Rookie Year: Day 163

Now that the final exam is over but we still have 5 days of school left I found myself scrambling to come up with some good activities. I had some big plans before the EOC for this time, but I’m so tired that it has ended up looking a little different. I settled on a three part final project that consists of:

  1. The Desmos Art Project I linked to yesterday
  2. A group “test’ over calculator skills and some function concepts. Nothing advanced or difficult. They already took at 56 question state final exam, I don’t want to kill their brains
  3. A math reflection post

I have already gotten a few submissions for the math reflection that I was encouraged by. Here are the questions I asked in the math reflection:

    1. Did you enjoy this class? Why or why not?
    2. List at least one thing that you LIKED about this class. Explain.
    3. List at least one thing that you did NOT like about this class. Explain.
    4. Describe what you think mathematics is. (DON’T look up the definition of math. That isn’t what I want. You should explain what you think it means to do math. It’s a philosophical question, not a “figure out the correct answer” question.
    5. What does it mean to be a mathematician?
    6. Do you consider yourself to be a mathematician? Explain why or why not.
    7. If you could go back and take this class again, what would you do differently? Explain.
    8. What advice do you have for future students who are about to take Intermediate Algebra for the first time?

Here is a bit of a response from a student that I found very encouraging:


  1. I really enjoyed this class because you had a lot of patience with us and you made sure before we moved on we understand the concept. I felt that you really cared about us and that’s all that mattered to me.
  2. There was two things that I enjoyed the most, your teaching skills and you. You always cared for are education more than anything and that’s all any student can ask from a teacher. Just to make sure that you do your part so we can do ours. You EXCEEDED that and I thank you so much for that.

Unfortunately I was not able to convince this student that they were good at math:

5. A person who is really great at math.

6. No I do not consider myself because I dislike math with a passion and I do not have the work ethic to do that.

Although it may be from the answer that they have confused liking it with being good at it. They never believed me but they actually were a very good student.  I had a few other students who also told me that they were not good at math when they actually were. Next year I want to work on how I can build that confidence and self-image to help students see themselves as mathematicians and not just “a person who is really great at math” or “Someone smart and doing every math problem in the entire world. Also you can solve any mat problem in the world.”

I think I will incorporate this from day 1 and go from there. I was trying to work on building a culture of mathematics in my classroom during the first semester and I think I got tired and fell off the boat in second semester. Hopefully I have the endurance to last the whole year next time.

Thanks for reading.


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