My 9th graders have strong mathematical skills, compared to the typical NYC public school student. However, most have no idea how to study for a math test, a skill fundamentally different than studying for a history or english test. In my first year of teaching, I did little to help them in this area.
My first shot at improving on this will be to work on how I use notebooks in class. My students notebooks this past year were a mishmash of notes interspersed with half-correct problems that students had no easy way of revisiting.
I tried to use notebooks as a little bit of everything:
- a record of everything that happened in class
- a set of completed problems with all intermediate steps shown
- notes about math theory or math procedure
- scratch work
- space for reflection and revision
- acting as study guide and/or textbook
It was way too much. This coming year, I think I will try to take inspiration from Interactive Notebooks and $1 Textbooks. In the ideal world, I would love to see my student’s notebooks from each day consist of three parts: a problem or two completed by the teacher –> informal practice work by student –> formal write-up of a problem or two completed by student. The first and third parts could then be something that the student could directly revisit when studying for a test.