kitchen table math, the sequel: 8/4/13 - 8/11/13

Friday, August 9, 2013

Passage from McGuffey's Sixth Reader

I'd been wanting to post a passage from McGuffey's Sixth Eclectic Reader Revised Edition (1879) for ages now, but it seemed too long for a blog.

Now that I've discovered Blogger's Page feature, I've added a Page called "What people used to be able to read."

Bad-news scores

My district's first set of Common Core scores. (Sample test questions.)

I read a funny letter in the Times today from the mother of a child in third grade:
[snip] I am a journalist and editor, and I found the writing on my third grader’s sample language arts test so dense (and dull!) that even I sometimes had trouble reaching correct answers. Likewise, sample questions for the third-grade math test, which are intended to measure greater complexity in thinking, looked to me like basic word problems with lots of superfluous words.
Naturally that second observation forced me to drop everything (or, more accurately, further delay beginning everything) and check the 3rd-grade math questions.

I found this:
Two groups of students from Douglas Elementary School were walking to the library when it began to rain. The 7 students in Mr. Stem’s group shared the 3 large umbrellas they had with Ms. Thorn’s group of 11 students. If the same number of students were under each umbrella, how many students were under each umbrella?

You may use the space below to draw a picture of the problem.
Mom's got a point.


I saw a bunch of you 'friended' me (or whatever it is one does on Goodreads) -- fantastic!

What fun!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Leader shmeader

Debbie S. sent me this link to a Times story on Berkeley's holistic approach to reading applications --- amazing!
....Another reader thinks the student is “good” but we have so many of “these kids.” She doesn’t see any leadership beyond the student’s own projects.

Listening to these conversations, I had to wonder exactly how elite institutions define leadership.

Confessions of an Application Reader
Lifting the Veil on the Holistic Process at the University of California, Berkeley
Published: August 1, 2013
Remind me to tell you my story about the time the Dartmouth admissions officer came to Irvington.

Actually, why don't I go ahead and tell the leadership part of the story now.

During his talk the Dartmouth guy mentioned "leadership" so many times that finally a parent in the audience raised his hand and said, "What if your child isn't a leader?"

The admissions officer said, and I am close to quoting: "There are many ways to be a leader. Being a good follower is being a leader."

Perplex this!

I'm thick in the middle of things, but in my travels today I came across this passage (two seconds ago, actually) and I had to post.
Dan Meyer, 31, is in the process of becoming a celebrity math teacher (hey, it’s a small group). Much of his rapid trajectory upward can be explained by his message, which involves a digital curriculum that will (he says) instantly engage and perplex kids and thus resolve all classroom management issues (more on this later), a message tailor-made to appeal to both techies, since it implicitly attacks all teachers, and progressive educators, since it is inherently constructivist.

Dan Meyer and the Gatekeepers
He had me at "instantly engage and perplex kids and thus resolve all classroom management issues."