Do your kids struggle with math? Are they convinced they can’t do it? Use these simple math mindset reflection pages to capture their thoughts and attitudes at the beginning of the year. Then see how they grow by the end of the year.
If you teach little ones, hopefully the beginning of the year is full of excitement, wonder and possibility about the year ahead. But if you teach older kids, especially those who have struggled with math in the past, the beginning of the year often serves as a reminder to them that they still can’t do math and dread about what new math challenges lie ahead. But it doesn’t have to be this way! As I’ve said before, there is no such thing as a math person. Every child can learn math and succeed. So hopefully you can use the beginning of the year to capture their thoughts about math, learn from them and meet them where they are and then turn negative attitudes around over the course of the year. Grab this set of Math Mindset Reflection Pages for free at the end of this post!
Math Mindset Reflection Pages:
This simple page is a place to have kids record their thoughts about math and their own abilities at the beginning of the school year.
There are two pages included in the download, but they are the same. Print these front and back so students can answer at the beginning of the year and again at the end of the year.
The goal is simple: complete and total honesty from your students so you can have a realistic picture of where they are and how they feel about math.
For what purpose? So you can meet them where they are and spend time early on trying to accomplish a few things:
- Show them their thoughts and ideas matter
- Help them to see there is always more than one way to solve a math problem
- Provide low-floor, high-ceiling tasks to engage every student and build their confidence
- Help them understand that mistakes grow and stretch our brains and are part of the normal math learning process
If you can give your students quick wins early on and opportunities to build their confidence, they will be more willing to try later when the math gets more difficult.
It’s also especially important that all students have a voice and believe that their ideas matter. (Even if they don’t get the answer right, the way they think about a problem is an opportunity to learn together as a group).
Changing Fixed Math Mindsets:
I gave these reflection pages to my students at the beginning of this school year.
Almost all my students had a low view of math, found it boring and/or difficult and did not see themselves as able to do well in the subject.
Changing these very ingrained ideas at their age (8th grade and 9th grade) is no small task and definitely not something that happens overnight or even in the first few weeks of school!
But because I am aware of their thoughts and feelings, I am able to be intentional about the tasks I present, how I structure our time together and am always looking for ways to praise and celebrate their thinking and successes.
One thing I try especially hard to do is to get kids talking and thinking out loud about math problems and then I point out their math thinking and reasoning.
I want them to see that they are capable of thinking about and making sense of math situations, understanding graphs and finding connections between tables, graphs, equations and more.
I want them to be the ones talking about, explaining and doing the math rather than me.
Only after they have talked through things and reasoned about a problem in their own words do I step in. Then I provide appropriate math vocabulary if they didn’t have the formal words yet. Or I address any misconceptions that may have come up.
Obviously, I am very imperfect, and some days go better than others. But the goal is always the same: to get my students doing the thinking, talking and solving rather than me.
And then hopefully, at the end of the year, when I hand out their math mindset reflection pages again, their answers will be different and their goals for the year will have been met.
Want to grab this simple and low-prep reflection page for your students? Click the link below to go to my shop and grab it for yourself.
Find more resources for back to school at the links below:
- Math About Me: By the Numbers | Grades 2-6
- Middle School Math Back to School Challenge
- Apple Tree About Me Activity | Grades 2-4
- Math Mindset Posters for Your Classroom
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