Mrs. White’s Top 10 Ways to Succeed in Math!
Be Here – Physically and mentally! Come to class every day, ready to learn something new! Be on time and bring all necessary supplies that will help you to do your best: covered book, pencil with a good eraser, RED pen for grading, graph paper spiral notebook, 3-ring binder, calculator, and highlighter. If you are not here, you are missing out. It is your responsibility to find out what you missed by checking the board, the website, or talking to me.
Believe in yourself! Have an expectation of yourself that you CAN learn math! Even if you find math challenging, you can always improve your skills. “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t -you are right.” (Henry Ford) Some of the material discussed will be very difficult so concentrate on learning one more step than you thought you could. In addition, have an expectation of me that I will guide you through the process of learning. I am your partner and your coach through math – trust me. “You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them.” (Michael Jordan)
TRY! Try your best. If you don’t succeed, try again! Try a new method, ask a new question. Try asking someone for help, try a new resource. "The best angle from which to approach a problem is the Try-angle." (unknown) Math cannot be absorbed; you must think and process. Don’t give up when it gets tough, just give it your best attempt and you might surprise yourself!
Do Your Homework...and do it well! Homework is assigned everyday so that you are able to practice and master each new skill. Each new concept builds on concepts from previous days; falling behind quickly gets you in a hole that is hard to get out of. All homework assignments are due the following class day. To receive full credit on your homework completion grade, you must show all necessary work, use pencil, and attempt every problem. Don’t worry if you can’t do every problem, just give it your best shot and ask questions the next day. “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” (Thomas Edison)
Participate, ask lots of questions....and show confusion appropriately. Let me know when you are (and are not!) understanding what we are doing. Answering and asking questions is a great way for you (and me!) to find out if the mathematics is making sense to you. Be a leader in class, raise your hand when you have something to share, and don’t interrupt. Do the daily warm-ups, participate in class discussions, work with your group on team projects, ask questions on missed homework questions, come in at lunch when you are stumped, etc. “Success comes in cans, not can’t’s.” (unknown)
Bring your brain and be willing to use it! Math is not passive – you must be actively engaged in the process of learning. Sweat a little. School is your brain gym. You have to work out your muscles, make them a little sore, if you're going to lift a heavier load later on. Nothing will be handed to you. Rather than receive and recite information, you will be expected to recreate and reinvent. The most important skill you will gain from mathematics is problem solving: how to look at any problem (mathematical or not), decide what tools and procedures you need to solve the problem, and be able to work towards a solution that is best for you.
Be Organized Easy for me to say… I am an organizational freak! Keep all of your worksheets, in order, in a 3-ring binder. Keep all of your homework, in order, in your spiral notebook. Don’t tear anything out. Take notes each day in your spiral. Look over your quizzes when you get them back and then keep them in your binder for future reference. Do not throw anything away unless told to do so. Come to class with all the necessary supplies so you are not marked tardy. “A place for everything, and everything in its place.” (Isabella Mary Beeton)
Be a RESPECTFUL part of the TEAM! Surround yourself with other students who can help you. Everyone has something different to contribute and perhaps, together, all the necessary pieces can be put together. Together, we achieve more. Being respectful of others starts with self respect, which includes self discipline, self esteem, and self confidence. Do not do anything that takes away from another student’s right to learn and feel good about him or herself. “If you want to be incrementally better: Be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better: Be cooperative.” (unknown)
Follow Directions. Whether it is oral directions on how to do a project, or step-by-step directions for a math algorithm, or the written directions in the math text, or beginning of class directions for doing the daily warm-up, make sure you are paying attention to what is being asked of you. Following the directions the first time is usually more effective and a lot less work!
Show your work and be organized. There is no getting around this one. You have to let me know how it is that you arrived at your answer. This will help me understand your thinking and help you find your mistakes. When a question asks for an explanation, I expect to see some writing. You will not receive credit for questions which do not include some kind of work or explanation. As the math gets more complicated, more work is necessary so start practicing now while the math is more straightforward!