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Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood School for Girls recently hosted “Math Night” to introduce parents to some of the strategies scholars are learning in the classroom.
Nearly 200 parents and students attended the sessions. Teachers discussed the math curriculum and gave parents tips on how to help their scholars with math homework at home.
Parents sat in sessions led by teachers and scholars. They saw how math classes use computer programs, white boards, games, and writing on desks to understand math standards. They also saw how the skills scholars develop in elementary school lead to success in middle and high school math.
“From first grade on, you are building for algebra,” said Angela Kennedy, a math teacher at IPA Kirkwood. “It starts with using symbols and shapes to add and subtract, and later using shapes and symbols to multiply and divide.”
Kennedy said when some of her seventh and eighth grade scholars miss concepts they develop a fear of math.” It’s scary for students because in algebra they see alphabet in a math problem.”
Some parents also find algebra intimidating, Kennedy added.  “As parents, we may be like ‘Don’t bring me this. I don’t know how to do problems with alphabet,'” she said.
There are plenty of tools that parents and scholars could use at home to better understand algebra, Kennedy said. She recommends that parents and scholars watch math videos by “Math Antics” at mathantics.com. The videos provide a step-by-step look at solving problems.
“They are wonderful,” Kennedy said. “If you are home, and he has a math video for you that explains what your scholar is doing at home, let them watch it.”
At IPA Kirkwood elementary school, parents were learning how to play games that they could do at home to help their scholars compare numbers and write fact families.
In a first grade classroom, parents rolled dice until they had two numbers to compare. The teacher gave them a memory clue to help their scholars determine whether to use a greater than or less than sign to compare the numbers.
“The alligator always eats the greater number,” one mother said to the teacher.
Down the hall in Ayana Hendricks’ classroom, a scholar demonstrated how her class solves math word problems to get them ready for the types of questions they may see on the Georgia Milestones Exams when they are older.
“I believe that in first grade we need to be getting them ready for the Milestones now,” Hendricks said. “The problems we do here require them to think and solve problems with pictures, numbers, and spelling words. They are learning at a high level.”
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