Monday, September 3, 2012

Handouts for Parents on the Commom Core

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If you have already begun teaching addition and subtraction this year, you may already be facing one of the biggest issues of introducing Commom Core... 

the lack of anything tangible to send to parents.
Our parents were not taught this way, and they are desperate to understand. 

As I mentioned in my earlier post, at our school, we had students copy an example from the board or chart, to use as a guide when doing the 4 or 5 homework problems we assigned.  We typed the homework problems on strips and glued them in their math journal right next to the written example.

Thinking that we had planned this out pretty well, I was quite surprised the morning following the first homework assignment, after all, it was only 4 problems.  I had 8 notes on my desk and two parents stopped in for unscheduled doorway conferences.   Over the first week, I spent several unexpected moments, showing parents the charts we'd used and teaching them how to help with homework and eventuallly the test preparation.  This continued until I addressed it.

What had gone wrong with our plan? 

Problem: Handwriting illegible, incomplete copying, parents completely unfamiliar, etc. One more thing...we have only started the year, so parents haven't had a chance to get to know me.  Who knows what opinions they were making based on this "new math", as parents are calling it. 

Solution:  I just created "how-to" sheets for each addition and subtraction skill, using the Place Value Blocks strategy. 

They are designed to be sent home to parents as you introduce each skill to their children.  These "Parent Guides" provide simple step-by-step instructions along with visual aids to help your parents help their children....and a nice extra... they will help keep parent complaints to a minimum. 

Here is a snapshot of one "how-to" sheet...

Here is a closer look at steps 1 & 2:

Here is a closer look at the next step (step 3) where trading is needed...

For each "how-to" sheet, there is an application sheet.   You can use it for homework, independent or small group practice.  I intend on using it for independent practice after I feel they have a good grasp of the skill.  There are 4 of these, so after the last one, I will combine them for one classwork grade. 

Here is what one looks like:

I am currently creating handouts to teach how to add and subtract using an open number line and using expanded form.  I will post here when they are finished.  Soon I hope.  I wish you success and have a great new school year!


  1. Hi there Nice Blog I love reading hrough your blog this is helpful and informative for me. thank you.

  2. I so agree with this " the lack of anything tangible to send to parents." I had a parent in tears at our first conference because she doesn't know how to help her daughter . . . inside I was saying, "I'm sorry I don't know what I'm doing either!."

    Hopefully we will all adjust quickly! :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac

  3. Hi, I am just wondering if you have the parent how-to sheets posted on teachers pay teachers- I think it is a great idea!
    Grade 2 Teacher


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