Food for Thought

"We need a more noble destination than the end of Unit 9 by the end of June." -- The Math Projects Journal

A Great Argument for Going Deeper than the Basics

posted Jan 21, 2019, 1:32 PM by

Canadian educator, Michael Jacobs, posted a terrific example on how many of the issues that our students may have in elementary math (and beyond, I would argue) go deeper than just procedural fluency. In his recent post, he compares two common math questions and the surprising results he found.

A Different Way to Drill Math Facts

posted Dec 5, 2018, 10:30 AM by

With procedural practice being so important to success in mathematics, but higher order thinking and enjoyment of mathematics being equally important, Jo Boaler posts a video 1-minute video on how to drill-n-thrill, rather than drill-n-kill.

College Calculus Kills Student Confidence -- Especially for Women

posted Nov 14, 2018, 8:38 AM by

This article highlights a study by the Mathematics Association of America (MAA) conducted on the affects of college calculus, but it has some good ideas on making even high school calculus a "pump rather than a filter:"

"Create a positive atmosphere in which the instructors encourage students to ask questions; maintain a positive attitude towards students' mistakes; keep reasonable pacing of the lecture to ensure all students are on the same page, with time for individual, pair or group work; set high standards and clear expectations that all students can meet, and have availability to answer student questions and respond to student needs."

Lesson Imaging

posted Mar 5, 2018, 11:01 PM by

"Lesson Imaging" is an interesting way to think about lesson planning when teaching a task. It overlaps with the first of the 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematical Discussion ... Anticipation

Memorization vs. Thinking & Understanding

posted Oct 19, 2017, 6:50 PM by

In this New York Times article two math professors and a famous math education author weigh in on teaching math for memorization or for critical thinking and conceptual understanding. It should generate some constructive conversation. "All voices" should be heard, so be sure to chime in. 

Are We Really Preparing Them for College?

posted May 1, 2017, 10:06 AM by

With half of all college students dropping out in the first two years, can really say that we are preparing them for college?
In math, what would properly preparing them look like?

In his most recent post, But That Won't Prepare Them for College, Matt Larson addresses the conventional wisdom of preparing kids for college course work through traditional teaching methods. 

"The monolithic nature of college mathematics instruction, dominated by lecture and summative exams, is changing." -- Matt Larson, NCTM President

International Student Perception of US Schools

posted Apr 17, 2017, 9:59 AM by   [ updated Apr 17, 2017, 10:00 AM ]

A survey of foreign exchange students reveals interesting findings about what little has changed in American Education over the last 15 years.

"International students still think U.S. schools are much less challenging than schools in their home countries. "

Food for Thought: Less Challenging in what way? Intellectual challenge? Workload? Schedule?

NCTM President Calls for Balanced Instruction

posted Mar 22, 2017, 7:07 PM by

NCTM President, Matt Larson, recently quoted a Fordham Institute Report, 

“The Common Core math standards seek to bring a peaceful end to the ‘math wars’ of recent years by requiring equal attention to conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and application."

Yet, Larson is concerned that in too many classrooms, instruction of one or two of these components is being over-emphasized or under-emphasized to the detriment of the others. He calls for a balanced approach in his most recent NCTM article, The Elusive Search for Balance.

Desmos Actitivies

posted Feb 12, 2017, 5:20 PM by

With the terrific growth in the use of Desmos activities in the classroom, and the adoption of Desmos as the official calculator for Smarter Balance, Maria Castillo created a file that compiles many of the Desmos activities that apply to our curriculum.

What is a Good Task?

posted Feb 12, 2017, 5:07 PM by

There has been a great deal of conversation in PLC meetings about what exactly is a task. The attached document is a compilation of thoughts on mathematical tasks, by Common Core co-author, Bill McCallum. 

"A mathematical task is a problem or set of problems that focuses students' attention on a particular attention on a particular idea and/or provides an opportunity to develop or use a particular mathematical habit of mind."

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