Email, Math Tricks, and Groupwork, Oh My!

As noted previously, I send an individual email out to all my students based on a survey I give them. And as I maybe mentioned, I very rarely get replies. I did it in the past few years because I suspected that it might help some student who is nervous to talk to me or get help from me reach out. Because I reached out first. Well I got another response this morning that was so heartwarming:

Hi Mr. Shah,
I think it’s so nice that you write these personal emails out to each of your students, and I really appreciate your commitment to all of us. I know this may come off as cheesy, but I just really enjoy someone who invests all of themselves into what they love to do. Also when someone is doing something special I think they deserve praise in return.



I got into a math teacher geek out conversation with a new math teacher colleague about how much we hate “tricks” in math. It all stemmed from me saying I try to find the magic in math when I can with the kids, and then destroy the magic. She happened to have her Algebra I student worksheet for the day in front of her… The cover: “Magic… Or Mathematics?” So we started geeking out about how much we hate tricks, and I even got to introduce her to Nix the Tricks!


I had my Precalculus kids work in groups for around half the class (maybe more). They were really engaged. There was pointing and explaining, there was listening, there was questioning, there was focus. It makes me think that good things might be in store for the year in these Precalculus classes! I don’t want to be too optimistic too early, but I’m going to say cautiously optimistic.


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