tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-15950165749598519712018-05-17T00:51:06.137-07:00A Math Nerd's ThoughtsKelsey Yorknoreply@blogger.comBlogger15125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-61780957741114997702018-04-15T10:53:00.003-07:002018-04-15T10:53:56.066-07:00Building Problem SolversAs this semester comes to a close and I begin to reflect on what I've seen and heard, I realize that my experience teacher assisting has really helped form what ideals I think should be held in the classroom. Many of my students this semester held a very closed mindset in terms of mathematics, and the vast majority of them had no desire to learn. The students who did well in the class were students who still blindly followed instructions, without any care about what was actually being taught. Seeing this and learning about other mindsets that these students held made me curious about what was causing this and what could possibly be done to change it.<br /><br /><br />One of the things we have talked about this semester is creating autonomy in students. This means helping students to feel that they are competent in their ability to discover and make connections on their own. It means decentering yourself as the teacher in the classroom and recognizing that your students are capable of teaching as well. Thinking about this description of autonomy, I discovered that these students have been taught in such a way that discourages any sort of exploration or coming to conclusions on one's own. These students have been conditioned to copy notes from the board, previously written by the teacher to save time, and have learned that studying is only worth it if completing the study guide means that they have something to copy off of for the test.<br /><br /><br />These are only a couple of the problems that I have found within my teacher assisting semester, but it has been enough to concern me about sending these students on their way to the next grades. We as teachers are supposed to prepare these students for real-world life, but one of the biggest things we are preventing our students from discovering is how to be problem solvers. And this is a very necessary real-world application. Moving away from a system that students are used to and have learned from for so long is a difficult task to tackle, but I think it's important for us to address the needs of our students and teach in such a way that promotes student autonomy and promotes the ability to be problem solvers and apply knowledge to their real world. While my time with these students is coming to an end and I have limited access to make big changes for them, I am excited about the opportunities I will have next semester while student teaching, and I am ready to do whatever I can to make my students confident, competent problem solvers.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-56301886496724594232018-03-25T10:17:00.001-07:002018-04-16T13:54:43.647-07:00The Humanizing PedagogyWhen I decided that I wanted to be a teacher, I was in seventh grade. I had one of the best math teachers I've ever had, and it was evident to me that she wanted to make time to be personable with her students. She wanted her students to know that she had a life outside of just being a teacher and that she cared about us so much that she wanted to share those moments of her life with us as well. I still remember her telling us one day about playing Rock Band in her basement with her husband and how she had accomplished 'expert' level on the drums. Although this memory is seemingly unimportant, it's those small personal stories and gestures that made me realize that she wasn't there just to be an authority figure at school; this teacher really cared about forming relationships with her students, and I know for a fact that she's still going on strong with her new students every year.<br /><br /><br />This idea of humanizing oneself as a teacher is one that we've not talked about much in this class, but we have talked about the idea of humanizing our students. Just as we, as teachers, want our students to feel comfortable around us and to be able to recognize us as real people, we too need to recognize that our students have lives outside of school. In the final chapter of the book, <em>Motivated: Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In, </em>the author talks about the importance of acknowledging the humanity of both students and teachers. A friend of mine put it this way; students are not going to care about how much you know until you show that you care about them.<br /><br /><br />Relationships are such a big part of being a teacher and one of the biggest reasons I chose to pursue this career, and it amazes me how many teachers seem to forget this aspect. In my current placement I have worked hard to engage my students in non-academic conversation and joke around with them to make them feel comfortable. I have tried to form lesson ideas around things that I discovered they enjoy, and I have asked them for feedback about the types of activities I am implementing in class. The responses I have gotten have been positive and I can only imagine how the dynamic of these classrooms might be different if the focus was on this relational aspect all the time. In the <em>Motivated</em> book mentioned above the author writes, "Teachers are problem solvers who monitor the classroom climate, attend to the relationships and interactions among participants as activities unfold, identify what is working and diagnose what is not, and then draw on a rich repertoire of practices to tinker and adjust". What a better community we could create if this was the role teachers took.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-65747166173494016542018-03-19T15:58:00.003-07:002018-03-19T15:58:42.431-07:00Finding Meaningfulness in MathematicsIn the book <em>Motivated: Designing Math Classrooms Where Students Want to Join In</em>, the author describes meaningfulness as being attained when students are able to connect their personal experiences and interests to topics and ideas, thus creating an appreciation for mathematical content. Stereotypically however, and often times truly, mathematics classes are filled with copying down seemingly unimportant formulas and equations, memorizing rules and properties, and spitting it all out of mind onto a test, forgetting everything that was just 'learned'. This is definitely the process by which the 8th and 9th grade students at my current teacher assisting placement move through mathematics class. Today I was even approached with the question, "Why do we even have to learn?". Fortunately I was saved from having to answer this question, because this student was interrupting the teacher and was called out, but hearing him ask this really made me wonder what might be changed to allow these students to feel engaged and excited to learn mathematics. <br /><br />Meaningfulness is a foreign concept to these students; one that is lacking so much that students often times sleep in class or talk over the teacher, not caring that their behavior is preventing the entire class from learning. Watching this happen is rough, partly because it makes me want to step in and add things to what is being taught, but also because I myself am unsure of what could captivate these students at this point as well. Being placed at this school and reading through the above mentioned book in this class has helped me remember the importance of meaningfulness in a mathematics classroom, and it has become a constant thought on my mind while planning lessons and activities for this group. I strive to be a teacher that encourages students in their learning, not only about what's required for me to teach, but in the ways that students can apply and connect their learning to other aspects of their life. As we continue through this semester, and as I prepare for student teaching in the fall, this idea of meaningfulness is definitely one that I will keep at the top of my priority list, working to engage my students in ways that help them want to learn, rather than in ways that require them to learn. Without meaningfulness, the classroom remains a scary and unwelcome place, and I hope my students never experience that feeling.<br />Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-60536613097064351822017-12-09T19:32:00.001-08:002017-12-09T19:32:24.229-08:00Exploring the World of Mathematics: An Eight Week CurriculumThis semester my capstone math class started off with the question of, "Is mathematics discovered or invented?". As a class, we didn't spend a whole lot of time discussing this, but it stayed a common theme throughout the entire semester, and this is what sparked the idea for my final project.<br /><br />Working together with Lauren Grimes, a friend of mine, we decided that this question was one that should be addressed in mathematics classrooms. This question could open up discussions and explorations into the world of mathematics and could even help students figure out how mathematics is applied to things in their personal lives. Therefore, with this in mind, we set out to create a curriculum that would form around this question.<br /><br />The final curriculum we created resulted in an eight week unit of one day a week, for a time ranging from 30-60 minutes each day. This curriculum is made up of six different lessons that are focused on a variety of people, objects, ideas, and passions and create a way for students to see the ways that mathematics is used outside of the classroom. The curriculum is centered around these questions,<br /><br />"Did we, as humans, create mathematical concepts to help us understand the universe around us? Or<br />is math the natural language of the universe itself, existing whether we find it or not?",<br /><br />and the main goal is that students would form their own opinions and beliefs about mathematics based on mathematical history, facts, and discoveries that pertain to their interests and passions. After the six weeks of lessons, which include personal research and exploration for each student, the seventh and eighth weeks implement time to bring together all the things discussed, to determine an argument for whether mathematics was discovered or invented. To further show what I mean by this, here is what the general layout for a given lesson might be:<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;">Welcome/Overview</div><div style="text-align: center;">Warm-Up</div><div style="text-align: center;">Introduction</div><div style="text-align: center;">Individual Activity</div><div style="text-align: center;">Group Activity</div><div style="text-align: center;">Discussion</div><div style="text-align: center;">Journal</div><div style="text-align: center;"> </div>The final two weeks, as mentioned previously, would be structured in a different way, allowing time for students to formulate solid opinions and beliefs during the seventh week, and allowing time for a full class debate during the eighth week.<br /><br />After reading this description, it might seem as though this curriculum is tackling some big questions that involve a lot of work. However, while the theme of this curriculum is definitely a big topic, Lauren and I wrote this curriculum in such a way that we feel helps students to be excited about learning and discover meaning within mathematics. There are many different ways that this curriculum could be implemented, and there are several different topics that could be discussed within this curriculum. Our hope is simply that, if used in a classroom, this curriculum would produce an outcome that positively affects students in their mathematical knowledge, understanding, and appreciation, no matter where they fall on the 'discovered or invented' debate.<br /><br />I know this post only provides a brief overview of what our complete curriculum entails, so I know there may be many unanswered questions. With that being said, I am more than willing to share a copy of our curriculum with anyone who desires to read and look through it, and we of course are open to comments and suggestions about how to make it better. I believe that if this curriculum eventually can be used alongside regular mathematics courses in schools, our students will develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for how mathematics is used in our world.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-50208697759817929582017-11-26T17:26:00.001-08:002017-12-10T06:30:35.395-08:00A Year In ReviewAlmost exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post titled "Confessions of a Soon-to-be Teacher (Maybe)". I reflected on where I was in my life at that moment and talked about the struggles of determining whether or not I wanted to continue with a degree in education. Today I'm looking back, reflecting on that post and the past year.<br /><br />At the end of last year's fall semester, I was ready to be done with school. I had hit a wall and was feeling broken down. I was completely unsure of what was going on in my life regarding a future career, and I had come to the point where I thought the best thing for me was to just be done. I was burnt out. Over Christmas break I had time to unwind, clear my mind, and think seriously about what I felt God was leading me to do. <br />In the end, I started the winter semester having changed nothing, but feeling at least slightly rejuvenated from the long break. My mindset didn't completely change of course, but I was able to adapt my mindset to that of being confident that this was where God needed me for the time being, meaning in school to pursue a degree in math education. After a wonderful summer, I entered this current school year with that same idea in mind; that God wasn't calling me to be anywhere else right now, that He wasn't directing me away from this journey, and that I was going to graduate with a degree in education. <br /><br />Although this year has proven to be difficult on multiple levels (senioritis is a real thing friends), I still have been holding on to this reality. I've hit some bumps over the past few weeks and had a few very real moments in which I struggled to understand why certain doors were being closed, but every time, I've been redirected to focus on God's plan. As teacher assisting continues to get closer, I am reminded that God has me in this place for a reason. This season of life is one of challenge and doubt, but it's also one of faithfulness and change. <br /><br />I recently received my placement for teacher assisting next semester, and although I still feel nervous and unsure, I also have been given a feeling of peace knowing that everything is in God's hands. I have been put here, placed in one specific school, because it's a part of God's plan for my life. God has given me the gift, ability, and desire to work with children, to teach, and to use my knowledge of mathematics to help these children grow.<br /><br />It's been hard to keep an open mindset about the direction my life might take, and it's been hard to accept that following this path means giving up other things. However, I am confident that if I embrace wholeheartedly this path set before me, God will open up new doors and help me recognize everything there is to celebrate in that. If God wants me to teach math at the end of graduation, doors will be opened to make that happen, and I will be there ready to embrace it if it does.<br /><br /><br /><br /><br />If you want a look at what I wrote last year, here's a link to that post.<br /><a href="https://missyorkinthemaking.blogspot.com/2016/11/confessions-of-soon-to-be-teacher-maybe.html">https://missyorkinthemaking.blogspot.com/2016/11/confessions-of-soon-to-be-teacher-maybe.html</a><br /><br />Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-6762500336113598622017-11-06T12:45:00.003-08:002017-12-10T06:31:03.947-08:00A Look Into the Purpose of Teaching MathematicsI am in my seventh semester of college, and I have hit a wall. I'd like to say that I've been doing well this entire semester up until last week, but the truth is I've been feeling 'done' with college before this school year even started. <br />Proven by many recent conversations, it seems to me that many people are feeling the same way right now, probably due to the obnoxious weather changes and the fact that we don't get a fall break (hint hint). Something that has come up during many of these talks is the frustration with certain classes that are required, mainly, as you may have guessed, mathematics courses. Most, although not all, of these conversations have been had with individuals who are not mathematics majors, which made these frustrations even more interesting to explore and has made me begin to think further about my own opinions on the subject. Overall the questions were posed: why are mathematics classes required for (fill in the blank) major? When will I ever need to use this in my field? Why can't I focus on classes that are specific to what I want to pursue?<br /><br />Let's rewind back to middle school and high school days. In those years it was expected to hear these questions asked in a math class probably multiple times a day. But the answers given by teachers then were always in some regard to a future career, a 'life' reason, or a vague reason about connections to later math courses that essentially avoided the question all together. Now, in college, we're pursuing those careers, we're dealing with real life, and we're taking 'later' math courses, and people are just as confused as ever. Here are a few comments I've heard from some friends recently: <br />"I'm a dance major; why do I need to take <em>any </em>math!?" <br />"Tell me why I would ever need to know more than simple math as a nurse! Shouldn't I be more focused on things that will directly apply?"<br />"I'm an <em>elementary</em> math major. I'm never going to teach anything remotely close to this!"<br /><br />I don't mean to pick on mathematics of course, this could be applied to any other subject as well. A friend of mine looking to be a nurse, who was studying for a biology exam recently stated, "I don't understand what good these classes are for me either. Until I get into classes more specific to the nursing program, all that's happening is studying like crazy for an exam and then forgetting everything I supposedly learned." For a future doctor or nurse, an individual is not going to look back during an emergency situation and attempt to use the knowledge gained from a 100 level math class they took. Nor will they even look back to try and remember the facts read from a textbook for a 200 level biology class. It's the hands-on, action based experiences that are going to make an impact.<br /><br />In this same way, it seems a little over the top to me to have a student wishing to be a future middle school mathematics educator to take a class like Calculus 3 or Complex Variables. When describing a degree in education, it's always said that education is the degree and the content area is the emphasis. Shouldn't this mean that college classes should be focused more on teaching than on content? These difficult classes in college highly exceed any level of mathematics that an elementary or secondary education teacher would need to know, and introduction to actual teaching isn't really a focus until the final year. This means that while these students work to grasp somewhat insane concepts, the knowledge and memory of middle or high school concepts that will need to be taught, is decreasing, forcing college of education students to scramble up lost knowledge when thrust into the busy life of teacher assisting and student teaching.<br /><br />Thinking about teaching mathematics with this in mind makes me wonder what might change if the way math was taught or the concepts required to pass for a given math class were edited to place an emphasis on careers. In high school very few people know what they want to pursue in college, and people usually don't start thinking about it in depth until their junior or senior years. However, what if high school became a place where mathematics courses could be a way to help these people explore potential careers? What if mathematics courses were only a requirement for two of the four years of high school, and the empty block the following two years was able to be filled with classes more specific to what each student might want to pursue? What if the general education requirements in college weren't given as much emphasis and students were able to begin exploring their future career more quickly?<br /><br />I think students in all grades would succeed and achieve more if their mathematics courses were implemented based on interests rather than complexity and grade level. All students learn and grasp concepts at different levels, so why not allow all students to determine what kind of mathematics they enjoy and use that to further their education? <br />Again, I don't want to lay all the blame on mathematics, but math is the subject that more often than not is recognized as the one that students dislike. There may not necessarily be a successful way to make changes as I mentioned above, but as a potential future teacher, and for anyone interested in students' learning, it's definitely something to think about.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-25918595029249777742017-10-09T11:28:00.000-07:002017-10-09T11:28:08.584-07:00Genius at Play: A Book Review<em>Genius at Play</em> by Siobhan Roberts is a biography about "the curious mind of John Horton Conway", a raging mathematician and absolute genius. This book is written in it's own sort of curious way as it is written in the form of a kind of interview in some parts, but as a general story in others. Roberts includes numerous accounts of conversation with Conway in the text, incorporating direct quotes and allowing the reader to hear Conway's voice. The main focus of this book, although the title seems to focus on Conway's mathematical intelligence, is in my opinion the character of Conway as a person rather than as a mathematician specifically. While mathematics is definitely involved in Conway's life, I felt that math was the subtopic behind Conway himself in this book, which is something I was not expecting. Overall, the author uses Conway's life to explore certain mathematical concepts, as Conway did impact the world of mathematics immensely.<br /><br /><em>Genius at Play</em> definitely wouldn't be a book that I would recommend to anyone who was not in some form interested in math. Even as an individual who is a math major, I personally felt that this book was difficult to read and I struggled to get through it. The mathematical content that is addressed in this book is often breezed by, so any form of proof or explanation for a given problem is hard to find. Therefore, this book would be a good read for anyone who enjoys exploring and forming proofs and discovering those kinds of connections. There are also several parts in this book that mention a theorem or game of some sort that Conway proved or invented, so it would be easy for an individual interested in that sort of thing to find lots of material as well.<br /><br />Although I felt that it was difficult to read, there were still things included that I liked. As mentioned earlier, the author included specific quotes from Conway from interviews and conversations with others in the writing, which added another perspective and gave the book more personality (partly because Conway has quite the personality). The author also included various drawings and graphics that Conway presented while forming a new game or deciphering certain theorems. This is a nice change of pace as well because it allows the reader to explore as well in an attempt to understand and follow along with Conway's thinking.<br /><br />All in all, given an individual who desires to deepen their mathematical knowledge and challenge themselves with the mind of John Conway, this book could be a really strong, beneficial read.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-1901017834666482412017-09-18T19:35:00.003-07:002017-12-10T06:29:52.983-08:00The Creation of MathematicsAnyone who knows me knows that I enjoy writing as long as I can write about something that I have passion for. Despite being a mathematics education major, the history of mathematics isn't actually something that I care too much about (sorry), so coming up with a topic for this post has posed to be a little difficult. However, anyone who knows me also knows that I <em>am</em> crazy passionate about Jesus and diving deep into the Word of God. So, to tag along with my previous blogpost about being able to find and use mathematics in all situations, we're going to attempt to tie mathematics and the Bible together in what may be a feeble attempt to create a solid blog post.<br /><br />In class we have been following the progression of mathematics and discussing many great mathematicians and philosophers who created varying theories regarding mathematics. These are things that while I've never really experienced learning about them in other classes, I've also never really wondered about them. Mathematics in my mind is one of those things that just seems to have always existed. But today (literally today) I started thinking about the other side of that assumption. Where did mathematics begin really? Is there one person who first explored and discovered mathematics? How was mathematics actually created?<br /><br />The way I see it is like this: <br />The Bible begins with the story of creation. In fact, the very first two verses (Genesis 1:1-2) say, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters." This means that before God spoke the earth into creation, there was literally nothing. Just God. Then, at the voice of the Lord, over a period of six days, everything in and of the earth was formed. In the book of Colossians, it is stated, "For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities: all things have been created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:16). Although these passages in the Bible don't come out and directly state, "and then God created mathematics", the concept of mathematics clearly had to come from somewhere. The Bible tells us that God created <em>all</em> things, so does that mean that God created math as well?<br /><br />Again, here's how I see it:<br />Mathematics isn't an object; it isn't a tangible thing like a person or an animal. But, God still created everything. God is and always has been, ever-present. He knows the details of everything of this earth; everything in it, everything on it, and everything that happens within it. He knows the specifics of all things before they happen, and He knows each and every new earthly discovery before it's made. God designed this earth according to how He saw fit so that He may be glorified. We, as humans, have not actually created anything, but have rather been given the gift of discovering the vastness of the creation that God has already so carefully constructed.<br /><br />I think in this way, mathematics is something that <em>has</em> actually been present seemingly for forever. God created the shapes of the land, the movement of the waters, and the properties of everything in between, and while it may be interesting to learn about the great mathematical discoveries of our time, I personally think, God is the ultimate creator and arguably therefore, the ultimate mathematician.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-68908416616000085392017-08-29T19:28:00.000-07:002017-09-03T12:32:26.405-07:00So What is Math?As a math major, it's somewhat surprising to realize that no one has really ever asked me to answer the question, "What is math?". Whenever mathematics, or rather the idea of my majoring in math, is brought up in conversation, it seems to me that there exists a common theme involving statements such as, "I hate math", or "I understood math until letters got involved", or "Wow, I would never be able to do that", and that's the end of it. There is no effort from either side to pursue exploring the depths of what math actually consists of. So, in the spirit of tackling this newly proposed, seemingly impossible question, here's my personal take on what I believe is math.<br /><br />The obvious answer of course, is that math involves numbers. But it doesn't just end there; math also includes letters, units, patterns, rules, and amazingly, things that don't even make sense to exist upon first glance, such as imaginary numbers. Mathematics also involves methods. In fact, mathematics itself can be explained as a method. It's a method of critical, deep thinking; one that involves problem solving in an effort to make a discovery. These discoveries can range from seemingly simple things, to things that completely blow your mind in such a way that not even you, the discoverer, can understand. Mathematics can also be defined by a set of calculations, the construction of a graph, or the identification of a shape. It can be used to help construct a patio, to give correct change at a grocery store, or to appropriately interpret how strongly a group of people represents a given issue. In short, mathematics is not just one thing, there is not just one definition, and there is definitely no lack of mathematics usage in the world. Mathematics is an all encompassing practice, that whether we like it or not, has been and always will be a part of our every day life.<br /><br />With that being said, here are what I believe to be the five most important milestones, or discoveries, in the history of math thus far:<br /><br />1. The Pythagorean Theorem<br />2. The Defining of Pi<br />3. The Identification of Patterns<br />4. The Formulation of Area and Volume Equations<br />5. The Knowledge and Use of Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, and Division<br /><br />All five of these milestones have been instrumental in determining other factors and aspects of life. Like it or not, mathematics is used everyday, and it isn't going away anytime soon.<br /><br /><br /><br />For a fun way to see and hear more about mathematical discoveries and how mathematics is used in everyday life, the link below is a good choice!<br /><br /><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_ZHsk0-eF0" target="_blank">Donald Duck in MathMagicland</a>Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com1tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-1614587193703041922016-12-05T05:49:00.004-08:002016-12-07T17:20:15.895-08:00My Math Teacher's KitchenAfter reading my previous blog post, you might be wondering what I could possibly be writing about for my last one. As it turns out, I've been planning my last post throughout this entire semester and even though I may not be certain that this career is right for me anymore, I've still been impacted quite a bit by a certain teacher during this time.<br /><br />This year, to save some money, I decided to live with a friend that lives only five minutes away from the Grand Valley Allendale campus. This friend just so happens to be a teacher, and it also just so happens that eight years ago, I was a student in her math class. Our student to teacher relationship slowly became a coach to coach relationship, slowly transforming us into kinda sorta friends. From here our relationship became that of babysitter to parent and it was only a matter of time before that relationship turned into a strong friend to friend one. I promise it isn't as weird as it sounds.<br /><br />In any case, now that I'm living in said location, it has become routine for us to get home and swap stories regarding my classes for the day and her teaching experiences for the day. Generally, for some unknown reason, this takes place in the kitchen. Several weeks ago, she (let's just call her Susan) shared a particular experience that I now want to share with all of you. <br /><br />Susan teaches three different seventh grade math classes during the school day. On one Friday, after she had looked at the total number of missing assignments for each class for the week, she decided a talk needed to be had with one of those three classes. This class, just in one week, had had 39 missing assignments. The other two classes only had two and five missing assignments for the week. Here's how Susan decided to approach the situation: How many of you have ever failed at something the first time you tried it? Almost every hand in the class went up. Susan then told them a story of the first time she tried to jump-rope. The first time she tried, she tripped over the rope and bashed her face on the cement floor of her garage, splitting her chin open bad enough to need stitches. Talk about an epic fail right? (Sorry Susan). Now that she had the attention of the class, Susan kept going. She moved the focus to sports and asked the class, "What if you never practiced for your sports team? What if you just showed up to the games to play, but never did anything to practice or prepare yourself?" This question was met with a lot of "Why would you do that?" and "That would be stupid!" comments from the class. Susan then went on to relate this back to the classroom explaining that this class is the 'game' and homework and other outside of class assignments are the 'practices'. If you don't do the assignments, you're skipping all the practices and expecting to still do just as well in the game as the ones who <em>are</em> doing the assignments. It wasn't because the students couldn't do it, it was because they simply weren't. After Susan played this scenario out and told her students the number of missing assignments they had, it was silent. She ended it like this, "What if I had shown these numbers to the other classes? Would you have been embarrassed?" The whole class nodded yes.<br /><br />When Susan got home that day, she was so proud of these students. After their conversation, the students had gotten down to business and worked hard for the entire rest of the class time. They understood now that they had the ability to do just as well as the other two classes, they had just needed some encouragement.<br /><br />Sometimes you just have to show students that they can do it. Sometimes it might take a more personal story to help them see it, but when they do see it, it changes them. I think some of the most important aspects of being a teacher involve this encouragement. In this case, it involved a personal story; an opportunity to be open, to be vulnerable, and to provide a connection.<br /><br />I know I'm not a teacher yet, and I know that being a teacher probably isn't where I'm going to end up anymore either, but I am still confident that these three things are something we should strive to do in any conversation. I felt the pull to do share what I'm struggling with in my previous blog post even though I didn't necessarily feel super comfortable doing it, and since then I have already connected with others who, wouldn't you know, are dealing with the same thing I am. <br /><br />In the eight years that I have known Susan so far, she has taught me so much, whether she knows it completely or not. She is the one that originally inspired me to become a teacher, and despite my confusion regarding that now, she continues to inspire me in other aspects of my life. It's amazing what can happen when someone goes out of their way to make a connection, and even if I don't become the next 'Susan', I know that her lessons will continue to influence every part of my life. I only hope that no matter where I end up, I can do the same for others.<br /><br />So, for the last time, I am a math teacher in the making (maybe), a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.<br /><br />Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-40320742024665432902016-11-29T08:36:00.000-08:002017-11-15T09:15:09.066-08:00Confessions of a Soon-to-be Teacher (Maybe)Being a teacher, in my opinion, is one of the most <span style="background-color: white;">underappreciated</span> jobs in our world. It's not that this career path isn't appreciated by anyone, it's just that the life of a teacher, everything a teaching job actually entails, is unknown by the general public, and therefore disregarded. We (as the general public) have a very basic understanding of what goes on in a teacher's life; it doesn't seem like many people understand what a teacher really does behind the scenes, unless they themselves are already a teacher or are in the process of becoming one, and this is why a teacher's job seems underappreciated.<br /><br />I decided that I wanted to be a teacher when I was in seventh grade. I know it isn't typical that people already know what they want to do that early on, but for me, there wasn't any hesitation in knowing that teaching is what I wanted to pursue. When I entered my junior and senior years of high school, when others begin to ask you what your plans are for college, the responses I received about my career choice were somewhat shocking and frustrating to hear. While I did hear the occasional, "You're going to make a great teacher!", so many other times I heard, "But you're so smart, why would you do that?", or "Wait really? You could do something so much better!", or my personal favorite, "Why would you want to do that? You aren't going to make any money.".<br /><br />Hearing these things started a fire in me. Why did so many people think negatively of my choice? Didn't anyone realize that teaching was so much more than those surface level things? As a middle school student, I already had the pull, the passion, the understanding that accompanies the desire to become a teacher. I had experienced these things in some of my own middle school teachers, and I had already formed the desire to give back and pour into future students, the way they had done for me. I wanted to show people that I could be a teacher, and that I could be a good one. I wanted to prove that I could be the teacher that students went home and talked about because of something exciting that had happened in class. I wanted to be the teacher that students felt they had a relationship with, not just as teacher-student, but as friend-friend or mentor-mentee.<br /><br />That was me in seventh grade; passionate, confident, and determined to prove to everyone that this was where my life was supposed to go. Here's the thing though; that was eight years ago, and even though I had never thought twice about changing that path, this year has posed to be a difficult one in that regards. After working towards this career for 2.5 years now in college, I still find myself thinking about the questions above, almost more than I did when they were originally brought up in my life. For the past several months, I have had some sort of inkling that maybe I'm not pursuing the right career path anymore. It's not to say that I can't still picture myself having my own classroom, teaching math to middle school students; that picture is still pretty visible in my mind. But, there also exists a picture in my mind that doesn't include teaching, a picture that God has decided to put in my life, even though I have no idea why. As someone who had never doubted or second-guessed her degree choice, I struggle with what to do now. This new picture is blurry; it doesn't show me what else I might be doing in the future, it just doesn't show teaching to be something I pursue. So here I am, a junior in my college career, not sure that teaching is what I'm being called to do anymore, despite the fact that I felt that calling for eight years.<br /><br />I'm not trying to make this post about the inner struggles of Kelsey York's life, but I do feel like these thoughts have made me more observant to the things that teachers don't generally get recognized for. Being in the education program, you get all the background information, all the stuff no one thinks about until it's staring them in the face; things like the need to care for students as if they're your children, the importance of teaching students that it's okay to fail, showing students that they aren't just a number in the grade book, the need to connect with students and form relationships, to get to know students on a personal level rather than looking down on them, the importance of meeting students where they're at, both as students and as people/children outside of the classroom; things like how to talk about politics when everyone's on edge, or how to address religious or cultural issues and how much personal input to include. These things are what make teachers who they are. These things are powerful; they show the true grit and passion it takes for a person to decide to be a teacher and these should be the things that teachers are recognized for. These are the things that I picked out as a seventh grade student, because I saw them in many of my teachers, and although I don't know for sure that teaching is where I'll end up anymore, I am still confident that these things, these connections, are what I will strive to fulfill until <span style="background-color: white;">I <span style="background-color: white;">figure that out</span></span>.<br /><br />Now I know I've jumped around a bit, but I promise I'm about to tie it all together, so keep reading. Please. Going through this struggle of not knowing what to do with my career path these past few months has been, and still is, a pretty stressful situation for me. There has always been a pull from society to know what you're doing with your life the minute you step into the college world; what's your major, your minor, what are doing with that degree when you graduate, where are you going to live, where are you going to work, and so many more. We even encourage this thought process in students who are only in middle school and high school. Shouldn't the focus simply be to learn for the sake of learning; to grow for the sake of growing; to form relationships with others for the sake of learning to maintain those relationships? Believe me, going through the 'life choices' issue as a junior in college is no fun, but that doesn't mean we should force it upon students who barely know what they're passionate about yet. In my opinion, in order for teachers to fully encompass the ideals and connections mentioned above, encouraging students to take life one step at a time is the only way to go. When college comes and it's time to decide the path you want to take from there, it's okay to not have any idea yet. The ideas will come, and until then it is simply a teacher's job to support them wherever they end up. In this way, and only in this way, can we encourage students to truly find what they are passionate about, what they're interested in, and what they want to work towards someday, hoping that those things will be made clear to them by our actions, not our teachings.<br /><br />Sorry for the jumbled thoughts, but life is jumbled sometimes anyway. In any case, I am a math teacher in the making (maybe), a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com4tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-1816700601962405642016-10-30T14:44:00.001-07:002016-10-30T14:44:39.087-07:00Redefining Failure & Remodeling Homework"The biggest mistake you can make is being afraid to make one." I pulled this quote from a book called Mathematical Mindsets, a book that is designed to help teachers understand how they can assist students in finding their potential [in math]. One of the things that this book talks about is the importance of making mistakes for<span style="background-color: white;"> all students</span>. We live in a society where we look down on mistakes; we want to do everything perfectly the first time, and if we mess up, we are automatically embarrassed. In regards to school, I think this is definitely most prevalent in math classes. When a student volunteers their answer in class and is wrong, it is more common for a teacher to simply tell them they are wrong and dismiss them without explanation or praise for trying. Teachers check homework for correctness and deduct points for wrong answers, but generally don't tell the students what they did wrong, not wanting to repeat lessons, hoping that their students will eventually figure it out on their own. Doing these things definitely doesn't encourage mistakes, and because of this, students remain nervous and afraid to volunteer responses in class. <br /><br />One of the biggest outcomes of teaching in this way is that of stress. Obviously there are many things in life that cause stress, but I think in regards to school, our expectations of straight-A, mistake-free students is a huge factor as to why we as a society are so stressed now. Like I said above, we are a <span style="background-color: white;">high-achieving</span> society, drawn to be the best of the best in all that we encounter. While it isn't necessarily a bad thing to have the desire to do well, it is unhealthy to instill the mindset of not wanting to make mistakes on students immediately upon starting school. Mistakes should be something that students are encouraged to do, in every aspect of their lives, to ensure learning and the ability to do better the next time. Striving to do our best will only come from first making those mistakes, followed by making the connections to discover what went wrong. In my mind, the stress formed at school never goes away; it continues to grow as we continue on into college, then into the real world and the work force. The stress of not wanting to make mistakes in school carries into the rest of our lives, <span style="background-color: white;">throwing us into an already fast-paced society, that is now one where you're required to be free of mistakes as well</span>. There's always the fear of disappointing someone with your mistakes, of embarrassing yourself in front of other people, and on top of that, the stress of time. All because of the stress that is piled upon us as students.<br /><br /><span style="background-color: white;">So what does all of this have to do specifically with homework?</span> Well, I think another idea we have stuck in our heads is that repetitive homework problems is the best way to make sure our students don't fail, especially in a math class. Generally, students in math classes get assigned an insane amount of problems to do from their textbook for homework, every single night. There has been a lot of debate about whether or not this is an effective way to give homework, or whether homework is even necessary at all. In my opinion, the process of learning requires variation more than repetition. In one of my previous posts, I mentioned the idea of memorizing vs remembering. By using repetitive structures such as homework problems assigned from a textbook, we are encouraging the idea of memorizing. This method of teaching leaves nothing for the students to grasp onto, it simply implements the stress of needing to pound information into your head before you can finally forget everything after the end of year. Remembering is encouraged by incorporating more assignments or activities that fall along the lines of 'out of the box' thinking. It's important to try new things, to allow our students to experiment with their hands before being given the full tools to solve a problem. In using this approach, students find a more comfortable, less stressful environment, and can leave with a memory rather than a fact. I can't help but think that if we, as teachers, started including activities that encouraged experimentation, there would be less stress on students to feel the need to be right, and therefore, less of an emphasis on incorrect work. In this way, I think we can slowly start to encourage and show students that failing or being incorrect is definitely not a bad thing, but in turn, it actually helps guide the way to understanding.<br /><br />To close I want to go back to Mathematical Mindsets. Carol Dweck, a psychologist and fellow writer says, "Every time a student makes a mistake in math, they grow a synapse." So am I saying that students should just decide to not try? That they should just purposely fail at everything they do in an attempt to grow? Of course not. Believing in yourself is still incredibly important in the development of each student's mindset. In my opinion, the key to tying failure and believing in yourself together, is finding that balance. It's not specifically one or the other that helps the brain grow, but the idea that when you believe in yourself, you can fail as many times as you need to, because you also know that at some point, you'll succeed. Jo Boaler, author of Mathematical Mindsets, claimed that the people in our world who are the most successful, have made the most mistakes on their way to achieving where they are know. Instilling this knowledge in our students and showing them that the value of correct work is much less important than the value of mistakes is a great place to start. I can only imagine how much more our teachers and our students could change the world if we work together to achieve this new mindset.<br /><br />Note: I am definitely not trying to generalize and say all teachers are guilty of making their students feel this way. I am saying that this might not always be noticeable and that it might not be a bad idea to think about how current teaching methods are affecting students. I am simply calling out a problem that I have seen and experienced in an effort to help change the stereotypes about failure.<br /><br />So, as always, I am a math teacher in the making, a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com3tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-26813626691053523182016-10-09T13:28:00.001-07:002016-10-09T13:28:35.627-07:00Observations from the Outside<span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">Of all the different 'in-school' experiences I've had since deciding I was going to pursue a teaching career, I had never gone to a school for student/teacher observing up until a couple of weeks ago. As a requirement for a class right now, I needed to find a teacher who was willing to let me come observe his/her classroom for several days throughout this semester. As someone who is from the general area, I decided it would be easy to go back to my high school and observe a teacher there. I ended up asking a math teacher who I had never had while I attended high school, although I took the class that he is teaching. Mr. K is a math teacher at Grandville High School and teaches Pre-Calculus. </span><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">Because I had never had the experience of having him as a teacher, I thought this would be a good route to go, as it would give me a new perspective that I had never observed before. My younger brother also happens to be in one of Mr. K’s classes right now and really likes the way he teaches; another reason I thought he (Mr. K) would be a good choice. </span><br /><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;"></span><br /><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">One of the first things I noticed about Mr. K, was that he was a very genuinely nice person. Although we had never met, he was more than willing to help me out, and I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all while sitting through the class. Throughout the class time, you could tell that he wanted his students to have more of a personal connection to him than just that of “I am the teacher, you are the student”. He wanted them to enjoy his class, not dread it. This was also evident in the way the students acted with him. They were plenty comfortable with asking (and answering) questions, but they were also plenty comfortable with joking around with him and him joking back. I think the relationship that a teacher has with his/her students is one of the most important things for a teacher to establish. In some cases, students see their teachers more often than they see their parents, and because of this, it is important for there to be a positive connection, or at least the opportunity for a positive connection, between teacher and student, and I thought that was great to see in Mr. K’s classroom.<o:p></o:p></span><br /><br /><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt;"><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">Mr. K’s general schedule for the day included time for questions about the homework, time for his lecture, time for questions about the lecture, time for example homework/practice problems, and time to work on the homework in class. I thought this was a great way to organize the time, in an effort to ensure that all his students understood what went on in the previous class period, as well as what is going on in the current one. During this class period, Mr. K just so happened to be teaching “Polynomial Long Division”, which we reviewed not too long before in our 229 class. It was interesting to be able to compare things we talked about in class to what Mr. K was implementing into his classroom. One of the things he did to begin this lesson was do a warm-up problem with synthetic division. I found this especially interesting, because this was not something I ever learned. The first time I ever saw synthetic division played out was in our class, this year. So it was interesting to see not only how he used concepts we talked about in our class, but also to see what has changed slightly since I had attended this high school. When Mr. K actually started the process of explaining polynomial long division, he followed the generic process that I have always been taught as seen below (we also did this in class). In any case, I thought he did a great job of explaining the method and process of how he obtained an answer. After explaining the first one, he took questions and then moved on to another example, explaining again very thoroughly. He repeated this until there were no more questions.</span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RVfL5ZFyuMk/V_qiHATLlOI/AAAAAAAAADc/yTGfG205Pz4RwWyLUT86jvoKsv3Ln_EwgCLcB/s1600/polynomiallongdivision.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-RVfL5ZFyuMk/V_qiHATLlOI/AAAAAAAAADc/yTGfG205Pz4RwWyLUT86jvoKsv3Ln_EwgCLcB/s1600/polynomiallongdivision.gif" /></a></div><br /><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;"><o:p>Another thing I noticed during this observation was that Mr. K didn't plan his lecture to last the entire class period. I think sometimes as teachers, we feel the need to fill the entire hour with the lecture, scrambling to assign the homework one minute before the bell rings, and therefore not allowing students to ask questions about the homework before they bring it home. Each of these classes at Grandville are only an hour long, and somehow Mr. K still had plenty of time to review questions from the previous night's homework, as well as to allow his students to work on their homework problems in class. Seeing this was, in my opinion, a really impressive way to see how Mr. K organizes his class time to ensure that his students were going home confidently, rather than confused.</o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt;"><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">Overall, after just one hour of observing so far, I am very impressed with the way that Mr. K approaches his classroom, and I am excited to see what I learn from him throughout the rest of this observation time. As someone who has always been on the inside, experiencing these things while they're happening, it was great to now have the opportunity to observe on the outside, looking in.</span><br /><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;"></span><br /><span style="font-family: "times new roman" , serif; font-size: 12pt; line-height: 107%;">With that, I am a math teacher in the making, a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.<o:p></o:p></span></div>Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com6tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-1334536150035138322016-09-25T12:48:00.001-07:002016-12-07T17:13:42.661-08:00Teachers vs TechnologyWe live in a <span style="background-color: yellow;"><span style="background-color: white;">crazy </span></span>world. We live in a world where we have forgotten how to speak; where we have forgotten the importance of face-to-face conversations; a world where people of all ages 'hang out' by sitting together and staring at their phones. We live in a world that encourages greed for what we don't have, rather than thankfulness for what we do. We live in a world that wants the next best thing; a world that obtains excitement from material things rather than moments experienced. We live in a world driven by technology; a world that has become <span style="background-color: white;">increasingly advanced in those regards</span>, and a world that in my opinion, <span style="background-color: white;">is falling in a somewhat uncontrollable manner towards not knowing how to communicate without it [technology] at all.</span><br /><br />The summer before I started college, I was asked a countless amount of times what I planned on doing with my life; what I wanted to major in, what I wanted to be, etc. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher, but every time I told someone this, I received an incredible amount of skeptical remarks. While a lot of these remarks have stuck in my head since then, some of the ones that stick out the most are ones that regarded technology. I was told that teachers weren't going to be needed eventually because of all the technological advances. I was told that it was pointless for me to become a teacher, because by the time I graduated there wouldn't be anywhere for me to go. For me, these reasons only made me want to be a teacher even more. It is so frustrating to me that our world is being controlled by technology, but even more than that, I can't wrap my head around why we are allowing technology to overtake our schools as well. And that is something I want to change as a teacher.<br /><br />As I am going into my teaching career, it has become even more apparent to me that our world is caught up in the so called excitement of having and using new technology. I do believe that technology can be helpful in some instances, but I also believe without a doubt that it is more distracting than helpful. This is evident not only in our everyday lives, but also in that of our schools and the way we, as teachers, are choosing to teach our students each year. <br /><br />I know it could be argued that not all school systems want technology to take over completely, but as technology continues to advance, it seems as though it's simply the easier thing to do. People, especially teenagers, are so obsessed with technology already, that it just seems wrong to include it in the 7-8 hours they're at school as well. As a part of the class I am currently in, we have explored a few options of online math sites that teachers can use to help teach a lesson. One of these is called Desmos, which allows a teacher to select one of several different games that will help students explore concepts further and will test each students' understanding of those concepts. While exploring this site, I have come across some activities that may be helpful in obtaining a general assessment of student learning or may be useful in introducing a topic before jumping in. In this way, I can understand how making use of this site could provide a chance for students to experience learning in yet another way and allow for them to have fun doing so. However, I strongly believe that this should be the extent of allowing technology in a classroom. <br /><br />Just in the past few years, school systems have begun incorporating the use of more technology in their classrooms. In my opinion, this is more work than it's worth and simply gives students access to yet another distraction. I mentioned in my last blog post that I think it is a key goal for teachers to engage their students and make them excited to learn. However, the use of technology in the classroom, while it may make students excited, gets in the way of true learning. True learning incorporates hands-on activities for our students, encouraging them to put action into their learning, and helping them to try different things in an effort to help them feel engaged. Although I don't feel that u<span style="background-color: white;">sing technology to implement these things is any different than reading out of a text book, I would say that </span><span style="background-color: white;">using a small amount of technology in the classroom to introduce a unit, or to find out how well students are learning material is acceptable if a teacher really desires to do so.</span><br /><span style="background-color: yellow;"></span><br /><br />These ideas are only one person's opinions, and no one has to agree with them, but because of this topic's importance to me, I still want to ask a few questions to end my post. Isn't it our job, as teachers, to prepare students for the real world; to teach them about the essentials in living an adult life? It has been explained to me, that it is a part of a teacher's responsibility to educate students for three major dimensions of life: as individual persons, as citizens in a democracy, and as participants in economic life who must earn a living. As it stands, are teachers helping with this? Is technology helping to achieve this? More and more students are experiencing social anxieties when asked to participate in a face-to-face conversation, but are completely fine when communicating via technology. As teachers, we are educating the future educators of the world, the future lawyers, the future doctors, the future president. This is our job; would it be so hard to educate without using technology? We live in a beautiful world, one that was created for us to experience both in and out of the classroom. It would be a shame to watch it pass by without partaking in the grand adventures it provides.<br /><br />In any case, I am a math teacher in the making, a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com5tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-1595016574959851971.post-86045284097874895072016-09-12T18:00:00.000-07:002016-10-09T13:24:33.437-07:00The Problem With Math Class (As Told by a Future Math Teacher)One week ago, something started. Something that many students dread. Something that students refuse to acknowledge, because it means the end of summer and the beginning of countless loads of homework that most students neither care about nor understand. It means the beginning of hearing "What did you learn today?" from your parents and replying with an "I don't know" or a "Nothing" every time. It means dragging yourself out of bed at an ungodly hour and forcing yourself to make that awful drive, after eating a half-hearted breakfast. It means the beginning of school.<br /><br />Here's the thing: School isn't supposed to be a place where students sit for 7 hours a day and get bored out of their minds. School isn't supposed to be a place that causes students to struggle to complete homework for hours per night, because they don't understand what was taught. School isn't supposed to be a place that students go to, just because it's required. But it is. For a time, I myself felt this way about school as well. It only takes so much time of sitting in class, taking notes off a whiteboard, before that feeling of <span style="background-color: white;">"go with the flow"</span> boredom sets in for the rest of the school year. I've watched friends do the minimum amount of work required to get through high school, and now I watch and listen as the next generation does the same thing. This problem, although prevalent in all aspects of schooling, is particularly an issue in regards to math classes. It's not to say that there is something wrong with these students, but I will say that maybe, just maybe, there is something wrong with the style of teaching of our textbooks.<br /><br />As a current education student at Grand Valley, I have found myself in many different 'teaching' classes. In the one I am taking this semester, we watched a short video titled, "Math Class Needs a Makeover". This video talks about 5 symptoms that show math is being taught incorrectly. You can view all five of these in the video posted at the bottom of this page, but I only want to talk about two of them. Two of the symptoms mentioned, 'lack of initiative' and lack of retention' are two issues I strongly believe to be very present in math classes. Students can be incredibly hard to engage when teaching, but it isn't necessarily because of something they are doing wrong. When math is being poorly taught, or when a student's <span style="background-color: white; color: black;">learning style</span> isn't being met, it makes it difficult for students to find that desire to listen and to learn. It makes their understanding of each concept sometimes impossible to grasp, silently encouraging them to give up on trying. In a similar manner, when students don't understand a concept, it makes it that much harder for them to retain any information regarding that concept. At times, even if a student understands the general idea of a particular concept, if the math is being poorly taught, a lack of retention can occur as well. Because of these two issues, I feel it is important to find alternate routes to using 'typical' teaching methods. <br /><br />One thing I have learned while being in education classes, is that not every student learns the same way, and not every student is starting the year with the same knowledge. It is important to enter a school year knowing that you should meet each one of your students where they are at, not where you expect them to be. This is important to keep in mind not just at the beginning of a school year, but all the way through. I think it's easy for us, as teachers, to get caught up in the schedule we have in our mind. We don't want to have to change how many days a unit lasts, or how long it takes to cover one concept per class period. My thought is this: if your students need more time to gain full understanding of a unit, let it happen! Our job is to ensure that each student can go home feeling confident in what they learned; timing doesn't matter.<br /><br />The second thing I have learned while being in education classes, is that making use of the world around us provides so much more room for learning. As is stated in the "Math Class Needs a Makeover" video, often times teachers use the method of teaching out of the book. This is the typical way of teaching, but for students, book learning is simply a lot of memorization of things that they will forget just as quickly as they learn them. We need to turn memorization into remembering. Instead of staring at a book, we need to encourage action in learning. If you're curious as to specifics, there is more information again, in the video below. It is my belief, that in making use of real life situations, teachers can incorporate multiple learning styles, effectively reaching out to each student's needs.<br /><br />All in all, I think that math class does need a makeover; maybe not in all situations, but generally speaking, I could go for a change. There is so much more I could say about this topic, but for now I think I've written enough. To conclude, I want to mention that I am in no way trying to throw math teachers under the bus. I have had many amazing math teachers who worked hard to make sure classes were taught well and made fun for their students, successfully reaching out to each student to ensure initiative and retention. I think that's the key; working to make use of other resources and not simply requiring students to understand book problems without extra activities. Help your students <em>want</em> to be engaged, help your students feel <em>excited</em> to learn something new. The world is at our fingertips, why not make use of it. <br /><br />In any case, I am a math teacher in the making, a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.<br /><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"> <iframe allowfullscreen="" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/qocAoN4jNwc/0.jpg" frameborder="0" height="266" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qocAoN4jNwc?feature=player_embedded" width="320"></iframe></div>Kelsey Yorkhttps://plus.google.com/113723510648448916711noreply@blogger.com6