Who is this Moffett chick and why should I follow moffett4understandingmath?

My name is Jen Moffett and I love math.

I am, in fact, addicted to math. I see math all around us. I take pictures of the Starbucks marquis, random billboards, magazine clips, and student math work to capture examples of the mathematics we use everyday. But more than loving math, I love teaching. I get a natural high out of watching the “click factor”; when a child who didn’t understand something suddenly…clicks. It’s awesome, and there is nothing better.

Yet many of us adults were brought up in a world where math was not beautiful. It was a bunch of steps that, if you were good at following directions, made you get a smile from the teacher and a good grade in the class. There was not a whole lot of understanding, just a “do as I say” mentality. So we did, and found math to be the boring subject of the lot.

But it isn’t! Math is about patterns, relationships, manipulation, and ah-ha’s. Taking what seems to be random numbering and finding a simplicity in it (often a rule emerges or a formula…). Seeing through the numbers given and using ones that makes the expression easier. Moving beyond numbers and finding what works EVERY time I do ____ to my value. And so on. Mathematics isn’t just about numbers; it is the relationship of quantitative values that we explore, play with, and interpret.

The difficulty lies in our cultural differences between how mathematics is being taught now, and how it was taught to us (parents and teachers). We are asking kids to understand the why, the how, and the so what. These were not options for us in the past, and if you asked, you were often sent up to the office (Hi Mrs. Kemp!!! Good to see you again, Mr. Packham!) This is new, different, confusing, and altogether uncomfortable for many of us parents. We feel like we can’t do the math anymore; we watch our children struggle and feel helpless. We ask, “What is going on? Is this worth the effort???!” And my response is a 100% YES!!!

So my blog is dedicated to you, parents. It is here to help you navigate with your child the mathematics that is really the same, but looks a little (or a lot) funky. I am here to answer questions, pose problems, give advice, and provide research indicating that the direction mathematics instruction is going is really a good thing for our children. Please comment, please email me pictures of your child’s homework, please give me concepts to explore on this blog. The more you participate, the more this site will benefit you and everyone else. Thank you!

-Jen     (jarguelovesmath@yahoo.com)

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