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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Day 7: "How Math Should be Taught"

I have this flow chart in my room and I want this to be the norm for my students. I adopted this from this blog.  I think that some students will genuinely try in the blue zone and want to learn but might get stuck once they get assessed and that setback leads them to give up or stop trying. I am hoping that with this new system of openness, where we value mistakes and allow unlimited re-takes to allow learning process to happen, that the students will reach their full potential. My biggest fear is I am not sure I know how to motivate the students who are so resistant to learn in the first place (blue zone). I am hoping that if I am consistent in the way I interact with the student that they will come around. I honestly believe that the students I have (I teach the remedial track) can achieve high levels of math. It might take time and effort, but I really want to help them on their journey. However, I can only help them if they are willing.

I am trying to model my classroom environment from what I learned over the summer by taking Jo Boalers online class. YouCubed sums up perfectly how I feel with the following article: "How Math Should Be Taught".  I am not sure there is a single norm I don't disagree with. I am not sure I am equipped to make every norm a reality with the kids. Areas of growth:
Learn how to give diagnostic feedback and make summative grading happen only once
Be able to facilitate classroom discussions better
Improve how I get the student to develop an inquiry relationship with mathematics, approaching math with curiosity, courage, confidence & intuition.
Some of my classes and students have really embraced this new type of math class, others not so much. Not sure if I know how to motivate this group of students.

Image result for google classroom
 I started using Google Classroom this year and I started posting the agenda for the class for the kids to reference. This allowed me to give each student a private comment of encouragement. I am hoping this will help with some of my kids who are resistant to this new math class or just math. I responded to every kid and tried to leave some sort of growth mindset message. Here are some of the comments I left:

  • "Love how you see numbers visually and your use of color. If you are ever lost please speak up. Don't be afraid to ask for help."
  •  Loved how you saw some of the patterns in the "dot card" activity and in the number patterns. love your thought process. 
  • I want to encourage you to lead out more in class. You have a very good ideas and I think the class would benefit from hearing them.
  • Keep Sharing the group benefits from your ideas.I like how you played the role of skeptic in class today and that by doing that you made another conjecture stronger. It is good to question and to be questioned.
  • I really appreciate your attitude and your willingness to always try and give your best effort.
  • XXXXXXXXXXXX, you have all the makings and potential of being a great mathematician. Keep working hard and being a shining an example for others. Don't be afraid to contribute and have your voice heard. Your ideas are valuable. Even if your not sure about something it is good to process out loud with a team.

Patients Pays Off:
On a brighter note two of my classes where able to build a cube with the building shapes activity.


  1. I'm enjoying watching how your journey unfolds. Thank you for including your rationale and also reference links. I am curious about your "How to Learn Math" flowchart. The original source that inspired Sarah Math=Love to create her materials was here: Apparently half of the flowchart could be done outside of class, as in HW. Yet on your "about" page, you mention you are not going to assign homework. I guess that confuses me, so does that mean all the steps in the flowchart should be done in class, and could it really be done in a 50 minute class?

    1. So I call the blue zone is the initial learning zone. That can happen anywhere. What I want the kids to realize is that they are in charge of learning. They don't need to wait to get to school to start learning. I feel that my job really happens in the yellow area. My job is to get them from the blue zone to the green zone (Mastery!!!!). I hope that makes sense.