Sunday, November 8, 2015

Math Inspiration for the Curious (and the not so curious)

Do you have a curious child that wants to explore math beyond the classroom?  Do you have a smart child that is unmotivated by their math class? Does your child just need some extra help with their math homework?  My goal is to teach the beauty and wonder of mathematics to your child from preschool through calculus. No matter their grade level or ability, your children can learn more mathematics than they get in their classes at school. Your child and I can work directly from any math book, I can create tailored math lessons for your child, or anything in between. If your child likes math and wants to learn more, she should learn all the cool fun bits that got weeded out of the curriculum. (Yes, algebra is FULL of cool fun bits!) If your child is under-achieving in math right now, he could be learning from lessons that tap directly into his strengths and interests. 

How do I do these things? I am a former Cal Poly (SLO) Mathematics Professor with a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education and an M.S. in Mathematics. I worked in mathematics classrooms in public schools and universities for 15 years. My specialty as a professor was the mathematical education of teachers. I taught math, and I taught people how to teach math. I have worked with a couple thousand students and hundreds of teachers. I am also an accomplished mathematical artist, and I use art as a way of exploring mathematical ideas.

Why Do I love Teaching Math?
My entire life, I have explored in the wonder and beauty of mathematics, and my goal is to inspire that wonder people around me. Math is fascinating and beautiful, and I love watching students’ faces light up when they learn something new. Your child can learn far more math than their classes and textbooks teach them. My challenge is to learn about your child and craft lessons to fit their specific needs and skills. I especially enjoy applying math to the visual arts and making beautiful and instructive things. In addition to doing their homework, your child can learn that same math through paper folding and cutting, manipulating blocks, toys, games, fabric, beads, felt, and even cookie dough. Math can be very engaging when you know how to do it.

Process for Working with New Customers
When meeting a new student, the first thing I try to do is learn about them and what their goals are. I ask questions to learn what interests and motivates each student. For example, does your child like to play games? I can design games so he will role dice, count blocks, and move markers. Does she like making things with her hands? We can fold and cut paper or sew things. Does he like to move around a lot? We can move while we do math.

Once I understand your goals, together, we solve math problems.  We can work from any math book you want, or I can develop lessons for you. While we do math problems together I watch and listen carefully to assess what your child already knows and is able to do. We will communicate through words, symbols, graphs, tables, equations, or whatever is relevant to the math at hand. Your child and I will build mathematical objects with our hands and in our minds. Your child can learn through custom math lessons that suit their needs, interests, and abilities.

My goals are that your child learns how to solve problems, organize their thinking, and if you desire, clearly present their ideas on paper. Your child can become fluent in calculating, learn number sense, and improve their grades in school.

I build relationships with my students and their parents. I am very patient, and I have successfully worked with many students with disabilities including ADD, ADHD, ASD, dyslexia, and vision disorders.

*Tenured Professor of Mathematics at Cal Poly State University, SLO (2001-2007)
*Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (Mathematics Education)
University of Wisconsin, Madison (2001)
*M.A. in Mathematics
University of California, Santa Barbara
*Associate Editor, Journal of Mathematics and the Arts (2007-present)

Invited talks
*MoMath (The National Museum of Mathematics)
*Gathering 4 Gardner
*Meetings of the Mathematical Association of America 
*Bridges Meetings
*Meetings of the Minds
*Julia Robinson Math Festival

I am a leader in mathematical art, both as an innovator and evangelist.

I have 15 years of math classroom teaching experience in public schools and universities in California and Wisconsin.  I have taught complete courses across the entire school mathematics curriculum including arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, pre-calculus, calculus for engineering, calculus for business, introduction to proofs, math for elementary school teachers, math for high school teachers, teaching methods for high school math teachers, and math and visual art.  

Please inquire about my hourly and half daily rates. I can drive to your home or I can teach your child at my home in Sunnyvale, California.  I can travel anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Sunnyvale, San Jose, Cupertino, Santa Clara, Hillsborough, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Los Altos, Fremont and other towns in the vicinity.

Gwen Fisher gwen [at] beadinfinitum [dot] com 

Available upon request