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Homework the FUN Way

Homework the FUN Way

Everyone loves to play games.  They’re engaging, motivating, and fun.  And from an educational perspective, they can be a powerful learning tool.  Here’s what games can do:

    • reinforce skills learned in the classroom
    • develop mental math skills
    • encourage strategic thinking
    • foster mathematical communication
    • build confidence
    • engage parents

But one of the best things about games is that they offer meaningful practice in a way where kids actually want to do math.  That’s because games, by their very nature, are fun.  It’s not too hard to entice a child to play a game.  And because of that, games offer important practice in a way that worksheets can’t.

When it comes to homework, we need to tap into the innate interest and motivation that games provide so that we can help parents sneak in some important math reinforcement.  It’s no secret that the more engaged parents are in their child’s education, the better their children do in school.  And current research says that homework can be effective when it piques students’ interests, doesn’t take too long, and allows repeated exposure to master new skills.  Games fit the bill on each of these.

So let’s make it easy to engage ALL parents in their child’s learning by periodically sending home games for homework instead of worksheets.

This is where our Power Packs come in.  These Power Packs are filled with engaging dice games created specifically for parents to play with their children.  Not only are the games fun but we took great care to design them around the skills students are learning in the classroom.

Each Pack comes with the games and game pieces needed so all you have to do is pop the Pack in students’ backpacks.  It’s as simple as that.  Soon, parents and kids will be enjoying the games together – not to mention each other’s company!

To give you an idea how this might work as a part of your classroom routine, we put together an introductory letter and weekly game take-home slip (2 pages) that you can send home to families.  And with conferences coming up, it’s the perfect opportunity to introduce the game packs to parents.  In fact, you may also want to share this fabulous TED Talk that underscores the importance of practice – or what the speaker calls the learning zone.

Of course, the Power Packs are also perfect for your Family Math Night event.  Here’s how we use them at our events.

As always, our goal is to support you in your support of parents.  If you have any questions about our Power Packs, or any of our Family Math Night products, feel free to email us at info@familymathnight.com.

Power Packs: Developing Number Sense

Power Packs: Developing Number Sense

I’m excited to share with you the newest member of our Family Math Night product line:  Power Packs: Building Numbers Sense in grades K-1, 2-3, and 4-5.  These Power Packs are filled with games that teach parents strategies and tools to help their children build strong math skills.  They can be used during your Family Math Night event, as take-home math packs in the classroom, and as classroom math centers.

Why Power Packs?  There have been a lot of changes in mathematics curriculum and pedagogy in recent years and a lot of parents don’t feel as prepared as they’d like to be when it comes to helping their child in math.  The power of these Power Packs comes in the integration of strategies and tools that parents use as they play the games with their children.  While playing the games, not only are parents learning about the new standards, they’re also gaining strategies they can use to help their child in math.  For example:

Strategies and tools at the Beginning Level (K-1) include:  subitizing, counting strip, counting on, 10- and 20-frames, number lines, making tens, number bonds, doubles +/- 1, 0-120 number grid and more.

Strategies and tools at the Intermediate Level (2-3) include:  number bonds, rounding, 20-frame, making tens and multiples of 10, splitting numbers, partial sums, partial differences, compensation, 0-120 number grid, number lines, array and area model of multiplication, equal groups and more.

Strategies and tools at the Advanced level (4-5) include: rounding, order of operations, distributive property of multiplication, partial products, partial quotients, fraction bars, number lines, decimal number chart, standard algorithms, multiples of 10, area model of division and more.

You can see these Power Packs pack a powerful punch!  Here are a few comments we received while families were giving the packs a go:

  • Loved the way my second grader was challenged!
  • I loved how it showed me how to solve the problems.
  • Greater Than or Less than was perfect for my child who needs a little help with >, <.  Easy and fast.
  • Closest to 100 was my son’s favorite game.  It was good practice for him adding double-digit numbers.  He even added my numbers!
  • In-Between was a group favorite.  It was easy enough that my youngest in kindergarten was able to play and was getting the concept too!
  • The games kept my daughter entertained and focused.
  • As a high school math teacher, I really appreciated the differentiation.
  • I am honestly surprised how much they enjoyed it and am thrilled that even with the large spread in ages, they could all play.
…and my fav…
  • The kids didn’t want to stop!

We all know that research clearly indicates that parent involvement in their child’s education has a significant impact on academic success.  The key is to make sure that parents have the tools and strategies they need to reinforce the learning taking place in the math classroom so they feel confident when working with their children.  Games are a perfect way to do this.  Not only are games fun to play, but they are the perfect way to sneak in important learning for students…and their parents!

Our K-1 Power Pack is ready to purchase.  We will follow in the next few weeks with our 2-3 Power Pack and then round the year with our 4-5 Power Pack.  If you have any questions about our Packs, or any of our Family Math Night products, feel free to contact us.