almost have to like put our hand up to parents. And say,"It's okay. It's okay." The parents are like, "Well, let Yeah. me help. Let me tell, you know, that." Like, we'll get this reaction, "You know that one. You know that one." And it's like, "Let them take a breath. It's okay." And then when the kid takes a breath, we get we hear some really nice, it's excellent. And the parents are like, surprised. They're like, "Wow, cool. Look what my kid can do," because we gave him enough time.

Kim Montague:

Yeah. And that was the second thing I was gonna say, the kinds of cool things that their kids do when we wait long enough. And when we help their kids use what they know when we question them. And then we make the students' thinking visible, their kids can do some remarkable things.

Pam Harris:

Yeah, it's so cool. Which we, Kim, you and I, we're not actually surprised, right?

Kim Montague:

Right.

Pam Harris:

We're pretty clear that kids can do amazing things, once they get a glimpse of what math really is, and learn to use what they know. So speaking of filming, we've been filming in classrooms. Before the pandemic, we were in a lot of classrooms filming. And one day, I was in a high school classroom, and we were, I was in the classroom getting to know kids, they're getting to know me a little bit because the next day, we were going to bring the cameras in and shoot some film. And so as I'm getting to know kids, I'm doing some math with them. And in the midst of that math, I'll never forget, this kid right in the middle of the room raises his hand. And I'm like, "Not really a time to ask a question. But okay, like, what do you got?" I didn't say that out loud. I was just like, "Okay, you know, what's your question?" And he looked at me, and he had this very, like, curious look on his face. And he said, "It's almost, it's almost like you want us to use what we know, to solve the problem." And every other kid in the room was like, "Yeah." And I was kind of cracking up a little bit, because they're just so used to kind of fake math where I just mimic what the teacher does. And I basically doing the teacher's thinking. And so these kids were so interested to like, it's almost like you want us to use what we know to solve the problem? Yes, yes. That's Real Math, using what you know, the relationships and connections you own to solve problem. Absolutely that.

Kim Montague:

Yeah. So parents, may we recommend that you slow down, wait longer, asked your your child what they know, and how they can use that to help them. Share with them how you're thinking about numbers and using relationships.

Pam Harris:

And if you're not thinking about using relationships, wonder about how you could.

Kim Montague:

Right. Wondering is super powerful, so parents of young students.

Pam Harris:

And let me be clear, wonder out loud about how you could like say, "Hmm, I'm not actually sure how to think about this problem. I wonder how we could? How are you thinking about it?"

Kim Montague:

Yeah. Parents of young students, we would love to hear you counting with your kid. All parents talk about time and money. Wonder about how long things take, when we need to get ready to leave by a certain time, what time it'll be when we're done with an activity. Anytime you're doing a mathematical thing, talk about it. Just say out loud what you're doing in your head and ask them how they're thinking about it.

Pam Harris:

Oh, so powerful to just start those conversations. To have those conversations. And a note about

Kim Montague:

Yeah. school. So we get that not everyone has a positive school relationship. We understand that. Well, we are going to encourage you to lean into the possibility that you could talk to your child's teachers. Ask them questions. Join in the conversation with them. Attend math night at your child's school. Join in, do the math in that math night. Continue to ask questions. You might even recommend this podcast to your child's teacher, to your child's principal, anything you can do to engage in the conversation about how we can all support your student better to be the best math student they can be and that they want to be. Yeah, we've had so much fun talking just to you, parents. Of course, you're always welcome to listen in as we continue to talk to teachers and leaders. But if you have more questions or wonders about things that we could tackle in future episodes for parents, shoot us an email to Kim@mathisFigureOutAble.com, and we'll save them for some upcoming parent episodes.

Pam Harris:

But also keep listening in if you found this podcast helpful or interesting. Of course, you'll want to because it's fun. Math is not only Figure-Out-Able, but it's also fun. So, thanks for listening in. Teachers, thank you for recommending this podcast to your parents who are interested to understand why math instruction needed to change. So stay tuned to help make more sense out of today's math teaching and really math itself because Math is Figure-Out-Able.