May 13, 2017 at 10:10 pm #4540
Dear Tracy Zager,
My name is Rosie Romine and I use to stay super far away from anything that had to do with mathematics before becoming a teacher. I am a student in the Stanislaus Credential Program, and I currently am teaching first grade. Becoming a teacher has been so much fun and a total learning experience! I have had a pretty rough past with mathematics; many memories that have diminished my confidence to even try to solve math problems. Fortunately, now that I’m teaching, my goal is to make math time a safe place where my students can make mistakes, and ask questions confidently. I love that I have the opportunity to introduce new math concepts to my first graders for the first time in their lives.
The impact that reading your book this semester has made on my teaching has been huge. Every single chapter has given me tools, interesting scenarios, and great advice as to how I should teach mathematics in my very own classroom. My goal is to give my students the opportunity to learn through collaboration, problem solving, and using manipulatives. I want to help my students find different ways to solve math problems because there really is more than one way to find the answer. In your book, I feel I have been given the tools to do this in my classroom correctly, and realistically. Currently, teaching math in my classroom is now an exciting part of my day and I love it.
I absolutely loved every chapter of your book. I found myself highlighting over, and over again. If I had to choose one chapter, it would be chapter 4 as my favorite one. Chapter 4, “Mathematicians Make Mistakes”, changed my teaching in so many ways. For example, I was able to use the ideas I grasped to teach my students how to make a mistake. I loved the idea that “how we respond to mistakes is often what separates a negative math classroom from a positive one.” (Becoming, 56) My students struggled daily with making mistakes. They didn’t view mistakes as a good thing. I loved that you made it obvious that educators need to teach students how to learn from mistakes. Additionally, I loved the idea that student’s mistakes can be the most valuable planning guides around.
I used chapter 4 to shape the culture of my classroom. I wanted math to be a safe place to make mistakes and I ended up creating a culture where mistakes are okay in any subject. I found my students even giving me positive comments when I proudly made a mistake. For example, one of my students reminding me the other day during math that, “mistakes make your brain grow!” Chapter 4 helped me create mathematicians that were okay with making mistakes due to the fact that we definitely learned from the mistakes we make. My students now keep going when they make a mistake and know that they can gain knowledge by figuring out their mistakes.
Thank you for taking the time to write this book. It has been such an incredible gift to be able to read! I feel like reading this book has helped me become the math teacher that I really wish I had when I was growing up.
Rosie Romine 🙂
May 13, 2017 at 10:57 pm #4541
This letter is so moving to me! I’m so glad you’ve found this book useful on your journey. It sounds like you have successfully broken the cycle–you had a “rough past” with mathematics, but you are already creating an inviting, exciting, positive math climate for your students. That’s amazing!
Thank you so much for telling me, and reach out anytime. I’m here. Best of luck in your teaching. This is an amazing profession!