(September 30, 2011) When children are learning to read, people generally see the many ways that families of all economic levels model literacy for their children in day-to-day life. But less recognized are the ways families model mathematical thinking at home, particularly math that goes beyond simple arithmetic. IDRA education associates Paula Martin Johnson, M.A., and Hector Bojorquez describe an activity they led with parents to help them see how they use higher math concepts regularly. They also outline questions families can ask to help children move from finding the right answer to using higher order thinking to determine why an answer may be right. Paula and Hector are interviewed by Aurelio Montemayor, M.Ed., director of the IDRA Texas Parent Information and Resource Center. Send comments to
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Webinar: And Math, What? / Y Matemática ¿Que? (archived) This webinar will help you determine how your students are doing in math and what information families and schools must have to ensure math achievement.
* Paula and Hector share an overview of a recent webinar that IDRA led for parents on new ways to think and talk about math with their children.
* Hector says that the goal is not to turn parents into math teachers themselves.
* Hector and Paula explain how many of parents' day-to-day activities are already mathematical.
* Hector and Paula talk about how parents can better engage their children with math concepts by asking questions that start with how long and long, where a specific answer is not as important as thinking through the problem.
* Hector notes how often parents naturally model literacy to their children on a daily basis, regardless of their socioeconomic status, but that they struggle to do the same with math.
* Hector and Paula explain that parents can show their children that learning math "is not mysterious and completely abstract."
* Hector discusses how teachers and schools can support and encourage parents to model and talk about math concepts at home.
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