Creating a Strong Math Culture
- Understanding Perceptions -
|A student drawing about Math Workshop.|
I feel that it is important to continually reflect on these questions in order to create a strong math culture, but if these answers are only coming from the teacher's point of view, it doesn't really matter much. We are in the field of education to empower and enrich students, and how they are perceiving lessons, units, and classes is what matters the most--if the perception is negative, they will be less likely to engage in and retain the information. So, before diving fully into a unit on Base Ten, I decided to have my students draw a picture entitled "My math workshop". The only directions I gave before passing out the blank paper were that students were to draw whatever came to their minds when thinking of math workshop, and that they had to draw themselves in the picture.
I was a little nervous to see what some students would draw--would they draw themselves with smiley or sad faces? Would there be lots of colors to make a bright impression? Would they have others in the picture or does the perception of math involve isolation? I love math and teaching and was secretly hoping during the activity that everyone in the class would illustrate that same love.
|This student recalls using the "Fast Nines" strategy while adding.|
|This student focused on using the online program www.xtramath.org|
|This student drew himself adding with apples.|
|Happy to see that this student loves math operations!|
Kid's Math Talk TipIn order to see if there is truly a disconnection between the teacher's point of view and that of the student's, it helps for the teacher to also engage in this exercise before giving the assignment to students. This is extremely powerful--seeing is believing, but sometimes what we as adults see is completely different from what our students perceive. Just make sure that you wait until AFTER students draw their own versions to show them how you view math workshop.
Invite your students to create a "My Math Workshop" drawing this week!