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 ››

Classifying shapes into a hierarchy is a 5th grade standard? Really?!

As I recently worked on correlating our materials to the newly released Common Core State Standards, I was surprised to find many of the topics we commonly associate with a high school geometry course placed throughout the standards for elementary grades. I was surprised, but not shocked. In fact, I've believed for a long … Continue Reading ››

Will the Common Core State Standards change math instruction?

I regularly tell my colleagues that teaching AP Calculus made me a much better pre-algebra teacher. Why? It's not like 17-year-old calculus students and 17-year-old pre-algebra students have similar learning styles and needs. A calculus course takes pre-algebra skills for granted. So I can’t point to a great deal of content overlap. The reason is simple: … Continue Reading ››

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