Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hand Holding vs Solid Examples

I feel like a flippy-floppy fish on this whole topic, but I guess I could "spin it" as I'm readjusting my attitude as I gather more data. For the last few days, I've been studying statistics for the N.B. exams I had to take today. I went right to the source and bought a prep book for AP Statistics. Since it's a prep book, they don't TEACH every topic in depth, they just review it and do SOME examples and then give practice tests. ... Maybe not the best way for me to review something I haven't seen in ... oh my ... 16+ years.

I found that as I was learning one of the topics, they kept describing each piece/terminology of it in many ways and then building on and then redescribing each piece/terminology, and I found myself saying: JUST SHOW ME A SOLID EXAMPLE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. And then I had to laugh and say, "oh what, you want them to HAND HOLD YOU through the stuff? can't you piece it together yourself for the joy of learning?"

"Gripe 2": there were SO many new vocabulary words that I'd understand in the context while I was learning it, and then when the book refered back to such a word, oh say 50 pages later, I was thinking, "yesssssss, that SOUNDS familiar, but holy cow, don't ask me to use it in a sentence other than: _____ is a word related to statistics.

All this to keep circling back to the topic of how my (any) students learn and retain math. I guess mostly I write this, so I can get over my uppity self and keep in mind that learning anything new and hard for students is, well, hard, and students should be provided with scaffolding and good-humored reminders that they're doing something hard and should pat themselves on the back between note-taking and problem doing and such. AND teachers should keep this in mind and keep spiraling back to old topics and bla bla bla.


  1. What a great reminder that learning how we learn is the best way to learn how to teach!

  2. Hi Ms. Cookie!

    I wanted to post a general "thank you" for your blog. I picked your blog as one of only 4 to put on the blogroll of my blog about being a new math teacher:

    I've read your entire blog from January 2005 on, and I really appreciate the positive attitude you have towards your kids and your job. It's good motivation to know that it's possible to teach for many years and still enjoy it. Thanks for blogging!

  3. Anonymous6:20 AM

    Ms. Libb,

    Thank you for your kind comments. I hope you have as much fun teaching (of course, mixed in with all the other stuff) as I have had.

    Ms. Cookie