On Thursday this week, a student wrote me a lovely Photocard. It was the kind of writing that was so sweet and thoughtful that it actually brought tears to my eyes. Here are two lines that I just loved though:
As you know, I’ve really been focusing on my math delivery this year. I’ve taken a new approach, and provided lots of opportunities for problem solving and inquiry. Reading these lines made me smile, as I taught this student last year in Grade 1, and math was always her least favourite subject. Look at how things have changed!
As teachers, it’s easy to be focused on results. I want to see students learning. I want to know that they have a better understanding of concepts. In math, I want to see evidence of strong computations and explanations. With this focus on results though, it’s easy to forget that attitude matters too.
This child’s attitude towards math has changed, and as a result, she’s willing to take more risks in her learning, share her successes as well as her failures, and enjoy the learning process throughout. There’s a lot to say for this, and seeing this student’s note, made me realize the importance of finding out what students think and why they think it.
What role do you think attitude plays on learning? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Attitude is everything and is easily picked up on by those around us. If we want kids to love what they are learning then our attitude needs to reflect that. We can make or break a class by attitude alone.
Another great post!
Thanks JoAnn! I agree with you, and I think that this student’s Photocard reminded me of this too.
Our math consultant team always began sessions with a focus on attitude. Our role as educators is to create young mathematicians who feel comfortable and hopefully empowered during math tasks. One lesson to start a school year is If math was a food it would be…and why… This helps the teacher understand perceptions students have about math. This can be a starting point for the teacher to shift perceptions. However, it goes back to the teacher’s perception of math too. How a teacher feels about teacher math or how they present math influences some student’s perceptions.
This year my students love math too. They didn’t in the fall and it’s been tough sledding but I can now hear cheers when it’s math time. Now my next thought is how do I make literacy and math as part of everything we do instead of isolated subjects. Hmm…
Thanks for the comment, Angie! I really like your “food” activity. This is definitely one I’m going to need to try!
Your last statement got me thinking too. While I do try to integrate, I know that literacy and math are almost isolated, and it would be great for this to not be the case! It’s funny though: the other day during a read aloud, a student made a connection to 3-D solids, and another student chimed in with, “math really is everywhere.” Wow! I love when students can make these connections even when we don’t.