Friday, August 23, 2013

Dear Math..... An insightful look into their true feelings on the subject

First week, DONE!!! Woo hoo!!! Congratulations to all of you out there who have survived your first week!

On the very first day of school, I issued my very first assignment to ALL of my math classes. Inspired by a pin I saw on pinterest for an English teacher who wanted to have her kids write a letter to English (based upon the Michael Jordan letter), I decided to adapt this to my math classroom. While introducing the assignment to the kids, I took the time to actually read the Michael Jordan letter (definitely found a few errors in there Michael). I have a flair for being dramatic so I took this seriously and actually had passion behind what I was reading and the kids were silent (chuckling at a certain Space Jam reference). I finally started describing what they would be doing after they initially thought "screw this, I'm not lying to you and telling you how much I loooove math." I told the kids to be honest with me and talk to me about your true feelings. The responses I've gotten back have been fabulous. Kids are actually excited to write this letter. They're using this as a way to vent about all of their previous problems and little do they know, they're reflecting about it as well. Tricky Miss Rudolph.

I've included a few excerpts from there letters below, some funny, some sweet, some insightful. Truly, it's the first time where I've gotten some genuine opinions about how my kids feel about the subject, not me, not my class, but my true passion.

"Thank you for giving me a calculator to figure out all of your problems. It’s been a wild ride, Bud...... I hate you, but I love you Math."

"I thought that you seemed really hard to get along with then but now I find you hard to handle. You are very good at confusing me and making me make simple careless mistakes that in the end really affect me. I wish that you could be a better friend."

"It’s been 10 years since my kindergarten teacher showed me the Navier–Stokes equations simple addition. ......... Thank you, Ms. Rudolph for tolerating all my questions that completely abandoned the range of reasonably pertinent questions."

"I didn’t pass a single test in Algebra II. A lot of the time I felt like I was a failure and that I wouldn’t succeed. However you taught me that it wasn’t that I was a failure, it was just that I needed some extra help and a little more practice. You taught me that passing the tests the first time around only meant that you don’t have to do remediation. It didn’t mean that you were smarter than the people who didn’t, or that you were better than them. It simply meant no remediation."
" I know you know what happened in algebra two but it definitely wasn’t your fault, it was mine. I didn’t respect you like I should have, I didn’t take the time to sit down and try to figure you out. I just assumed that you were just too hard and not worth it. I was so wrong. Once I got it, I got it! Everything made sense and I couldn’t believe that it took me so long to get to that point."   

Give this intro activity a shot, no pun intended, because your kids might surprise you and be extremely interested, for the first time, in a math assignment.

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