Uncategorized

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 →

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 →

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 →

Algorithms

Algorithms

Here are some interesting articles on arithmetic algorithms. I’ve always been intrigued by those who argue for some sort of golden algorithm.  For example, the best, and only way to multiply two digits by two digits is to start with a leading zero on the second line of multiplication. These algorithms didn’t spring from Zeus’ head fully formed.  My elementary… Read more →

We teach Children, not Math.

We teach Children, not Math.

This came from a friend on social media.  A great blog entry about a teacher who monitors her students’ social interactions in a subtle, but effective way. There’s so much to discuss in this article. I like the perspective of a parent asking for tutoring (for the parent) even though the kid “gets it.” I love that many folks read… Read more →

Memorizing multiplication tables

Memorizing multiplication tables

There has been a running debate on our campus about the importance of memorizing multiplication tables. Pro: The state test doesn’t allow calculators, so students need to multiply without a calculator. It’s the math equivalent to English/Language Arts teachers’ alphabet: the building blocks necessary to accomplish bigger things. Automaticity increases performance on multi-step problems.  If students have to stop to… Read more →

Technology to enrich and engage

Technology to enrich and engage

A recurring theme in Dan Meyer’s blog is capturing the educational opportunities that technology brings to our classrooms.  There is a subset of American teachers who are technology reactionaries.  They point out that the classrooms of their youth functioned without computers, iPods, LCD projectors, and PowerPoint presentations.  Back then, someone turned the knob to advance the filmstrip when they heard… Read more →