Cody Perry: Best Practices

So one of the big things that you know, I stress with my students is. I kind of start with with discussions on how what their experience in math was like, what what happened when this happened or you know, what happened when you know you’ve got an answer wrong in class or on an on an assignment or whatever. And of course, it always comes back that they had to get up on the board and do a problem and they felt ostracized. And so, you know, we talk about, don’t, you know, don’t force the child to ever go up there and do the math. They might even be good at it. But the minute they get up in front of people and math is not about. You know how quickly you can get a right answer or how you know, it’s. We don’t expect that from science. You know, when we run an experiment, we know some experiments fail, some don’t. And with math, you need, you need patience, you need time, you need perseverance. And so that’s the big thing is recognizing what mistakes are. Mistakes aren’t, you know, errors as you’re working on the problem aren’t mistakes. They’re learning opportunities. And so one of the activities I do is I, you know, I asked them when you got a paper back in math that had red marks on it. How did it make you feel, first of all? Of course, it doesn’t make anybody feel good, said. And then I was asked, What did it tell you? How did it help you? Well, it didn’t, it just told me I was wrong. So that’s not your job as a teacher. Your job as a teacher is not to tell your students that they’re wrong. It’s if they’re wrong. Find out why they are wrong and then teach them a better way to do it and guide them to the right answer. And so, for example, one you know, the multiplication table. People love the multiplication table. Actually, they hate it. Teachers end up loving it. And when I taught, I threw it out basically when I was teaching elementary and it started because I when I started teaching, I started out middle school math and science, and we were working on some fractions stuff and I realized my eighth graders did not have their multiplication facts mastered. I mean, they’re in eighth grade. They should be able to immediately know what nine times seven is. And they couldn’t. And so I just gave them a quick assessment. You know, where they do the hundred and 44 problems. And they did not have it. So I went back and did some things where it was still repetition. It was still going over it. But rather than using the Times table multiplication table, because then all they’re doing is are memorizing patterns. And so you’ll have a student that does really, really well, but they don’t really know what their multiplication facts are. They just know how to read the pattern and it takes them, you know, a while. And so I talk a lot about throw out the tricks and I’ll ask them, you know, what tricks do you know? And they are one of them’s always like the nines trick with multiplication. I said, OK, did that help you? Well, yeah, I know my lines and I said, You still have to use your fingers, though. Yeah, I’ll be in the store or something, and I’m like, you don’t want your students to have to do that. That becomes a crutch, not a help. And so the things that I really stress are using manipulatives to let children. See the relationships to let them understand how the math works, so, for example, on the well, that might be on my other paper. Oh, no, here does. So this comes from their exam. The teacher could best help the students understand the triangle was equivalent to half a square by showing them how to. And for me, that is you are giving students in kindergarten first grade. Polygons and shapes, you know, plastic, wood, whatever, and they’re working with them, because if they’re playing and they’re, you know, moving these shapes around, eventually they’re going to put two triangles together and they’re going to say, Hey, if I put two triangles together, I get a rectangle. So now when I get them in fourth or fifth grade and I say, you know, area of rectangle base times height. What do you think the area for a triangle would be? And one of them is going to say, well, it must be a half because of triangles, half of rectangle. And so they’re able to then construct that knowledge themselves. And because they know the relationship, it’s not just an arbitrary rule. And and that’s not one of the four options that they have in here as the best practice. And so even on their test, they have to be not only aware of that best practice they have used in the classroom, but also what. You might be on the test that would be the best answer for it. So I really focus a lot on that. So this last semester it was, you know, the last two years have been. Very trying for a lot of students, especially, I mean, it hasn’t necessarily been easy on us either, but. We got towards the end of the semester, and a lot of them were just completely swamped and. I didn’t want to necessarily add any more stress or any more work, and I want them to really have an opportunity to, um, because they want out. A lot of them weren’t able to go out to the schools. So we had a lot of our students, our parents or they have younger siblings. So I had one night where we just opened up the class and they could bring all their kids, bring their younger siblings, nieces, nephews. And we had a math night and I took all my, you know, my manipulatives and play money, and I had all the activities and my students worked with all the elementary age children to actually put into practice some of those things that we worked on. So like with the fractions and the dino is, it gives me a hard time because I talk about fractions all the time. But we know that if you’re good at fractions, you’re more likely to pass Algebra one in high school. Or middle school and. People just don’t know fractions, they just don’t they don’t understand them, it’s because they were only ever taught the rules and the steps, but they don’t even know what a fraction really is. They don’t know that there’s more than one kind of reaction. They always think of pizza or brownies. And that’s, you know, that’s just the area model. And there are so many other models that we need to go over. And so the number line is one of the best ones that. And so I have a magnetic number line and I have another one that uses velcro and has fractured cards and then they can actually put the fractions up there. And so I’ve had a lot of comments on email and even in the final exam that that was very helpful for them, that they never in all that time of learning. This was the first time anybody ever explained to them what a fraction actually was.

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