This Week in Math Ed: March 18, 2016

Math Ed Said

March 11: Timothy Gowers, British mathematician and Fields Medalist, writes in The Guardian, "Maths isn't the problem - the way it’s taught is" in response to an earlier article by Simon Jenkins questioning the importance we place on learning math. Gowers drives his point home: "But until our mathematics classes encourage people to think, rather than merely play games with marks on paper, the Simon Jenkinses of this world will continue to confuse mathematics with mindless symbol manipulation, attacking the subject itself when their real target should be today's curriculum."

Shared by: Dave Radcliffe, TJ Hitchman, Earl Samuelson, Kate Owens, Susan Davidson, Egan Chernoff

March 12: If you haven't heard already, The Best of the Math Teacher Blogs 2015 is available now and Tina Cardone has all the details about getting yourself a copy in her post.

Shared by: Tina Cardone, Lisa Henry, TMC, Megan Schmidt, Pam Wilson, Jonathan Schoolcraft, Kent Haines, Bridget Dunbar, Joe Schwartz

March 13: Karim Kai Ani wrote a beautiful blog post called "On Purpose," in which he looks to better understand the importance of mathematics, why we teach it, and the roles he thinks he can play in education and as a curriculum developer. The post touched a lot of people, as 18 tweeted about it on Sunday, with many others on other days.

Shared by: Margie Pearse, Gary Davis, Jennifer Wilson, Amy Hogan, Sharon Vestal, Robert Cop, Greg George, Julie Kubiak, Tyler Anderson, Steve Leinwand, Cynthia Crenshaw, Bridget Dunbar, Anna Blinstein, Richelle Marynowski, Kris Karbon, Mathalicious, Martin Joyce, Andy

March 14: Many properties of prime numbers have been thought to be more or less random, so it was a big deal when some Stanford mathematicians discovered a way in which they aren't. "Mathematicians Discover Prime Conspiracy," an article in Quanta Magazine, was the most-shared link on Pi Day. This personally made me happy because it's great to see math celebrated on Pi Day, not just the trivia of an approximated value.

Shared by: OCTM, Steve Phelps, Nick Yates, Mark Ellis, Steven Strogatz, Patrick Honner, Steve Humble, Bowen Kerins, Illustrative Maths, Egan Chernoff, PhET Sims

March 15: Joe Schwartz makes another appearance as a most-shared link with his post "Teaching to the Test," in which he takes a careful look at some of the instructional activities he's done with his students and the influence those activities may have had on a mid-year assessment. This kind of systematic analysis of one's own teaching always gets me excited, as I really believe these are tough but needed steps on a path to improved teaching and learning. What's particularly good here is that Joe's activities aren't simply routinized practice of problems as they appeared on the assessment.

Shared by: Daniel Luevanos, Laura Wagenman, Mary Bourassa, WODB? Math, Christina

March 16: This isn't about math, but it touched me and touched many others. "Screaming Silence" by Megan Schmidt recalls incidents of abuse suffered as a teenager, and how an older and wiser Megan has used these incidents to be a more caring and more protective adult in charge of the teens in her classroom.

Shared by: Megan Schmidt, Shannon Houghton, Glenn Waddell, John Golden, Laila Nur, Shannon Houghton, Justin Lanier, Christopher Danielson, Bowen Kerins

Rochelle GutiƩrrez giving the Iris M. Carl Equity Address
 at the 2014 NCTM Annual Meeting. (Webcast)
March 17: On my podcast listening list for the weekend will be Sam Otten's latest episode of the Math Ed Podcast. Featuring Rochelle GutiƩrrez, this bonus-length episode looks across Rochelle's career and many of her best-known articles addressing issues of equity and opportunity in math education.

Shared by: Samuel Otten, John Golden, Kate Johnson, Andrew Gael, Jennifer Lawler, NCTM, Egan Chernoff, Raymond Johnson

Around the Math Ed Web

The Global Math Department featured "Bringing the World Outside School Into Your Math Classroom" by Shelby Aaberg last week. Next week's gathering is titled "Transforming Intervention: Moving from Skills Remediation to Rich Problem Solving."

NCTM has more information about their summer institutes in Denver and Atlanta. APME chapter proposals are due March 21.

The Teachers Development Group is holding their "Leadership Seminar on Mathematics Professional Development" in Portland, OR. There's some pretty high-quality tweeting going on if you check out the hashtag #tdgmath2016.

AMTE has posted their call for proposals for next February's conference. The online submission site opens April 1 and closes May 15.

Research Notes

The March 2016 issue of the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education is focused on metacognition in technology-infused learning environments. Two research articles focus on mathematics:
A new issue of Cognition and Instruction is out, including:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

CCTM: If you are interested in the technology integration specialist position on the CCTM board you have until March 18 (TODAY!) to apply.

Cassie Harrelson of Aurora Public Schools is facilitating an online book study of Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets. The book study can be found on CEA's COpilot site and a course flyer can be found here.

Jackie Weber, director of math and computer science in the Boulder Valley School District, is trying to collect names of people who are leading computer science efforts in their districts. She's looking to form a cohort of district CS leaders, and you can give her your name here.

Rebekah Ottenbreit from CDE's Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education is offering two more sessions focused on helping math teachers and ESL/bilingual educators use tools and strategies to make mathematics content more accessible to English learners. You can grab a flyer here.
  • May 10, 2016, from 8:30-noon at the Pueblo City Schools Administration Building, Pueblo, CO
  • May 13, 2016, from 8:30-noon at the NW CO BOCES downstairs conference room in Steamboat Springs
The Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle is preparing for a big summer, including:
  • HS Teacher Workshop: Active Learning Activities for Teaching Precalculus (June 13-17)
  • HS Teacher Workshop: Active Learning Activities for Teaching Calculus (June 20-24)
  • Summer Workshop in Winter Park with Northern Colorado Math Teachers' Circle (July 11-15)
  • Additionally, the Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle and the Southwest Math Teachers' Circle are jointly offering a workshop from August 8-11 at Fort Lewis College in Durango. Graduate credit or continuing education units will be available, and information about scholarships to pay for those credits is forthcoming. Applications are accepted until June 15.
April 18 looks like the next meeting of the Northern Colorado Math Circles.

CU-Boulder is looking for a master teacher in mathematics for their CU Teach program. It's an awesome opportunity to help prepare the next generation of math teachers in Colorado, as well as a great place to work.

The "Expanding Your Horizons" symposium for middle school girls interested in STEM registration begins March 1.

Lastly, as mentioned above, NCTM is offering two summer institutes this summer in Denver: