Math is a problem, but FDMS has a plan

FDMS to host family engagement event

Too many local sixth-graders are behind on their math fluency, but Fort Dodge Middle School has a plan.

According to Wendy Daniel-Wiseman, a sixth-grade math teacher at FDMS, students are having problems with multiplication fluency.

“Multiplication fluency should have been mastered by the end of third grade,” Daniel-Wiseman said. “What we are seeing is these kids do not know them, or they know them, but they are not fluent with them and they get frustrated in trying to reduce a fraction.”

A sixth-grade math family engagement event scheduled for Jan. 20 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the school is one way educators are attempting to address that issue.

Daniel-Wiseman said, “I am trying to teach sixth-grade math standards and if they struggle at multiplying and dividing facts, then they really get frustrated with trying to learn the sixth-grade standards. “

The family event will begin with a light breakfast. Families will then hear a presentation on the key concepts of teaching and understanding math. Following that presentation, the families will move to individual math teachers’ classrooms to further discuss their child’s math data and learn strategies to help practice math skills at home.

Child care will be available for children of all ages.

“We are giving out a packet with fun games,” Daniel-Wiseman said. “Playing Yahtzee, as an example. The kids have to think how many fours or fives you can get. We are trying to make math more fun and get parents more involved.”

Ryan Flaherty, FDMS principal, said engaging families is important to a child’s education.

“We know and research tells us that the way to most effectively help students learn and achieve their potential is done through the help of engaging families and parents and making sure that what we are doing in schools can be reinforced and replicated at home,” he said.

“Our math event is designed to make what we are doing to help students with math fact fluencies visible to parents and help them replicate it. Even though they may have had a variety of different experiences in math, everyone is able to help children learn.”

Daniel-Wiseman is her 17th year as a math teacher. She teaches about 90 students per year.

She said a majority of them are struggling with the subject.

Learning multiplication facts will cut down on some of the frustration demonstrated by students, she said.

“We so desperately need these kids to understand to keep going, keep trying, keep learning, but so many just shut down,” she said. “If they just knew basic multiplication they would be less frustrated and more eager to keep going.”

Flaherty said math was identified as an area in need of improvement at the middle school.

“We looked at our school data and we have a number of areas that we can and should improve in,” he said. “We decided to target math as one of our priority areas based on what our data told us.”

He added, “We feel like we will gain maybe the most impact from targeting math fact fluency, as it will help our students as they progress through middle school and even carry on into upper level math at the high school.”

FDMS math family engagement event

When: Jan. 20

Where: Fort Dodge Middle School

Time: 10 to 11:30 a.m.