Numbers. Your basic operations. Some advanced operations — “power ups” as wonderfully coined by the wise and whimsical Berkeley Everett, who is K to 5 Math Facilitator at UCLA Math Projects. His background also includes being a classical and jazz pianist.
Two weeks ago, I showed a particular set of four Albert’s Insomnia cards that I dealt out a few years back. They looked innocuous, but some magic lay far up ahead to those particular cards.
The phrase falling behind — regardless of what it is — implies you are involved in a race that has been branded important by someone other than yourself. It also implies a velocity to catch-up/stay in the race.
Races are to be won and lost. Trophies given out to the winners and medals of regret, shame, and loss of self-worth to the losers. Be wary of people who utter these phrases. …
I have a confession to make. I am not a math person. Yes, math is a large part of my life, but it washes through me like other things I am curious/passionate about — music, art, film, literature, sports, etc. I understand the statement, especially since its aim is to provide comfort/solace to those who have been unsuccessful with math — especially those who have suffered trauma with the subject.
But, I am just a person who relishes and dabbles in many things, and enjoys all the bounty of knowledge that the universe has to offer. Mathematics is no greater…
One of the pillars of Social and Emotional Learning(SEL) is the healthy development of all the emotions of our students, and the consequent management of them in their learning.
In mathematics, SEL does not play a significant enough role in the learning — and appreciation — of mathematics. While emotions like anger/frustration compete with joy/elation on the other end, these emotions are outputs after the mathematics has been done. And, for the most part, they just wander and drift aimlessly from student to student. So yes, anger exists and joy exists. But, so do others.
What if we got in…
How many non-white people are questioning anti-racist math education? I would venture to say almost zero. There is a dangerous space of conversation, led by white people, that say we need to critically look at things, adopting the default Platonist view of mathematics — and that it should be looked at first.
In short, that Western perspective, is only one perspective, but has been the dominant one in math education from the get go. So, when discussions start happening about anti-racist math education(ARME), good intentioned math educators feel compelled to man/Eurocentricsplain that there is nothing inherently racist about the way…
Remarkable photo. A strange meeting of coffee and cream, creating a transient moment of the yin yang symbol.
I took that photo.
I took that photo 8 years ago. It was the coffee of my close friend and math mentor, Peter Harrison. Peter is also a practicing Buddhist. Four months after this picture was taken, I would quit teaching.
I had lost my balance.
In 2021, I am going to argue that mathematics, as viewed and digested by society, has lost its balance as well. One of my first articles on Medium that had some resonance was the one below.
When we say films are timeless, we generally are speaking to their lasting value in terms of how great and universal the story is, with messages that transcend time, and have little conflict left to resolve.
All of us wish we could say a movie like Freedom Writers(2007), based on the true story of the teacher Erin Gruwell and the over 100 students she taught to use their own words/writing to change themselves and the world, is now out of date.
Racism never has gone out of date. In fact, this movie’s “time” has never been more important than now…
The last chapter that I have to write for Chasing Rabbits: A Curious Guide to a Lifetime of Mathematical Wellness is the penultimate one, Chapter 8: Through The Looking Glass.
My writing process is scribbled and scattered, much like my life. So, it’s not a surprise that the 9 chapters in my next book were written completely out of order. You wouldn’t know that by reading the book. So, strangely, my disorder serves up order.
The chapter in question that needs my final attention is about looking at mathematics through an entirely different lens. If traditional math problems can be…
When I taught at the International School of Lausanne in Switzerland in 2005, the school had a very strict policy of banning ipods in the classroom. Even though I was a new teacher to the school, I wrote a very long letter to the Director of the school telling him why students should be allowed to listen to music in at least my math classes. Somewhat surprisingly, Simon Taylor, wholeheartedly accepted my argument, and the ban was no longer in place, and up to the discretion of the teacher.
One of the early fruits of this decision came soon after…
Twentieth century ideas about math education are dead.
Twentieth century ideas about math education are also walking around — lead feet, intrusive, and lurching — and scaring the hell out of math educators who are trying to rebuild mathematics from the ashes of the achievement-oriented/performance-driven/individualism culture.
In previous articles, I had referenced Weekend at Bernie’s, but that analogy isn’t working anymore — things aren’t funny anymore. It’s more grisly now.
Worksheets. Assignment after assignment. Unearthly discussions of grading/mark distribution. Ghostly and ghastly emphasis on tracking/streaming, and funneling into fictitious career preparedness.
Let me give you Exhibit A: My son’s updated…
Author of Pi of Life: The Hidden Happiness of Mathematics and Co-Author of Math Recess: Playful Learning in the Age of Disruption. Speaker. Amplify and Mathigon