If you can do it in sports, music, dance, etc., you can do it in math! Try not to let fear or negative experiences turn you off to math. Math takes work! Do not be surprised if a topic or problem completely baffles you at first. Stay with it! One characteristic of learning math is that at one moment you may feel completely at a loss, and then suddenly have a burst of insight that enables you to understand things perfectly. To learn mathematics you must take time to think over the material covered. It takes time for many ideas to sink in and become a part of you. But math is not an activity for the intellectually lazy. It requires a strong, steady effort but you can do it!
PRACTICE MATH EVERY DAY:
Practice as much as possible. Just watching me do a problem, does not develop your ability to do the process. Learning cannot be thought of as a “spectator sport”. After practicing a problem, have someone in your group or me check the process. If your process is wrong, the more you practice the incorrect steps the harder it will be learn the correct method. Frequent short study periods produce better results than “cramming.”
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR MATH CLASS:
As a high school student, realize that most technical institutions, colleges and universities require at least college algebra for any degree. If you are getting a degree, then chances are you are going for a professional job. Most professional jobs require at least some math. Granted, some more than others, but nonetheless math (problem solving, numbers, etc…) is everywhere. So make sure that you embrace your math experience and make the most of it.
GET HELP OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM:
Go to my room, 111, for extra help, though it is always best to make an appointment. if you would prefer a math tutor go here. There are many computer programs that you can purchase that can help you with your mathematics. If you are interested in these programs see me.
Also find a study partner. It’s always easier to solve problems when someone else is there to work at it with you. Research has found that students who study in groups perform better than those who study alone.
ATTEND CLASS FULL TIME:
Math is a sequential subject. That means that what you are learning today builds on what you learned yesterday. Even problems based on a new math concept will need some old skills to work them. (Think: Can you work problems with fractions if you don’t know the multiplication tables?)
If you miss class it is ultimately YOUR responsibility to find out what you have missed. It is best to see me before school starts, lunch or after school so I can let you know what you have missed. Remember if you miss class I am not going to stop class to re-teach you the materials that you have missed – I have to move on with the curriculum. Of course if I have time I will help you. But those who have been in class will get help first. Also make use of your team members if you have been out.
KEEP UP WITH THE HOMEWORK:
It sounds simple but your time is limited, you have a job to go to, etc.. Think of it this way: No homework, no learning. Homework helps you practice the applications of math concepts. It’s like learning how to drive: the longer you practice, the better your driving skills become and the more confidence you will have on the road. If you only read the driver’s manual, you’ll never learn to drive with confidence and skill. I suggest you try some of the unassigned problems, too, for extra practice.
TRY TO UNDERSTAND THE MATH PROBLEMS:
When you work homework problems, ask yourself what you are looking for and how you are going to get there. Don’t just follow the example. Work the problem step-by-step until you know why you are doing what you are and have arrived at the solution. If you follow the what, how, and whys, you’ll know what to do when you see a similar problem later.
USE INDEX CARDS TO STUDY TESTS:
When studying for a test, you must make sure you can understand the problems and the directions on each math concept. Here’s how you do that: make index cards with worked-out problems on one side and the question and directions on the other. Mix the index cards (yes, shuffle the cards to mix them up) and set a timer. Start working the problems in each card as it is dealt to you and track the length of time that is takes you to finish the problems. Oh, and ideally hide your binder and or textbook! This will simulate a math test taking experience.
ASK QUESTIONS IN CLASS:
Ask questions: but you have to learn how to state your questions. When you have been assigned reading you are suppose to read. In general, I will be able to tell if you have not read your assignment by the nature of your question. In general, saying that you don’t get anything does not supply me with much information. If you are at that stage then you need to get special help.
ASK QUESTIONS OUTSIDE OF CLASS:
OK, so like most people, you don’t want to ask questions in class, or you think of a question too late. Then plan a meeting with me and ask your questions at the meeting.
ALWAYS DO YOU HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS AND CHECK IT:
Make sure that you do your assigned homework and check your work against your supplied answer sheet, if one is supplied, or the answers in the back of the book. Always show your work so you have a way to see where you might have gone wrong when your answer is incorrect. Remember, your homework is ultimately your responsibility.
PAY ATTENTION IN CLASS:
Math builds on earlier lessons. If you don’t stay alert to my presentation, you may miss important steps to learning concepts. Remember, today’s information sets the foundation for tomorrow’s work.
DON’T TALK IN CLASS WHILE YOUR INSTRUCTOR IS EXPLAINING IDEAS:
Please don’t talk during an my presentation, it is impolite and will distract me because I must concentrate during a presentation. Save your chit-chat for outside the classroom. Also you will not get much sympathy/empathy from me if I see you doing “work” while I am giving a presentation.
READ YOUR MATH TEXTBOOK OR HANDOUTS:
Yes, there’s a reason why I ask you to read your book or your handouts. If you look carefully, you will see that your book or handout contains pages with great examples, explanations and definitions of terms. Take advantage of them.
In math you must read slowly and absorb each word. Often it is necessary to read a handout or problem many times before it begins to make sense. Each word and symbol is important and many thoughts are condensed into just a few statements. Remember a sentence, even in math, can be constructed with a subject, adjective, verb, direct object, indirect object, dependent-independent clause or a prepositional phrase. So as you can well imagine a sentence can be very complicated in theory. In general, if you start feeling lost when reading a math sentence then you probably didn’t understand the definition of a word and or some relationship between the words you read. Make sure you understand definitions in math – they are vitally important to understanding mathematics.
A lifelong learner must learn how to teach himself or herself – there will not always be someone there to be your teacher. Your goal – learn to teach yourself and learn to research the internet.
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