kitchen table math, the sequel: 6/12/11 - 6/19/11

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Miseducation of America

I STILL haven't had a chance to read her book, but found these videos very informative!

Charlotte Thompson Iserbyt served as the head of policy at the Department of Education during the first administration of Ronald Reagan. While working there she discovered a long term strategic plan by the tax exempt foundations to transform America from a nation of rugged individualists and problem solvers to a country of servile, brainwashed minions who simply regurgitate whatever they’re told.

Friday, June 17, 2011

SAT Critical Reading & Writing Tips

I've started keeping track the SAT lessons that might be helpful to others. The first posts are Critical Reading and Writing tips from my meeting with Erica Meltzer.

The list will be stored here: Solutions

UPDATED with clarification that this example is merely to point out what to look for when reading these sentences for errors.

(Cross posted on Perfect Score Project)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

the problem

Even though the Singapore method has won acclaim from researchers, no large urban or suburban school system in the United States has fully embraced it.
D.C.’s Bruce-Monroe school faces challenges as it tries Singapore math method
By Bill Turque, Published: June 6
Washington Post
That is the problem.

When was the last time a large urban or suburban school system embraced methods that have won acclaim from researchers?

Speaking of acclaim from researchers, I opened up my latest issue of Direct Instruction News and spotted the name of the elementary school in my town: the very same elementary school two of our kids attended ... and there it was, inside the pages of a publication about Direct Instruction ----

I was gobsmacked.

Turns out the BOCES program housed inside the school is using SRA programs.

A person on the DI list says some of the BOCES programs have been using SRA programs for 5 years now!

Martha Kolln on new verbs and old

Most of our verbs -- all except 150 or so -- are regular, as are all the new verbs that we acquire. For example, here are two recent acquaisitions:

I faxed a letter to you yesrerday.
I have e-mailed the invitation to our reunion.

Understanding English Grammar 8th edition
Martha Kolln and Robert Funk
p. 68
I guess people can stop worrying about the weird new words being created by texting teenagers.

The new verbs are lots more regular than the old ones.

Understanding English Grammar By Kolln & Funk (8th, Eighth Edition)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Excellent SAT Critical Reading and Writing blog

I've spent the last few days picking through every nook and cranny of The Ultimate SAT Verbal blog. I'd say it's the most extensive and accurate SAT Critical Reading and Writing advice I can find.

Any other SAT site suggestions?

(cross-posted on the Perfect Score Project)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

men and women and spatial rotation

Abstract: The largest consistent sex difference in human cognition is found on mental rotation tests, which require participants to compare pictures of three-dimensional objects and decide whether they depict the same object or different objects. Across cultures, males score up to one standard deviation higher than females. We administered two standard rotation tests to 123 participants and found that these higher scores likely do not reflect superiority in the process of mental rotation per se, but rather in other aspects of task performance. Our results show that males decide more accurately when two objects are different, a situation in which women are more likely to claim incorrectly that they are the same, and that individual differences in confidence are responsible for part of the male advantage found on this test, whereas differences in spatial encoding ability are not. These results have implications for evolutionary theories of sex differences in spatial cognition.
Christopher F. Chabris: Selected Publications
Hooven, C.K., Chabris, C.F., Ellison, P.T., Kievit, R.A., & Kosslyn, S.M. (2008). The sex difference on mental rotation tests is not necessarily a difference in mental rotation ability. Submitted for publication. PDF file of manuscript
Years ago, I read an article that said Mozart had written 72 drafts of one composition.*

That struck me as the difference between a genius and a near-genius: the genius can still hear the wrong note after 71 drafts.

I don't understand the difference between spatial encoding ability and deciding that two objects are different. I assume the article will clear that up.

* 72 or thereabouts

SAT Gender Gap

The College Board Trend Report shows boys scoring higher in math than girls.

I have to believe this is cultural rather than wiring.

Cross Posted on Perfect Score Project

Monday, June 13, 2011

SAT Critical Reading -- What's the Most Effective Way to Improve?

I've just started to look deeply into the SAT Critical Reading section. I often find SAT reading passages to be arduous (putting it generously).

My informal poll left me with the impression that it's not easy to move a Critical Reading score.

Daniel Willingham says Critical Reading strategies can help, but are more of a trick than a skill.

That said, I had a game changing meeting with Erica Meltzer the other day and will be following this up with a post about the strategies she taught me, which I passed on to my son who was very appreciative and said it made that section much better.

In the meantime, you can read her post about How to Study for SAT Critical Reading.

(Cross Posted on Perfect Score Project)