Johnny Math Teacher

Growth Mindset and High Expectations for All

Growth Mindset and High Expectations for All

In most job interviews, I believe the interviewers have the one question. They will ask lots of things, look at resumes and transcripts, but there is one question that he or she really cares about, that makes the difference in his or her final decision. The question may be different for each person on an interview panel, but I believe it’s there. When I… Read more →

Pencils or Sharpies in Math Class?

Pencils or Sharpies in Math Class?

For years, I was a victim of the way I was taught. Each year, the school supply list required black and blue pens, a red pen for trading-and-grading, and pencils for math. As I did my math homework, I remember my aunt fussing at me if I wasn’t using a pencil. So when I set up my own classroom, I allowed… Read more →

Shading your DESMOS triangle

Shading your DESMOS triangle

In a recent post I showed how I created movable triangles of fixed dimensions on a Desmos graph. It’s nice to have an outlined triangle, but nicer to shade in that triangle and make it easier to see. That is accomplished through clever application of Desmos’ ability to shade inequalities. This is actually a simpler application than others. I have… Read more →

Reflections on Number Talks

Reflections on Number Talks

I’ve been working through Jo Boaler’s “How to Learn Math” course, and it’s fantastic. It was really good until about session 5 when it became awesome. She describes a classroom activity that I believe is just as beneficial for math teachers as it is for students. She uses Number Talks as a way to develop number sense and flexibility among students…. Read more →

Newly Acquired DESMOS Skills

Newly Acquired DESMOS Skills

If you haven’t heard of Desmos yet, prepare to explore some new horizons. Imagine an online graphing calculator that is intuitive, elegant, and powerful. Not imagine that is only one facet of a greater mathematics learning tool. That’s Desmos. I’ve been working with Desmos’ activity builder creating some new things, translating some of our old manipulatives to a new format, and… Read more →

The Performance of Math

The Performance of Math

I’ve posted about the demonstration of the volumes of matching cones and cylinders in the past.  Today, part of my workday was spent looking for “digital resources” related to this relationship. I found some great stuff, and I found some of the horrible pieces I came across in the past. So here’s the deal. We expect middle school students to… Read more →

Real-World Math

Real-World Math

The Texas Education Agency posted “released tests” from last Spring’s STAAR administration this week.  I was surprised by this question from the 6th grade assessment: Does that diagram really help students better understand the question?  Are 6th graders looking at that picture and thinking, “Ooooh!  I got it!  It’s leaking water!”?  Better yet, we haven’t stored water in barrels like… Read more →

Teacher Bullies

Teacher Bullies

A recent conversation at work centered around the power of teachers.  We all know how much influence educators have on developing minds.  We all carry vivid memories of our most loved and most despised teachers.  Here’s an amusing example of this influence.  Think about your online passwords.  Think about the security questions you use to recover them.  The questions are… Read more →

Groundbreaking Work - Groundbreaking!

Groundbreaking Work – Groundbreaking!

I enjoy the Oscars, yeah, I’m one of those.  But when these actors gush about how all of them are doing “GROUNDBREAKING” work.  Well, come on! So let’s gush about some of my colleagues who are doing groundbreaking work! My campus journalism teacher who sends kids out to take campus photos, then gives them immediate feedback and sends them back… Read more →