When students leave out your classroom door for the day you as a teacher have little control over what they do until they come back to your classroom the next day. How can we help guide students (and parents) to use that time wisely to help fill in gaps that students have in their math learning?
Over the past few years in my classroom I have kept a separate class blog. With this blog I took time to stress to my students and their families to always check it first when working at home or if they had questions. We all know that newsletters are out of date before they even go home and with a classroom blog I was able to update regularly (most of the time on the day of the activity/assignment).
By showing completed examples of items we created in our Interactive Notebooks it allowed students to complete anything that wasn’t completed in class but also gave parents a reference to look at when helping their students with homework assignments.
Many of my blog posts also gave dates for quizzes, tests and due dates. Parents and students were able to easily opt in to receive an email of each post so that they didn’t have to remember to go back and read the blog each day, although many still did especially if they had a study hall class.
When introducing new units or giving extra practice for a concept, I was able to easily link to videos that my students could watch and benefit from. Linking videos and interactive games provide another avenue for students to build their knowledge beyond just the learning in the classroom.
Several of my students enjoyed being able to watch videos ahead of the lesson and have a deeper understanding once I taught in class. This also helped them be a step ahead of peers so they could then facilitate group learning and teach in a different way from what I had presented the material if needed.
To wrap things up….
Build the line of communication with your families and make it something that is easy for you to keep updated. Emails work but they are tedious and take time. Sites like edModo, a classroom blog, Twitter, Instagram, or even a private Facebook group allow you to be in constant and quick communication with students and parents. It is also OPEN RECORD so therefore no need to be fearful of what might happen online.
P.S. I had my blog comments on moderated until approved so that I could help prevent any spam or bullying.
What is a site, or sites, that you have sent home with students to work on for extra practice to fill in gaps?
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