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!
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I'll admit it: I had to struggle to watch the documentary film Waiting for
“Superman” with an open mind.
I’ve had the privilege of working with many dedicated and intelligent educators, and if the systemic challenges of public education could be solved in a … Continue Reading ››
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 ››
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?
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.” 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.
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 ››
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. Being a Floridian, I know that both the size of the “wave” and the impact it has depends on the distance … Continue Reading ››
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 ››