In Pursuit of the Wannado Curriculum

The main issue in schooling is addressed in this wonderful comic by Lynn Johnston. In my book, The WannaDo Curriculum, I make a distinction between “want to do” and “wanna do.” In the former, what you aim for is what it takes to achieve good grades. The latter involves engaging in an activity that children…

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Imagining the Unimaginable

In her book Imaginable, Jane McGonigal draws on the latest scientific research in psychology and neuroscience to show us how to train our minds to think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable.  As a math educator for 50+ years, I find my self thinking more and more about what math educators don’t think (Imagine) enough about. …

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Math via Pi Day Stories is Powerful Stuff

March 13, 2022 Recently I have been thinking about the importance and power of … storytelling in teaching and learning mathematics. Through … storytelling, students can engage in ways that develop a positive mathematical identity in which they see themselves as thinkers and doers of mathematics and as a mathematician. – Trena Wilkerson – President…

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Eratosthenes Measures the Earth

Noonday Project Here is a letter that appeared in the AMTNJ (Association of Math Teacher of New Jersey) newsletter in 2010. That’s the last time that CIESE participated in the project. Dear Colleagues: Twice a year I give a shout out to all that can hear about my favorite collaborative project called the Noonday Project…

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Retirement Opens a Window…

Retirement is an opportunity, a new beginning, fresh possibilities … or so they say. But what if you retired in 2007? Isn’t it almost time to wrap it up? Well, the answer is no, because I haven’t crossed off everything on my bucket list. So maybe a bucket list is not a good metaphor for…

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All about Rigor (Or is it Rigor-mortis?)

Recently President (of NCTM) Trena Wilkerson wrote: Consider these three “Rs” of mathematics: students should engage in rigorous and challenging mathematics that is relevant to their lives and is responsive to their background experiences, cultures, interests, and knowledge.”  Math educators seem to love the term rigor, but for 9th and 10th-grade students it scares the…

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What I did during the Pandemic

Now that we have a vaccine and there is a light at the end of the Pandemic tunnel, I want to share with you what I did to keep my sanity during this time. I took on the fractions barrier challenge. Let me explain. I was reading an article by Tom Loveless in which he…

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My Trip to Number Town

The problem many people have with school arithmetic [fractions] is that they never get to the meaning stage; it remains forever an abstract game of formal symbols. Keith Devlin, The Math Instinct This is particularly true when students are confronted with fractions. Not only are they overwhelmed by the myriad of rules one has to…

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