Friday, April 21, 2017

Letter to Mathematics Teachers of Adolescents
Why am I still here?  Because there is not a person to take my place.  You want to make a difference then believe that intelligence is the ability to learn.  Therefore we have, possess, and must nurture that ability.  Knowledge is available for anyone with the willingness to pursue it regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or country of origin.  If you believe this is true then you should answer the call to teach our urban youth.  The ones who have forgot the work achieved through Brown vs. Board of Education. The ones who have believed the lies taught and lack the guidance to know the difference.  Are we not obligated to teach our youth?  Is the reason they are lost because we have turned our backs on them in pursuit of our own endeavors.  And yet they remain in poverty perishing for their lack of knowledge and our unwillingness to share.  So I guess I am here still because I am needed and though I have tried to move on I am still answering the call to help.  Will you join me?

I believe…. When teaching one must bring the students from where they are to where they need to be. As a teacher I am flexible, inventive, and tenacious.  Flexibility enables a teacher to formatively assess students during the lesson considering the context of the classroom environment.  As a inventive mathematics teacher, my job involves situating learning for my students, so that they confidently acknowledge themselves as knowers and doers of mathematics.   Adapting to meet the needs of my students creates a student centered environment where students learn from their mistakes and develop a deeper conceptual understanding of math topics.
I believe …..As educators, we brainstorm ways to help our students become engaged critical mathematics thinkers while they transition towards adulthood. I always strive to help my students succeed beyond the school walls.  I encourage them to discover pragmatic ways of using mathematics in the real world.
 I believe…in working together in promoting mathematics equity for all students, which requires   programs that encourage disadvantaged students to gain confidence in learning mathematics. My ultimate goal is for more students to become empowered through applications of mathematics disciplines in their lives. When I give back to my community mentoring and tutoring students in mathematics I fulfill my purpose.

 I believe ... in staying connected to the classroom, my community, while working directly with students, teachers, administrators, and parents. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

Monday, January 25, 2016

Questioning about Quadrilaterals

After the winter storm break I began my geometry lesson posing the following questions:
"What are similarities and/or differences between a trapezoid and a parallelogram?"  "What are similarities and/or difference between a kite and a parallelogram?"  To answer the first question I drew a Venn diagram on the board and asked students to share responses.  After waiting for a couple of minutes with no responses I then drew a picture of each inside the diagram without markings.  One student responded, "The sides are equal".  I then asked, "Which sides"?  He responded , "The ones across from each other".  I paraphrased using the correct terms, "So, you mean opposite sides are congruent in a parallelogram".  I added the markings to the picture and wrote the stated property in the parallelogram circle of the Venn diagram. Another student responded, "they both have four sides".  I added this property to the overlapping circle.  I then posed the question, "Does a kite have congruent sides?"  The class responded, "Yes" !  I then asked,  "What is the relationship between these congruent sides?".  A different student responded, "They are next to each other".  I responded, "Yes, they are adjacent to one another".  I then added the markings that showed congruence.  After a pause with no student responses I then asked, "Does a kite have parallel sides?" Several students responded, "No". We continued with this sequence of questioning and answering until as a class we had a least three properties within each portion of the Venn Diagram.  Every time we named a property I added the correct markings to the figure where appropriate. After working individually on several problems from the text I brought the class back together to address the second question.  This time instead of a Venn Diagram I used a three column chart to note properties of kite and parallelogram.

I noticed in both discussions students knew the properties but needed help using the correct vocabulary terms to express what they knew. Students would get confused about the symbol for parallel and congruence. Also, visually students may see a figure but when the orientation of the figure changes, such as with a rotated trapezoid, they appeared confused.  Another misconception for students was being able to properly distinguish between a kite, parallelogram, and a rhombus.  I plan to create a diagram comparing all three quadrilaterals towards the end of this week.  Class discussions encourage participation of all learners and each person has an opportunity to share what they know about the topic; these discourse patterns solidify proper use of vocabulary as well as gives me the opportunity to address misconceptions with immediate feedback.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

An essay from a math practitioner titled, "When Will I Ever Use This?  An Essay for Students Who Have Ever Asked This Question in Math Class", considers the relevance of math being taught in classrooms today.  As a math teacher of high school students I hear this questions often, so, I thought I would blog briefly about my response to this question after reading the essay.

Build your math knowledge capital-you never know when you will need it!  
You never know what you will need to know in the future.  Its important to acquire lots of knowledge of many math topics in preparing for a math related future job or profession. Moreover, the jobs of the future may not exist now such in the case of the internet when I entered college 20 years ago. Thank goodness I took a basic computer applications course in high school or I would have been lost my freshman year of college.

How and when you will use math depends on your experiences.
How and when we use math in the real world has evolved and will continue.  Sometimes this usage is indirect.  The more experiences you have acquired the easier it will be to recognize.  Just because you cannot think of a use now does not mean something bigger is on the horizon.

 As math educators we should remain knowledgeable of ways math is used in various professions but understand that sometimes these applications are challenging to convey to students.  We don't have all of the answers however, we can point students in the right direction by knowing their interests and relating learning targets towards them when feasible.