By Brenna R. Kelly
When her 4th-grade students at Camp Dick Robinson Elementary kept coming to school with their mathematics homework completed but not with the calculation methods she was teaching, Ruth Wall knew something had to change.
Instead of multiplying and dividing using the strategies called for in the Kentucky Core Academic Standards for Math, such as equations, arrays or area models, the homework was done the way most of her students’ parents had learned to multiply and divide – using a formula.
“What happens is you show the children the new way,” Wall said, “Then in the homework the parents say ‘You must do it the way I know how to do it, because it’s the only way I can help you.’”
So Wall, who has taught at the Garrard County school for 27 years, started giving marks for not following directions.
“The parents were furious,” she said. “But if I don’t give students marks for it, I’m saying, ‘It’s OK if you never learn it.’”
The only way for her students to learn, she decided, was to teach their parents. Continue Reading