- Be able to plan my lessons a week at a time.
- My current approach often involves planning my lessons the night before I give them. Having more structure to my out-of-class work time would give more time to relax my brain.
- Have a classroom where student investigation is balanced with teacher explanation.
- I often feel stuck between giving a carefully-worded explanation, which bores students, and an open-ended investigation, which confuses students. How can I reconcile the two?
- Provide a benefit for all my students.
- We tell students that mathematics helps them to think logically about any topic, even if they don't plan on majoring in math. I believe this is true, but I don't see the connection very clearly. I'd like to see how other teachers reach all of their students.
It's official, I'm a Drexel Dragon. I've decided to enroll in their Mathematics Learning and Teaching program starting this January. It's an online program aimed at helping current mathematics educators improve their craft. Drexel advertises a teaching approach that encourages students to communicate clearly and learn by asking their own questions. It's an inspiring vision, and I'm excited to see how it plays out.
To help focus my attention, I've set myself a few goals for what I want from Drexel's program. In no particular order, I want to
It takes practice to find the words that fit any given situation. Math is no exception. Below are are student-generated data tables for two functions. What patterns do you see in the numbers?
As $x$ gets close to the denominator value, $y$ gets bigger!
As $x$ gets close to the numerator value, $y$ gets smaller!
were two common student observations. "That's a great idea, but you're not expressing it quite right! The numbers -5, -29, -59, and -299 are actually getting smaller as they get more negative. Similarly, the numbers -1.000, -0.111, -0.053, and -0.010 are getting bigger as they get less negative. Can you rephrase your observations so that they take negative numbers into account?"
How about you? How would you advise students? To see how I steered students, click here.
I started this blog to share my transformation from math nerd to math nerd who loves to share math with young people. I teach high school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Your comments are always welcome.