Don’t quit

Originally posted 2017-01-21 07:07:27. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Does math practice make a difference?

There is some talk lately about if homework really helps students. For math, the answer is clearly yes.

To figure this out, one year I looked at the number of minutes of math practice my fourth grade students were completing at Khan Academy, a math practice website. I compared that to a student’s math level. Here are some facts to consider, using data from one fourth grade marking period:

  • The average number of minutes the class worked for the entire marking period was 800 minutes. The lowest value was 400 minutes, and the highest was 1750 minutes. So the hardest workers were working 400% more than the lax workers.
  • The top 25% of the class was working an average of 1300 minutes with an average math level of 5.1.
  • The bottom 25% of the class was working an average of 471 minutes with an average math level of 3.5.
  • The middle 50% of the class was right where you would expect them to be, in the middle of minutes worked and math level.

Here’s the data in a table, sorted by the number of minutes worked:

By Minutes WorkedAverageMinutes
Bottom 25%3.5471
Middle 50%4.4700
Top 25%5.11314
Class Average4.3796

It’s clear from above that the students that are spending the most time working are improving their math levels. The students practicing the least are below grade level.

Here’s the table sorted by math level:

By Math LevelAverageMinutes
Bottom 25%3.0543
Middle 50%4.5811
Top 25%5.51021
Class Average4.3796

What this table clearly shows is that the students that need the most practice, the lowest level math students, were working the least in the class. However, the average minutes in this table are higher for the bottom and middle percentiles than in the table that was sorted by minutes worked. That shows that some of the lower level students were spending more time trying to improve their math levels. Over time, that practice will pay off.

Two takeaways:

  1. Practice time makes a difference. While not a guarantee, the more time your student spends practicing math (or reading or any other subject) the better their level will be. This is why a daily homework time is essential.
  2. Grades will follow minutes. If your student has a lower math level than you would like, nothing is likely to change until you find ways for them to practice more at home. It would be great if your student would take initiative and practice on their own. But if they are struggling, it is likely that they are not practicing. You’ll need to step in and help them organize your time if you want to see a change. Over time, more practice will make a difference.

Originally posted 2017-12-04 15:41:19. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Logical consequences are a good teacher

A story was told of a parent that called a national radio show about her son. He had apparently been skipping class and was past the point of a mandatory failing grade, but had used a deception to skirt the rules. When the parent found out, she called to seek advice about how to help her son avoid failing.

Parents are often tempted to look for ways that minimize the pain their children experience, even when that pain was caused by their child’s poor choice. But separating a consequence from an action is not the best way to show love to a child. Minimizing that pain now makes it more likely that the child will experience increased pain in the future as he repeats the same mistake over and over. A wise parent lets their child experience the logical consequences of their choices, and then shows them love through the situation. Said another way, a wise parent “can either stand between his [child’s] bad decision and the consequences, or she can stand beside him, supporting him as he learns from it. She can’t do both.”

Here’s a better response to the class skipper:

“What a sad situation, Toby. How do you want to confess? Do you want to do it in person, in writing, or would you rather have me help you by going with you to the principal’s office? I bet you might like a hug right now. I know that I do.”

Letting a child learn from their mistakes before the consequences become serious is the most loving way parents can handle the problems their children cause.

Read more about this here.

Originally posted 2016-10-18 13:45:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Never give up

Originally posted 2019-09-07 19:07:56. Republished by Blog Post Promoter


Originally posted 2017-08-28 07:40:18. Republished by Blog Post Promoter