I got the reading log done and my thoughts on the book done over the long weekend. Unfortunately, i left my book at home over the break. Luckily i got the log done!

What’s Math Got to Do with It?

I am not exactly sure how to do an annotated bibliography so I plan to use this as a way to basically record my thoughts throughout the book. Also, I was confused on the assignment and I didn’t understand that we were supposed to be recording our thoughts as we were reading the book so I was under the impression that we were to read the book and do the recordings after.

If I had to give my opinion on this book I would say that I liked it very much. I found myself agreeing with the majority of what the author had to say and I think that in theory it would all work well. Here are the MAJOR concepts in the book and my understanding/opinions of them.

I think that the school system today focuses solely on what a student can memorize and retain about mathematics and nothing as far as what teachers can do to help students UNDERSTAND the math. The whole concept of understanding why something “equals” something else or why this equation “works” seem totally abstract to me and I am rounding in on my 15th year of math. As the author mentions, in the regular school system it is a very traditional setting. It is very forced and not open to change at all. This section on the book really reminded me and made me relate entirely back to my experience with my math education. I don’t mean to be horribly negative but the exact negative things that the author says in this reading, especially about students growing up hating math and resenting it and automatically assuming that they are bad at it, that’s all me! If you would’ve asked me this time as soon as last year if I was “good” at math or if I enjoyed math my answers to you would’ve been “heck no” and “was that a serious question.” Even the thought of math made me want to cry. I remember it being hard, I remember feeling like math was so hard that I physically didn’t have the smarts to be able to do it. I remember actually holding myself to a much lower standard than all of my other classes. I was the type of person who getting anything less than an A in my English, history, electives, and science classes was absolutely unacceptable but getting as low as a C- in math was ok in my book. I agree with the author in the reasoning being that the students don’t see the connection as far as how this “math” is much more than just math. They don’t see that a lot of the real life situations that they encounter every single day is the same math that they are being taught and trying to do a million practice problems about. I know I didn’t see it and maybe if I had understood that, I would’ve been better off.

Anyway back to actually understanding the math, if students were able to see the real life application, they would understand why this equals that and why the equation works. When I read the part in the book about getting the battle of getting students to be able to understand that there is so much more to math than what we cover in the typical math class, I immediately tied that into the box/area/volume lesson that we did in class with professor golden was acting like a big CEO of the company. In parts of the lesson it felt like real life, it felt like our “jobs” were on the line and they rested entirely on the math involved the perfect and most efficient design of that box.

I think that the goal of getting students to really understand math is attainable. However I have to be honest when I say that I don’t think it is attainable by everyone. I feel like text box math teaching could never ever work with real life application math. When I picture the two, I picture traditional math as the text book with a teacher lecturing and students listening and the understanding of the students varies. Some may understand it perfectly while others wouldn’t understand the material any better if they heard the lecture 10 times again. And of course there will undoubtedly be some in between. When I picture a real life application math class, I picture the professor lecturing to a minimum and the students subconsciously learning the material through arguing with one another (in a constructive manner) and debating while brainstorming about the problem and different solutions. In a real life application class I picture basically what the professor illustrates in the beginning of the book. I picture a class that struggles through all of the problems together and doesn’t always just come up with one method of doing things and maybe even always not even one definite answer. I question though the authors perspective on is all teachers can achieve this? I wonder even about myself. Taking this M221 class has helped me learn to learn more of this way but I get nervous wondering if all students would be successful in a real life application class. I know that sometimes the “debate” or “open endedness” of this class I feel does more harm than good sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I need structure, I need someone to tell me a way to solve it and let me practice until I get good. That could be because I have never experienced anything different until this class but I wonder if all math classes should truly be this way.

Another huge concept that the book was basically addressed to was

This was the part of the book for me that was a hard pill to swallow. The book was basically meant to help parents help their children in the subject of math. I know this is painfully honest but I have to say this. I know for a fact that my mom would not have liked this book. My mom is a single mom and got her GED to only to end up at a factory working incredibly long hours to try to provide the best life for me that she possibly could. It is not an understatement to say that by the time that I was in 6th grade, my mom couldn’t help me with me math homework anymore. I don’t think that the author is really addressing that not all parents have a masters or even bachelors. Not all parents have the capabilities to help their children with their math, traditional or real life application. Even if my mom were to help me with the “real life application” math the second it fact that what she was helping me with was math, she would shut down. She doesn’t feel as though she is smart enough to be able to help me with math. No way, this is just something that she knows, but it isn’t math.

I am not meaning to ramble, it’s just as I was reading this I felt like I could relate less and less based on the points the author was trying to make about the parents. I felt like a lot of the examples really would’ve been over my mom’s head.

I didn’t want to make empty assumptions about my moms understanding of math so I had the idea to talk with her about the reading. I have a very close and comfortable relationship with my mom so I felt as though it was ok to share with her my concern about parents and this book and I knew that she would not take offense and be honest without getting hurt feelings.

I showed my mom the book and explained to her my concerns as far as her reading this by herself without taking a class or anything. I explained to her that I thought the author may have started to take for granted that the parent would be able to follow some of the examples and problems. It turns out that I was right. After examining the book, my mom did feel as though this would’ve been challenging for her. She said that it’s been so long since she’s been in any kind of math class or taken any kind of math that she felt like she would have to teach herself before the book taught her the new information. I do feel the need to state that by no means at all do I think that my wonderful mother is unintelligent or not capable of math. She is one of the smartest people that I know, I just do think that she would’ve had a hard time with this book and I think that is something that the author failed to address.

Those were the two biggest concepts that I took away from the book. Other than that I found myself agreeing with a lot of the information brought up in the text. A lot of it I have discussed in other education classes. I thought the gender and math concept was really interesting. I had always known that statistically boys were better at math than girls but I thought that it was interesting that she said that girls had more of an interest to actually embark on the adventure of understanding the math and learning why it works as opposed to just memorizing it.

I also thought that it was really interesting how tracking was looked at negatively in this text. I have discussed it in a few of my other classes and found that in my EDF 315 class we came up with the consensus that ability tracking isn’t all bad and at times can be very helpful. This text made it seem like a very bad thing and claimed that it could even damage or hurt the student’s ability to actually do the math and it could also hurt their self-esteem when it comes to the math. One question I guess I would have would be whether or not this is the case in subjects other than math is so black and white and you can clearly tell that you are good or bad at it and other classes it can be harder and there may be a little more grey area?

Overall I do think that this is a good read. I think that my overall opinion is that I like this book better for someone like me who it a future teacher than a parent. I think it probably may just make more sense. I think that it offers lots of good information and also taught me a few new things as well.

What’s Math Got to Do with It?

I am not exactly sure how to do an annotated bibliography so I plan to use this as a way to basically record my thoughts throughout the book. Also, I was confused on the assignment and I didn’t understand that we were supposed to be recording our thoughts as we were reading the book so I was under the impression that we were to read the book and do the recordings after.

If I had to give my opinion on this book I would say that I liked it very much. I found myself agreeing with the majority of what the author had to say and I think that in theory it would all work well. Here are the MAJOR concepts in the book and my understanding/opinions of them.

*“Understanding” the “Math”*I think that the school system today focuses solely on what a student can memorize and retain about mathematics and nothing as far as what teachers can do to help students UNDERSTAND the math. The whole concept of understanding why something “equals” something else or why this equation “works” seem totally abstract to me and I am rounding in on my 15th year of math. As the author mentions, in the regular school system it is a very traditional setting. It is very forced and not open to change at all. This section on the book really reminded me and made me relate entirely back to my experience with my math education. I don’t mean to be horribly negative but the exact negative things that the author says in this reading, especially about students growing up hating math and resenting it and automatically assuming that they are bad at it, that’s all me! If you would’ve asked me this time as soon as last year if I was “good” at math or if I enjoyed math my answers to you would’ve been “heck no” and “was that a serious question.” Even the thought of math made me want to cry. I remember it being hard, I remember feeling like math was so hard that I physically didn’t have the smarts to be able to do it. I remember actually holding myself to a much lower standard than all of my other classes. I was the type of person who getting anything less than an A in my English, history, electives, and science classes was absolutely unacceptable but getting as low as a C- in math was ok in my book. I agree with the author in the reasoning being that the students don’t see the connection as far as how this “math” is much more than just math. They don’t see that a lot of the real life situations that they encounter every single day is the same math that they are being taught and trying to do a million practice problems about. I know I didn’t see it and maybe if I had understood that, I would’ve been better off.

Anyway back to actually understanding the math, if students were able to see the real life application, they would understand why this equals that and why the equation works. When I read the part in the book about getting the battle of getting students to be able to understand that there is so much more to math than what we cover in the typical math class, I immediately tied that into the box/area/volume lesson that we did in class with professor golden was acting like a big CEO of the company. In parts of the lesson it felt like real life, it felt like our “jobs” were on the line and they rested entirely on the math involved the perfect and most efficient design of that box.

I think that the goal of getting students to really understand math is attainable. However I have to be honest when I say that I don’t think it is attainable by everyone. I feel like text box math teaching could never ever work with real life application math. When I picture the two, I picture traditional math as the text book with a teacher lecturing and students listening and the understanding of the students varies. Some may understand it perfectly while others wouldn’t understand the material any better if they heard the lecture 10 times again. And of course there will undoubtedly be some in between. When I picture a real life application math class, I picture the professor lecturing to a minimum and the students subconsciously learning the material through arguing with one another (in a constructive manner) and debating while brainstorming about the problem and different solutions. In a real life application class I picture basically what the professor illustrates in the beginning of the book. I picture a class that struggles through all of the problems together and doesn’t always just come up with one method of doing things and maybe even always not even one definite answer. I question though the authors perspective on is all teachers can achieve this? I wonder even about myself. Taking this M221 class has helped me learn to learn more of this way but I get nervous wondering if all students would be successful in a real life application class. I know that sometimes the “debate” or “open endedness” of this class I feel does more harm than good sometimes. Sometimes I feel like I need structure, I need someone to tell me a way to solve it and let me practice until I get good. That could be because I have never experienced anything different until this class but I wonder if all math classes should truly be this way.

Another huge concept that the book was basically addressed to was

*PARENTS*This was the part of the book for me that was a hard pill to swallow. The book was basically meant to help parents help their children in the subject of math. I know this is painfully honest but I have to say this. I know for a fact that my mom would not have liked this book. My mom is a single mom and got her GED to only to end up at a factory working incredibly long hours to try to provide the best life for me that she possibly could. It is not an understatement to say that by the time that I was in 6th grade, my mom couldn’t help me with me math homework anymore. I don’t think that the author is really addressing that not all parents have a masters or even bachelors. Not all parents have the capabilities to help their children with their math, traditional or real life application. Even if my mom were to help me with the “real life application” math the second it fact that what she was helping me with was math, she would shut down. She doesn’t feel as though she is smart enough to be able to help me with math. No way, this is just something that she knows, but it isn’t math.

I am not meaning to ramble, it’s just as I was reading this I felt like I could relate less and less based on the points the author was trying to make about the parents. I felt like a lot of the examples really would’ve been over my mom’s head.

I didn’t want to make empty assumptions about my moms understanding of math so I had the idea to talk with her about the reading. I have a very close and comfortable relationship with my mom so I felt as though it was ok to share with her my concern about parents and this book and I knew that she would not take offense and be honest without getting hurt feelings.

I showed my mom the book and explained to her my concerns as far as her reading this by herself without taking a class or anything. I explained to her that I thought the author may have started to take for granted that the parent would be able to follow some of the examples and problems. It turns out that I was right. After examining the book, my mom did feel as though this would’ve been challenging for her. She said that it’s been so long since she’s been in any kind of math class or taken any kind of math that she felt like she would have to teach herself before the book taught her the new information. I do feel the need to state that by no means at all do I think that my wonderful mother is unintelligent or not capable of math. She is one of the smartest people that I know, I just do think that she would’ve had a hard time with this book and I think that is something that the author failed to address.

Those were the two biggest concepts that I took away from the book. Other than that I found myself agreeing with a lot of the information brought up in the text. A lot of it I have discussed in other education classes. I thought the gender and math concept was really interesting. I had always known that statistically boys were better at math than girls but I thought that it was interesting that she said that girls had more of an interest to actually embark on the adventure of understanding the math and learning why it works as opposed to just memorizing it.

I also thought that it was really interesting how tracking was looked at negatively in this text. I have discussed it in a few of my other classes and found that in my EDF 315 class we came up with the consensus that ability tracking isn’t all bad and at times can be very helpful. This text made it seem like a very bad thing and claimed that it could even damage or hurt the student’s ability to actually do the math and it could also hurt their self-esteem when it comes to the math. One question I guess I would have would be whether or not this is the case in subjects other than math is so black and white and you can clearly tell that you are good or bad at it and other classes it can be harder and there may be a little more grey area?

Overall I do think that this is a good read. I think that my overall opinion is that I like this book better for someone like me who it a future teacher than a parent. I think it probably may just make more sense. I think that it offers lots of good information and also taught me a few new things as well.