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Here’s how to promote your maths department, teachers and resources this year’s open evening.

Parents of Year 5 and 6 children want to see teachers demonstrate their good relationships with students through high expectations, support and leadership. In my experience this can be best achieved having Year 7 helpers work with you on open evening.

The majority of parents will have questions about how students learn in maths. By keeping their child engaged with the activities the parents are more likely to have the time to ask their questions.

It is important to display Year 7 work around the classroom. Use the Year 7’s exercise books to display classwork and your teacher comments. Posters of Year 7 homeworks and working out also help evidence students meeting your high expectations. Work which includes diagrams, lots of working out and student’s self-assessment and teacher’s comments all give the parents a clear idea of what level their child would be to expected work at. Do make sure you have some teacher marked work on view. All this helps to demonstrate positive student-teacher relationships.

If you use textbooks have a few on display. Not so many that parents think you only work through books but enough for parents to know what to buy to support their child at home.

Whenever I present at open evening I get the Year 7 helpers to lead a simple and fun activity. It is important to go through the activities with the students beforehand so when the time comes they are confident leading the Year 5 / 6 students (and often their parents).

When the visitors arrive the Year 7s invite them to try their activity. Parents will often follow their child at this point. Not only do the parents feel more relaxed knowing their child is with a Year 7 but they also get to see how confident and clever our new Year 7s are .

A Year 7 student asks a visitor if they would like to see some math magic. They pass them a mini-whiteboard to do their working out on. The Year 7 helper asks their visitor to think of a number, double it, add 10 and halve the result. Then subtract their result from the original number. The answer is always 5. Parents and their children love this trick and the Year 7 student enjoys being the magician.

News of the math magic activity tends to spread around the school.

A Year 7 student has a plan, front and side elevation drawing of a solid made. The visitors have to build the 3D version using multilink cubes. Parents love to get involved helping their child with this.

On the interactive whiteboard is a typical Year 7 lesson. The Year 7 helper takes the parents through the flow of a lesson. 1. The starter, 2. The main activity where the teacher teaches us the learning objective, 3. The questions we do on our own or in pairs, 4. The plenary where we show the teacher how well we have learnt. Parents and their Year 5/6 children like to see how a typical Year 7 lesson is structured.

A Year 7 student asks visitors to complete a small tarsia puzzle. To make it competitive it could be a timed puzzle with a record kept of the fastest completion time.

How will my child be assigned his/her maths class?

If you set by ability can my child move up/down throughout the year?

How often do you set homework?

How many students are in a class?

Does my child need a specific calculator?

My child has struggled in the past how will you help him/her catch up?

How often will you test my child?

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