Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Routine: Compiling Mathematical Habits of Mind

Thanks to Avery, the phrase 'mathematical habits of mind' has been in my brain more lately. Now, every time I point out a mathematical habit of mind (MHOM) in class, I want students to add it to their growing list of MHOM. I ask them to turn to the last page of their notebooks and add it.

I've found myself doing this in each of my classes, and I think it's a great change to be making.

In my office, when I tell a student how to check their work, I have them write down: "Check the steps" on the last page of their notebook. And when I ask them to re-read the question when they're done, to see if they've answered it, I ask them to write: "Look back to see if I've answered the question I was trying to answer."

I've mentioned precision and organizing information. I think I've also mentioned trying a simpler problem first.

I've often mentioned these things in the past. (In fact, here's a blog post where I summarized some of these ideas.) What I'm doing differently is asking the students to compile a list of these ideas, to help them become more self-aware as they work on math.

Maybe a month or so into the semester, we can take some time out to discuss their lists and make a class list, with examples. I like where this is going.

3 comments:

  1. I think that I read the same post, and have been thinking about "Habits of the Mind" too (is that recursive?)

    I don't think I'm ready for specific examples and the folders yet, but I love your idea of a growing list.

    I was already thinking about havig the kids keeping some notes in a "key ideas" notebook - things like our first real math lesson tomorrow when I will have them do a note on "the perfect graph" and lable a graph like a scientific diagram with all the "must see"s.

    I'm learning that I need ot figure out what small piece of what I would call "master teaching" ideas are achievable right away, then incorporating smaller goals/routines/etc rather than starting too big and setting up a routine that I'm not ready to follow through with yet.

    Thanks for the great post and reminder!

    Sarah

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  2. Yeah, I'm with you. Finding little bits that you can incorporate painlessly is important. This just fell into place this semester without me planning it at all.

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  3. This is brilliant, and what I just realized I need to be consciously working on with my kids.

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