What's Important to Me?

by:
Heather Bridges

The following is a list of articles or web addresses that I find while searching for information to help prepare myself to begin teaching mathematics very soon and some topics that are interesting in my opinion. The topics very from Block Scheduling to Motivational techniques for students. I hope others can benefit from this information as much as I have.

1. Bagley, Theresa and Catarina Gallenberger. "Assessing Student's Dispositions: Using Journals to Improce Student's Performance," Mathematics Teacher 85, no.8 (1992) : 660-663.

This is a wonderful essay discussing using journals in a math classroom. It gives several helpful suggestions on ways for a teacher to "warm-up" the kids to accept journal writings. This is very important to me because I am going to teach at a school with a tradition instructional method. I am concerned about how the students will react to non-traditional methods of teaching. The article also gives eighteen specific writing assignments for use in a mathematics journal in an Algebra I classroom.

2. "Building Block or Stumbling Block? Reader Responses" http://www.nctm.org/index- parts/index-not.htm

This site includes the reader responses to block scheduling by parents and teachers as well. There are opinions from others about the positives and negatives of block scheduling. It also discusses certain strategies to make it work in a mathematics classroom and what to expect as far as how much new learning that the students can handle regarding different levels or courses. Certain factors that greatly influence the success of block scheduling like absenses are also addressed.

3. Clark, Claudia R. "Using Technology in Graphing," Mathematics Teacher 85, no.2 (1992):118-121.

I went searching for suggestion for using technology in my Algebra & Pre-Algebra classes next year and this is what I found. It is a great article which transforms the activity of creating pictures by connecting a series of ordered pairs which is enjoyed by most algebra students into an even more interesting lesson. The lesson uses a spreadsheet to draw the pictures step by step at first to see how software works. Later, use the computer to analyze transformations, reflections, and inverse relations.

4. Coffield, Pamela W. "Taking Fun in Earnest," Mathematics Teacher 85, no.2 (1992) : 100- 102.

Coffeild addresses the use of writing and drawing activities in mathematics classes as a great tool of instruction. Included are suggestions to decrease resistance and increase motivation toward writing activities in math. Terrific examples illustrate ways poetry, daffynitions, cartoons, and puzzles can help students to like mathematics and remember important facts.

5. Fedlt, Constance Curley. "Becoming a Teacher of Mathematics: A Constructive, Interactive Process," Mathematics Teacher 86, no.5 (1993): 400-403.

Fedlt focuses on the importance of reflection in a teacher's professional development. She discusses the benefits of teachers interacting and observing each other to provide suggestions for improvement. An instructional model for planning and instruction is provided as an organizational and reflective tool.

6. Higgins, Jon L. "Calculators and Common Sense," Arthmetic Teacher 37, no. 7 (1990): 4-5.

Higgins takes the two-sided approach to using calculators in mathematics classrooms. He discusses how calculators can be a substitute for "common sense" as opposed to a tool for exploration. He provides examples of using a calculator to illustrate both including a introductory activity addressing the concept of pi.

7. Matras, Mary Ann. "Technology in the Classroom: Beginnings and Endings," Mathematics Teacher 84, February (1991): 86-87.

The author discusses when to use technology and when to stop using it. She includes a good analogy of when to use it that basically is whenever it is the most efficient method like using a microwave instead of a conventional oven. When to stop, when we have found these efficient ways using technology to the fullest.

8. Middleton, J. "A Study of Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom: A Personal Constructs Approach," Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, v.26, no.3, pp. 254-279, May 1995.

The author discusses how teachers have the ability to create an interest and motivation in their students through their lessons. He explains that a teacher's own approach to math projects itself on the students and influences their behaviors. Suggestions for improving motivation through comparing what students want to accomplish in class and what teachers goals are given.

9. Parker, Janet and Connie Carroll Windmer, eds. "Teaching Mathematics With Technology : How Big is a Million?," Arthmetic Teacher 39, no.1 (1991): 38-41.

The authors discuss the need for students to develop a concept of large numbers. In my student teaching experience, I realized more than half of my pre-algebra class had no idea about how large a million or a billion really was. The article includes eight strategies for teaching the large-number sense. After all, learning about large numbers provides a better understanding for the smaller numbers as well.

10. Vacc, Nancy Nesbitt, "Questioning in the Mathematics Classroom," Arthmetic Teacher 41, no. 2 (1993): 88- 91.

This article addresses the importance of questioning in a math class. I am concerned about leading discourse effectively. The essay is more geared toward elementary education but, I believe it applies to secondary education as well. It includes a great deal of examples of what types of questions could be asked about a set of figures. This could easily be modified for a Pre-Algebra class when addressing geometry. Most of all it helps point out different types of questions to be asked regardless of what the lesson topic is.

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