Surveying Students’ Attitudes

Got Math Attitude?
We ALL have some attitude about math. Maybe it is enthusiastic attitude or uninterested attitude? Our students come to us with a wide range of what I like to call “Math Stories”. Some come loving math and knowing exactly how to seek challenge but ask for help when overwhelmed. Then, we have students that are so intimidated by the idea of math they avoid and try just enough to get by.

What can we do with Math Attitude?
Well first, we have to figure out what each student is thinking and feeling about math. Then, we can build on their previous experiences & strengths. As well as address their fears and bad experiences.

At the start of each year I give students a survey. It asks students simple questions that give me a lot of information about them as a math learner. The questions are true/false, yes/no, and a few open ended. Of course I use their answers to gather information, but I also use this survey to show students I can about their voice. I want them to know I am going to listen to them this year in math class and we start with this survey!

Other ways I use this survey:

1) Give to students in the first few weeks of school to gather valuable information about their thoughts, feelings, and questions about math.
I typically make notes on their survey-who to check in on, seating arrangements, parent check-ins, etc.

2) Use as a discussion starter for getting feedback from students on how they want the math classroom to operate. This is really valuable for my middle schoolers, they want a sense of control and to feel like their voice matters. I ask them about things like: what homework feels valuable, how I can help them study for tests, what kinds of support they want me to offer. Allowing students to voice their opinions in a student led discussion is one of the best ways I’ve found to actually show students I value their voice!

3) Use data from the survey to share with students & families.
It is always valuable (in my opinion) to show students the percentage of the class that loves vs. hates math. It is an authentic way to start reading and comprehending data. I usually compile a few questions and make graphs to share with my class.

4) Use the data from the survey to inform your instruction, your choices about your class community, and math vision. This is probably the most important. When I know where my students are in their own math story, I can plan accordingly to guide them to deep thinking and finding joy in math. So, if I have the majority of my students who hate math and have never felt success in math I will need to plan opportunities for them to surprise themselves! If I have students who don’t have homework help at home I’ll need to plan for resources to provide.

Ready to give it a try?
I would love to know how it goes, the questions you ask, and how you use the data. If you’d like a copy of the one I’ve created…

Visit my little Teachers Pay Teacher’s shop and scoop up a copy!

Let’s stay in touch!

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