My Favorite

So I’m reading the Week 2 challenge, and it reads, “Our week two blogging challenge is to simply blog about one of your favorite things.” I’m thinking, this is super easy; I will just write about my wife. She is my favorite (to the point that my kiddos get sick of me saying it).

But then it clarifies a bit more, “Called a ‘My Favorite,’ it can be something that makes teaching a specific math topic work really well.  It does not have to be a lesson, but can be anything in teaching that you love!” So I guess my wife doesn’t apply any more…

But… I do have lots of things in teaching that I love. Right now, I think my favorite is a MOOC published by Stanford University and created by Dr. Jo Boaler. It is called How to Learn Math.

I don’t remember how I first learned about this course, but when I learned about the basic premise, I immediately signed up for the How to Learn Math: For Teachers and Parents. The course was not free ($125 when I took it), but well worth the investment (and they offer a discounted rate for group sign-up). I didn’t get any Professional Development credits in my state for taking it either (although I heard some states do allow using it for credit), but given the opportunity, I would take it again. There are 8 lessons, each taking about 1-2 hours if you do the full lesson.

Shortly after I finished the course, I learned that they developed a second (shorter) version of the course called How to Learn Math: For Students. This version is free, only has 6 lessons, and each is 10-20 minutes long. The first three lessons talk about math and learning in general; the second three lessons talk about strategies for success.

As I teach in an online school, my students are already used to asynchronous learning, so this course isn’t too far from their comfort zone. I actually haven’t taken the student version, but if it has the same quality and information as the Teacher/Parent version, it has to be good.

When learning math, I think a big struggle we need to overcome for many students is negative self-talk. This course can help remove (or reduce) that negative self-talk. In some cases, I have just encouraged the student to take it on their own and at their own pace. With other students, I have encouraged them to talk with people at home about the course and what they have learned. Since the negative self-talk can sometimes be developed by parents unintentionally (“I was never good at math either.”), having them talk with parents can sometimes reverse this mentality at home.

I end with a quote from a parent:

I wanted to give you a quick update on [student] & a laugh…We went through Dr. Boaler’s course yesterday & did 3 lessons. [Student] was interested in the fact that other people said it’s ok to make mistakes, and when you try hard & even struggle your brain grows. Later that evening she played tennis & had the best night ever! On the way home she told me that when tennis was getting hard she just told herself that she could do & she was going to work hard. At that point I knew she had listened & thought about the video & its message.


4 thoughts on “My Favorite

  1. This is a great opportunity for students who struggle with math and have a negative self concept. I like the idea of sharing with parents as well. Thanks for sharing!


  2. In this post, I mentioned Jo Boaler’s course How To Learn Math:For Teachers and Parents. I recently learned that she is redoing some of the videos and should be posting them to the website later this summer (I think June). If you have already purchased the course, then you still have access to it at anytime and can view these updates for free.

    Since we tend to grasp different aspects each time we do something (even if it is the same something), I think I am going to go through it again before the summer, and then once again when the new material is uploaded just to refresh my memory on this great content.

    Has anyone else gone through the course (student or parent/teacher)? What did you think? Have you noticed a change in yourself or your actions afterwards?


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