Tag Archives: Problem Solving

Influencing the Jury

I was flipping through TV channels recently when I came upon The Defenders, a courtroom drama. The show was new to me, but one courtroom scene—and one line in particular—resonated with my experience as an educator. In this scene, the defense attorney (and star of the show) gave a very short opening statement to the jury. … Continue Reading ››

Back to the Future: Finding Traces of the Common Core in an 1893 Textbook

I was taken aback when I saw that a theater was showing the Michael J. Fox movie, Back to the Future, in celebration of its 25th anniversary. My first thought was, “Darn, am I that old?” After taking my Gingko Biloba, my memory was successfully jogged … Continue Reading ››

Warning: Discomfort May Lead To Learning

Chaos. That's the way I would describe my first attempt at having my students try cooperative learning. Utter, complete chaos. Which came as a complete surprise to me at the time, because, after all, I had attended the training on cooperative learning and had done everything just the way I'd heard it explained! Continue Reading ››

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?

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.