to our classroom. I feel privileged to have the students I have. Mathematics is a journey we embark on together and it is often a
different sort of voyage for the students. They soon find this teacher is
not the source of wisdom and correct answers, but they also find that we
learn math in the context of things they can relate to, whether it is the
lengths of their names or understanding how difficult it really is to run
a booth at Holiday Happening.
Mathematics is, above all, a human endeavor. It was created by
humans to help them understand the world around them, just as I use it to
help understand the world around me.
The students soon learn that I seldom have
answersójust more questions. For math, they learn that most problems
that do have answers have numerous correct answers but many more incorrect
answers. They learn that whatever their solution, they must be able to
support it both mathematically and realistically. They learn to validate
their own answers by discussing with each other the mathematics they used
and the decisions they made. They learn to listen to what others
are saying and evaluate it critically. They learn that problems aren't
solved in a heartbeat. They become mathematicians.
Collaboration is an everyday part of the class. In addition to
students working side by side, we also collaborate digitally using three
basic tools: CoWeb,
Tapped In, and Blackboard. The
CoWeb is a collaborative website that allows students to work together on
projects and easily see each other's work. Tapped In is a multi-user virtual environment where
students can have synchronous discussions of their mathematics, with a
transcript of their discussions being sent to the teacher and the student. Blackboard will allow students to conduct asynchronous discussions
on a topic. Not only do these forums promote collaboration but they also
help students develop their ability to engage in professional discourse.
Students who don't have Internet access from home should plan their time
to use one of the computers in the school.
Please feel free to contact me. You may call me at school (042-234-5300
x422) or home before 9:00PM (0423-62-4314). You also may send me an E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org),
or try me on AIM (Derrel Fincher) or MSN Messenger (DerrelFincher@msn.com).