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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Hitting Roadblocks

Well I knew it was bound to happen at some point.  I know that every teacher experiences it.  How to overcome it, will be the biggest victory I've had so far in my career as a teacher.  The roadblock I'm talking about is when you teach a concept, reteach that concept, and teach it again.. and the students still don't get it.

What then?

Right now, my roadblock is equations.  Equations!  My FAVORITE part of math.  I love all the cute jokes about finding x.  But for real.. I LOVE finding x.  My students.... not so much.  But we are getting there!

I tried teaching about equations "the old fashioned way".  I followed the textbook, I taught them how to solve using concrete manipulatives.. (and they looked at me like I was crazy).  On the last quiz we took, I had 1 student pass, and 2 that didn't get a single problem right.  We went through EVERY problem together, and then I had them correct their work, and write about their mistakes.  I had them look at the correct method, look at what they did and write sentences about the mistakes they made.  I was hoping to teach them something, but my students taught me something as well.

1)  My students lack basic math skills.

2) My students lack confidence in math.

3) My students are somewhat lazy!

4) My students DO NOT check their work

On Monday I will be back in the classroom teaching this concept to my students again.  But we are going to have a new tool at our disposal.  My next plan is practice, practice, practice mixed with a flippable rule book they can use that is devoted to the mathematical basics such as integers, fractions, and formulas.  Something they can use to help them work their way to gaining confidence in getting their problems correct. 

In all the research I've done, one thing has stood out above all else.  Students who lack fundamental math skills WILL NOT be successful in math, and it impacts their college readiness and their ability to finish college successfully.

I am on a mission.  I will post my flip chart as soon as I'm finished.  Time to put all those crafting supplies to use!