We
have now reached the end of our 8-Week semester. I am pleased with the progress many of my
students have made in their mathematical journey. We have explored arithmetic topics in many
non-traditional ways and with several hands-on lessons. Next week, my students will be transitioning
to a developmental algebra class. It
will be a challenge for them, but they now have a strong foundation in arithmetic.

I am the author of the
curriculum we use in the arithmetic class. It is a work-text that is very
non-traditional, with lots of hands-on activities to help demonstrate the
concepts of fractions, decimals, and integers.
The
lessons incorporate many mathematical “manipulatives”, including Fraction
Tiles, Fraction Circles, Base-Ten pieces, and two-color counters. We have also used paper folding, graphing on
number lines, and shading decimal grids in several of the lessons.

As
with previous semesters, the biggest change for most of my students has been
with their attitude toward mathematics.
Most of them were scared and intimidated to enter the classroom at the
beginning of the semester. By the
mid-way point, many of them had expressed that this was their favorite class
and they appreciated the fact that I was helping them “understand” math for the
first time in their lives.

**This is WHY I teach. I LOVE being able to help students overcome their previous math fears and struggles.**
The
students completed an anonymous end-of-semester survey about the arithmetic
class. I would like to share their
responses to a couple of the questions, one asked about the manipulatives we
used and the other about their feelings regarding the class. Each class had 10 students that turned in
survey results, for a total of 20 responses.

**Question #1: “Please check two or more of your favorite hands-on “manipulatives” from this class.”**The choices of the 20 students that responded are as follows:

14
selected Fraction Tiles

13
selected Base-Ten Pieces

10
selected Fraction Circles

9
selected Two-Color Counters

9
selected Decimal Grids

8
selected Paper Folding Activity

**Question #2: “Please check the response that best describes your feelings regarding this class.”**The choices of the 20 students that responded are as follows:

13
selected “I loved this class”

5
selected “I liked this class a lot”

2
selected “I thought this class was okay”

0
selected “I am neutral about this class”

0 selected “I didn’t like this class”

0 selected “I didn’t like this class”

Reading their responses to the second question gives me a GREAT sense of pride. Having so many of them select “I loved this class” makes me very happy because eight weeks ago, most of these students didn’t like math.

We have accomplished a
lot of mathematical growth and development in our 8-Week journey. I wish my students the best as they move
forward with their mathematical curriculum!

Happy teaching,

*Janet Mitchell*

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