Use Parents as Math Helpers!
- Grades: 3–5
Many teachers ask how I manage all three math groups when I am only teaching one group. It does take a few weeks at the beginning of the school year for students to learn to work independently at the Independent Practice Station and work cooperatively and quietly at the Games Station.
One helpful solution is to ask parents to volunteer to be your math helper during math time each day. The math helper in our classroom works at the Games Station. He or she can help students understand the directions, manage the groups as they play the game, and hold students accountable for their learning.
There are times when students will not put forth as much effort as they should when the teacher is not looking over their shoulder. Having a parent watching them as they play the math game helps ensure that students are getting the most out of the activity. Also, if students have questions about the game they are playing, they do not need to interrupt my teaching. These parents also help out with projects at this station when students are doing collaborative projects as opposed to math games.
To round up parent volunteers for math helpers, we send home a sign-up calendar each month. We almost always have a parent helper at the Games Station to make sure students are getting the most out of the games they play or the projects they are doing.