This blog post introduces a new mini-series from Emergent Math: your math syllabus bootcamp. Also, be sure to check out Geoff’s previous mini-series: Routines, Lessons, Problems and Projects.
I often stumbled into the school year. August appeared and suddenly I was aware that I needed to get back into a proper working routine. Most of the mental energy I spent in Augusts were used to plan individual lessons, problems, or projects. Rarely did I think about presenting a coherent vision for my math class for the upcoming school year. I often failed to bring humanity and imagination to my pre-service time.
Starting the school year – any school year – strong can set your students up for success. I’d like to take you through some ideas through the lens of an artifact that we’re all-too familiar with: the syllabus. Yes, either that paper that you have students look at while you recite it, or you have parents sign, or that you have linked from your class website. Over the next few posts, I’ll be discussing your syllabus for the year. What are the structures and routines that you’ll employ? How will students be graded? What content will you cover? These are the typical technical aspects of creating a syllabus.
However, for this mini-series, I’d like you to think about the syllabus as your vision for your math course. It should describe the technical aspects for sure, but it may also act as a teaser-trailer for your course, generating excitement. As one of your first artifacts students come in contact with, it’s worth thinking about what it says about your classroom and about who is welcome. It’s also a useful exercise to spend some time thinking about your year, and even condensing what you want to communicate to students and parents.
I’d also like to challenge some of your assumptions on how you structure your year, while making your syllabus a bit more alive than a piece of paper that gets stuffed in the bottom of a backpack. It’s possible (or even probable) you’ll reject various aspects of this boot camp in syllabus creation. But I hope you’ll think deeply about the concepts and how they might translate into your everyday teaching.
So think of this mini-series as not only a boot camp on creating a syllabus, but a workshop where you can challenge and refine the message of your math class from the very start of the year.
Math Syllabus Bootcamp Mini-series
- Part 1: Identity. Who is a mathematician?
- Part 2: Smartness. What does it mean to be a mathematician?
- Part 3. Norms. What are the expectations for quality collaborative work?
- Part 4: Anchor Problems. A Hilbertian Approach to Curriculum Mapping.
- Part 5: Putting it all together. Additional nuts & bolts and an example syllabus.