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My Life in Math Class
Subject: Applied Math, Language Arts
Grade: 6-8, 9-12

Brief Description:

At the beginning of the school year I assign "My Life In Math Class' to my Grade Six Math class. This is a writing assignment in which I require students to reflect on their Mathematical past. They share their positive and challenging memories of the math classes of their past years. It gives me a jumpstart in understanding the skills and background that each of my students comes with.

Objectives

For students to reflect on their previous experiences in math for the purpose of allowing the teacher to understand the strengths and weaknesses that they come with. For students to reflect on their previous experiences in math for the purpose of setting goals for the upcoming year.

Keywords

  • reflection
  • problem solving
  • goal setting

Materials Needed

My assignment for "My Life In Math Class" can be found at:
Mathematician's Biography

Lesson Plan

Teacher and class engage in a discussion regarding how our previous experiences in Math effect our present success. We talk about positive and negative memories, different strategies that have helped them problem solve (such as guess and check, drawing pictures, using charts etc) and their hopes for the future. I tell students that if some of their memories are fuzzy they can talk to their parents about incidents that happened in their earlier grades. I am quite vulnerable with the students as I too share some of my personal memories- good and bad. I then hand out the assignment sheet as well as a sheet I call "My Life In Math Class" working paper. This is the assignment sheet broken down into steps so that the overwhelmed students will be able to work each part through one step at a time. It also ensures that the students are clear on what my expectations are of the assignment. One of the benchmarks is that the final product is "jazzed up". This will encourage students to present their work in a creative way. We discuss different ways they might do that. We also discuss how valuable this piece of work is for me as long as they choose to be vulnerable and give enough detail in their writing.

I consider this assignment very useful and worth the time that it takes. I usually give the students one period to work on it in class and the rest is for homework. I emphasize that their work will not be up for display so that they can feel free to share their true feelings.

Assessment

I made a rubric based on the assignment sheet as a method of assessment.

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted by Brenda Dyck, bdyck@masters.ab.ca
Master's Academy and College, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA


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