This Week in Math Ed: February 19, 2016

What a great week! Last week's TWiME was by far the most-read yet, and for me the best part was discovering a bunch of math teachers to add to my MathEd Twitter list. The list passed 1400 members and is close to 200 subscribers, and I like that each new person I add contributes back to TWiME simply by letting me see what they share and retweet.

Math Ed Said

February 12: Ugh. Nothing about this made me want to watch the video, but to share it here I finally brought myself to watch it almost a week later. The most-talked-about story on this day was Kate Taylor's article in the New York Times: "At Success Academy School, a Stumble in Math and a Teacher’s Anger on Video." Some might try to dismiss this as tough love, but I just can't, and most people I saw tweeting about this story can't, either.
Shared by: Ilana Horn, Thad Domina, David Coffey, Patrick Honner, Tracy Johnston Zager, Kent Haines, Dan Bach, Tom Henderson

February 13: "The Math Revolution" by Peg Tyre in The Atlantic was the most-shared story on February 9th and again here on the 13th, so I'll link to it again. After all, it has all the hallmarks of a good weekend read: scope, depth, and a bit too long to read on a busy weekday. If you're feeling robbed of a story, another popular story for several days was "Stop Humiliating Teachers" by David Denby in The New Yorker.

Shared by: Mike Hetherington, Kate Nowak, Samuel Otten, Justin Lanier, Steven Gnagni, Danny Brown, Jennifer Lawler, Leigh Ann Mitchell

February 14: On Valentine's Day Graham Fletcher came to rescue us from all these heavy news/magazine stories with a light-hearted threat to poorly chosen math contexts everywhere. "I'm Placing a Hit on the Pseudo-Context" reworks a fairly typical volume-of-a-box problem into a 3-act task that gives students a chance to mathematize in a more realistic way.

These accusations of "context, but not really" always make me want to write about Edd Taylor's multi-approach engagement framework from an article he wrote in the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education. If I don't get around to doing that sometime soon, remind me about it, m'kay?

Shared by: Graham Fletcher, Martin Joyce, Tim Hudson, Mark Chubb, Ms. Khatri, Andrew Gael, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Brett Parker, John Golden, Kate Owens, Joe Schwartz, Federico Chialvo

February 15: Junaid Mubeen wrote "I no longer understand my PhD dissertation (and what this means for Mathematics Education)." Junaid says his Ph.D. was worth it for the problem-solving skills, character, and enjoyment it gave him.

Shared by: Clara Maxcy, Nick Yates, Egan Chernoff, John Scammell, Bridget Dunbar, Mike Thayer, Christine DiPaulo, Ilona Vashchyshyn

February 16: Five posts were each shared by four people:

February 17: Dan Meyer wrote a short-but-popular post titled, "Ed Begle's First And Second Laws Of Mathematics Education." The real meat of Dan's post comes in the linked text of a talk by Edward Begle, "Research and Evaluation in Mathematics Education" (1971).

Ed Begle's final book, published posthumously
Commentary: Any mention of Ed Begle gets my attention: He was a key figure in my undergraduate thesis and he's my academic great-grandfather. I really do love the history of my subject and posts like Dan's send me into hours of searching through old papers and citations. But, I must be mindful of our tendency to underestimate change when we read from our wisest predecessors. It's too easy for us to throw our hands up and say things like, "Dewey knew it all along!" or "We're stuck in the same damned place we were 25/50/100 years ago." Is Begle's 2nd law ("Mathematics education is much more complicated than you expected even though you expected it to be more complicated than you expected") still true? I would agree it is. But, as a field, we've made enormous progress since Begle gave this talk in 1971. The danger, as individuals, is to not learn from this progress. To avoid reaching the same conclusions as Begle, we need to avoid starting in the same place as Begle. When I browse the pages of Begle's final book, Critical Variables in Mathematics Education: Findings From a Survey of the Empirical Literature, I'm struck by the sheer number of things Begle and the field knew little or nothing about compared to what we know now. Don't we owe it to ourselves, as individuals and as a field, to push past prior conclusions by starting farther ahead and taking more seriously work already done?

Shared by: Lorraine Males, Nathan Kraft, Dan Meyer, Taylor Belcher, Matt Larson, Theodore Chao, Patrick Honner, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Eddi Vulić, Patrick Callahan

February 18: Folks were buzzing about Nat Banting's annoucnement of Fraction Talks, a site to feature visuals that prompt students to think creatively about fractions.

Shared by: Nat Banting, Michelle, John Golden, Mary Bourassa, Rusty Anderson, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Andrew Gael, Egan Chernoff

Around the Math Ed Web

Maybe the coolest math ed thing I saw in the last week came in a series of posts by Joe Champion of Boise State on Google+:
  1. High school math course sequences
  2. HS math completion by 9th grade course
  3. HS math completion by socioeconomic status
  4. HS math completion by race
High school mathematics course-taking patterns


These "river plots" from Joe were made using a nationally representative sample of transcripts for about 12,000 high school graduates. I can't always make perfect sense of them, but Joe's been happily chatting about them in his posts on Google+ so go there to read more and ask questions.

This week at the Global Math Department, featured "Social Emotional Learning in Mathematics" and next week looks to be "Problem Strings: A Lesson Structure for All Students."


March 1 NCTM deadlines:
If you want to go to TMC and haven't already registered, cross your fingers and add yourself to the waitlist.

Research Notes

New in Cognition and Instruction:
New in Teaching and Teacher Education:
I've also added AERA Open to the list of journals I'll check weekly. They recently published this:

Math Ed in the News

The last of these articles reminds me of a recent article in AERJ, "In the Guise of STEM Education Reform: Opportunity Structures and Outcomes in Inclusive STEM-Focused High Schools" by Weis, Eisenhart, Cipollone, Stich, Nikischer, Hanson, Leibrandt, Allen, and Dominguez (2015). (I happened to read this last night.) They studied public, non-selective, STEM-focused high schools in Denver and Buffalo and found that the schools didn't live up to the hype: hoped-for tracks to medicine, physics, and engineering turned into remedial courses providing little to no opportunity for entering STEM careers. Saying we're preparing the next generation of STEM workers is one thing, but actually doing it is clearly another.

Math Ed in Colorado

Rebekah Ottenbreit from CDE's Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education is offering a session focused on helping math teachers and ESL/bilingual educators use tools and strategies to make mathematics content more accessible to English learners. The session is scheduled for March 8, in Greeley, and registration closes March 3rd. Scroll to the bottom of this page for location and reservation details.

The Front Range Math Ed Seminar (FRaMES) is on Twitter at @FRaMESMathED. The latest from Spencer Bagley on the listserv is a request for input regarding a time and place for the March seminar.

The next session of the Northern Colorado Math Circles is on Monday, February 22nd. Contact Gulden Karakok or Delia Haefeli for more information or to RSVP.

There are a number of CCTM workshops on the calendar. Regions 1, 2, 3, and 6 are offering workshops on February 20, while Region 7's workshop will be March 12. The topic of the workshop is fractions, ratios, and rates of change.

Nominations for CCTM board positions are open and will close on February 26, 2016. The CCTM board is also seeking to appoint a technology integration specialist to the board. See the link for details. CCTM is also taking nominations for their leadership award and teaching award, both of which are due by March 11.

The Math on the "Planes" conference is in Greenwood Village on February 26-27.

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