Sedalia 200 teachers were treated to math training during the day and students and their families were able to engage with the lessons later that evening.

Greg Tang Jr., of Greg Tang Math, came to Sedalia on Tuesday, Feb. 12, to provide professional development instruction for the district’s elementary-level teachers. His instruction was aligned with Math in Focus, the curriculum the district is using. Tang was pleased with the outcomes.

“The day went fantastic,” he said. “Some of the teachers may have been a little unfamiliar with how to apply some of these new concepts to a variety of different problems, so that is what we worked on – problem solving and word problems.”

Tonya Edgar, mixed age teacher at Skyline Elementary, played a key role in bringing Tang in. She and her fellow teachers gave very favorable reviews to Tang’s sessions.

“(Tang) has such a way of making numbers and math come alive,” Edgar said. “He breaks the math into workable steps so that we can help our students become problem solvers. I love PD that is engaging and gives me strategies that I can implement right away.”

Tang provided two sessions, one for K-2 teachers and another for those teaching grades 3-4. In the session for kindergarten through Grade 2 teachers, Tang showed a progression of word problem types for each grade level, which Edgar believes will be a solid resource.

“He taught the PD in a way that teachers can grasp that knowledge and learn it and use it,” she said. “Several of the teachers expressed how much they enjoyed it and saw many ways to not only help their students but also their own children.”

That evening, elementary parents were invited to a Family Math Night event hosted by Tang in the Smith-Cotton High cafeteria. Tang said the purpose was “to engage all of the families, parents and kids. It is a way that parents can be exposed to some of the activities that we have developed that help their kids develop fluency in math in a fun way.”

Some of Edgar’s students attended and she was overjoyed to see them grasping and applying the concepts.

“Students loved the games and they loved seeing their teachers. We need to put challenging concepts and problems in front of our students and teach them to persevere through a problem,” she said, noting that “math thinking doesn't always come naturally to everyone.” The evening also helped parents grasp the concepts so they can be more helpful with homework.

The session came free of charge, thanks to some teachers’ trivia knowledge and a little luck.

In the photo: Math specialist Greg Tang Jr., right, explains concepts of the Dici-Cross game for Juan Guzman, left, and Heber Hunt Elementary student Noemi Guzman, during Family Math Night on Tuesday, Feb. 12, in the cafeteria at Smith-Cotton High School. Sedalia 200 families were invited to attend the evening, which included math games to help students and adults build skill and comfort working with numbers.