Saturday, November 6, 2010

Apple Mathematician?

From the Apple

There is no question that math is an important part of my day from balancing my checkbook to figuring out how to convert a recipe to appropriate Weight Watcher measurements to figuring out how many days until my niece's wedding. And of course, teaching is run on data these days so there is hardly ever a day when I'm not trying to interpret some sort of assessment information! I guess I am fortunate that Math has always come very easy for me. I grew up in a Southern county that had an excellent math prep program and I actually tested out of all Math in college. It will surprise most of my friends to know that I actually started my freshman year of college as a math major! However, it didn't last long. It was the start of a long list of majors that included Religion, Psychology, and Social Work before I finally settled on Special Education as a Senior! I had especially loved Algebra in middle school when I first started advanced Math. It came really easy and I loved my teacher. I actually went back to teach in that same middle school many years later and taught in the classroom beside her! She was as outstanding then as she had been when I was a student.

I'm not sure that any of that prepared me to be a Math teacher. As I have begun to teach an inquiry-based Math program, I have felt as unsettled as some of my students. I have really had to dig to remember the HOW I know something works. I just know the answer but I don't always know how I know it. It's a lot like reading comprehension. You know the answer because you have learned to use strategies automatically. It took a while for me to break through HOW I knew the answer and to identify the strategies and proof when I first starting taking reading comprehension apart. I think it will work that same way with Math. I know the answer automatically, but I will have to really search for the strategies and proof of how I got the answer. I am thinking that it may take as much creativity and depth of research in Math as it has in Reading! I do think Math strategies are more straight forward which I think will make them a little easier to teach. We'll see!

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