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Here’s how to promote your mathematics department on an open evening.

Parents of Year 5 and 6 want to see teachers demonstrate good relationships with students through high expectations, support and leadership. In my experience, teachers can achieve this by having Year 7 helpers work with you on open evenings.

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 essential to display Year 7 work around the classroom. Use Year 7’s exercise books to show classwork and your teacher comments. Posters of Year 7 homework, open exercise books that showcase working out also help evidence students meeting your high expectations. 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 to show the parents what their children will be learning and its structure.

To demonstrate the positive student and teacher relationships get Year 7 helpers to lead a simple and fun activity for the year 5 and 6 students. Remember to go through the activities with the students beforehand to be confident leading the Year 5 / 6 students (and often their parents) when the time comes.

When the visitors arrive, the Year 7s invite them to try their activity. Parents will often follow their children 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 maths magic. The Year 7 helper asks their visitor to think of a number, double it, add 10, halve the result, and then subtract 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. Then, the visitors have to build the 3D version using multilink cubes. Parents love to get involved in helping their children 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 class is structured.

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

- How will my child be assigned their 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 them catch up?
- How often will you test my child?

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