Friday, October 17, 2014

IMP Training Day 2 - Confirming my AHA moment

Today we went through more of Overland Trail and part of The Pit and the Pendulum and the experience going through the units as a students were great! Having Jim Delawder there sharing his experiences with the curriculum provided invaluable knowledge. I loved being able to "pepper" him with questions about how to approach the lessons with our students. He also offered some practical advice on dealing with students working in groups. Ideas like using a folder for each group in which they put their papers that need to be turned in so that you have 7 people turning in work instead of 28. He also put the "group roles" on a piece of paper in their group folder. There would be times that he would tell the students that they could change roles as long as they wrote them down and put them in the folder. Materials, scribe, presenter, and questioner....??  Well, I may be emailing Jim and asking 1 more question. I have never been good at assigning group roles and sticking with them.

One of the things I enjoyed most today were some of the conversations we had bouncing ideas off of other math teachers. I have just recently come to the realization that for YEARS I have been teaching my students like I want to be taught. I was that student that loved math and just wanted you to show me an example so I could do my work. The problem is that the majority of students don't learn math the way I did. Sadly, the majority of students do not consider math their favorite subject. There are students that are just not going to "buy in" to learning math if they can not see how the math can be applied. Also, since math teachers have "math brains" it is very difficult for us to relate to students who do not. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn as a new teacher was that all of my students are not like me. What I mean by that is that they do not all do their homework or give their best. (They also didn't grow up in Mayberry...which is my joke for admitting that I grew up in an awesome home with no worries to speak of.) Anyway...my new realization is that I have to change the way I teach to reach the majority of my students instead of the minority. The IMP Meaningful Math program is providing me with the tools to reach ALL students. My "math brains" can soar and find deeper meanings while my struggling students will have a context in which to operate which will hopefully help them to connect with the math.