Multidimensional, mindset based, mastery focused MATH
My philosophy of math education is strongly influenced by the work of Jo Boaler at Stanford and the math vision of Paul Lockhart. You can find lots of information about Jo and her multidimensional math here:
And if you want to read an outstanding article by Paul Lockhart regarding how Math should be taught please read this:
Very simply I believe that math class should be a place where students are engaged in deep, complex, and authentic mathematical thinking and dialogue. I believe that math class should be a place where students master the language of math from the inside out - meaning a focus on conceptual math/pure math concepts. I believe math class should be a place where students develop strong thinking skills through continual practice of conjecture and skepticism. I believe math is a creative art and that math class at it's best allows students to be creative. I want all student to not merely memorize others math ideas but see that they can create their own ideas. I believe math class at it's best is a place the develops confidence and real enjoyment of deep thinking.
Math correlates stronger than anything else when it comes to success in college. I take my job very seriously and it is my goal that every student sees the value of math, grows in their confidence in math, is ready for the challenges of college math, and hopefully learns that math can actually be enjoyable even while still being very challenging and rigorous.
Grades, Assessments, and Homework
I am always rethinking assessment and trying to make it more authentic and students centered. I have lots of thoughts around assessment and am every year trying to find better systems to put students in control while at the same time pushing them. I feel that too often grades feel like labels that disempower students rather than goals that inspire and encourage students. For an article by Jo Boaler on the subject you can click here: https://bhi61nm2cr3mkdgk1dtaov18-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/1439422682-AssessmentPaper.pdf
My current system is a blend of class participation grades, content grades (content assessments which students can always retake), student goal setting and evaluation grades, as well as project and exhibitions grades.
My preference is to have no homework required, but rather support and encourage students to do as much math as they need in order to achieve their goals. There will be times when students might do work out of class but I want as much as possible to be voluntary. However, Honors will have homework, but those not choosing to pursue honors will mostly not have homework.
For a starter on this complicated topic you can read Alfie Kohn's article here:
Honors math will be a focus on Calculus. The goal here is to prepare student for the pace, complexity, and challenges of college calculus. This is for students interested in STEM majors, those who are interested in calculus, and any student who really enjoys math and would like to challenge themselves.
It is important to point out that all honors material, lectures, and discussion are available to all and I encourage everyone to take part. However in order to earn a 5.0 in your grade book you will need to turn in extra work and take assessments on the advanced calculus topics.
Classroom Norms and Expectations
We will work to establish norms together as a class, but for me there a few things I feel very strongly about.
I believe math class should be about exploring your math thoughts and ideas and it MUST be a safe place for all students. I want every student to push themselves outside there comfort zone and any sort of negativity or bullying will not be tolerated. However I DO want students challenging each other in a genuine and provocative way. I think logical discourse is the heart of a successful math class and I expect students to challenge the logic of each others math ideas but never belittle or make fun of the person. "Hard on the content Soft on the people."
I have decided this year to remove all cell phones from class. This is something I have thought a lot about and I have come to the conclusion that it is in the students best interests. Math is incredibly difficult and the research we have on cell phone distraction and the negative effects of multitasking have convinced me this is how I can best support my students. If you want to read some of the articles that have influence my thinking please check these out:
I do allow food and drinks in the class. However I do ask that all drinks have closed spill proof lids and that food is not sticky or crumbly or stinky.