Day 8: Math Animals

Day 6:

When I walk into math class I feel like a(n) _______________.  fill in the blank with a type of animal

Explain why you feel like this animal.  What are some of your shared traits?

What animal do you think would be best for math class?

Explain why you think that.

Today is the day I get to see what animals I have in my class.  I always enjoy this question because students have no problem relating their academic skills with words other than “smart” or “dumb.”  They give me insight to their feelings about themselves that could typically take me a few weeks or months to discover (depending on how well I can establish a rapport with that student).

This year my animals were:

  1. Dolphin- smart but can’t do much for themselves
  2. Elephant- fat and take up space, everyone stares
  3. Monkey- antsy, short attention spans
  4. Swan- big but majestic, intelligent
  5. Norwahl- unique, legendary
  6. T-Rex- small brain, dumb
  7. Chimpanzee- smart
  8. Eagle- intelligent

The list this year was surprisingly small.  Many of my students consider themselves intelligent, but like the reasoning for the dolphin they can’t do a lot themselves in the classroom.  I will need to create opportunities for these students to collaborate on work and then finish that work individually.  I also need to be mindful of providing feedback to these students to build up their confidence in math class.

I also have quite a few students who feel dumb, or that they have short attention spans and can’t focus in class.  Hopefully having classes segmented like I do, timely transitions, alternating layouts and activities, will help these students overcome those barriers.  Similar to my students who feel they can’t do things themselves, I need to create opportunities to work with peers on problems, providing individual support to clarify specifics.

Animals reported to be good at math this year:

  1. Eagle- intelligent, fast
  2. Dolphin- use the most of their brain
  3. Squirrels-quick
  4. Chimpanzee- smart
  5. Fox- intelligent and quick
  6. Dog- smart
  7. Owl- wise like teachers

Once again this year, the focus seems to be that quickness equates to being good at math.  I wonder if they have heard about the tortoise…


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