#MathIs Tweets

For my final first day of school activity, I asked students to write a 140 character tweet telling me what math means to them using the hashtag, #MathIs. You can access the student handout at Sarah’s blog.

The responses were both heartwarming and heartbreaking…

Honors Algebra 1:

• #MathIs my school time passion. I love math #addicted #nervous #freshmen #inspiring #astudent
• #MathIs an essential skill for life and is associated with all parts of life
• I love math so much, but only when the teacher makes it easy to understand, and makes it interesting #iluvmath
• #MathIs for your life and your mind
• #MathIs important. I will probably use it a lot later in my life. I think math is full of patterns and surprises.
• #MathIs numbers, shapes, and solving equations.
• I enjoy math and I think it is hard but fun.
• Math has always been my favorite subject. Lately I’m starting to have more trouble.
• #MathIs my favorite subject. I am ready for this school year and I am going to try my best.
• #MathIs #Hard #Numbers #needaB
• In my opinion, math means the world. Every little thing can be replaced for a very interesting problem and one amazing solution.
• Very important and a good skill to have because it’s in your everyday life #mathislife
• #MathIs an important tool in this world. Even though it’s confusing, it can be fun too (sometimes)
• #MathIs a way that the world communicates with others
• #MathIs not my best subject
• #MathIs the most rule based subject
• #MathIs a door to the world, with math you can travel to the whole world
• #MathIs a skill that is necessary to achieve to become successful
• #MathIs what makes life work. Without math we wouldn’t have most things in life
• #MathIs fun because when you do good you feel good

College Prep Algebra 2:
• #MathIs very hard and I hate it
• #MathIs the best thing in the world
• #MathIs hard for me. I struggle in math and it is not my best subject
• #MathIs necessary
• #MathIs kinda hard
• #MathIs very difficult
• #MathIs pretty simple
• #MathIs a subject that can be hard complicated at times #stillfun

I did not include every single student’s response since many said pretty much the exact thing. And you’ll notice how many fewer responses there are from my CP Algebra 2 class, and how short the tweets are. It’s comprised of juniors and seniors, and I can’t help but wonder what happened in the past few years to make them have such a negative attitude toward math. It makes me so sad. I know I have my work cut out for me with these classes and I hope I’m ready for the challenge.

Reading the 9th grade responses inspires me to bring my best every day. They are so positive. And show so much love for this subject. They shared such great insight into knowing that math is everywhere. I hadn’t really decided on a goal for this year, but now I know that my goal is to do everything possible to make sure this passion still exists in June.

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Excel Lesson Planner

My first year teaching I used a regular planbook given to me by the school. Then, one of my colleagues shared this excel document with me and it changed my life: Algebra 2 Curriculum by the Month 2013-2014. I’ve included one blank page in it and one page filled out with my October lesson plans for Algebra 1 from last year:

October Plans

The rows within a week breakdown like this:
Row 1: Type of Day at school
Row 2: Unit Title
Row 3: Warm Up Activity
Rows 4-6: Main Lesson Activities
Row 7: Homework

Each day isn’t extremely detailed but I know what I mean when I give each activity a title. This works so well for me because I like to map things out pretty far in advance and see a grand overview of the month. At the same time, it grants me the flexibility to easily move activities and lessons around as needed. It’s also very convenient if you teach the same course year after year. I’m in the process of creating a new blank one because I don’t have one for Algebra 2 yet.

Calendar Project

Our first unit in Algebra 1 is “Solving Equations and Inequalities.” This also includes dimensional analysis and rearranging formulas. Since this unit should mostly be a review, I assign this Calendar Project. The answer to each problem in the September calendar is the date. So the answer to the problem on Thursday, September 1st is x = 1. At first, this greatly confuses students as to why I gave them the answer. But my objective of this assignment is for students to show me the steps they use to solve each problem so we can focus on our methods rather than just trying to find the correct answer.

 

The second part of the project is for students to write their own problems. In the past, I have had students choose a month and write 30 problems for that month. However, this turned out to be too time consuming and challenging. This year I am going to have students write 10 problems, and I am going to assign them the numbers for their answers. It’s much harder for students to write a problem with 27 as the answer as compared to 3, so I’ll use this to differentiate.

 

At the end of the month, I think I’m going to have each student design an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper with one of their problems on it. Then, we’ll make a massive calendar in the hallway with everyone’s days put together. Pictures to come!