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Posts Tagged as "11th grade"

CASE STUDY: This 11th grader stopped binge eating because the math stress was gone

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Is your child consumed by math anxiety, even though they’re “doing everything right?”

These are some of my favorite students to work with, because I used to struggle with the exact same thing.

When this particular Algebra II/Trig student first came to me, she was making decent grades – Cs, Bs and low As – but at enormous psychic cost.

She would spend hours every night perfectionistically slaving over her math homework, but still feel completely unclear about the material and consumed by math anxiety.

Math felt like a collection of shards of broken glass that she was putting massive energy into “keeping together,” but they never actually fit together or added up to a cohesive whole.

How did she shift from perfectionism to mastery?

Let’s break it down!

1. When this student started working with me, one of the things that really stressed her out was her formulas sheet.

A page covered in things she hadn’t yet learned, that she would eventually have to memorize, many involving symbols or terms she’d never heard of yet, all crammed onto one scary page.

OF COURSE this freaked her out!

So we set the formulas sheet aside.

2. And instead, we built the formulas sheet from scratch – one formula at a time.

First, we started with the simplest, most basic formula, and built it from scratch using foundational concepts that this student already knew, like the Pythagorean formula.

And we’d make it super visual, drawing diagrams that explained why it worked.

Then she’d “teach it back to me” and build it from scratch and draw the diagrams herself.

Then the next session, we’d do the same thing again.

And again.

And again.

Until each formula was totally internalized, and she could build almost the entire formulas sheet from scratch, all by herself.

3. This created massive self-trust.

Not only did this student KNOW all the formulas, she knew WHY they worked, AND she could build them on her own.

Also, taking the time to do this so slowly, in the end, created massive speed.

This student became one of the fastest problem-solvers I’ve ever seen at this level …

BECAUSE she had taken the time to understand the fundamental concepts so meticulously.

The end result was that, without trying to be fast, this student breezed through the material, understanding at a deep conceptual level problems that many other students just experience as a random collection of rules or weird answers spit out by their TI-82.

Now this student experienced math as a cohesive whole, where she belonged, instead of a random collection of disconnected shards.

4. So, how did this play out in her classroom?

As a result of our work, this student’s grades hit the roof.

She was awarded the “most improved student” award by her teacher – in front of her whole school.

She was so much less stressed that she stopped binge eating…
…just because the math anxiety was gone.

And she applied for and won a prestigious internship at a European research-based skin care company in Georgetown, DC – being chosen over COLLEGE STUDENTS!!!

(This is an awesome example of how when math is no longer an obstacle, students can really bring their dreams and visions out into the world.)

Do you have a child who is struggling with this kind of math anxiety?

Maybe they’re actually getting good grades, but not really understanding how the pieces fit together.

Or maybe their grades have started to suffer.

Either way, I’d love to connect with you get clear on whether or not my work would be a fit for your child.

Just fill out this application to get started: fill out your application here

I am so excited to connect!

Sending you love,
REBECCA

Related Articles:
Case Study: A 5th grader goes from believing “Math Doesn’t Like Me” to singing and dancing about math while wearing a purple tutu
Afraid Your Math Teacher Will Judge You?
Case Study: A 10th grader goes from feeling like math is a foreign language to becoming the most called-upon student in her class
The Treachery of Invisible Math Anxiety

Posts Tagged as "11th grade"

Case Study: a homeschooler prepares for the SAT

Monday, February 1st, 2010

When I started working with this student, math was “almost painful” for him. He’d decided to homeschool for 11th and 12th grade so he could take time to really learn the material he was studying, instead of just getting by. He’d asked his mom for a math tutor so he could prepare for the SAT and achieve his dream of attending art college.

Here’s what worked for this student:

Address the fundamentals. Before we approached the SAT math test as a whole, we had to master basic algebra and geometry topics one at a time. We started at the beginning of an Algebra 1 textbook and moved at our own pace. We focused on what was important and what would be on the test.

Solo work and feedback. Most students that I work with are sitting in math class and doing math homework at least three times a week. But this student wasn’t in a math class. Tutoring was his math class. And he wasn’t getting homework assignments unless I gave them to him. So it was essential for him to have carefully planned homework assignments and get detailed feedback from me on each one.

Adjust the textbook when necessary. We started off using the Glencoe Algebra 1 textbook, but after several months of working together, I realized my student needed more drill and better sequencing. He needed to be able to do as many problems as necessary to master the material. And he needed to be able to check his answers without having to wait to see me. So, as a supplemental text, we added another algebra textbook that had better sequencing and more practice problems. In the end, we relied on it more than the Glencoe.

Adjust the pace when necessary. When we started working together, I’d demonstrate a technique and then give him a chance to do it himself, correcting him immediately if he made any mistakes. I wouldn’t move on to the next concept until he’d mastered the material. But at this pace, he wouldn’t learn enough of what was on the SAT. So I started assigning him sections of the book to read and teach himself. This worked for a while, but then we reached a point where he’d get stuck midway through the material and have to wait for our next meeting before getting a clear explanation.

So we changed our approach and aimed for a middle ground. I would demonstrate one or two problems from each section before asking him to do the work himself outside of tutoring. This gave him a preview of what to expect and let him learn more material. I just wish that I had known about Math U See back then. It would have been great if he could have used Steve Demme’s instructional videos as his “math class,” and then used our time together as a resource to discuss whatever he had questions about.

I was so proud that he was so willing to work hard to learn something that didn’t always come easily. And I was thrilled to hear that his work allowed him to meet his goal: he got into the art college of his dreams!

Related posts:
Case Study: An ADHD student raises her math grade from a D to an A
Case Study: Regaining Love of Math
Case Study: Learning Geometry with a Spatial Disability
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