Perseverance in Math Class

At DAA, we focus on the social and emotional development of our students in addition to their academic growth.  To do so, we teach, practice, and reflect upon six Habits of Character (which includes compassion, responsibility, and perseverance).  We talk about these Habits of Character daily at our morning crew meeting, closing crew meeting, and throughout the day. My goal was to give students more specific strategies for one target within one Habit of Character: I can persevere on challenging math work.

I found that the math content in our unit was very rigorous and challenging for students. I know that they absolutely could tackle the difficult problems using various strategies, but I wanted THEM to know that they could tackle these problems and have the confidence, mindset, and skills to do so.

We started by talking about how we could show perseverance every day in math. We developed a chart that we hung up in our classroom that included such strategies as "going slowly", "doing one step at a time", and "learning from my mistakes".  I then had students set specific goals. At the beginning of each lesson, and again right before the exit ticket (a check to see what students have mastered at the end of the lesson), students wrote down a goal for the day by completing the sentence frame: "Today I will show perseverance by..." We would share as a class before jumping into the difficult work so that the perseverance strategies were at the forefront of student's thinking. At the end of each lesson we would reflect; how did we show perseverance today? What worked?  What didn't work? What can we continue to work on for tomorrow?

Finally, I wanted to build a system to celebrate students for showing perseverance in math. When students showed perseverance on their exit ticket and were able to show mastery of the math material, they were able to hang their exit ticket up on our "Wall of Fame." This gave them a lot of pride and allowed us to celebrate each other's success and growth. The "Wall of Fame" is in the hallway which also allows parents, teachers, and visitors to DAA to recognize and celebrate our students for their perseverance and achievement as well.