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Friday, December 19, 2014
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Westwood Elementary first grade teacher Stefanie Self signals touchdown as first grader Mason Fullington scores a math TD at the school’s Math Tailgating Party on Monday afternoon. He is the son of Erin Fullington of Westlake. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Westwood Elementary first grade teacher Stefanie Self signals touchdown as first grader Mason Fullington scores a math TD at the school’s Math Tailgating Party on Monday afternoon. He is the son of Erin Fullington of Westlake. (Rick Hickman / Special to the American Press)

Tailgating not just for football anymore

Last Modified: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:41 AM

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.

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