Sunday, March 3, 2013

Analyzing and Evaluating: Math Mistakes in my #flipclass

I've been following the blog "Math Mistakes" for the last several months.  It is basically a blog site where teachers submit mistakes their students make on math tests, quizzes, practice problems, etc and then open the comments up for analyzing, evaluating, and trying to figure out how to help the student based on what they did wrong.  I think it's absolutely brilliant... I have yet to submit any of my kids' mistakes (I need to have a camera with me when I'm grading!), but I am definitely going to start doing so.

So, as I get new posts daily/weekly from Math Mistakes in my Google Reader, I keep thinking... I want to do something with this in my classroom.

As an experiment this semester (and since I'll only be in the classroom another 7-8 weeks, I'm just testing the waters to see what I want to do for next year), I put together an "extra credit" opportunity for my Math Analysis students to play around with the Math Mistakes blog posts.

Here are their instructions:
Students have to choose the Math Mistakes post they want to work with (I have them all organized by Unit on the Google Form) and write a blog post (they all have their own blogs) like the following:

Title of Math Mistakes problem HYPERLINKED with the actual link to their blog page

Describe the mistake that was made fully, completely, and in detail. Be very specific. If possible, it would help to annotate their picture with what was wrong (many ways to do this, you can ask in class)

How should they have solved it instead? A picture of your work would be helpful.

--If there is a question posed in the Math Mistakes blog post, answer it.
--If there are comments on the blog post, respond to a specific person's thoughts
--Add your own comment to the blog post and mention that so I can check it out!

I think this is a great way to have students analyzing and evaluating math work.  I want to start collecting more problems from my own tests and quizzes as I see them and build the library of "mistakes" that we can analyze and work with.

What I'm liking best so far (I've had four kids do it in the last week) is that they have to not only FIND the mistake and explain what was wrong, but then they also have to solve it correctly themselves.

Two of the submissions I've gotten so far can be found here and here.  Feel free to comment on their posts!

What would YOU do with "Math Mistakes" in your classroom?  Share in the comments...


  1. Great idea!! I would like to know more about how you get your students to make their own blog and how else you use it in class!

    1. Thanks - I see great potential in it. This is my first year using blogs so it's been a lot of trial and error. I have them use Blogger since it's connected to Google and it's what I use so I can help them with it. They make it at the beginning of the year and then post different things throughout the year. This year, I've had them do:

      1. Inquiry posts - we do some sort of discovery in class and then they post about what they learned
      2. Real-life connection posts - they have to explain how what we are learning applies in real life, and include images/videos from the web
      3. Student Videos - they write their own problems and record a video of them explaining it
      4. Student problems - they write their own problems and take a picture of it, posting it and including an analysis of it at the bottom
      5. Word Problem Playlists - they make their own word problem and put it in a MentorMob playlist; students then peer grade and evaluate each others work on a rubric

      A few other random things, but those are the main consistent ones. If you go to, you can find all my student blogs at the very bottom in 3 categories by period. Also, on the right side of that blog you can find "math class blog info", "wpp instructions", "wpp grading rubric", etc to help explain things more.

      I've learned a lot this year and hope to continue to use blogs in more effective ways next year :)

  2. I am trying to understand what the term flipped classroom means. Your blog is certainly prime example but its not the only blog to talk about this subject matter. It seems to be analogous to what is called the Kaizen principle in business. What I infer from your blog is you are essentially advocating for streamlining learning by removing what is unnecessary or unhelpful and employing those teaching strategies that net results. If that is your direction I think we are in the same boat.

    I work for Learn Bop ( and we are seeking to personalize the revolution occurring in teaching.

    From what I have inferred from your postings you are achieving this primarily by your personal engagement with students.

    I would love to hear more about your insight into this matter if you have a moment to share.


  3. Thanks for sharing this and introducing me to the Math Mistakes blog! I require my students to submit quiz/test corrections before they can re-take any quizzes and tests and I'm wondering if I can make the process more meaningful by tying it into the Math Mistakes blog. I'm going to play with this idea a little for the rest of the year to see if I want to incorporate it on a larger scale next year. I look forward to seeing what others may do with this blog as well.


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