Thursday, September 21, 2006

9/21-struggling student

I had a student that is struggling in my Algebra 2 class come in to talk with me after school. She said that in the past she has always received good grades in math classes but is struggling with a C/D this semester. As I began to talk with her, she said that she has never done well on tests, but her grade was always good because she had good homework and participation grades to bring her grade up. She said that she usually has an easy time with the problems that look exactly like the ones we did in class and she struggles when the problems look a little different. It seems to me that she has gotten into the habit of only computing math and does not like to think about how to solve the problem. She has been successful at being a plug and solve student that has done well by being a good student. I hate to say this because I do not like to see students dislike math, but it makes me think that I am doing something right by finally making this student struggle through problems. I hope that we can figure out how to get this student to be successful, but she needs to problem solve to get there.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

9/13 - Why math?

Late last night, I was thinking about how I can try to get through to my students that math is going to be an important part of their learning for their future. So many of them see math as useless in the real world and part of that comes from a public perception that it is okay to be bad at math. Many of these kids hear their parents say that they are bad at math and the kids see their parents as being successful. I was trying to think of some way to get through to them besides just me giving examples. I thought there might be a way that I could send out a mass email (chain letter) to everyone that I know that asks people to go to a website or blog and post any ways that they see math is important in their jobs or lives. I do not know the best way to do this but I though with the technology we have today I might be able to get people from all over to tell their side of it instead of just hearing it from their math teacher. I have to look into the best way to get this done. I think if I can come up with a convincing letter to send out, that I might get some help with convincing the students that what they are learning is important even if they never factor expressions in their jobs. It is getting harder to tell these students that Algebra is important when I know that most of them will not use this math in their careers.

Friday, September 08, 2006

9/8 - students as teachers

I found out that many of my students do not understand fractions. I tried to use the kids in the class to help me teach. I put together 6 problems on operations with fractions. I told all the kids that anyone that gets a 6 out of 6 will not have homework for the weekend which was practice problems on fractions. All the students that got a 6 out of 6, were responsible for helping the other students in the class. This worked really well in my 1st hour, not as well in 3rd hour. I think that any kids that needed clarifying questions got them answered, but there were a few kids that need extra help. It was nice to see the students trying to help each other and I think that the students that were teaching, liked being the expert in class.