Saturday, August 18, 2007

Why should I learn math? (Take 2)

I'm back, and beginning to plan for the new year. There are going to be lots of changes this year as we revise our program. I will be working primarily on Numeracy again, which will be totally overhauled as I plumb the depths of differentiated instruction. I'll also continue to work on Algebra 2; however, we have decided to stop having a separate honors class. I will be collaborating with another teacher to create a rigorous class that our target student can pass (if they put in the work), and that also provides academic opportunities for those who want to dig deeper and prepare for pre-calculus. I'll write about both of these challenges more in the upcoming days. For now, I am starting to think about setting up my Numeracy classroom and what sorts of things I want to get up on the walls. Most of the stuff you can buy is tacky and uninspiring to students. I had the idea to create a giant butcher-paper poster with the title "Because" (in huge letters) "you can..." (in smaller letters), and then a series of hand-lettered-by-sharpie, colored-in answers to the implied question. Here is the list I've come up with so far. Any suggestions for additions or changes?

1. Design video games
2. Defy negative stereotypes
3. Become a doctor or nurse
4. Avoid getting cheated
5. Know when politicians are lying
6. Make stronger arguments
7. Graduate from high school
8. Manage your money better
9. Become a forensic scientist
10. Design and program computers
11. Help your family and community
12. Get rich in the stock market
13. Solve challenging problems
14. Show the world how smart you are
15. Get a college degree
16. Become a better thinker
17. Increase your opportunities
18. Become a teacher
19. Understand statistics
20. Become a lawyer
21. Study criminal justice
22. Design bridges, cars, and buildings
23. Run your own business
24. Discover a cure for cancer
25. Help your children with their homework
26. Fly airplanes
27. Run for Congress
28. Start a new school
29. Study psychology
30. Make your family proud
31. Change the world
32. Believe in yourself


Anonymous said...

Hooray, you're back and writing. Great list - and just in time, too.

Jackie Ballarini said...

I second h's comment - joy to find you in my RSS feed again! I'm excited to hear more about your numeracy class.

As for the list - great idea. How about having students add to it?

- save money in college by not having to take non-credit courses.
- do well on college entrance tests & possibly get scholarships
- because you can (maybe something about the situation in turkey )

Dan Wekselgreene said...

Thanks to both of you. It's good to be back - but it was also good to really max out the summer break this year!

I did think about having students add to it, but I want to have it up and ready for them. Maybe I could start a second list later in the year, which they could complete - each student could answer the question for themselves after having had a few months of culture building. Ask them in the first few days, and I'd likely get 80 "cause I have to"s.

H. said...

I'm going to add "because humans have done it for thousands of years." Not that the average 15-year old will get that much more excited about it for that, but... I will.

Dan Wekselgreene said...

H - I like it. Ancestral peer pressure!