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Why I Always Hated the “B” Grade

§ March 15th, 2014 Comments Off§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , ,



This week an article in The Atlantic entitled “Letter Grades Deserve an F” by Jessica Lahey struck a cord and has inspired this post. Ms. Lahey writes, “points-based grading undermines learning and creativity, rewards cheating, damages students’ peer relationships and trust in their teachers, encourages students to avoid challenging work, and teaches students to value grades over knowledge.” As I read the article I wished I could recapture the hours of anguish I suffered in school for all the “B”s I received. You see, I hated “B”s, more than “C”s or “D”s.  Getting a “C” or “D” meant that I hadn’t understood the material, which was fair and acceptable, but a “B”? On an essay it meant the writing was good, but not really great, and on a test it was a reminder that I was okay but not perfect. A “B” was like a bullet fired at my self-esteem.

This problem persisted until the beginning of my junior year at UCLA when I realized that because I was striving for an “A”, maybe that’s why I § Read the rest of this entry…


Using Math Class to Teach Character Development

§ May 1st, 2012 Comments Off§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, motivation, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Thomas Edison - "too stupid to learn anything"

Math is hard. Of course it can be fun and gratifying, but at times it can also be discouraging. Can a teacher teach students how to properly respond to failure?

Finding the right answer is sometimes not as important as learning to approach a problem correctly, having the willingness to study a mathematic question from different angles and resisting the urge to give up. This is best taught in middle school. In grades 6 – 8 if a student fails a test or gets a “D” or “F” in class, it has no effect on his or her college admission records. But this failure can become a valuable life lesson and, in fact, if approached properly a teacher can help students prepare themselves for high school, for college and even find good jobs. Here is what is needed: § Read the rest of this entry…


Building Confidence In Math Class

§ March 12th, 2012 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team, motivation, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Ta-Duc

When running for school board, one question was asked a number of times, especially in the debates and usually asked by students, “How will we provide more teacher/student interaction?” I assumed that students wanted a more personal experience in their learning until an article last week made me realize that a lot more was behind this question. The BBC News wrote, “Secondary school pupils are so scared of looking stupid in maths lessons they will not tell their teachers if they do not understand, suggests research.” The article continued, “The reasons pupils gave for not asking for help more often were that they were worried about looking foolish, were embarrassed or did not want to draw attention to themselves.” In other words, they lack confidence, which could be overcome if teachers had the time to spend more one-on-one with their students.

Are there other ways to build a student’s confidence in math? § Read the rest of this entry…


Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2011

§ December 27th, 2011 § 3 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team, Math, Overcoming Fear, Teaching Math, The Best Posts § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

2011 will forever be significant in Elevated Math history.  Our iPad app was launched along our website and blog.   In Barbara Walters’ fashion, we decided to list the TEN MOST FASCINATING POSTS in 2011.  Oh, ok.  Fascinating is probably not the most accurate adjective, so how about if we list our ten favorites?

  1. Angry Birds Can Teach Math was one of our most popular posts. It showed how to teach parabolas and quadratic equations with the Angry Bird game.  We followed this up with Use Angry Birds to Teach Math Pt 2, which includes a portion of the Elevated Math lesson.
  2. A Case for the Flipped Classroom is a subjective examination of one the hottest ideas for teaching math that came out this year.
  3. Making Math Relevant May Be the Key was also one of our most popular posts. It details how a teacher made math relevant to a class of potential drop-outs. § Read the rest of this entry…

Treatments for Math Anxiety

§ October 21st, 2011 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , ,

photography by gianΩmerz

A study published yesterday in the journal Cerebral Cortex suggests some potential treatments for math anxiety. See the Education Week blog.

In prior research, the author Sian L. Beilock found that just the thought of doing math problems can trigger stress responses in people with math anxiety, and adult teachers can pass their trepidation about math on to their students.

One of the earliest posts on this blog was on Handling Math Phobia. This subject is worth revisiting.

The study released yesterday shows that students who are anxious about math yet perform well have a high activity in the frontal and parietal regions of the brain when they learn a math problem is coming up. § Read the rest of this entry…


Handling Math Phobia

§ May 31st, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , ,

photo by erin MC Hammer

We all have heard kids say, “I’m not really good at math” or “Math isn’t my thing”, especially after receiving a bad test score. Could these comments be subtle signs that they are afraid of math? If so, we need to pull the child aside and ask some questions that might help shed some light on what they are thinking. Are they afraid of failure, or of not understanding, or are they afraid that they are not smart enough?

Then you might offer, “Do you know what helps me when I’m afraid of failing,” or “Do you know what I do if I don’t understand something?” Sharing your own experiences can really help.

For instance, I like to explain that I try to turn scary situations into opportunities. If I have a mountain to climb and start with the premise that the climb will be too hard and I’m not capable of doing it, then I’ve already defeated myself before starting. Working out a math problem is much like working your way up the steep face of a mountain. Sometimes your direction reaches an impasse and you need to backtrack. It’s the same with math problems. The journey can either be fun and tortuous, depending on how you think about it. This reasoning has worked with my daughters, and I’m sure it can work with others too. § Read the rest of this entry…