Thursday, December 8, 2016

Bad at Math


I was in Ms. J's math class again. This time they had a test.

8th graders. This is the first class in the high school math sequence. It's the class that most 9th graders take.

I did my usual test day intro, and during those remarks I mentioned that the test was open note. This turned out to be a surprise.

Oops? Was there a typo in the lesson plans? The other classes that day knew their test was open note. It was possible that the teacher could have made an error while copying and pasting for this group's test.

But I was going to go with what was written. I was sticking to the open note instruction.

(Then they asked if they could talk. Deep sigh. I gave my standard response: "The test is open note, not open neighbor.")

Tests passed out, they got to work. As I meandered about, one student confessed to me that he understood why the test was open note. "We're bad at math."

Um, no. If they were "bad at math", they wouldn't be in a math class one year ahead of their grade level. "Bad at math" kiddos take math 8 and have an extra period of math called "support" where they spend more time practicing math skills.

The boy amended his statement. "We're bad at this unit."

OK. I can understand that. (The unit covered functions: linear and exponential.)

18 comments:

  1. "The test is open note, not open neighbor." Loved this response!

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    1. I wish I could take credit for it. I stole it from someone else.

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  2. I have a comment about math teaching in public schools these days. Neither of my children have used text books to learn math, and both find the subject to be very challenging to learn. My daughter gets all A's, but she says it's impossible to see what the teachers are doing on the board, because they block the view with their bodies when they write, and they go so fast. I have actually had to purchase text books from Amazon for my son to use, to that I could teach him the math. Why don't they use text books anymore? I think it's a real problem.

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    1. Wow, they still write on the board? These schools are so tech they have projectors, so there are no bodies to block things.

      I don't know why your district doesn't use textbooks. This one has a book that was created by the teachers. I can't say anything about any other school as every district is different.

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    2. It must just be the Georgia schools, then. We're supposed to be in the best school district of the state. Let me tell you, I'm not impressed! Ohio schools were so much better!

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    3. I once heard school districts described as fiefdoms. Each has it's own quirks. I wonder why your district doesn't use textbooks. Is there anyone you could ask? (I bet you, as a parent, could inquire with the superintendent if not the principal as to why that is.)

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  3. Ugh, functions. Just hearing that word makes me shudder. I would have killed for an open book test.

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  4. I loved when classes had open note tests :) Though I don't think I would have had the guts to ask to chat haha

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  5. I'm so glad I'm out of high school. Linear and exponential; if I ever knew them, I sure don't now.

    betty

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  6. I couldn't imagine trying to teach higher level math. It can be so frustrating and difficult for many students, especially functions. I was good at math, but I never fully understood those.

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    1. This wasn't "higher level" math. This was just algebra (sort of).

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  7. I'm bad at math. I was in what I called 'the dumb people's math' class in college.

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    1. Ah, dumbbell math. They've done away with it in high school. It's called "support" now.

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  8. When I took Calculus, all of our tests were open book/open note. And thank goodness for that. I somehow managed to get an 'A' (the teacher offered extra credit and I snatched all of them up...and thank goodness for THAT, as well).
    How much Calc do I recall over forty years later?
    Did I mention I clean toilets five nights a week?

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  9. I would have loved there to be no math past addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. I have not done a thing in my almost 64 years with anything more than the basics. Just saying...I would have loved an open neighbor test; why not??? Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. There is a such thing as a group test. While I have never witnessed one, niece (aka ArcherGirl) has had a couple in her math classes.

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  10. Ahh I'm so glad I don't have to take math tests anymore. lol

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