Posted in Math

Math Night… It’s All in the Cards

Many schools host Math and Reading nights each year.  For a large school….this event can be overwhelming!   At our school our Math Committee is responsible for the planning and execution of this important outreach event.  Each year we try to come up with new and different ideas to give parents tools to support their student’s development in math since many of our families are with us for up to 7 years (we are a PK-5 school).

Last Year

Last year we had station rotations which included teachers demonstrating math routines, problem solving strategies, math fact strategies, Number Talks, and the game Tenzi.  From our parent feedback the Tenzi station was the best received part of the evening.  (If you are interested in the ways we adapted the game for each grade level follow this link:  Tenzi K-5 Game Variations.  So based on this feedback we thought we would try an “all game night” this year.

This Year (11.14.18)

So this year we decided to create games for 3 grade bands; PK & K, Grade 1 & 2, and Grades 3-5 using a deck of cards.  Parents also told us that they preferred to be able to float between rooms as they liked with out a structured rotation.  Another challenge we had was that many of our families have children across many grades and we needed to be able to accommodate all ages in each room during our event.  

For our math night we began by having our cafeteria staff serve a spaghetti dinner to all of our families from 5:15-5:45.  From 5:45 until 7:00 pm we had parents choose rooms to learn to play a range of math games using a deck of playing cards.  Each room had a teacher to teach each of the three grade band level games.   Every 18 minutes we used our PA system to instruct families to choose a new room to learn different games.  At the last rotation each child received their own set of playing cards and a ring colored cards that had the game directions on the front  and a QR code with video directions on the back.   In addition to the card games students our fabulous Tech Ed teacher had the entire library full of coding & computational thinking activities for students and parents to interact with.  

Math Spirit Week

I would be remise if I didn’t mention that we also had an entire spirit week around our math night as well.  Mrs. Joy Gallupe, one of our intervention teachers, came up with this fabulous idea and we all had a blast with it!  Each day we wore something that related to math.  On Monday we had to wear a shirt with a number.  Lots of teachers used the numbers that students wore in math activities that day.   Our students (and teachers) always enjoy spirit week!  

Set Up Notes

Room Setup:  Here is an overview of our set up.  I have removed our teacher names but indicate on this sheet where they were filled in.  We used classrooms in one hallway adjacent to our cafeteria so that it made moving between rooms easier.  We marked the rooms with a red ballon at the door so that it was clear which rooms were bring utilized.  

Game Directions:  The game directions were cut to be 1/4 page size and hole punched in the upper left hand corner.   Additionally each grade band was printed on a different color card – purple for PK/K, peach for 1/2, and green for 3-5.  All of our games complete with QR codes and in this folder

Staffing:  We had over 150 parents and students attend and had 7 rooms set up (6 with card games and 1 with technology).  Each room had 3 teachers (21 total), 3 teachers/admin as floaters and greeters, and our cafeteria staff to serve the dinner.  

Final Thoughts

We all know how beneficial parent nights are but they can certainly be challenging to coordinate.  To me it’s sort of like “planning a big party” and that can be overwhelming to teachers that are already stretched thin.  We tried to keep our evening simple but still have a high level of impact on helping parents know how they can help their students with math at home.  For us it was important to give parents fun ways to to help reinforce their student’s number concepts (including math facts).    

Resources we Created Mentioned in this Blog Post

Thank you!

Thank you to my Math Committee Co-Chair, Adrienne Haden for all the time that you spent with me putting all of this together along with our fabulous Math Committee team members!  I also want to thank the many teachers and staff members that came out to teach the games:  Mrs. Water, Ms. Fox, Ms. Johnston, Mr. & Mrs. Taylor, Mr. Wood, Mrs. Stanton, Mrs. Smith (and her intern), Mrs. O’Connor, Mrs. Newman, Mrs. Gruhler, Ms. Bailey, Mrs. Franklin, Mrs. Matuszewski, Mrs. Cupaiuolo, Mrs. Gallupe, Mrs. Haden, Mrs. Gearhart, Ms. Caudill, Mrs. Haupt, and Mr. Hurley!

If you have any questions feel free to email me: or .