This Week in Math Ed: May 6, 2016

Math Ed Said

April 29: The New York Times featured a story and set of graphs titled "Money, Race and Success: How Your School District Compares." The title is a little misleading, as the expert in the study specifically warns against using this data for ranking. What you should really be getting from this story is the sheer pervasiveness of inequality that's predicted by race and income, regardless of place. These are not problems you can just say happen somewhere else.

Shared by: Thad Domina, Eric Milou, Tracy Johnston Zager, Jose Vilson, Mike Lawler, Steve Phelps, Regan Galvan, Michael Welch

April 30: The Curriculum Matters blog in Education Week ran a story a couple weeks ago asking, "The Search for Common-Core Curricula: Where Are Teachers Finding Materials?" I seem to frequently find myself in conversations about curriculum coherence and the cobbling together of materials teachers are either finding or developing themselves. This post summarizes some findings from a RAND Corporation study, and it's good to get some numbers to go with the stories I've been hearing about curriculum selection and use.

Shared by: Amy Hogan, Tracy Johnston Zager, Taylor Belcher, Rob Horcher, Megan Schmidt

May 1: "Reflections on a Career in Teaching" is a great post by David Bressoud, who finished his last teaching assignment this semester. David admits that most of the important lessons he's learned by teaching are ones many others already new, but that there's no replacement for digging in and doing the work yourself.

Shared by: MAA, Patrick Honner, Natalya St. Clair, Francis Su, Egan J Chernoff, TJ Hitchman, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Peg Cagle, Warren J. Code, Dan McQuillan, Joshua Bowman

May 2: Graham Fletcher's ShadowCon talk, "Becoming a Better Storyteller," is now online and was the focus of a Twitter chat. Graham mixes a few messages here, but my overall takeaway is the need to shake ourselves of our assumptions about what our math curriculum should include. I went through a moment like this a few years ago when I went looking for mentions of absolute value in the Common Core State Standards. Yes, absolute value is in the standards, but I couldn't find anything about solving absolute value equations. Graham shows in his talk that there's no call in the CCSS to simplify fractions. What can you find (or not find) in your standards?

Shared by: Graham Fletcher, Joe Schwartz, Nanette Johnson, Robert Kaplinsky, Sahar Khatri, Mike Flynn, Andrew Gael, Dan Meyer, Rusty Anderson, NCTM, Zak Champagne, Mark Chubb, Laura Wagenman, Sara VanDerWerf, casey

May 3: How had I not heard of Eugenia Cheng? If you don't know who she is, see this feature in The New York Times: "Eugenia Cheng Makes Math a Piece of Cake."

Shared by: Earl Samuelson, Sara Delano Moore, MAA, Egan J Chernoff, Gary Davis, Peg Cagle, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Patrick Honner, Dan Meyer

May 4: Wednesday was Kaneka Turner's turn to have her ShadowCon talk featured and chatted about on Twitter. "Extending the Invitation to Be "Good" at Math. For me, I was "invited to the math party" in about seventh grade — I was asked to join the MathCounts team and spent my study halls helping my math teacher check homework, organize for class, and design class activities. I've been pointed in the same general direction pretty much ever since.

Shared by: Robert Kaplinsky, Crystal Lancour, NCTM, Mike Flynn, Brian Bushart, Annie Fetter, Kaneka Turner, Rusty Anderson, Mike Flynn, Andrew Gael, pam j wilson, Mrs. Ritzi

Geoff Krall at the 2015 NCTM Annual Meeting
May 5: Geoff Krall shared a rather nice classroom routine for facilitating questioning during student presentations. Instead of a tuned-out audience, some students become panelists who confer with other students to develop sharper questions. I won't bother explaining it, as Geoff did a great job and included classroom diagrams that nicely communicate the idea.

Shared by: Geoff Krall, Bridget Dunbar, Robert Kaplinsky, David Butler, Brian Marks, Erica Litke, Kristin Gray, Regan Galvan, Shannon Andrews

Around the Math Ed Web

The deadlines for submitting proposals for the NCTM Annual Meeting and AMATYC have passed, but there are other dates on the horizon:
  • NCTM Research Conference: Not yet announced
  • NCSM Annual Conference: June 1, 2016
  • AMTE Annual Conference: May 15, 2016
  • RUME Conference: There are two deadlines for the Research in Undergraduate Mathematics Education Conference: August 19, 2016 is the deadline for preliminary, theoretical, and contributed reports, and December 2, 2016, is the deadline for poster reports, and that has rolling acceptances. The next RUME conference is February 23-25, 2017, in San Diego.
Last week Kent Haines presented "A Conceptual Approach to Teaching Integer Operations by Global Math Department" at the Global Math Department. This Tuesday, we'll see Carl Oliver present "Teaching the Mathematical Practices Through Non-Routine Problems by Global Math Department."

Research Notes

There are only new articles from two journals this week, but they're from what some would say are the two most prominent journals. First, the May 2016 issue of the Journal for Research in Mathematics Education is out:
The June 2016 issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics has also arrived:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

Last Saturday I attended a CCTM board meeting, and I really appreciate the amount of attention and detail that goes into trying to represent Colorado's math teachers the best we can. There were also a few resources shared that you should know about:
  • The GAIMME Report gives guidelines for mathematical modeling.
  • NCTM's ARCs are multi-lesson resources that bring together previous NCTM resources with new materials, activities, and structures to give them more coherence.
There was a problem with the CCTM election, so if you are a CCTM member please watch for an email with details about how to re-vote.

Yesterday, I attended the last Colorado Math Leaders (CML) meeting of the year. Similar to the CCTM meeting, a lot of conversation comes around to making sure anyone who wants to participate in CML can, whether it be in person, the listserv, or other activities we might hold. If you're a math leader in your district — regardless of what title you officially hold — let me know if you want to know more about CML.

NCTM is offering two summer institutes this summer in Denver:
Job openings:
  • NEW: Eagle Valley HS (Eagle County) is looking for a teacher certified to teach dual enrollment courses. Applicants who have taken masters-level math courses and can be credentialed with CMC to teach dual enrollment courses will receive strong consideration. See the school website for more information and here to apply for the job.
  • Lake County School District in Leadville is looking for a 7th and 8th grade math teacher. If you are interested in joining a math department that combines Jo Boaler's work with Expeditionary Learning while living in a small town in the mountains, this job is for you. More information and an application can be found at their website.
On a personal note, I'd like to congratulate two of my math ed grad school colleagues, Fred Peck and Ryan Grover, for earning their PhDs yesterday. Both defended their dissertations last summer, so this wasn't news, but it was great to see them recognized at the graduation ceremony. Fred is now an assistant professor at the University of Montana (and has an article in ESM, mentioned above), and Ryan is a post-doctoral researcher at CU-Boulder, working on multiple projects designed to help preservice and inservice teachers.

Fred Peck (with David Webb, advisor)

Ryan Grover (with David Webb, advisor)