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Wendy Reuer, Published October 08 2010

Teachers + parents = help for kids

Math is no longer taught in the same way as it was when most parents were in school.

Teachers at Moorhead elementary schools realize that, and in an attempt to help parents help their kids with math homework, the second annual Math Night was held earlier in the week at Robert Asp and at Ellen Hopkins Elementary on Thursday.

Title 1 Parent Involvement Coordinator Nadine Moon said Thursday that the night of games, information and pizza for families was more than a fun event. It aims to show parents the tools available to help with homework and stay involved with their children’s education.

“I think parents want to help with homework, they really do,” Moon said.

Third-grade teacher Maggie Thoreson and fifth-grade teacher Sarah Martin explained that the way of teaching math has changed from previous years, when an algorithm method of teaching was used.

“We (now) show the kids different ways to do math programs,” Thoreson said.

At one station, Title 1 and LSS teacher Kim Melander was busy helping parents and kids make bead racks, a tool to help with counting at home.

Parent Kelly Timm said the racks reminded her of abacuses. Timm said she was excited to bring her first-grade son, Harrison, to the event after his teacher sparked his interest.

At another, more technology-based station, teachers of all grade levels could meet with parents and learn about online math help available. Parents could also ask questions of the instructors.

Thoreson said that since No Child Left Behind has stressed testing and progress levels, events like Math Nights allow teachers to help parents help students, which in turn comes back to help the teachers.

“It helps us all do better,” she said.

Last year’s Math Night at Moorhead schools attracted about 500 families. Thursday night, organizers planned for a similar turnout.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530