Friday, August 12, 2016

Mathematical Mindsets--Jo Boaler

This should be required reading for anyone who teachers math--from PK to College, from teachers to parents. (affiliate link below)

This book will change how I teacher math this year from the very first day of school. I will continue to blog about how things are going in my classroom, but here are a few bullet points of my main takeaways. 

  • I am going to talk with my kids about brain research--not just once--but several times throughout the year and heavily the first two weeks of school. I have to change their mindset about math and their selves. 
  • Homework will look extremely different. Jo Boaler says "homework perpetuates inequities in education." She even talks about how her family has two working parents and after everyone is home and fed for the evening, she wants to spend time with her daughters-not in frustration over homework. My homework was very light in the past, but this year it will be more reflections questions and maybe 1 problem to start on that we finish discussing in class. 
  • "No one is born knowing math, and no one is born lacking the ability to learn math."
  • Mistakes are necessary!
  • My grading will look different--if mistakes are necessary, I can't punish students for making them. 
  • Mental Math will improve--I especially want to show students ways to think about numbers to improve their number sense.
  • Boaler talks about using tasks that are "low floor, high ceiling." Everyone can access the task and anyone and take it further. 
One is a website Jo Boaler is part of--there are two weeks of inspirational math with videos and activities designed to help students change their mindset about math. What I like most about the activities is they are "low ceiling, high floor" but they also give students practice to work together in math. Math should be a very social subject. I will be using (and blogging about) several about the activities the first two weeks of school. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

CAMT 2016--Jo Boaler

I went to CAMT the first time this year and I presented. 

I wanted to do a quick run down of my take aways from CAMT.   This turned into a post just about Jo Boaler--everything else will be later. 

I have been a fan of Jo Boaler for awhile. I was first introduced to her through her book What's math got to do with it?  She advocates for changing math education to reach more students and help more students become successful. Jo Boaler currently runs which focuses on having a growth mindset. Here are some take away from her presentation.

  • Every child can excel (not just learn) math.
  • Schools decide who can and can't do math an an early age (This has always been one of my pet peeves. If a child wants to take an advanced math class and is willing to work, why should we stop him/her!)
  • The times we are challenged and struggling are the most beneficial times to learn
  • MISTAKES GROW YOUR BRAIN (I think this will be my motto for the coming school year)
  • Our message to students should be "I am giving you this feedback because I believe in you."
  • Speed, time, and pressure stop the brain from working
  • We need to stop associating math with speed--we turn away many students.
  • Students think that being good at math means being right
  • Students should use their fingers in math (I still use my fingers when I add and subtract.)

I want to take her presentation and really live it as a math teacher this year. I want my students to feel confident that can be successful at math. Math was always my hardest subject and it really wasn't until I took College Algebra that I understood any Algebra or until I had to study to take the GRE that I felt I had any type of number sense. I am still not the best, but I know that I will continue to learn and get better. I try to convey this message to my students every year and hopefully this year I can be more successful at it. 

What have you done in your classroom to help more students feel they can successful at math?
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