This Week in Math Ed: March 31, 2017

The Alamo!
(Weird fact: Turn 180 degrees and you'd be taking a picture of the Ripley's Believe it or Not across the street.)

Hello from San Antonio! I'm here for the ASSM Annual Meeting and am preparing for a great week of learning from NCSM and NCTM. It's the busiest week of my math ed year, and I was determined to get caught up with TWiME so my slate will be clean and I can move on to sharing great stuff from here in San Antonio. Oh, and I spent last weekend at the University of Michigan talking math with Deborah Ball. I should write about that, too, but that deserves its own post. If you missed them, here are my abbreviated TWiME posts for the rest of March:
  • Week ending March 3: PD from Peter Liljedhal, PCMI outreach, Youcubed archives, and more.
  • Week ending March 10: Mystery Grid, Marilyn Burns, the difference between modeling math and mathematical modeling, and more.
  • Week ending March 17: Teaching ability and content knowledge, Peter Liljedhal at GMD, Pi Day, and more.
  • Week ending March 24: An ode to blank paper, getting real about growth mindset, improving student participation in number talks, and more.

Math Ed Said

March 24: The NCTM Annual Meeting is around the corner and people are gearing up for all the Ignite talks.

Shared by: Sarah Bush, Jose Vilson, Megan Schmidt, Jonathan Osters, NCTM, Bridget Dunbar, Suzanne Alejandre

March 25: Here are Desmos's Friday Faves for March 24.

Shared by: Martin Joyce, John Golden, April Pforts, Adrianne Burns, Leigh Ann Mitchell,

March 26: Graham Fletcher is back with another installment in his Making Sense Series, this time with "The Progression of Early Number and Counting."

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Jennifer Lawler, Rosa Serratore, Kyle Pearce, Jamie Duncan, Daniel Luevanos, Kim Webb, April Pforts, Devin Anderson, Molly Daley, Christina Sherman, Andrew Gael, Matthew Oldridge, Shelley Carlisle, Margie Pearse, Ann Elise Record, Rusty Anderson, Simon Gregg, Ashley Bingenheimer, Joe Schwartz, Laura Wagenman, Grace Kelemanik, Math Coach Rivera, Graham Fletcher

March 27: I'm sure I'm not the only one who keeps thinking, "Wow, it's pretty cool that Marilyn Burns is blogging." Here she is again, this time with "Preparing and Planning: How I Get Ready for Teaching a Math Lesson." Here Marilyn got into the nitty-gritty details of her planning process, a topic which I think it very important as we think about ways to share lessons that are made for teachers to learn from, not just teach with.

Shared by: John Golden, Mark Chubb, Janice Novakowski, Cathy Campbell, Michael Pershan, Annie Perkins, Andrew Gael, Amanda Jansen, Tracy Johnston Zager, Kat Hendry, Emily Campbell, Jill Gough, Marilyn Burns

March 28: You all think Marilyn Burns is great, too, so you shared this post for a second day: "Preparing and Planning: How I Get Ready for Teaching a Math Lesson."

Shared by: Chris Hunter, Andrew Gael, Marilyn Burns, Ashley Bingenheimer, Marilyn Burns, Katherine Bryant, Rosa Serratore, Christine Newell, Mike Rashid, Bridget Dunbar, Christina Sherman, Genni Steele, David Coffey, Ashley Walther, Matthew Oldridge

March 29: Jo Boaler argues that "The Way We Teach Math Is Holding Women Back." Women are still underrepresented in STEM disciplines, something that I hope changes soon. In math education, women are often in the majority (in a meeting of 18 math PAEMST coordinators yesterday, I was the only male), and through better representation, leadership, and a concerted effort to teach math better, we can keep more doors open for all those who wish to pass through them.

Shared by: Francis Su, Christine K DiPaulo, Alex Freuman, Crystal Morey, Christopher Rohde, Kat Hendry, Kris Karbon, Sarah Reynolds, Christie Madancy, Christina Sherman, Amy Spies, Nita Cochran, Alison Hansel, Kimberly Wassmuth, Jim Pardun, Christine Newell, Ben Woodford, David Coffey, Laura Wagenman, Mr. Keller, Mathematics cian, Jo Boaler

March 30: People continued to buzz about Jo Boaler's latest article, "The Way We Teach Math Is Holding Women Back."

Shared by: Michelle Dupree, Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Kelly Boles, Jen Overley, Christina Barry, Kelly & Megan, Ryan R. Ruff, Egan J. Chernoff, Rebecca Gasper, Ellen Byron, Nick Gerhard, Keith Devlin, Steven Strogatz, Brian R. Lawler, Jennifer Wilson, Kate Owens

Math Ed in Colorado

Quick Updates

You've heard the details about these things before so I won't repeat all of them now. Here are a few things you should know and remember:
  • Work on the review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards is taking shape. Soon we'll announce who the committee members are. You can submit your feedback on every statement in the standards on CDE's online feedback system through April 30. Our next standards update webinar is April 20th at 3:30. If you missed the previous two webinars, recordings are available on the CDE website.
  • Our work towards new math certifications continues. What started as a request for CDE to create an endorsement for elementary math specialists has shifted and grown. The details are still being worked out, but our goals have stayed the same: We want to help districts hire well-trained math teachers and specialists, and we want to provide career ladders that incentivize and recognize educators who go above and beyond to become better math educators.

Commissioner Anthes to form Teacher Cabinet

Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes recently announced the creation of a "Teacher Cabinet" to consult with about issues of state education policy. It will be made up of 15 teachers from around the state. For more information and to apply, visit the Commissioner's page on the CDE website. The deadline is Friday, May 5!

CML Elections

As part of their becoming an affiliate of NCSM, the Colorado Math Leaders approved a constitution and bylaws at their last meeting and will be holding elections in the coming weeks. The candidates will be announced in the next few days and registered voters can help select our inaugural set of officers. If you're a math leader — anything from a curriculum specialist or a coach or even just a teacher who wants to step up and lead in their building — CML is where you need to be for policy updates, professional learning, and colleagues who share in your efforts to make math teaching better. Email me to request a ballot and to join the CML mailing list.

MAA-Rocky Mountain Section Meeting

If you missed the earlier message, the Rocky Mountain Section of the Mathematical Association of America is having a meeting at CSU-Pueblo on April 21-22. For information about schedules, speakers, and registration, see the conference website.

CSPdWeek and BJC

I know the focus here is math, but I know many of you are pulling double-duty in computer science as well. If you're looking for an opportunity to learn more, CSPdWeek will be held again this summer at the Colorado School of Mines from July 17-21. CSPdWeek offers a professional development experience for those who plan to teach AP CS Principles, AP CS A (Java), Exploring Computer Science, or Bootstrap. Counselors are invited to attend half the week for their PD, too. Go to for more information.

Also, if you're interested in summer PD for the Beauty & Joy of Computing (BJC) course, email Tracy Camp at the School of Mines for more information. She has a strategy that combines funding from Donors Choose with a stipend to cover the expenses, but to get all the details it's best to contact her.


Thanks to all of you who nominated a teacher for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). Now for the toughest part: Finishing the application! If you've been nominated, I have resources to help you finish your application. If you nominated someone, keep up the encouragement — a lot of great teachers miss out because their application is incomplete!

Job Openings

Here are some positions open across the state of Colorado. If you're interested in posting a job opening to the COmath mailing list, you're welcome to do so. I can also post them in my updates. Of course, don't just post them here — there are far better places to make these announcements. With this list, I just hope to up the odds a bit that the right candidate finds the right job.
  • Lake County High School in Leadville, Colorado, is adding a middle school position. If you are interested in living in the mountains, working at a school that combines the work of Jo Boaler with Expeditionary Learning, and being a part of a community that was recently awarded $3 million in funds to get kids outside, this might be the right job for you. Visit their website for more information and a link to an application.
  • STRIVE Prep is looking for talented educators to transform Denver. This includes four positions: Middle School Math Teacher (Multiple Campuses), Middle School Math Teacher Leader, High School Math Teacher (Algebra 1), and Assistant Principal of STEM Instruction.
  • Sterling High School is hiring two high school math teachers starting next fall. Classes include Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry. Interested applicants can contact Mr. Wally Beardsley, school principal.
  • Denver Public School is seeking a K-12 Director of Mathematics. More information can be found at DPS's job site if you search for DIRECTOR, MATHEMATICS (JOB ID: 19217). The essential functions and objectives include:
    • Develop, support, supervise, coordinate and evaluate District functions in the specific areas of K-12 mathematics. Champions the District’s effort to continuously refine and implement comprehensive instruction programs that are researched-based and aligned with district and state content standards
    • Serve on the department's Leadership Team to monitor and guide the focus and actions of the department in mathematics
    • Facilitate central office curriculum specialists as they focus on the curriculum development needed to improve student assessment measures which are linked to district initiative
    • Observe and offer formal and informal feedback to curriculum specialists and partners concerning planning and instructional delivery
    • Design professional learning in collaboration with curriculum specialists and partners.

This Week in Math Ed: March 24, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 17: Tracy Johnston Zager writes "A Brief Ode to Blank Paper," in which worksheets try to be helpful but turn out not to be.

Shared by: Andrew Gael, Bowen Kerins, Tracy Johnston Zager, Geoff Krall, Joe Schwartz

March 18: Mark Chubb asks, "So you want your students to have a Growth Mindset?" Answer: Yes. I also want teachers to have more than a superficial knowledge of growth mindset. Making a poster with the words "growth mindset" on it might not be helpful, and neither is telling kids that there's something wrong with them if they don't have it. Mark works through some of the misguided ideas we have about mindset and makes suggestions for how to do it better.

Shared by: Deborah Rykken, Tom Snarsky, Laura Wagenman, Alison Hansel, Jo Boaler, Mark Chubb

March 19: Here's a post from last year rising again to the surface, which is a pretty good sign of quality: "#MTBoS Connected: Fraction Talks and WODB." It's good to see these kinds of cross-project connections.

Shared by: Matthew Oldridge, Simon Gregg, Tyler Anderson, Fraction Talks

March 20: Want more Mark Chubb? Lucky for you, he's on a roll this week, this time with "Estimating - Making sense of things."

Shared by: Judy Keeney, Jennifer Lawler, Mark Chubb, Laura Wheeler, Regina Barrett

March 21: Lisa Bejarano gave us all a little number talk advice: "It's the little things: How I improved student participation in number talks." Hint: It includes dropping something to signify you've made your point.

Shared by: Sarah Carter, Sarah Reynolds, Kate Nowak, Regan Galvan, Lisa Bejarano

March 22: I feel like we went a few months without Ben Orlin's bad drawings, but now he's on a hot streak. This week, it's "If Math Wrote Letters." Technically, this week only has hand-drawn text, not drawings, but I think it still counts.

Shared by: Spencer Bagley, DeAnn Huinker, Anna Blinstein, Joshua Bowman, John Golden, Simon Gregg, Ethan Weker, Dave Richeson, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Sharon Vestal, Ben Orlin, David Butler, Kathy Henderson, Jen Silverman, geonz, Michael P Goldenberg, Earl Samuelson

March 23: Brian Bushart hits kinda close to home with "Mathematically Correct," a blog post about his struggles in the state of Texas to acknowledge and hopefully fix an issue with a math question on their state exams. You see, I help with the PARCC exams and that makes me one of those people who, potentially, could catch problems like this before they go live on a test. However, I'm just one person, I usually just focus on a single grade, and the windows of opportunity to catch a problem like this are limited. It's frustrating to see an item that could be made better when it's not the right time to be improving items.

Shared by: Judy Keeney, Andrew Gael, Cathy Yenca, Pam Harris, Lindel, TCM - NCTM, Zach Cresswell, Ethan Weker, Shauna Hedgepeth, Tracy Johnston Zager

This Week in Math Ed: March 17, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 10: Michael Fenton asks how we'd ideally split "Teaching Ability and Content Knowledge." His blog post doesn't touch on it, but it reminded me of some research I saw cited long ago in Joan Ferrini-Mundy's chapter in the research handbook. The research found that more teacher content knowledge was linked to increased student achievement, but only to a point. When measured by college math coursework, the effect wasn't distinguishable beyond about five math courses taken. (If I wasn't in catch-up mode, I'd track that study down. If you find it, remind me what it is in the comments, will ya?)

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Tyler Anderson, Christina Sherman, Michael Fenton, Darren Burris, Gregory Taylor, Bridget Dunbar, Michael Fenton

March 11: Here's some art and math for you: "Artistic Expressions of Math Over Seven Centuries."

Shared by: Theresa Walker, Carrie Muir, John Golden, Egan J Chernoff, Paula Beardell Krieg, Jesse McNulty, Chi Klein, Edmund Harriss, Mike Lawler

March 12: If you want more links of the week, you can always check with our math ed friends in Ontario: Math Links for Week Ending Mar. 10th, 2017.

Shared by: Kyle Pearce, Matthew Oldridge, Mary Bourassa, Sunil Singh, Jon Orr, David Petro

March 13: I should really go back and watch this one: Peter Liljedahl presented "Building Thinking Classrooms" at the Global Math Department.

Shared by: Shelley Carranza, Jedidiah Butler, Christopher Parrish, Matthew Oldridge, Laura Wheeler, Annette Rouleau, Chris Hunter, Bridget Dunbar, Marissa W, Norma Gordon, Graham Fletcher, John Golden, Cal Armstrong, Global Math, Peter Liljedahl

March 14: The headline is "Rockies have perfect way to mark Pi Day," but those seeking the truth should know that yes, the uniform numbers were cleverly arranged with Photoshop.

Shared by: Brian Brennan, Eddi Vulić, Martin Joyce, Zack Patterson, Kristen Fouss, Sharon Vestal, Mike Thayer, Steve Phelps

March 15: Ben Orlin is back with some poetic math fun: "Limericks for Mathematicians."

Shared by: Carrie Muir, Ilona Vashchyshyn, John Golden, Nat Banting, Ben Orlin, Michael P Goldenberg, Evelyn Lamb

March 16: First Peter Liljedahl, and now Nathalie Sinclair. It was a big week for Simon Frasier University. "SFU education professor Nathalie Sinclair named Research Mathematics Ambassador Award winner."

Shared by: Nat Banting, Richelle Marynowski, Lovisa Sumpter, Peter Liljedahl, Annette Rouleau, Egan J Chernoff

This Week in Math Ed: March 10, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 3: What's MysteryGrid? If I told you, it wouldn't be much of a mystery, would it?

Shared by: Mary Bourassa, Scott Leverentz, Lisa Henry, Fred G. Harwood, Bowen Kerins, Kate Nowak, Shauna Hedgepeth

March 4: People were buzzing about the "Beyond Answers Webinar," which has since passed. An archive is accessible for a fee.

Shared by: Christina Tondevald, Shauna Hedgepeth, Ann Elise Record, Jill Gough, Ann Walters, Mike Flynn

March 5: Here's Marilyn Burns with a blog post about playing a math game with second graders called, "Oh No! 99!"

Shared by: Mike Anderson, Jennifer Lawler, Andy Martinson, Bridget Dunbar, OCTM, Matthew Oldridge, Christina Sherman, Jill Gough, Michael Welch, Marilyn Burns

March 6: "Solving the Math Problem" is a video clip about some kids who attended a Youcubed summer camp.

Shared by: Beth Kobett, Denise Green, Jenni Clausen, Kat Hendry, Larry Sizemore, Patty Stephens, Keith Devlin, Rusty Anderson, Kimberly Wassmuth, Math Coach Rivera, Susan Davidson, Shauhna Feitlin, Ben Woodford, Jo Boaler

March 7: If you missed it on the 6th, it was back on the 7th by popular demand: "Solving the Math Problem."

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Justin Bock, Andrea Ogden, Jen Overley, Carol Keating, Nic Petty, Regina Barrett, Richelle Marynowski, OCTM, Michelle Dupree

March 8: Ben Orlin asks, "How much of high school math would be easier if students understood that graphs express relationships between variables?" in his post, "Lines Beyond y = mx + b." I think of this as another example described by Sfard (1991), where learners need to make the leap from understanding something as a process to understanding it as an object.

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Kathy Henderson, Amanda Jansen, Brett Parker, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Matthew Oldridge, Bowen Kerins, David Butler, John Golden, Ben Orlin, Judy Larsen, Eric Milou, Christina Sherman

March 9: Warning: This will take more than five seconds. But maybe not much more. Dan Meyer writes, "The Difference Between Math and Modeling with Math in Five Seconds."

Shared by: Rebecca Gasper, Farshid Safi, Rene Grimes, Tyler Anderson, Jen McAleer, Alex Jaffurs, Dan Meyer

This Week in Math Ed: March 3, 2017

Math Ed Said

February 24: Desmos announced that information about the Desmos Fellowship Cohort 2 would be coming soon.

Shared by: Ellen Byron, Cathy Yenca, Stephanie Blair, Lisa Bejarano, Kat Hendry, Susan Wilson, Julia Finneyfrock, Shelley Carranza, Patty Stephens, Nerissa Gerodias, Meg Craig, Laura Wheeler, Andrew Shauver, Julie Reulbach, Andrew Shauver, Dan Meyer

February 25: Gregory Taylor gives us a long and lively recap of a PD day keynoted by Peter Liljedahl.

Shared by: Laura Wheeler, Matthew Oldridge, Cathy Campbell, Alex Overwijk, Martin Joyce, Gregory Taylor, Dan Anderson, Judy Keeney, Earl Samuelson, John Golden, Imtiaz Damji

February 26: If you've ever wanted some of the PCMI experience but can't make it to Park City, the program does have a number of outreach programs that bring PCMI to the web and maybe even a city near you.

Shared by: Kim, Carl Oliver, Cathy Carroll, Javier Garcia,Tina Cardone, Denise Green,Shauna Hedgepeth,Cal Armstrong, Suzanne Alejandre

February 27: The NCTM Annual Meeting program is here and the conference is right around the corner.

Shared by: Rosa Serratore, Janice Novakowski, NCTM, David Coffey, Suzanne Alejandre, Christina Tondevold, Carl Oliver, Sarah Bush

February 28: I'd never heard of this mathy day, but this Scientific American article by Evelyn Lamb told me "How to Celebrate Fatou's Day."

Shared by: Rebecca Gasper, Brian Bushart, Justin Lanier, Evelyn Lamb, MAA, Carrie Muir, Museum of Math

March 1: Self explanatory: Applications Are Open for Cohort 2 of the Desmos Teaching Fellowship!

Shared by: Marissa Walczak, Michelle Russell, Patty Stephens, Heather Sugrue, Bob Lochel, Julie Reulbach, Sara VanDerWerf, Julia Finneyfrock, Shelley Carranza, Zach Cresswell, David Sabol, Ben Rouse, Nerissa Gerodias, Ed Campos Jr, Katherine Martin, Kristen Fouss, Eli Luberoff, Karl Fisch, Dan Anderson,

March 2: If you're looking for resources related to growth mindset, check out this Youcubed archive of papers, videos, handouts, and other materials.

Shared by: Lora Kermode, Janine Franklin, Helen J Williams, Christina Hamman, Jesse McNulty