Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Problem of the Week success:)

This week I graded what I think was the third POW writeup that I have assigned. Once again (even though I dread grading them) they provided "teacher encouragement." My 2 favorite comments in the "what I learned" portion were:
If you listen to the teacher she will give you hints that really help you. 

My parents said they didn't get to do fun assignments or sit in groups in their math class. (She thinks math can be fun??? = total success!!) 
I think the one about listening to the teacher is funny; the truth is many of my students tune me out while I am addressing the class as a whole. Then when the realize I've stopped talking they look around and say, "What are we supposed to be doing?" Ugh! I am trying some tricks to try to improve my students listening skills. One is to randomly call on a student at the end of class and ask them a question that they should know the answer to if they listened in class. I don't always ask them a math question either. I reward them with candy or letting them leave the room first.

One other thing that encouraged me this past week was noticing that I had one student use tables to graph lines. As a math teacher I think that is strange because I used to always put my equations in slope-intercept form to graph. Teaching from the IMP Meaningful Math Algebra book has helped me to allow students to discover the way that works best for them (believe me I always tell them the way I think is easier!! Haha!). I taught slope-intercept form (conceptually first in Overland Trail), graphing by intercepts, and graphing using tables almost simultaneously. I would stress the easiest way depending on the way the equation was written but told them over and over to use the way that makes the most sense to them. Out of 21 students I had 1 girl get 8 out of 9 graphing questions correct using tables. Even though it was only one student who chose that method it really encouraged me to see that some students really do benefit from the "alternate" approach. I have spent many years teaching them with the methods that I think are the most efficient. I feel like what I am doing now benifits my students more.