Tag Archives: Use Appropriate Tools Strategically

How the Common Core Can Save Your Life (Or At Least Help You Graduate, Get Into College, and Win the Girl of Your Dreams)

I recently discovered a book called How Math Can Save Your Life: (And Make You Rich, Help You Find The One, and Avert Catastrophes) by James D. Stein, who shares his thoughts on problems and scenarios that confront us and how we can use math (or simple arithmetic) to solve those problems. He … Continue Reading ››

Reflections, Multiple Representations, and Key

Today I'd like to share my personal story about Key Curriculum Press, a company I've experienced as a classroom teacher, as an editor, and now as a parent. For many weeks now, I've been trying to write a post about some of the dismal trends I see in education right now, but I keep getting bogged … Continue Reading ››

Eat Your Vegetables! Do Your Math!

I was not a picky eater as a child. My parents had no trouble convincing me to eat my peas, artichokes, and even spinach (in the form of my dad’s delicious Thanksgiving stuffing). But I drew the line at Brussels sprouts. There was just no way for me to get over that cabbagy smell. [caption id="" … Continue Reading ››

The Ancient Abacus: Does it have a place in the classroom?

In a recent post, I shared a video of Conrad Wolfram’s TED talk that explores how the use of computers in the teaching of mathematics leads student to a richer math learning experience. But lately, I've been wondering: Could students find a similarly rich math learning experience through the abacus, a far less expensive … Continue Reading ››

Walk Like a Mathematician

Over the weekend, I attended the CMC-North conference at the Asilomar conference grounds. It's my favorite math teacher event of the year.
Photo by Captain Albert E. Theberge, NOAA Corps (retired)
When I was a teacher, the combination of the beautiful, … Continue Reading ››

Mathematics > Computation

I enjoy browsing the TED video collection, which includes a series of talks by “thinkers and doers” in the areas of technology, entertainment, and design (hence the acronym “TED”). Similar to the five-minute Ignite talks that Key Curriculum Press hosts at various math conferences, TED presentations challenge their speakers to give the “talk … 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 ››

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 ››