Procrastination is the key to Inspiration

…At least that’s what I tell myself! 🙂 

I had a very LONG list of things I was supposed to get accomplished this weekend, the largest one being cleaning.  I was definitely inspired…to do anything BUT clean!

What did I actually get done?
*Joining the #CCSSdraft and preparing to write the coolest lesson ever
*Blog post about confidence in math
*Cleaned the pantry
*Played with the dogs & taught one of them a new trick
*Started working on designing/putting together my plan book for next year
*Created my Geometry CCSS Flipbook for next year (I only printed the Geometry standards, two to a page & back to back)
*Took a nap (or two)
*Watched the movie Flight
*Caught up on my G-reader in Newsify & downloaded Feedly (but didn’t move stuff yet)
*Discussed quite a few things on Twitter
*Started pulling together graphics, fonts & design elements for my new blog design (I am tired of the wordpress themes…any helpful suggestions?)
*Worked on a Quadratic Stations review for Algebra tomorrow (it’s not done yet, when it is…I will post it!)
*Created a sign for my students to excite them about the end of the year (not sure they need any additional excitement though)

hmmm…I guess I did get quite a few things done.  Too bad none of them involved my house becoming shiny and clean!

Have a great rest of your Sunday!

Does a lack of confidence hold students back?

Confidence…does it really all come down to that?  I’ve been wondering this for a few weeks now, mainly because I have been working with students whose lack of confidence in math and even in everyday life is staggering.  In working with them one-on-one I am able to see quite a few things that I wouldn’t have seen so clearly otherwise.

What I see one on one:
1. Lack of confidence in what the first step of a problem is, so they won’t start a problem.
2. Lack of ability to self-check their work because they don’t believe they have it right to begin with.
3. Lack of the ability to question themselves through each step of a problem, such as “Is this reasonable?”, “Does this make sense?”, “What is the next step?”, “What do I already know?”
4. Lack of ability to communicate what they know and what they are struggling with, example: “I understand what to do in the first two steps, but I don’t understand what to do next because I still do not understand _______.” It is stated more like “I just don’t get it.”
5. With questioning coming from me, not leading questions, just helping them to verbalize the next step or their thought process, they are able to solve problems with almost 100% accuracy. And they are able to walk themselves through a problem and find errors they have made.

What I see in the classroom:
1. They wait and watch others in their group start problems and then follow what they do. It’s not entirely copying as they tend to just watch the first step, but they aren’t vocally asking for help from those students, which is what we’ve been working towards this year. They also don’t ask for help from me.
2. They make small computational mistakes over and over, even though when separated out they have mastered those basic skills.
3. They tend to just solve the problem and move on. There isn’t much interaction on their part in regards to if the answer actually answers the question appropriately.
4. They tend to be quiet in the classroom, not asking questions or for help. But I do also have students who will say “I don’t get this.” and group everything together rather than doing what they can and coming to one part that they can’t quite figure out.
5. Their accuracy in solving problems drops, I don’t quite have a percentage, but maybe around 80%.  They aren’t able to identify mistakes as easily either.

Looking at it this way, I do think that a student’s lack of confidence is holding them back in many ways. How do I increase student confidence overall? Most of these students have confidence issues that are not just specific to math.  I see the lack of confidence as holding them back from just diving in and trying something…maybe because they are afraid to start the problem and be incorrect, but why be afraid of being wrong?  I work hard to NOT foster that line of thinking in my classroom and we really push each other to try new things, and to try and solve a problem a different way. We celebrate work that may not lead to the right answer, but helps us determine what to do next. We do Estimation180 where we discuss too high & too low estimations and celebrate those who were close.  So what else can I do? Where does this lack of confidence and fear of being wrong come from? How can I change it? How can I help a student feel better about their abilities?  These students are not low students, they are bright and very capable students….why can’t they see that?

Geometry – Looking at it from the right angle

Ha ha ha.  I crack myself up.  I love the title of this post.  🙂

Last week we found out our teams for next year (I teach in a middle school) and there were a lot of changes.  This is my 13th year of teaching with the last 11 of them being 8th grade Algebra and Pre-Algebra. I found out that I am moving to teach 8th grade Geometry.   I LOVE Algebra and I am very sad I will not be teaching it next year. (yes, yes I know there is Algebra in Geometry) The Geometry students are the best of the best; they are two years ahead in math and while I am excited for the change now, my initial reaction was not the most positive.  I did not like Geometry in high school, though I did enjoy it more in college…it was always something that I wasn’t too keen on and I struggled with it.  I do think that will help as I am learning to teach Geometry; I want to strive to make it meaningful to my students so they do not have the same opinion of it that I did.  My district is rewriting the curriculum this summer to become Common Core and I won’t get it until the institute day in August.  THAT freaks me out because I do not know anything about pacing or why certain topics have to come before others.  My Type-A personality wants more information.  So I turned to my Twitter peeps to ask for helpful resources.  I received a fantastic amount of responses and can’t wait to check them out!

Capture

I wanted to put together a blog post to document what was shared in case it would assist other teachers.  But in reality I am just blogging about it so I can have all of the links in one spot. 🙂

*Remember these are all just suggestions from the MathTwitterBlogosphere as well as my own findings and additions. And they will be updated as I find more! (Let me know if you have items to add!)

Twitter People (& their blogs) to Follow
Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) – function-of-time.blogspot.com
Tina C. (@crstn85) – drawingonmath.blogspot.com/
Nat Banting (@NatBanting) – musingmathematically.blogspot.com
Soph Germain (@sophgermain) – abrandnewline.wordpress.com
David Peterson (@calcdave) – Longtailsofinterest.blogspot.com
Marsha Foshee (@MarshaFoshee) – math-termind.blogspot.com
Mike Mathews (@mwmathews) – mwmathews.wordpress.com
Elissa Miller (@misscalcul8) – misscalculate.blogspot.com
Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeyst) – cheesemonkeysf.blogspot.com
Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen) – fawnnguyen.com

Book Resources
John A. Van De Walle (a la @pamjwilson)
Discovering Geometry by Michael Serra  (a la @pamjwilson & @zidaya & @Martianson)
Measurement by Paul Lockhart   (a la @j_lanier)
Symmetry, Shape and Space (@mathhombre & ‏@zidaya)
Geometry – Seeing, Doing, Understanding by Harold Jacobs  (@zidaya & @JJJsally)
CME Project Textbook  (a la @ ‏mathhombre)

Web/Curriculum Resources
Art of Problem Solving  (a la @j_lanier)
investigations1213.blogspot.com  (a la @j_lanier)
geometry.mrmeyer.com
Geometry Inquiry Based Curriculum Map
Geometry CCSS PrBL Curriculum Map
Dropbox filled with project ideas
A take on CCSS Geometry pacing
Dan Meyer’s Three-Act Math Tasks
Andrew Stadel 3-Act Math Tasks
Nathan Kraft’s 3-Act Math Tasks
Virtual Filing Cabinet (scroll down to get to Geometry) (@sandramiller_tx)
Virtual Filing Cabinet (scroll down to get to Geometry) (@samjshah)
Virtual Filing Cabinet (@nathankraft1)
Re-thinking Geometry Wiki (a la (@crstn85)

Technology Resources
GeoGebra
Geometer’s Sketchpad

Hands-on Resources
Patty Paper & Patty Paper Geometry by Michael Serra (a la @zidaya & @Martianson)
Geometry INB Ideas & foldables

Looking at all of the resources that are online, I am getting more and more excited to work with these special group of students next year.  And I hope to be able to contribute to all of the fantastic resources listed above!

My HUGE goal is to use ISN’s next year with both my Geometry classes and my US History classes.  This was my first year using them in Algebra and 8th CCSS and I loved them.  I can’t see myself going back, but it will be a struggle trying to stay ahead of the game enough to know what I want to go in the ISN! 🙂  But I am never one to walk away from a challenge, so bring on 2013-2014!