## Teachers open the door. You must enter by yourself. -Chinese Proverb

Welcome to Mrs. Kitchen's 6th Grade Math Website! Please use this website as a resource to you as we go throughout this year. Here, you will find homework assignments, Mrs. Kitchen's blog updating you on all the exciting things going on in 6th grade math, weekly challenges, and helpful resources and links for extra practice in math. I hope that you will take some time to get to know this website and visit it often throughout the year! I am looking forward to a wonderful year in 6th grade!

Things to Bring to Math Each Day:

Math textbook

2 notebooks (math journal and assignment notebook)

Folder

2 pencils and an eraser

Expo marker and eraser/sock

Checking pens

Free reading book

Planner

Things to Bring to Math Each Day:

Math textbook

2 notebooks (math journal and assignment notebook)

Folder

2 pencils and an eraser

Expo marker and eraser/sock

Checking pens

Free reading book

Planner

## Let's Find the GLORY in the Struggle!

A NOTE TO PARENTS:

Learning mathematics is a struggle at some level for all of us. Rather than seeing this struggle as something to avoid, we can see it as one of the most valuable things offered to our students. Mathematics offers them an opportunity to learn how to work through the struggle, how to bring to it what they have, how to find and use the things they need. Regardless of their perceived aptitudes or gifts in mathematics, they can learn that they have within themselves what they need to meet this challenge. Struggling in mathematics is not the enemy, any more than sweating is the enemy in basketball; it is part of the process, and a clear sign of being in the game. Math asks our students to think in ways they are not used to thinking; they will be asked to look at the obvious in ways they’re not accustomed to, and then we’ll ask them to explore the not-so-obvious in similar ways. A rigor of thinking and clarity of expression is demanded that will stretch them beyond familiar styles. It will also require an honest pursuit; there really are no shortcuts. Children learn many things in school, encompassing not just what they’ve learned, but how they’ve learned. Maneuvering through struggles in school, young people learn how to meet challenges for which there is no map, and no shortcut. Life will present them with struggles, whether we wish this to be so or not. How they approach the struggle of mathematics will affect how they approach the struggles in life. The opportunity begins when the struggle begins.

Without knowing a factor from a function, the parent, more than anyone, is in a position to help

the student engage in the struggle of mathematics. Parents don’t need to fear this struggle, nor

do they need to take it on themselves; it is an essential and important part of learning

mathematics. If the parent accepts the struggle, the youngster can. And even more important, if

the parent values the struggle, and sees math as more than just a series of right answers, the

young person can approach mathematical learning in a way that will not only make success in

mathematics more likely, but carry over to pursuits far beyond the mathematics classroom.

Help students understand that they are not expected to get it all right or understand it all clearly,

the first time. If parents believe that struggling means stupidity, students feel a tension that gets

in the way of learning.

Believing, erroneously, that math learning comes easily to some and not to others results in an

attitude of “why bother? I’ll never be good at this,” when the subject becomes unclear. If students expect to encounter confusion we can help them see that the way through that confusion is application of effort their effort. Encourage youngsters to dig in when it gets tough, not flee into excuses.

Parents should not say, “I was never very good at math, either.” The goal is to help students

learn how to use what they have to meet the struggle, not to fear, avoid, or abandon the struggle from a belief that they cannot do it.

The answer to “where can I go for help?” is often sitting in the bottom of a backpack. What a

valuable lesson for students to discover that answers come not from magic, but from reading and thinking and struggling to understand a sentence, or an equation in a book they have ready and available.

If parents actively praise and value the effort their youngster makes in pursuing understanding,

the youngster gets the message that the struggle is important. They can feel a pride and

confidence that is significant even when understanding is slow in coming.

Overemphasizing the grade too often results in negative behaviors to get the grade. Rather than

learning responsibility, or the confidence that comes from struggling through his or her own

efforts, the student seeks quick fixes; missing the bigger picture.

If students are in the game, working at it, struggling and coming to understanding bit by bit, let

them know how great this is! This is what doing math is all about.

Excerpts from an article by Suzanne Sutton in “Bulletin” (Feb. 1997)

**As we begin another great year in math, please take a moment to read through this article. I think it’s easy for me, as a teacher, and parents alike to want to be able to always fix the problem and help students to just “get it.” The truth is, there is so much to be learned in the process of struggling and searching for answers. If we don’t allow students to struggle, they miss out on some of the most valuable lessons and knowledge. Math isn’t a series of right answers, it’s the process that leads to true understanding. It’s going to take time. So, please join me this year as we find GLORY in the struggle. Let’s help our students to become great problem solvers and great thinkers!****FINDING THE GLORY IN THE STRUGGLE:****HELPING OUR STUDENTS THRIVE WHEN MATH GETS TOUGH**Learning mathematics is a struggle at some level for all of us. Rather than seeing this struggle as something to avoid, we can see it as one of the most valuable things offered to our students. Mathematics offers them an opportunity to learn how to work through the struggle, how to bring to it what they have, how to find and use the things they need. Regardless of their perceived aptitudes or gifts in mathematics, they can learn that they have within themselves what they need to meet this challenge. Struggling in mathematics is not the enemy, any more than sweating is the enemy in basketball; it is part of the process, and a clear sign of being in the game. Math asks our students to think in ways they are not used to thinking; they will be asked to look at the obvious in ways they’re not accustomed to, and then we’ll ask them to explore the not-so-obvious in similar ways. A rigor of thinking and clarity of expression is demanded that will stretch them beyond familiar styles. It will also require an honest pursuit; there really are no shortcuts. Children learn many things in school, encompassing not just what they’ve learned, but how they’ve learned. Maneuvering through struggles in school, young people learn how to meet challenges for which there is no map, and no shortcut. Life will present them with struggles, whether we wish this to be so or not. How they approach the struggle of mathematics will affect how they approach the struggles in life. The opportunity begins when the struggle begins.

**HOW PARENTS CAN HELP**Without knowing a factor from a function, the parent, more than anyone, is in a position to help

the student engage in the struggle of mathematics. Parents don’t need to fear this struggle, nor

do they need to take it on themselves; it is an essential and important part of learning

mathematics. If the parent accepts the struggle, the youngster can. And even more important, if

the parent values the struggle, and sees math as more than just a series of right answers, the

young person can approach mathematical learning in a way that will not only make success in

mathematics more likely, but carry over to pursuits far beyond the mathematics classroom.

**Know that the struggle is okay, that it takes time to learn things.**Help students understand that they are not expected to get it all right or understand it all clearly,

the first time. If parents believe that struggling means stupidity, students feel a tension that gets

in the way of learning.

**Students need to take responsibility for their own learning and their own struggle.**Believing, erroneously, that math learning comes easily to some and not to others results in an

attitude of “why bother? I’ll never be good at this,” when the subject becomes unclear. If students expect to encounter confusion we can help them see that the way through that confusion is application of effort their effort. Encourage youngsters to dig in when it gets tough, not flee into excuses.

**Resist the very common temptation to explain the struggle as genetic.**Parents should not say, “I was never very good at math, either.” The goal is to help students

learn how to use what they have to meet the struggle, not to fear, avoid, or abandon the struggle from a belief that they cannot do it.

**Guide children to resources that can help (their textbook, their notes).**The answer to “where can I go for help?” is often sitting in the bottom of a backpack. What a

valuable lesson for students to discover that answers come not from magic, but from reading and thinking and struggling to understand a sentence, or an equation in a book they have ready and available.

**Value math homework - encourage children to do more than just ‘get it done’.**If parents actively praise and value the effort their youngster makes in pursuing understanding,

the youngster gets the message that the struggle is important. They can feel a pride and

confidence that is significant even when understanding is slow in coming.

**Expand the focus beyond the grade.**Overemphasizing the grade too often results in negative behaviors to get the grade. Rather than

learning responsibility, or the confidence that comes from struggling through his or her own

efforts, the student seeks quick fixes; missing the bigger picture.

**Praise the process.**If students are in the game, working at it, struggling and coming to understanding bit by bit, let

them know how great this is! This is what doing math is all about.

Excerpts from an article by Suzanne Sutton in “Bulletin” (Feb. 1997)