Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Perseverance in Problem Solving

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

This is easier said than done.

How do we create a community within the classroom where making mistakes is ok?  How can we embrace the phrase fail forward?  How will we encourage students to roll up their sleeves and persevere?  If you haven't read Paul Tough's book, How Children Succeed,  I highly recommend you do so.  The book explores the grit phenomenon and pinpoints a child's ability to bounce back as the true gauge of success.

Math has historically been a very right vs. wrong subject.  Either you calculated the correct answer or you didn't.  But we as educators have the opportunity to stress the importance of learning from mistakes.  Leah Alcala, an 8th grade math teacher, has created a classroom routine that she calls 'My Favorite No'.  Take 5 minutes to watch this engaging video that explains how students' mistakes can be learning opportunities.  Leah is not the only educator who sees the value of promoting perseverance in the math classroom.  Keith Robinson was recently awarded the 2013 Fishman Prize for his work in a 9th grade Algebra classroom. Go straight to page 19 to read Gettin’ Messi: How Mistakes Make Mathematicians to see how a soccer player's 'gritty' hard work is used as a hook to engage young mathematicians.

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