Common Misconceptions… Mathsconceptions?

ImageAs I’m now halfway through my first year of teaching, I’ve found one of my biggest challenges in planning is in trying to anticipate difficulties that students will have with certain material. As a math guy I struggle a lot to see things from a non-math perspective, and I’m trying to collect all the resources I can to help.

One of the things I’ve been looking for, and so far have been unable to find, is a simple database of common misconceptions about different math topics. Basically, I want a place that I can go to, type in what we’re learning (for example, mean-median-mode) and just get a list of the top 3 or 4 misconceptions that most students have for that topic. So rather than me having to see after my lesson that everyone gets mean and median confused, I could  anticipate that error and drive the point home.

So my question to the interwebs is, does such a thing exist?  If it doesn’t, any good suggestions on how I could set that up? Like a wiki space where everyone could contribute? I’m not necessarily looking for strategies to deal with misconceptions (although adding those in wouldn’t hurt) but primarily a list.  

I welcome any and all suggestions. Thanks in advance!

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Ain’t nobody got time for this

Big news: One’s first year of teaching is completely fucking insane.

After hearing Sam Shah talk about how much blogging helped him sort out teaching thoughts, I was determined to be gung-ho about it. I was going to document my daily struggles and stay positive and reflect and most importantly document it all so that I could look back in 5 years and laugh at the ideas I thought had merit but that any same person would realize don’t.

Then the year started and things got crazy. Two weeks into the year my principal sat me down and was like “I like this in theory, but change all of it.” And without going into too much detail as this blog is public, things got worse, culminating in a conversation the Friday before break that almost made me submit a letter of resignation before second semester hit. Things are better now (two weeks off does make a difference) but I’m still recovering from all of that.

There is one more week left in the semester. My classroom management has improved by leaps and bounds, my instruction less so, but it’s not terrible. Every day is kind of like Indiana Jones and that boulder but so far it’s only grazed me. As long as we ignore that my curriculum this year is not exactly logical.

All of this is to say that I totes dropped the ball on my MTBoS missions. There were some great things that I saw but didn’t take the time to comment on, and after week 3 I just lost track. I can say I’ll be better this semester but sleep and Breaking Bad will beat blogging (not that I have any illusions that the online teaching community has been losing sleep over my absence). And that’s ok. I still read so many other blogs and get so many ideas from Twitter.

TL; DR: too busy to blog but still alive.