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Start the Year off Right!


As teachers head back to school, eagerly awaiting the fresh faces that will greet them at the door of the classroom, many are left wondering, what can I do differently this year to really make an impact?

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Why People are Afraid of Math

Why People are Afraid of Math

With fear in their hearts, so many people view math as a series of complex skills they'll never be able to understand. The first step in overcoming our fears is understanding why we have them in the first place.

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Recent Comments
Bukunmi Adewumi
@Janna, thanks a lot for this informative article. I found the point about neuroplasticity particularly useful: "Kids who learn ho... Read More
Wednesday, 29 March 2017 09:32
Chad Lower
I will even tell my students at the end of a lesson that they are now "heavier" than when they started class and if they were go g... Read More
Friday, 21 April 2017 15:22
Janna Peskett
Hi Bukunmi, Thanks for your response! Certainly we can tell our students a lot more about how to harness the power of neuroplastic... Read More
Friday, 21 April 2017 15:20
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The Most Spectacular Failure

The Most Spectacular Failure

My team and I worked tirelessly for three days to create an online middle school math lesson that would engage kids and excite them about math. At the end of three days, our lesson would be judged by real live students against lessons created by other teams. When it came time to present our lesson to the kids, we were nervous but excited. We had worked well as a team, really bonded over the past three days, and were proud of what we had created. Ten teams presented their ideas, and they were all fantastic! I felt gratified to work with people who put so much effort into writing creative and engaging online lessons. At the awards ceremony, we were sad to see we hadn't won first place, but still proud of our efforts. We knew we had a lesson that would engage kids in math, and felt we had put our best ideas to good use. Until the next, "surprise" award was announced. You can imagine our shock, dismay, and embarrassment when we heard our group called as winners of "The Worst Idea" award, and were then called to stand in front of our colleagues and accept the award. What an epic failure! How does one recover from such a humiliating setback?

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Recent Comments
Super User
Thank you for sharing your story.
Wednesday, 28 January 2015 19:51
Super User
Funny, when you wrote that you got the "Worst Idea" award I immediately thought - Oh Great! Tell us what it was so we can all avoi... Read More
Thursday, 29 January 2015 03:01
Super User
I'd like to know what the lesson was, who gave it the award (kids?), and why they didn't like it. Was there any feedback on how t... Read More
Thursday, 29 January 2015 22:22
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A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment

A Work in Progress: Growth Minded Assessment
Sam had a big smile on his face as he turned in his math test. Sam is in my Intermediate Algebra course, which is a developmental, prerequisite course for College Algebra. Students enroll in this course due to low SAT scores. Based on the big grin, I was optimistic about Sam's test.

"How'd you do?" I asked enthusiastically. "Well," he sighed, "I totally bombed it. But I feel really good about what I learned! Don't take it personally; this is the most I've ever understood in math."

After I graded it, I was devastated to see that he had scored a 30%. I thought about how I was going to have to give this test back to him. I thought about how I would try to soften the blow by telling him I was proud of his hard work, progress, and growth. I thought about the personalized feedback I would give him to help him learn from his mistakes. But mostly, I thought about how I felt like a hypocrite.

How could I develop and maintain Sam's growth mindset while simultaneously informing him that he is still failing in math?
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Recent Comments
Super User
Great article because you detailed how you applied the growth mindset to how you assessed your students. You helped me realize th... Read More
Wednesday, 15 January 2014 19:43
Kevin Campbell
Great article
Thursday, 16 January 2014 16:41
Super User
What a thoughtful and thought provoking examination of assessment and evaluation and the role they play in learning - thank you fo... Read More
Saturday, 18 January 2014 16:57
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