If you walk into Mrs. Anderson’s math class or Mrs. McLeod’s Spanish class, you may be surprised at what you hear. I know I was! I heard the following students being called on in Mrs. Anderson’s class: Hippocrates, Hudson, Olive, and Archimedes. In Mrs. McLeod’s class it was José, Pablo, Gabriela, and Carmen.
Why you ask? For years our Spanish teachers have started the year off by allowing their students to take on a Spanish name. This is an effort to completely immerse students in the culture and language, and plus, students love it! Calling students by their Spanish name sets the expectation that, “we speak Spanish in this class”. I often find it funny when I ask a Spanish teacher how a particular student is doing and they have to think for a moment because they know students by their Spanish name, not their English name!
So, why call students by alternate names in math class? Well, Mrs. Anderson read the book, Mindsets in the Classroom by Mary Cay Ricci over the summer and was inspired to instill a growth mindset in her students. She recognized that students often enter her class already disliking math or thinking that they aren’t good in math. Therefore, on the first week of school, Mrs. Anderson provided her students with a list of famous mathematicians, allowed them to choose a mathematicians last name, and then be identified as them. Melissa may not think she’s a great math student, but Newton surely is!