Beliefs About “Understanding” in Math, Dept.

traditional math

Here are some of many beliefs about “understanding” in math.  It was hard to choose from so many candidates, but feel free to add some of your own.  

We shouldn’t be teaching kids algorithms before they have the conceptual understanding.

The belief is that standard algorithms for mathematical operations (like adding/subtracting multidigit numbers, multiplying and dividing multidigit numbers, multiplying/dividing fractions, etc) eclipse the conceptual underpinning.  That is, why the algorithm works.

The standard way used to be taught first, and alternate ways later, after mastery of the standard algorithm. Now it’s other way around in the belief that std algorithms eclipse “understanding”. Side dishes now become the main course and students grow confused—sometimes profoundly so. 

Problems are to be solved in more than one way, in the belief that doing so imparts and gives evidence of “understanding”.  You have students being required to solve simple problems in multiple ways supposedly to enhance…

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Big news and the metric system — More Than A Mile Behind: America and the Metric System

First, the kilogram vote passed! We now have a scientifically defined kilogram. Second, I was interviewed by Vox News for their daily podcast. Right now it’s on its homepage. I’ll work to update the link once it’s archived. The metric system (or SI as it is known around the world) was first implemented in France […]

via Big news and the metric system — More Than A Mile Behind: America and the Metric System

Is Big Philanthropy Destroying Democracy? — Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

Stanford professor Rob Reich says we need look no further than Silicon Valley to see the influence rich people are wielding over American democracy. Reich points to Proposition C, a controversial “homelessness tax” that San Francisco voters passed by a wide margin in November. But Reich says public debate over the initiative was relegated, in…

via Is Big Philanthropy Destroying Democracy? — Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

Year two of Summit Learning in two Kentucky schools — Bluegrass Institute

Two middle schools in Kentucky’s Boone County Public School District adopted the Summit Learning program – one of the more frequently discussed digital learning programs – in the 2016-17 school year. We now have two years of KPREP test results for those schools to examine, and I start that process with mathematics changes. For a…

via Year two of Summit Learning in two Kentucky schools — Bluegrass Institute

The Assessment Capable Teacher, Part 2 — Auslandermum (Heidi)

Validity, Reliability, and Fairness As discussed in a previous post, assessment literate teachers – or assessment capable teachers as the PYP calls them – understand standards of assessment quality. The most commonly referenced standards are validity, reliability, and fairness. During my research I found that the complexity of these issues differed, depending upon who was […]

via The Assessment Capable Teacher, Part 2 — Auslandermum (Heidi)

Spaced Practice for Skill Learning — Learning Scientists Blog – The Learning Scientists

By Cindy NebelPsychologists often breakdown memory into different types. Long-term memory can be divided into two different types: explicit memories and implicit memories. Explicit memories are memories for events and facts. They are memories that we can easily think and talk about. Implicit memories are a bit different. Implicit memories include procedural (muscle) memories as…

via Spaced Practice for Skill Learning — Learning Scientists Blog – The Learning Scientists

Bullying has an impact that lasts years. I know – I’ve been a victim | Anita Sethi — Education | The Guardian

Depression, anxiety, panic attacks – it’s a major risk factor for mental health in adulthood. This Anti-Bullying Week, let’s encourage empathy and kindnessA scene that often replays in my mind is being 13 years old, curled up in the foetal position on the floor and being kicked in the ribs. I’m screaming but then my…

via Bullying has an impact that lasts years. I know – I’ve been a victim | Anita Sethi — Education | The Guardian

Facebook’s Underbelly: Do Whatever’s Necessary to Ward Off Critics — Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

Courtesy of Organ Museum. ©2013 http://www.AbodeofChaos.org November 15, 2018; CNBC, New York Times, and Variety Patrick Gaspard, president of the Open Society Foundations, publicly excoriated the senior executives of Facebook, including Sheryl Sandberg and Mark Zuckerberg, following a New York Times exposé on the tech company’s attempts to dissemble about the site’s influence during the…

via Facebook’s Underbelly: Do Whatever’s Necessary to Ward Off Critics — Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

SCHOOLS AND SUICIDES — The Merrow Report

Please allow me to lead with two very disturbing stories, the first about a 9-year-old boy in Denver, the second about a 9-year-old girl in Birmingham, Alabama: DENVER — Leia Pierce shuffled out the front door on Tuesday. Her son, Jamel Myles, 9, had killed himself last week, and she was still struggling with the […]

via SCHOOLS AND SUICIDES — The Merrow Report

Access to Algebra 1 in 8th Grade; the Never-ending Story

traditional math

“When students take Algebra I matters, but many students do not have early access.”
The Department is encouraging both access to and enrollment in STEM courses. Both aspects are important because, as we will see through the story, even where access to Algebra I classes are available students do not necessarily enroll in them.
The story is mostly grounded in civil rights issues and equity for all, but ignores a key factor in all this: Proponents of the Common Core math standards take a “Common Core wanted it this way” attitude, citing that the standards call for algebra in high school, but not in eighth grade. They take this stance despite Common Core allowing for such option as addresed in the Appendix to the math standards:
A “compacted” version of the Traditional pathway where…

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