Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Supporting Maths Learning at Home

Many parents are keen to support their children’s learning at home but often feel less confident in assisting with maths than other areas, such as reading and spelling. The most important thing parents can do is to encourage a positive attitude towards maths, embracing it as a subject which has lifelong importance and one in which everyone can succeed.

Sometimes parents who hold negative memories of their own maths learning empathise with their children by sharing comments such as,  “You’re just like me, I was never very good at maths in school.” Research has shown that such messages can deeply affect children’s attitudes, effort and achievement by feeding into a fixed mindset in which one’s potential is believed to be preset. The reality is that with practice, anyone can succeed in maths. Please click here for an article linked to this.

At school, we are often asked by parents for practical ideas for things they can do at home to help their child with maths. This post is designed to support parents with ideas for engaging mathematical activities they can try at home.

Maths Games
One of the best ways for children to develop maths skills is to play games. Board games are a great way to make math practice fun. In school, we often use games which support conceptual learning and provide opportunities to reinforce maths skills. In the links below, you can find games which teachers use in class to support learning at each of the grade levels. Your children will enjoy playing these games with other family members. More games will be added throughout the year to connect with the units we are teaching in class.

Khan Academy
All students have been set up with a personal Khan Academy account which they can use at both home and school. At the start of the year, each child will begin the relevant mission for their grade and they are encouraged to practice regularly to strengthen their skills. The program is adaptive to each student’s needs and teachers are provided with data on each child’s progress. If a child completes a grade mission, they can progress to the next mission. However, we would advise that if students want to do more maths at home and they are already working in Khan Academy in the grade above their current school grade, then they should draw on other activities from this post to supplement their learning.

iPad Apps
There are numerous iPad apps designed to support mathematical understanding but having tried and tested many, we would like to share our top recommendations for effective maths apps to direct your child to at home.

Ten Frame Mania
A fun game for G2 students to build early number sense
Math Drills

Practice basic math skills in addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

There are a few Squeebles apps for maths including Times Tables, Addition/Subtraction, Division and Fractions
A great fast paced game to practice addition
Motion Math
This covers a range of maths topics
Mt Multiplis
An engaging game to help children understand the concept of multiplication
Wuzzit Trouble
This games helps build children's number sense, problem solving and creative and critical thinking skills

Dragon Box Algebra
A fun way for kids to learn the basics of algebra
(without knowing it is algebra!)
A great game to improve computational fluency
Fun math puzzles with similarities to Sudoku ( watch out parents you may get hooked on this one)

A little practice here and there is beneficial and so much better if we can make it fun and engaging. We have high expectations for every child and genuinely believe all children can succeed in maths. So, our advice to parents is to embrace this ethos too and let it guide your support at home.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Khan Academy - access from home

Logging on with a computer

  1. Open Chrome browser and search for Khan Academy
  2. Click on the green button ‘Start Learning Now’

  1. Click the red button : ‘Sign in with Gmail’

  1. Enter your school email address followed by your school password
      (student email address and password)

  1. You will now be logged into your Khan Academy account

Logging on with an iPad

  1. On the iPad go to the App Store and download the Khan Academy app
  2. Sign up using your school email address followed by your school password  (student email address and password)
  3. To see the Grade Level missions on the iPad like this you will need to set the region on the iPad to the United States. ( On the iPad go to Settings -  General -  Language and Region- Then change the Region to United States. ) Please see screenshot below:

Khan Academy

This year, we will be using Khan Academy to provide a personalized learning experience for our students.
Khan Academy is a free online resource that allows students to learn anytime, anywhere, with material that is uniquely appropriate for them. Students can explore new topics and strengthen their Mathematics skills by using interactive practice and tutorials. As students learn, their activity feeds into reports that show their teachers information, such as areas of strength and weakness in a particular concept. Students can access Khan Academy in school and at home through their school Google account using the same email and password. Sometimes teachers will set Khan Academy as homework, either by stating a length of time to work on Khan (usually no longer than 30 mins) or by recommending specific tasks for students to complete. Children can access Khan on a computer or iPad (if they are working on an iPad, they will need to download the free ‘Khan Academy’ app from the App Store).
Khan Academy is designed to be an independent learning experience. It adapts to the student’s responses, targeting areas that require further practice. There is a built-in support system with hints and videos if a student experiences difficulty or is presented with a new concept. Therefore, we would ask you not to help your child when they are using Khan Academy, as this will distort their results and the tasks that they are faced with next. Of course, you can sit beside them and watch the maths they are doing. Although this is an independent activity, it is not intended that the questions are all done mentally and, as such, students are encouraged to have pencil and paper at the ready to use where necessary.
Please feel free to explore Khan Academy for yourself. There are many resources for parents. If you have any questions about Khan Academy, feel free to contact your child’s classroom teacher or myself (
Thank you for your support.