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Liz Swerling

Summer Ideas

1)  Register for an account on  You can do a short assessment on the website which will figure out your level and begin a program of instructional videos and practice problems.

2) has a summer program called “Brain Flex.”  The Ck-12 Foundation is an organization committed to making free education available to millions of people globally. They hire teachers to develop materials and are funded by an impressive list of (mostly tech industry) partners.  I am not very familiar with their materials, but it seems worth checking out.


3) Computer Programming: Click on "Start Learning" and have fun.

4) Explore a website called  This is a blog run by math educators, full of interesting math-related material.  Games, videos, art projects, interviews with people who use math in their jobs, and much more.  It won't necessarily help you with math skills that you would need on a test, but it's a great resource for sparking ideas and seeing how math shows up in so many ways in the world around us.

5)  Read!  It may seem unrelated, but it isn't.  The more developed your language skills and vocabulary are, the better able you are to make sense of problems in math, too.

Questions that may help during homework angst:

Remember, you don’t have to know how to do the problem, understand bar models (or whatever strategy), or know what the right answer is.  You can support your child in doing important work regardless. Ask:

  • What are you being asked to find out?
  • What does the problem tell you? Can you describe it in your own words? Have you seen a problem like this before?

  • What do you estimate your answer will be? What seems reasonable? Why?

  • Will it help to make a list, a chart, a table, a drawing, a diagram? Can you act out the problem?

  • Is there any part of the problem that you already know how to do?

  • Is there a pattern?

  • Is there a way to check your answer? Is your answer in the ballpark of your initial estimate?