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Digital Collaboration & Distance Learning in Middle School

Digital Collaboration & Distance Learning in Middle School

The first two weeks of this school year, I have been teaching a Geometry course for 8th graders in a face-to-face/distance learning hybrid. My students were spread across several campuses. I would physically teach from a different campus each day, which students from other campuses would join us via teleconference. My biggest concern as the first day of school approached… Read more →

Establishing a Growth Mindset in an Advanced Middle School Math Course

Establishing a Growth Mindset in an Advanced Middle School Math Course

We just completed the first week of school, and I taught a middle school Geometry course in a distance learning/face-to-face hybrid environment. My students were spread across several campuses and I physically taught the class from a different campus each day. This allowed the students to have face-to-face class time with their teacher on the days I visited their campus,… Read more →

Richard Skemp's Ambiguity of Understanding

Richard Skemp’s Ambiguity of Understanding

My oldest brother earned his undergraduate degree in astronomy. He puts it to good use. He studies space weather and helps design components for satellites. Sometimes we end up in remote locations with great views of the night sky. He enjoys pointing out some highlights: “The International Space Station should be visible near the horizon in view minutes over that… Read more →

The MS Proportionality Strand

The MS Proportionality Strand

Here’s the latest installment in my efforts to understand our students’ development of math concepts in the middle grades (based on the Texas curriculum laid out in the TEKS). My previous video looked at the Geometry strand, and I found the research eye-opening (and useful when working with students). As a long-time 8th grade math teacher, the take-away for me… 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 →

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 →