Ottoson - Math Department » Supporting our Students at Home

Supporting our Students at Home

Our goal is for students to be independent. We want students to be able to assess where they are in their learning, what they need to do to learn, and make the choices they need to make in order to be successful. Graphing organizers and other strategies are so that students can be independent.

We recognize that not everyone feels comfortable with teaching math; nonetheless, we encourage all family members to promote a math-positive environment in their home, to normalize and encourage struggle, and to delight in learning math alongside your child. Read more about how parents' belief about math affects their child's achievement.

Graphic Organizers

By using graphic organizers, such as the ones linked below, students learn to organize their thinking and make sense of the math before them. All of the resources below are from Understood, an organization that works to make education accessible for all learners. Our ultimate goal as a department is for our students to be able to create graphic organizers on their own!

Sometimes it's hard to line up numbers and symbols in math problems. This grid of boxes can help.

A word problem can be easier to solve when it is broken into pieces. Here is one graphic organizer for breaking down a problem. (Remember that "key words" are at times deceiving.)

Homework Help

Helping your student with their schoolwork can be an important bonding experience, and we encourage you to do so! Here are some important ideas about how to do so most effectively:

  • Encourage your child to use notes or other resources from class to help them remember what they learned. Always have your child explain to you what they do know about the topic at hand. Even a small spark of information can help them figure out how to approach a problem.

  • Be encouraging! It's important to not tell your kids that they are wrong when working on math problems. Instead, try to find the logic in what they are saying, and help them to iron out their thinking.

  • Never tell your child that you were bad at math or didn't like math when you were in school. Doing so normalizes being "bad at math" and allows them to feel ok with not understanding a problem.

  • Recognize and value mistakes, and help them to see mistakes as a positive thing.

  • When students need to remind themselves about a particular skill or topic and can't find information in their notes about it, please encourage them use one of the following resources:

  • The math department will also be using the IXL platform this year as part of instruction. This site provides personalized diagnostics for math and ELA and can be used as a tool to practice specific skills. The site is organized by grade level and standard.

  • For more of our thinking about homework help and support at home, take a look at this article: Twelve Steps to Increase Your Child's Math Achievement and Make Math Fun