Savannah Primary School is taking a pre-emptive strike at helping parents support their kids with their math homework.

On Nov. 10, parents of students of Savannah Primary from all year levels, reception to Year 6, were invited to attend a hands-on numeracy strategy night. According to a press release, approximately 100 parents along with their children turned up to be tutored in various mathematical practices that their children will be learning this school year. The event follows on the heels of a similar initiative held for parents and caregivers to help their children with literacy, which saw close to 200 adults in attendance.

“How many times have parents expressed frustrations regarding the math homework that is brought home?” said Savannah Primary Principal Carol Nyack.

“By participating in this initiative, we hope, they won’t have to utter such frustrations quite as much.”

Year 5 teacher and numeracy coordinator Carol Gopaul leads a session.
Year 5 teacher and numeracy coordinator Carol Gopaul leads a session.

Each year group had its own session that dealt with specific goals and topics from the children’s curriculum.

Reception parents got involved in counting, sorting and pattern exercises, while Year 1 teachers showed parents the importance of establishing number sense within 10.

“Number sense includes concepts like understanding the number’s meaning, what the number represents, ‘how many’ it is, what symbol represents it, and combinations of objects to represent the number, as well as quantities that may be put together to arrive at the number,” explained Year 5 teacher and numeracy coordinator Carol Gopaul.

“Number sense also covers number relationships, understanding combinations of other numbers to get the given number.”

Year 2 teachers invited their parents to use different manipulatives to understand numbers.

Ms. Gopaul explained that manipulatives are physical objects that are used as teaching tools to engage students in the hands-on learning of mathematics, like counters, number lines, and blocks.

Parents and students go over some exercises.
Parents and students go over some exercises.

Years 3 and 4 parents got a sampling of the strategies of addition and subtraction.

“These strategies include adding and subtracting using the number line as a visual representation, partitioning by separating a number into the place value of the digits, and grouping like values for adding or subtracting [expanded notation],” said Ms. Gopaul.

Year 5 teachers were on hand to illustrate solving both multiplication and division problems using techniques like the grid method and chunking, and Year 6 parents were given a taste of the Key Stage 2 Mental Math test.

“The general consensus of the parents was that the numeracy strategy night was a huge success,” said Ms. Nyack, noting it seemed that most of attendees left the sessions with a pretty good idea of what their child would be learning for rest of the year.

“After an hour of practicing the various math strategies, and learning the new vocabulary, a feeling of confidence was evident in the room,” added Ms. Gopaul, noting that given the positive response the school is considering holding a follow-up math evening.

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