I have summed up what have been my most important learnings over the past seven weeks into a power point presentation that could be presented to my colleagues. For me the last seven weeks have been transformative as a teacher, pushing me out of my box and showing me things that I didn’t know were possible but once I read more about them and tried them I loved the ideas. One of the ideas presented was so exciting and transformative I even bought the book for some summer reading. The ideas that have really got my attention have been around Rich Tasks that get my students engaged, from the Three Act Tasks, Rich Tasks and asking good questions to the Japanese model of teaching through a central problem. I am inspired to change how I am teaching math in my own classroom and hopefully can share what I find with a few colleagues. This for me is a personal journey to build my own joy in teaching math and ignite a passion for math in my students. If what I am learning and trying can turn around one student’s attitude towards math it will all be worth it.
This spring as I have tried the different activities and approaches in my current course I have noticed a change in one of my students for the positive, while all of my students are excited for math this student stands out the most. In the fall she reacted to math in a very fearful manner often crying at the first challenging problem. Over the course of the year I have worked with her to reduce her anxiety and build her confidence, we have had ups and downs with it all year but in the last two weeks she asks me if we’re doing “math on the windows” and “big problems”. My student is looking forward to math! She’s telling me that she’s understanding it for the first time ever! I have made a series of big and small changes over the last few weeks focusing on the ideas outlined in my presentation and it’s making a difference. I am going to continue working on the changes I have made next year, I wonder what will happen starting with vertical math and rich tasks, how will it change the math culture in my classroom doing it all year?