tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.comments2014-12-16T05:57:12.442-08:00kitchen table math, the sequelCatherine Johnsonhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03347093496361370174noreply@blogger.comBlogger43582125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-33708698332883074882014-12-16T05:57:12.442-08:002014-12-16T05:57:12.442-08:00That would be great if they taught time as an exam...That would be great if they taught time as an example of a non-base-10 system, but that was never the approach taken with my kids. Mainly they are taught visual tricks in order to decipher the analog time.<br /><br />My CS students tend to have a lot of trouble writing algorithms that process time, because they do not understand the idea of base-60. I have seen this problem not just at my current school, but even as far back as when I was a TA at a big engineering school. I suspect that time has generally never been taught as a non-base-10 systemFroggiemamanoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-81751723508879010722014-12-16T05:52:56.655-08:002014-12-16T05:52:56.655-08:00This post says pretty much the same thing as the l...This post says pretty much the same thing as the letter from the Middlebury College professor I posted earlier. In that letter, the professor blamed the rush to AP Calculus for her students "shockingly weak algebra skills". There was quite a bit of disagreement from some of the regulars here.<br />http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/17/opinion/lweb17math.html?_r=0<br /><br />The current post mentions "fluency" a lot, which on this blog tends to be conflated with the ability to quickly solve problems. But the poster also says "Algebra cannot just be a memorized set of procedures for finding 'x'.". I think he is arguing for something more. I think he is arguing for students to have the chance to fully internalize the language of algebra, so they really understand what they are doing.<br /><br />The poster seems to be arguing that algebra should be started in 7th grade. That, however, assumes that students have a high level of mastery of topics such as fractions. My kids could have done it, but many kids even in this high performing school district could not. I do not think kids should be pushed into algebra until they have demonstrated mastery - not just the ability to quickly solve problems, but real understanding.<br /><br />I like Common Core's emphasis on mastery of a smaller set of key topics, especially fractions, which appears to be a topic where many kids go astray. Froggiemamanoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-36873586371230341902014-12-16T00:00:15.549-08:002014-12-16T00:00:15.549-08:00Investment Website where you can with Hourly, Dail...Investment Website where you can with Hourly, Daily and hourly stable plans, just invest as low as $10 and earn within 24 hours<br /><a href="http://bit.ly/InvestOrg" rel="nofollow">InvestOrganization.com</a>Rehan Ahmedhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/14540698466300114619noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-38696193420289901962014-12-15T23:58:10.097-08:002014-12-15T23:58:10.097-08:00So why spend only one year [on algebra]? Why not s...<i>So why spend only one year [on algebra]? Why not start earlier?</i><br /><br />To be fair to our local administrators who are trying to eliminate as much "advanced" math as possible in the name of Common Core, they repeatedly claim that algebra is so fundamental to future studies that they want to make sure it is well-learned and not skimmed over. <br /><br />I strongly agree with them that getting algebra right is the key to success in all subsequent STEM studies. You can forget most of geometry and be embarrassingly shaky with your calculus and still become a successful practitioner, even professor, in many STEM fields (not physics), but if your algebra is shaky, you won't understand the explanations in most of your STEM textbooks. Algebra is less about solving equations than it is a language for thinking and communicating about how things are related, how they work, what has been discovered, what is being hypothesized.... It is a critical component of critical thinking.<br /><br />Unfortunately, instead of "why not start earlier?", the position of our administrators is to delay everything else in order to continue pre-algebra and algebra longer. Even worse, the proposed changes implicitly suggest that if taking longer to reach and finish algebra is helpful to some, <i>no one</i> else should be allowed to move ahead, no matter how well prepared. <br /><br />All should be delayed until everyone is ready.Glennoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-3814086120067037482014-12-15T18:57:09.977-08:002014-12-15T18:57:09.977-08:00My son liked PWN the SAT for math which has pushed...My son liked PWN the SAT for math which has pushed the idea that SAT-Math is not a math test for quite some time. Doing well on the SAT might get you into the admissions bucket of a better college, but it says little about STEM preparation.<br /><br />Advanced math in K-12 is more associated these days with the Art Of Problem Solving (AOPS) and the AMC series of tests. I can't say that I'm a big fan of that (competition versus exploring advanced material), but it's the name of the game these days. Some colleges ask for your AMC scores.<br /><br />SteveHhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03956560674752399562noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-71359526042029255802014-12-15T18:23:52.278-08:002014-12-15T18:23:52.278-08:00I think that the time on analog clocks is both wel...I think that the time on analog clocks is both well and properly spent in math classes. Kids learn about portions of circles; they start learning to deal with a non base-10, i.e., a base-60, system; and they are introduced to minutes and seconds, which show up in trigonometry and then later in fields that involve very small angles such as navigation and surveying.C Thttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01178189190498225759noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-45398031971494498652014-12-15T09:51:35.184-08:002014-12-15T09:51:35.184-08:00My kids spent lots of time on analog clocks, and m...My kids spent lots of time on analog clocks, and money too, in math class (why math class, anyway? telling time seems like more of a life skill to me).Froggiemamanoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-78606811864997968692014-12-14T18:07:02.208-08:002014-12-14T18:07:02.208-08:00Our schools did spend a lot of time on basic analo...Our schools did spend a lot of time on basic analog clock and money skills ... or else they would have parents all over them.<br /><br />SteveHhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03956560674752399562noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-13390874856444151052014-12-14T17:56:53.893-08:002014-12-14T17:56:53.893-08:00I suffered from the Murray Gell-Mann amnesia effec...I suffered from the Murray Gell-Mann amnesia effect for a long time. I assumed that journalism and public debate in areas outside of my area of expertise were somehow better. I also suffered from the idea that others think like I do - trying to be honest with myself and my assumptions. I still have a hard time understanding how people interpret reality via their beliefs. Educators love to say "research shows" after they have already adopted something they believe in. <br /><br />And some people deliberately manipulate things for what, the greater good? For their political party or slate? Some believe that education is a political battle, and you just can't talk to some people. <br /><br />I claim that we have won the blog battle on education. Nobody disagrees any more like they once did. Now we are just ignored. This is not a battle where if we came up with just the right research or knowledge, things would change. This is not about (mere) facts. This is a battle of who gets control, and my vote is for parents.<br /><br />SteveHhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03956560674752399562noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-82732833613980652532014-12-13T17:09:11.815-08:002014-12-13T17:09:11.815-08:00When arguing with pretend experts, Google Scholar ...When arguing with pretend experts, Google Scholar is your best friend:<br /><br /><a href="http://scholar.google.com/" rel="nofollow">Google Scholar</a><br /><br />It's an online search engine which searches scholarly journals. When we were told that they were the experts and that we had no right to an opinion (really--in those words,) we were able to deliver a 6-inch high stack of journal articles that said we were right and they were wrong. About 2 or three years later, they actually changed the way they did things.<br /><br />Change is slow.Auntie Annhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/05777983027361603449noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-32160553915434585842014-12-13T16:03:24.756-08:002014-12-13T16:03:24.756-08:00No idea whether schools are teaching analog clocks...No idea whether schools are teaching analog clocks these days, but reading them is huge problem when it comes to standardized testing (kids can't use anything that beeps, which almost all digital watches do). I think it was Stacey Howe-Lott, whom Debbie Stier worked with, who suggested bringing an analog watch and setting it back to the hour at the start of each section. That sounds pretty simple, but most kids can't handle it. It's the equivalent of inserting an extra math problem at the start of each section. SATVerbalTutor.http://www.blogger.com/profile/14362826669168491773noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-2733614145782072002014-12-13T16:02:05.646-08:002014-12-13T16:02:05.646-08:00I ... developed a sense of how thin my adversaries...I ... developed a sense of how thin my adversaries' knowledge was. That's not a criticism. Administrators can't possibly know everything about every subject...."<br /><br />Since you're not willing to make that a criticism, allow me: it is inexcusable for a school administrator to not understand math education.<br /><br />School administrators claim to be, and are certainly paid as, professionals. An important part of the definition of a professional is that he is responsible for continuously educating himself in his field. A doctor is expected to keep himself abreast of new research and approved treatments. A lawyer is expected to track court decisions. And I expect (and every state formally expects, unless I'm much mistaken) a professional educator to expend similar effort in tracking the state of his profession.<br /><br />We're not talking about a fringe subject. Math is, and is understood to be, as fundamental to education as reading and writing.<br /><br />Further, we pay teachers for, and provide time on the clock for, continuing education in education. "In-service days" are often (usually? always?) used for exactly that.<br /><br />So I consider administrators not understanding what's going on not to be merely worthy of criticism, but to be a damning indictment of their professionalism and competence.Doug Sundsethhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01848091504066560951noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-77289994158082546152014-12-13T12:10:31.204-08:002014-12-13T12:10:31.204-08:00That error was integral to the plot of Ramona the ...That error was integral to the plot of Ramona the Pest 50 years ago. Kids didn't know how to read clocks then either.<br /><br />Buy nowadays, most kids don't know what money is, so a quarter being 25 is already assuming experience they don't have.<br /><br />allisonhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11240524782309335161noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-74370262433334028842014-12-13T11:56:12.185-08:002014-12-13T11:56:12.185-08:00Not only do they not know how to tell time on an a...Not only do they not know how to tell time on an analog clock, they don't understand common phrases such as "quarter after 6" - they will think you mean 6:25 ~Anonymousnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-74744188507954433682014-12-13T10:19:38.539-08:002014-12-13T10:19:38.539-08:00When someone uses the "research shows" B...When someone uses the "research shows" BS with me, I not only ask to cite the research (which in many cases they cannot, but when they can it's usually very easy to poke it full of holes) but come back with "That's funny, I've seen some research that shows the opposite." If you're arguing with someone skilled in such arguments, that's when they'll come in with "I think we're all really saying the same thing."<br /><br />Which is when I say "No. We're really not."Barry Garelickhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01281266848110087415noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-30147837862919142682014-12-13T10:15:12.865-08:002014-12-13T10:15:12.865-08:00A very little bit. I have many students who ask m...A very little bit. I have many students who ask me what time it is. I point to the clock on the wall, and they tell me they don't know how to read that kind of clock.Barry Garelickhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01281266848110087415noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-62983378503614348822014-12-13T10:09:03.763-08:002014-12-13T10:09:03.763-08:00a bit, yes.a bit, yes.Courtney Ostaffhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/04327281665395277255noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-14589653324427118102014-12-13T08:38:27.808-08:002014-12-13T08:38:27.808-08:00For educators, jargon hides a lot of sins. We had ...For educators, jargon hides a lot of sins. We had an administrator talking about how they don't just use one type of assessment anymore; now, they use "formative and summative" assessments. How many parents knew what that meant? And how many were swayed by the high-falutin'-sounding jargon?<br /><br />I cringed, but might have been the only one in the room who did.Auntie Annhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/05777983027361603449noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-45716583190382344282014-12-10T09:50:50.822-08:002014-12-10T09:50:50.822-08:00Math Night was cancelled when full inclusion start...Math Night was cancelled when full inclusion started. After parents of twins complained about the difference between classroom offerings, the dept chair set the syllabis and eliminated everything needed to score as 'advanced', focussing classroom time on basics in order to make everuone into 2s and 3s. Parents who protested were branded elites and told that offering the grade level course was elitist and they should be ashamed of themselves for attempting to steal the teachers' time away from 'those that REALLY need her'. Middle classmparents Immediately started afterschooling. Common Core is no better. <br />8th Algebra selection here is good ol boy (GOB), no recommendation, no seat no matter what your test scores say. These days so many are flunking out of preA due to poor K-6 prep that well behaved nonGOB mathy kids can get a seat in 8th Alg.....but the majority have been afterschooled as so much is omitted from ele.lgmnoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-25234142709736677502014-12-10T06:52:29.991-08:002014-12-10T06:52:29.991-08:00"Students must score at Level 3 or higher to ..."Students must score at Level 3 or higher to be considered proficient in the skills and knowledge for their grades"<br /><br />Proficiency is not average or even "college ready", but still, they have a problem. <br /><br />"Smarter Balanced based its achievement projections on 4.2 million studentsâ€™ performance on field-test items last spring."<br /><br />The devil is in the details. One of the problems with modern ideas of testing is that they want to test fuzzy concepts, like understanding and critical thinking. Perhaps teachers who see kids every day can make that judgment, but not yearly, standardized tests. Why not just use Accuplacer and ACT/SAT because that's what most vocational schools and colleges use? Forget proficiency. Just show kids and parents how they are progressing towards the tests that post high schools use.<br /><br />SteveHhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/03956560674752399562noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-46794960894261529032014-12-09T20:50:31.423-08:002014-12-09T20:50:31.423-08:00MSMI has done several parent math nights.
When we...MSMI has done several parent math nights.<br /><br />When we are asked to give a math talk by a school and it is well attended, it is because the parents are upset. If it is very well attended, it is because the parents are in an uproar about the math program.<br /><br />Since we generally are going in to fix the math program, or or to support a math change to it, our goal is first to name the problem. We explain the issue (nationally, not just locally, not just here, wherever we are, but nationally) is that US curricula are not preparing kids for algebra. We tell parents what they know intuivitely but can't name. We tell them what they've watched their older kids suffered through. Then we explain we need to change what we teach, when we teach it, and what the teachers know about the maththey teach to fix it. When we are done, generally, parents calm down and give us the benefit of the doubt. <br /><br />Usually, the second math night (a followup) has 1/4 of the turnout the first one had.<br /><br />If a math night has no attendees, it is because math is doing just fine--the parents are concerned about some other problem.<br /><br />Parents don't have time to go to meetings if things are fine. They go to indicate their disapproval or their concern.<br /><br />We also found if the *children* put on the math night, as one of the grade night programs, it is well received--so if we want parents to learn about the math program, learn the games to practice math facts, etc. then it needs to be a child-centered event. Parents come when kids put on a math carnival. They even enjoy it. It does not need to be fuzzy math--kids LOVE stumping their parents at mental math calculations and bar modeling.Allisonhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/06408991474726018210noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-86406555175220831812014-12-09T17:16:20.939-08:002014-12-09T17:16:20.939-08:00We've had math nights since the middle 1980...We've had math nights since the middle 1980's, and maybe before (I don't remember before, but I was in charge of organizing one around 1986 and it was already an established annual event). We also had -- and still have -- Literacy Nights. <br /><br />There wasn't any agenda other than to get parents involved in seeing what the students were doing and sharing some interesting activities. I remember setting up little stations by grade level for kids and their parents to do something that reflected the curriculum for the grade. We had a "Battleship" station for plotting points on a grid with the x and y axes, some with only positive integers and others with positive and negative. We also posted work samples (with names removed) that showed fair, good and excellent work that illustrated achievement of the expectations of the particular grade level. The purpose was to help parents, who were often immigrants, to understand what their children were learning and what they were expected to do to show their learning. These were all low-SES areas and the family nights were always well-received.<br /><br />We found that getting parents to "meetings" was always a challenge -- we'd be lucky if 10 people out of 800 turned up for a "parent meeting." But for active participation events, it was standing room only.<br /><br />I'm sure "math nights" or "literacy nights" could be used for propaganda, but they have also been used for years simply to engage the community and keep the community informed of what the students are doing (non-parents were and are also welcome; all school events are publicized in community media).palisadeskhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/13700503881038569921noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-74203823239672660992014-12-09T16:29:22.006-08:002014-12-09T16:29:22.006-08:00This comment has been removed by the author.Barry Garelickhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01281266848110087415noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-69885258793317867272014-12-09T15:40:59.899-08:002014-12-09T15:40:59.899-08:00Our math nights here in Silicon Valley sometimes t...Our math nights here in Silicon Valley sometimes turn into shouting matches. A majority of parents in our neighborhood seem to be Asian or European immigrants and tend to work for tech companies. For the last three years or so, administrators in our district have had to start each math night at the lone middle school in our small district with an announcement meant to quiet the parents: "Before anyone says anything, no, Common Core does not mean eliminating the advanced math track. We have no plans to do so. Now, hold your questions, and let's talk about Common Core...." ("Advanced" means a few 6th graders get pre-algebra instead of "6th grade math.")<br /><br />Since our district's last math night, our neighboring school district (200 meters from my house) has decided that, yes, <a href="http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articles/lnews/2014-11-27/math-course-changes-stir-parent-zeal-san-mateo-foster-city-elementary-school-district-changing-offerings-because-of-common-core/1776425134070.html" rel="nofollow">Common Core DOES mean eliminating the advanced track.</a> <br /><br /><i>"...the districtâ€™s move away from offering more advanced courses like introductory algebra and geometry courses. This is coming with the new shift to Common Core standards that focus more on the use of technology in the classroom and projects, the district said. This is cause for worry in parents ...."</i><br /><br />In fact, they are claiming that Common Core will mean that not just geometry but even algebra will be eliminated for most middle school students, in order to "focus more on the use of technology in the classroom and projects."<br /><br /><i>"The proposed common-core math pathway for an average student starts with Common Core math in middle school, then follows [in high school] algebra I, geometry, algebra II and pre-calculus...."</i><br /><br />The argument they make for eliminating the advanced track for everyone is that 30% of those who were advanced in 6th grade were getting Ds and Fs in calculus years later. No discussion of what the schools did in between, of course. Quality of teaching, assessment, fixing problems as they arise.... No. They're talking as if kids are ballistic projectiles, and if 30% end up in a bad place in 11th grade, it can only be because the schools aimed too high five years earlier. The 70% who succeeded are elite outliers, so the solution is to set our sights lower for everyone and, with Common Core, we can.<br /><br />With this going on next door, I have a feeling that the next "math night" in our district will be more animated than ever.<br /><br />Glennoreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-7691251033406320222.post-43438094672697378812014-12-09T09:21:19.740-08:002014-12-09T09:21:19.740-08:00And if everybody must be above average, and 90%+ m...And if everybody must be above average, and 90%+ must be fabulous, the testing must be mush.Auntie Annhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/05777983027361603449noreply@blogger.com