Issuing a Recall

I was recently in a school where an Algebra 2 teacher was lamenting how painful it was to allow his students to use calculators in class and on tests. His diatribe reminded me of my stand on calculators in the classroom when NCTM first recommended their use in the late 1980s. I questioned why I … Continue Reading ››

So, What Counts as Mathematics?

Last week Andres referenced the Washington Post op-ed, How much math do we really need? This is an important question, particularly since more states are requiring students to take advanced algebra to graduate from high school.  But, I am more interested in the question:

Does taking math matter if students can’t use it?

Data and Statistics: A Way of Thinking

One word comes to mind when I think about data and statistics: FEAR. My own educational experience with data and statistics is not exactly stellar. I don’t remember learning it in high school (apart from mean-median-mode), and in college I took calculus-based statistics before finishing calculus. When I did come across statistics in school, it was … Continue Reading ››

When a Silent Board Game Speaks Volumes

I love Sandy’s metaphor of the waves of educational reform: As a teacher of mathematics since the mid-seventies, I have seen a lot of “waves” of reform come and go. All promise increased student performance with the implementation of the latest bells and whistles…. The latest “wave” of reform is the Common Core State Standards. I was … Continue Reading ››

Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There: Words of Advice from a Common Core Author

“Don’t just do something, stand there.” That’s a line Dr. Bill McCallum, one of the writers of the Common Core State Standards, used in his presentation at the California Algebra Forum in San Jose, CA, which I attended last week.

Dr. Bill McCallum, one of the writers of the standards, used the line, “Don’t just do something, stand there,” when introducing the Standards for Mathematical Practice. He described a how he uses this line frequently in his teaching and it immediately struck a chord with me.

Standards that tell you how to understand?

Several weeks ago, I spent a lot of time reviewing the grades 3–6 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and identifying Sketchpad activities that addressed these standards. Through this immersion, I noted some themes that were quite different in the CCSS than the many other state standards I’ve reviewed in my time. One of the things that … Continue Reading ››

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