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…
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.