Week 9 – The Abridged Version

A whole week gone by already!

I can’t believe how fast time is flying. One thing about just starting teaching is I constantly feel one step behind. It’s hard to take personal time off let alone time to publicly reflect in a blog space.

Well, I did take the time to reflect. And when I did, the flood gates opened a little too wide and I wrote a bit too much. I’ve had to cut this down quite a lot and focus on what I want to get out of writing this post.

I’ve been teaching systems of equations and matrices to my Grade 11 class and I’ve been struggling lately to find real-world examples how I could apply any motivational hooks and authentic learning opportunities in my lessons. I really want to break the mold they have that math is a bunch of discrete processes you learn to regurgitate on your test and then promptly forget next summer vacation.

In a perfect world, I’d be able to go in to class every day and throw them up something, whether it’s a problem, whether it’s a visual cue or a hook, something that is engaging, perhaps challenging, and related to what we’re studying. The reality is that after searching the internet, reading through math books, and picking people’s brains, I’ve only managed to come up with one activity for solving systems of equations over a two week period and I’m not sure how successful that was. For matrices, I’m going to try and get the class down to a computer lab next week and have the students apply their knowledge of multiplying matrices to solve a problem using spreadsheet software.  I haven’t designed a problem yet.

I’d like more of this stuff. Even if it’s just a picture to throw up at the beginning of the class. Any ideas anyone has and would like to share are appreciated.

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About James C.

A pre-service teacher about to start his first teaching practicum.
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