Tailgating not just for football anymore

By By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

WESTLAKE — Fractions, not football, was the focus at Westwood Elementary’s Math Tailgating events, which combined food and

fun while allowing students to demonstrate what is required of them to fulfill the state’s new Common Core standards.

Students and teachers participated in

games that stressed math skills. At the Second Grade station, students

and parents tossed

bean bags into holes with varying point values, then received a

card with the corresponding number. After three tosses, players

used the cards to create the largest number possible. Teams

competed on each side, and students compared numbers on each side.

The game matched the second graders’ current studies of place values and comparisons

“We also have a worksheet with Saints scores that the students use to compare numbers, and they can make predictions on the

sheets as well,” said second grade teacher Kayla Fournerat.

“We are using math terminology as well, using terms like ‘digit’ and comparative terms like ‘greater than,’ and ‘less than,’”

Angelle Larson, also a second grade teacher, said.

The event is held in part to help get parents involved.

“We are trying to get the parents involved to see what is going on in our classrooms,” said teacher Marilyn Reed.

“Most of the teachers are doing things they are already doing in the classroom, whatever concept we are teaching. Parents

can see what they are doing so they can go back and help the kids at home. When the kids see their parents involved, they

get excited. When the parents see the kids excited, they get excited. It creates a good, full, circle.”

Michelle Ortego, a fourth grade teacher, manned a station that focused on place value and multiple digit subtraction. She

said the event will give parents an understanding of what their children are being asked to do.

“It shows the parents the content of the Common Core curriculum, how it is going to be set up, how rigorous it is, and shows

them how the kids not only have to show their work, but explain it,” said Ortego. “There is a lot more to it than it used

to be.”

“We are trying to promote community school involvement,” said principal Jerry Treme.

“We have a lot of that. We want parents

to realize how rigorous the curriculum is, how much work we are asking

them to do

at home to help the teacher and reinforce the skills. A lot of the

parents leaving here saying ‘Wow, I didn’t know the new

standards were this tough.’ It is a rigorous curriculum, that is

why we ask the parents to reinforce the skills every day

at home. It has gotten a lot tougher. We can’t stress enough that

the parents have to be involved with the children’s education.”

In addition to the games, members of the Westlake High School band and cheerleading squad performed, and helped paint faces

of the elementary students.