This Week in Math Ed: June 24, 2016

From the better-late-than-never department: It took me parts of four different days to finally put this together, but here's TWiME for the seven days beginning June 17.

Math Ed Said

Matt Larson at the 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting
June 17: NCTM President Matt Larson blogged about his vision for NCTM. As I've said before, I'm pleasantly surprised at how NCTM has moved in the past couple of years to be more open, responsive, and innovative. Matt Larson's vision echoes some thoughts of my own, but as I went to the comment section, my critique now turns to the online math ed community: Three comments? That's it? Two of the comments I'm pretty sure belong to past NCTM presidents Michael Shaughnessy and Johnny Lott, which leaves only one from a teacher. I'm writing this more than 10 days after Larson published the post, and while there was enough Twitter activity to make this the most-shared thing on the 17th, the lack of comments troubles me. And since I'm amongst the non-commenters, I'm as guilty as the rest. I may have to change that. Will you?

Shared by: TODOS, Matt Larson, NCTM, TCM - NCTM, Derek Pipkorn, April Pforts

June 18: Mike Lawler showed us "A fun way to estimate e with kids." I don't find much of anything with e and natural logs to feel natural at all, so I watched all three videos with interest.

Shared by: Mike Lawler, Patrick Honner, Earl Samuelson, Amy Hogan, Mike Lawler, David Hallowell

June 19: A nice thing about writing versus talking is that when I want to salute the U.K. for something good, I can just use a word or phrase without attempting the accent. Here's Hannah Fry with a cracking interview in The Guardian, "There's a mathematical angle to almost anything."

Shared by: Ilana Horn, Jo Morgan, John A. Pelesko, Ben Orlin, Patrick Honner, Amy Hogan, Sherri Burroughs, Josh Fisher, John Golden, Gary Davis, Egan J Chernoff, MsJBrown, Ilona Vashchyshyn

June 20: In the latest installment of the story that just won't quit, Rebecca Mead in The New Yorker writes, "Andrew Hacker, an outspoken critic of mandatory algebra education, is asked to defend his contentions at the National Museum of Mathematics."

Shared by: Patrick Honner, Amy Hogan, Taylor Belcher, Egan J Chernoff, Dave Radcliffe, James Tanton, Scott Baldridge, Jennifer Blinzler, Ralph Pantozzi, Julie Reulbach

June 21: A Katrina Schwartz article from last August made the rounds again, featuring comments from David Wees in "Seeing Struggling Math Learners as 'Sense Makers,' Not 'Mistake Makers'."

Shared by: Melinda Knapp, David Coffey, Federico Chialvo, Amy Spies, Bridget Dunbar, Lois Burke, Brandon Suever

June 22: With clever (and bad) drawings, Ben Orlin illustrates Sfard's process/object divide with "What Students See When They Look at Algebra."

Shared by: Ben Orlin, Shauna Hedgepeth, Simon Job, Jo Morgan, Tracy Johnston Zager, Max Ray-Riek, Bryn Humberstone, Malyn Mawby, Earl Samuelson, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Judy Larsen, John Golden, Taylor Belcher, Ryan R Ruff, Jennifer Lawler, Jim Wysocki, Cathy Campbell, MsJBrown, Martin Joyce

June 23: An interesting outcome of the Fordham survey described in Education Week is that, on average, teachers seem to say some things that might seem contradictory. Here, they say there is a higher priority on computation, yet memorization is down. Similarly, when Choppin, Davis, Drake, and McDuffie (2013) surveyed middle school math teachers about Common Core, in which some teachers said Common Core requires them to teach more conceptually and more procedurally. Results like these are a good reminder that survey responses sometimes have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Shared by: Mike Rashid, Anthony Purcell, Egan J Chernoff, Samuel Otten, Karen King, Lane Walker, Tyler Anderson

Around the Math Ed Web

You can check out the recording of Sara Van Der Werf's Global Math Department presentation, "The Pursuit of 100% Engagement: Practical ideas to get you closer." It doesn't appear there was a new presentation tonight, and I don't see one for next week, yet, but you can check the GMD website to see when the next one is announced.

Otherwise, the math ed web seems pretty quiet. I think either teachers are taking a well-earned break, or they're too busy at conferences or in PD to be doing as much online.

Research Notes

New in Mathematical Thinking and Learning:
The July 2016 issue of ZDM is themed, "improving teaching, developing teachers and teacher developers, and linking theory and practice through lesson study in mathematics: an international perspective."

Math Ed in Colorado

Mark your calendars for next year's Math on the "Planes" conference, presented by the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities. The conference is February 24 and 25, 2017, at the Student Achievement Resource Center (SARC) in Centennial. You can download a flyer here.

We're still heavily into the math teacher hiring season:
  • NEW: Roaring Fork Schools (Re-1) is seeking a dynamic and engaging, full-time alternative math teacher for Bridges High in Carbondale. This is an immediate hire to start in August for SY 2016-17. Roaring Fork Schools is 2.5 hours from Denver, has a world-class hot springs, and recently passed a $122 million bond issue. Apply here and contact Nate Adams if you have questions.
  • NEW: Prospect Ridge Academy in Broomfield is actively seeking an additional HS Math teacher due increased enrollment and the addition of sections. We are a college prep, math/science focus school with exciting growth potential. The position is currently a 0.6 (3 section) part time HS math position with the possibility of adding middle school math intervention and additional responsibilities to make the position full time if needed. Apply here.
  • Arapahoe High School in Littleton needs a long-term math substitute.
  • A secondary math instructional coach is needed at Prairie Heights Middle School in Greeley. Email Vida Trevino for more information, or go here to apply.
  • Platte Canyon in Bailey needs someone to teach Algebra 1 through Precalculus. Apply at

This Week in Math Ed: June 17, 2016

Math Ed Said

June 10: With one of the most purely geeky things to appear in TWiME, a number of people shared "41 triple pendulums with very slightly different initial conditions." In animated GIF form, no less.

Shared by: Dan Anderson, michiexile, Evelyn Lamb, Kent Haines, Josh Fisher, Jed Butler, Eddi Vulić, Amie Albrecht

June 11: This year-old NYT post got passed around last Saturday: "The Problem With Math Problems: We're Solving Them Wrong." It includes advice from Tracy Zager and Steven Strogatz.

Shared by: Earl Samuelson, Susan Davidson, OCTM, Steve Phelps, Bridget Soumeillan, Robert Cop

June 12: Following the shooting in Orlando, a number of people on my MathEd Twitter list were sharing the Vox post, "Mass shootings since Sandy Hook, in one map."

Shared by: Matthew Haden, Justin Leroux, Karen King, Ματτ, Chi Klein

June 13: Andrew Stadel created and shared a Desmos activity called, "Visual Patterns Tribute," inspired by Fawn Nguyen's

Shared by: Andrew Stadel, Imtiaz Damji, Ed Campos Jr, Bridget Dunbar, Andrew Gael, Sara VanDerWerf, Shauna Hedgepeth, Jennifer Lawler, MathDDSB,, Greg George

June 14: The first mention of Hacker's Math Myth was on February 7 and I've lost track of how many times this topic has resurfaced in TWiME. This time, it's A.K. Whitney's "Why Andrew Hacker Is Wrong About 'The Math Myth'" in The Atlantic. Whitney concludes by saying, "I fear this debate will just rage for another 100 years," which is what I'm feeling, too.

Shared by: Dave Richeson, Matthew Oldridge, Kasi C. Allen, James Tanton, AMATYC, Nathaniel Highstein, Denise Gaskins, Brian Marks, Annie Forest, Genni Steele, April Pforts, Steph Gunning, Rebecca Afghani

June 15: "Numbers are just empty vessels into which we pour our meanings, and they always overflow," says Ben Orlin in "50 Killed, or 49?."

Shared by: Ilona Vashchyshyn, Meg Craig, Ben Orlin, James Cleveland, Anne Schwartz, Andy Shores, Jonathan Edmonds

June 16: Dan Meyer wrote "Your GPS Is Making You Dumber, and What That Means for Teaching," which spurred resharing on Twitter and a lot of comments on the post itself. My amazement: All this talk of two approaches to learning math and a navigation metaphor and not a mention of Skemp's analogy to be found.

Bonus read: Mattie B's "Saying something."

Shared by: Nancy Terry, Dan Meyer, Bridget Dunbar, Mark Chubb, Greg George, Taylor Belcher, Pamela Rawson, Andy Shores, Julie Reulbach, Jim Wysocki

Around the Math Ed Web

It turns out there wasn't a Global Math Department talk last week, but Sara Van Der Werf is scheduled to talk about "The Pursuit of 100% Engagement: Practical ideas to get you closer" on Tuesday the 21st.

We're still waiting to hear about NCTM Research Conference proposals, but you can submit for RUME until August 19 (or December 2 for posters).

Research Notes

It was an unusually slow week on the research front, but here's an article about Common Core and developing instructional capacity that just appeared in AERA Open:
  • From the Inside In by Jonathan Supovitz, Ryan Fink, and Bobbi Newman, University of Pennsylvania

Math Ed in the News

Deborah Ball at the 2015 NCTM Annual Meeting

Math Ed in Colorado

I'm off to do three days of workshops with math teachers and will have more to share about that in the days, weeks, and months to come. In the meantime, a lot of schools are looking to hire math teachers:
There are more, I know, and if you or someone you know is looking to teach math in Colorado, see the listings at

This Week in Math Ed: June 10, 2016

Math Ed Said

June 3: The Math Munch for June 2, "SET, Ptolemy, and Malin Christersson," was the most-shared item on the 3rd.

Shared by: Justin Lanier, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Jeremiah Ruesch, Anna Weltman, Denise Gaskins, Julie Wright

June 4: Ryan Dent shared "Teachers understanding progressions...and kids that are "behind" in what appears to be his first blog post (at least at this site). This post reminds me of a recent university seminar presented by a math educator to non-math educators. When the math educator described having teachers engage in math tasks for professional learning, a non-math educator remarked, "I'm really surprised that you'd have them do that. I assumed math teachers know their content and there'd be nothing to discuss."

Shared by: Laura Wagenman, Ryan Dent, Jamie Duncan, Levi Patrick, Mike Anderson, Lindel

June 5: Terence Tao mixed politics and logic in his post, "It ought to be common knowledge that Donald Trump is not fit for the presidency of the United States of America."

Shared by: Ken W. Smith, Justin Lanier, Tom Henderson, Spencer Bagley, Evelyn Lamb, Egan Chernoff

June 6: A short interview with Matt Larson appeared on the Curriculum Matters blog at Ed Week: "New NCTM President: Math Is About More Than College and Career Readiness." In the interview, Larson emphasizes math as a path to democratic citizenship and making NCTM more responsive to its members.

Shared by: Jon Wray, Glenn Waddell, Jr., Denise Spangler, NCTM, Greg George, Farshid Safi, Melissa Haun

June 7: Chris Lusto spurred a lot of great conversation last week with his post, "Lessons for Other People." As someone who likes to think about and build infrastructures for curriculum materials, and who researches curriculum adaptation, I'm very interested in how to make lesson repositories more useful, and how to make the materials they contain high quality without losing their perceived malleability. That's not an easy balance to achieve. I'm also in a position where I'm not thinking about a lesson written or adapted by one teacher for one classroom. I'm more likely to ask the question, "How can we capture this teacher's adaptations of their lesson so they might benefit a different teacher using the lesson five years from now?" None of these have easy answers, but you'll want to check out Dan Meyer's response as well as one from Max Ray-Riek.

Shared by: Chris Lusto, Chris Robinson, Taylor Belcher, Bridget Dunbar, Michael Pershan, Patrick Honner, Dan Anderson, John Golden, Jen Silverman

Lynsey Gibbons presenting at the 2016 NCTM Research Conference
June 8: If you missed the latest #TCMchat you can look back at the tweets and read the focus article, "Unwrapping Students' Ideas about Fractions," written by Rebecca Lewis, Lynsey Gibbons, Elham Kazemi, and Teresa Lind.

Shared by: Zak Champagne, Melinda Knapp, Elham Kazemi, Lynsey Gibbons, Tracy Johnston Zager, Matt Larson, TCM - NCTM, NCTM, Annie Fetter, USU TeachMath, Jimmy Pai, Math Coach Rivera

June 9: Ilana Horn describes the need to narrow the gap between being curious and being a good student in her post, "Why Meaningful Math Learning Matters."

Shared by: Ilana Horn, Shauna Hedgepeth, Tim Hudson, Bridget Dunbar, Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Danny Brown, John Golden, Dan Anderson, Andy Shores, Bryan Meyer, DeAnn Huinker

Around the Math Ed Web

AMTE President Christine Thomas wrote about a possible reforming of the Mathematical Sciences Education Board, which has been dormant at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for a decade. AMTE also released survey results about enrollment in mathematics teacher preparation programs.

At the Global Math Department this week you can listen to teachers share their favorite strategies for handling the end of the school year. If you missed it, last week's talk by Roni Ellington about a discourse framework for access, equity, and understanding has been posted to the site.

Research Notes

Here's the latest from the July 2016 issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics:
Anna DeJarnette presenting at the 2015 RME Conference
Two more articles have been added to the September 2016 issue of the Journal of Mathematical Behavior:
I spotted this math ed-related article in the CU-Boulder-rich issue of Cognition and Instruction:
Here's a math-related article from the June 2016 issue of The Elementary School Journal:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

Grant Opportunity:

Job Openings:
  • NEW: A Secondary Math Instructional Coach position is available at Prairie Heights Middle School in Greeley. If you are ready to branch out into the instructional coaching role and work with a dynamic 6 – 8 math department while also still have the opportunity to teach one or two classes, this is the position for you. You can email for more information, or go here to apply.
  • The Clear Creek School District is looking for a middle school math teacher. Apply on their website.
  • Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, CO, needs a math teacher for grades 9-12. At this time, the schedule includes Algebra 1 and several honors classes, including Precalculus. Bailey is a beautiful, small mountain community about an hour southwest of Denver and PCHS enrolls about 300 students. Class sizes are in the twenties or lower. Please apply to
  • Do you want to live, work, and play in the Vail Valley? There are still openings for math teachers in Eagle County! See here (elementary/intermediate) and here (high school).

This Week in Math Ed: June 3, 2016

Math Ed Said

May 27: Graham Fletcher questions prizes and incentives in his post, "The Multiplication Sundae and the Bad Taste of Incentives."

Shared by: Graham Fletcher, Tracy Johnston Zager, Kassia Wedekind, Judy Keeney, Christina, Richelle Marynowski, Julie Kubiak, Jennifer Lawler, Megan Schmidt, Shauna Hedgepeth

May 28: Fawn Nguyen lists 51 things she's learned about teaching and growing in a post called, "Half Century Plus One." It's more about teaching and learning than eating and growing, but some items on the list are more about kindness.

Shared by: Bridget Dunbar, Laura Wagenman, Megan Heine, Jeremiah Ruesch, Amy Hogan, Daniel Luevanos, Brian Bushart, Nate Goza

May 29: Fawn Nguyen is back for a second day in a row to share about a resource called Dudamath. I've only played with it for a moment to get an idea of how it works, and I'll be interested to see if or how teachers find ways to apply it to problems of student learning.

Shared by: Fawn Nguyen, Sharon Vestal, Bridget Dunbar, John Golden, Ed Campos Jr, MathDDSB, Adrianne Burns

May 30: In a Scientific American blog post, Evelyn Lamb writes, "The Male Gaze in a Math Book." It's a reminder of all the gendered and sexist moments that we experience, and how unnecessary (and often hurtful) they are.

Shared by: Ashli Black, David Butler, Josh Giesbrecht, Michael Pershan, Evelyn Lamb, Amy Hogan, Joshua Bowman, Dave Radcliffe, Patrick Honner

Is Eli Luberoff looking at you to be a Desmos teaching fellow?
May 31: Desmos announced the Desmos Teaching Fellowship, an opportunity for a teacher to work with Desmos starting with a weekend visit to Desmos HQ in November and the possibility of paid, part-time work with Desmos after that. Applications are due June 30, 2016.

Shared by:, Dan Meyer, Eli Luberoff, Christopher Danielson, Andrew Shauver, Michael Fenton, Sara VanDerWerf, Shelley Carranza, Geoff Krall, Karl Fisch, J.J. Martinez, Vanessa Garcia

June 1: People were excited to share about a new proof related to the pattern-matching card game "Set." Reported in Quanta, "Set Proof Stuns Mathematicians" illustrates the game, previous approaches to the problem, and the relatively simple proof that surfaced last month.

Shared by: M Sgbi, Sherri Burroughs, Dan McQuillan, Steven Strogatz, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Bowen Kerins, MAA, Brian R Lawler, Ryan R Ruff, Museum of Math, Cassy Turner, Jennifer Cook

June 2: In another Desmos story, Ontario has approved the use of Desmos for a standardized math exam. Previously used in Texas, this enables an exam mode in Desmos that constrains use of the app in ways that allow it to replace a traditional graphing calculator in a testing environment. I thought TI might do this themselves with their own software, but thankfully Desmos is providing some needed competition in the calculator market.

Shared by: Dan Meyer, Jennifer Blinzler, Pam Wilson, Jon Orr, Patty Stephens, Kyle Pearce, Cathy Yenca, Julie Reulbach, Heather Theijsmeijer, Julia Finneyfrock, Rachel Rosales, Matthew Oldridge, Bryan Anderson, Mark Chubb, Gregory White, Judy Keeney

Around the Math Ed Web

My eyes haven't spent a whole lot of time pointed at social media the past week or two, so I'm a little futher out of touch with the math ed web than usual. Still, there's always the Global Math Department:
If you're curious, there's still no mention of a due date for NCTM Research Conference proposals. I'll let you know when I see it.

Research Notes

Anne Garrison Wilhelm
The June 2016 issue of the American Educational Research Journal has one math ed article and I'm eager to read it:
The South African open access journal Pythagoras has their first article of 2016:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

There's been a relative quiet as school years end, at least from my listening post. I hope everyone finished strong!

PD Opportunities:
Job Openings:
  • NEW: The Clear Creek School District is looking for a middle school math teacher. Apply on their website.
  • Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, CO, needs a math teacher for grades 9-12. At this time, the schedule includes Algebra 1 and several honors classes, including Precalculus. Bailey is a beautiful, small mountain community about an hour southwest of Denver and PCHS enrolls about 300 students. Class sizes are in the twenties or lower. Please apply to
  • There are still openings for math teachers in Eagle County. See here (elementary/intermediate) and here (high school).