4 Important Math Items to Cover at Parent-Teacher Conferences
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Do you need help figuring out what to discuss with your 4th-grade families at parent-teacher conferences coming up? It can be difficult to come up with points of discussion for elementary math class conferences. Here are 4 math items I like to mention at parent-teacher conferences in upper elementary math classrooms.
1. The topics covered in math class that year
Parents are often curious about what their student is learning in your math class. While we all hope that our students are going home and sharing all of the wonderful knowledge learned in your class, often parents are left in the dark about what is taking place. Combine that with math strategies that parents aren’t familiar with? Parents can feel confused. I like to share with parents the big overarching ideas of that year (think area/perimeter, multiplication of multi digits, measurement, etc) and then explain briefly that I will be teaching multiple strategies to help students learn those skills. This gives parents the confidence to recognize many of the skills they are familiar with without necessarily knowing the specific strategies being taught.
2. What the student is succeeding at
Every student is good at something. It is so crucial to share with parents something that their student is doing correctly, so if you have to have a tough conversation with them about their child’s learning later, they are more receptive to it. Maybe your student works well with others during math stations, has shown a lot of growth on a recent assessment, or has improved on their math growth mindset. Find SOMETHING and share it with parents. This can help parents see that their child can succeed in math. Sometimes parents can hinder their child’s own learning because they believe that their child isn’t a “math person”. By sharing a student’s successes, it can challenge that notion of children simply being good or bad at math.
3. The students’ relationship with math
How is that student doing in math emotionally? So many people suffer from math anxiety or lack a growth mindset. This would be a great time to talk to parents about what behaviors are helping (or hindering) your student in math class! Ask questions about your student’s attitude towards math at home! I learn so much from families when I ask them how students feel about math. Often I find that students are hiding their anxiety until they get home, have warmed up to math or that even the parents have strong feelings towards math. The more information that you can use to help a student, the better!
4. How the parent can help at home
So many parents nowadays feel helpless when it comes to helping their children with their math homework. I don’t blame them, the way that many parents learned math is vastly different from how it is being taught now. I like to give parents specific things that they can do at home to help their students in math even if they aren’t familiar with the strategies we are learning. Some of the options I give parents are to practice fluency flashcards, allow their students to play online math games, or pick out one of my favorite math board games. The biggest way I tell families that they can help their students in math is to accept mistakes and help them practice a growth mindset. Want something that you can hand parents for them to do with their students at home? Check out my math coloring books!
What are your tips for parent-teacher conferences? I would love to hear them!
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