Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Confidence is key.
Here we have a 14 year old student, bright, above average intellect, likes to read does well in every subject except math. After a very short set of test questions I find damaged self-esteem and self confidence due to math anxiety brought about by previous failures in math. If you look carefully you can see a little bit of this telegraphed in her posture.
Decimals and fractions brought up instant mental blocks even when the problems were seemingly simple. Student brought an example of her pre-algebra which for the moment she has little difficulty doing. This gives me time to work on basics and drill for skills. Here we are working on addends which will certainly help her solve problems like p + 7 = 15.
We covered the five basic concepts. Did a few examples from her homework worksheet. Did some more advanced story problems that required two steps to solve. We then backed up and built tens and nines and did some subtraction. And then moved on to more basics: addends past ten. (Pictured above.)
The idea was to build confidence and get a feel for the students strengths and weaknesses. Strength: exceptionally quick mind. Weakness. ZERO confidence. This will improve as she grows to trust that I am not going to trick her and that the answers will be completely obvious 99.9% of the time. The other .1 may involve some thinking.
Then we did the 11 times table starting at 11 x 11, on up to 11 x 20 she got the pattern instantly then a few 12's and then flipped over to Algebra where she amazed herself by doing problems like (x+2)(x+3) = x2+5x+6...well almost she didn't really think it was hard because she could see it...then oops an hour and a half went by...
will put in many links later...