This Week in Math Ed: August 12, 2016

Math Ed Said

August 5: Inspired by Skemp (1976), Mark Chubb wrote, "Focus on Relational Understanding." In the post he discusses differences between instrumental and relational understanding and offers suggestions and resources to help bridge the gap between the two.

Shared by: Mary Gambrel, Ashley Bingenheimer, Beth Brandenburg, Matthew Oldridge, David Costello, Mark Chubb, Brian Bushart, Jeremy Went

August 6: Dylan Kane was thinking about the nature of students' questions, and when and if certain questions are best answered. In his post "Answering Questions," Dylan builds on the ideas of John Holt and Peter Liljedahl to focus on the kinds of questions and answers that keep students thinking.

Shared by: Dylan Kane, Matthew Oldridge, Mary Bourassa, MathDDSB, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Judy Keeney

August 7: The I-don't-know-her-name-cuz-maybe-it's-secret teacher that goes by Druin wrote, "Teaching Statistics: Thinking about Closure." The topic of this post are those precious minutes at the end of lessons, and how best to help students consolidate their ideas and reflect on what they've learned.

Shared by: Druin, Shauna Hedgepeth, Pam J. Wilson, Tracy Johnston Zager, Bridget Dunbar

August 8: The final minutes of a lesson are important, but so are the first few minutes of a unit. Sara VanDerWerf wrote about "Unit Pictures," a visual guide to get students thinking about what they'll be learning in the days ahead.

Shared by: Sara VanDerWerf, Megan Schmidt, Annie Perkins, Laura Wagenman, Mary Gambrel, Meg Craig

August 9: The topic of last week's Global Math Department meeting was "Back to School Night Ignites."

Shared by: Jessica, Global Math, Sadie Estrella, Regan Galvan, Deborah Boden, Cary Behrendt, Katherine Martin

August 10: THE Journal reported on some recent research with the article, "With High-Quality Lessons and Social Supports, Even Weak Teachers Do Better." The researchers, writing in a NBER working paper, found that teachers who were supported in the use of high-quality, off-the-shelf Mathalicious lessons saw greater student achievement than teachers who were not provided the lessons or support. Just giving teachers access to lessons didn't help as much, and researchers hypothesized that some teachers don't invest enough time in lesson planning to use an off-the-shelf lesson.

Shared by:, Christopher Danielson, Sadie Estrella, Patty Stephens, Glenn Waddell, Jr., John Golden, Martin Joyce, April Pforts

August 11: Mark Chubb is back with another post, "Never Skip the Closing of the Lesson."

Shared by: Tracy Johnston Zager, Margie Pearse, Matthew Oldridge, Max Ray-Riek, Annie Forest, John Rowe, Mark Chubb, Jami D. Packer, Mark Chubb, Jennifer Wilson, Bridget Dunbar, Pam J. Wilson, Brian Bushart

Around the Math Ed Web

On Tuesday the Global Math Department will be talking about "Flipping Your Math Classroom: More Than Just Videos and Worksheets."

August 19th is your last chance to submit a proposal for RUME. Actually, that's not entirely true — if you're submitting a poster, they'll take proposals on a rolling basis for a few more months.

The deadline to submit NCTM Research Conference proposals is September 4.

Research Notes

I've had some trouble tracking new article in Teachers College Record, but here's one that I think has appeared recently:
If you've been waiting all year for new articles in The Teaching of Mathematics, from the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, wait no longer! I know it's a low-profile journal, but it's open access and been around since 1998, something not many math ed journals can claim.

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado


CCTM Board Meeting: I attended a CCTM board meeting on Saturday, August 6. We welcomed our new board members: Kevin Duren, our newly elected vice president from the Security-Widefield district; Gilbert Apodaca, technology specialist from Centennial R-1, and Erica Hastert, our new MAA representative who comes from Early College of Arvada. Most of the day we discussed the upcoming CCTM Conference and plans to grow and strengthen the math education community in Colorado.

Navajo Math Circles: Last Wednesday I attended a packed-house film screening of Navajo Math Circles, which was shown as part of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science's ongoing Indigenous Film & Arts Festival. For me, the film did a beautiful job showing how Navajo youth need access to mathematics, and how in turn mathematics needs Navajo youth. PBS will be showing the film in September, so watch their schedule for details. See the Navajo Math website for more details about the program, or for general information about math circles.

CCTM Conference: Register now!

Upcoming ESSA Standards Committee Webinar:

In December of 2015, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was reauthorized as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. Following a statewide listening tour in May and June of this year, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) is now convening committees to inform the development of Colorado's ESSA state plan to comply with the requirements of ESSA. For more information regarding ESSA please visit:

Under the guidance of the State Board of Education, the CDE will utilize a Hub/Spoke Committee structure for ESSA state plan development. The idea is to create a formal, central Hub Committee that will have an oversight role in the development of a draft of our state plan to be submitted to the State Board in early 2017, and ESSA topical spoke committees that will be responsible for developing and appropriately vetting sections of the state plan with the nimbleness and flexibility to get the work done in a timely manner.

The Office of Standards and Instructional Support at CDE is hosting an informational webinar about the standards spoke committee on Thursday, August 18, from 3:30 to 4:30 PM. A recording will be made available for those unable to participate.

The webinar will provide those interested in participating in or knowing about the work of the committee. Topics to be addressed in the webinar include:
  • A general overview of the Colorado’s ESSA state plan development process
  • ESSA requirements for state standards and related components for the state plan
  • Colorado's process for developing, vetting, and finalizing the standards section of the ESSA state plan
  • How stakeholders can become a part of the committee
  • Expectations of committee members
To participate in the webinar, please follow this link: Audio will come through your computer. You may also dial in for audio in the event you experience difficulties: 1-877-820-7831, passcode 712581.

Following the webinar, the membership for the standards spoke committee will be confirmed and work will begin on the standards section of the ESSA state plan. To become involved in the committee or to follow its work, please visit:

This Week in Math Ed: August 5, 2016

Math Ed Said

July 29: Sam Shah blogged, "My Takeaways from #TMC16." It's a detailed, session-by-session post with a lot of ideas for coordinating class discussion and activity.

Shared by: Dan Meyer, Megan W. Taylor, Julie Reulbach, John Golden, Chris Shore, Taylor Belcher, Karyn Vogel, Life LeGeros, Ron King, David Costello, Alex Jaffurs

July 30: Christopher Danielson announced preorders for his book, Which One Doesn't Belong? A Better Shapes Book.

Shared by: Christopher Danielson, Jose Vilson, Tracy Johnston Zager, Laura Wagenman, Malke Rosenfeld, Matthew Oldridge, DeAnn Huinker, Kristin Gray, Andrew Gael, Michael Fenton, WODB? Math, Mary Bourassa, Mark Chubb, Kyle Pearce, Andy Martinson, Glenn Waddell, Jr., David Sabol, Geoff Krall, mathzone, Judy Larsen

July 31: Jeremy Kun wrote an essay called, "Habits of highly mathematical people." It's all good stuff about attending to definitions, counterexamples, defending claims, etc., but I particularly liked this part, because I'm sure I've been guilty of it:
"Anyone who has gone through an undergraduate math education has known a person (or been that person) to regularly point out that X statement is not precisely true in the very special case of Y that nobody intended to include as part of the discussion in the first place. It takes a lot of social maturity beyond the bare mathematical discourse to understand when this is appropriate and when it’s just annoying."
Shared by: Patrick Honner, Shauna Hedgepeth, Keith Devlin, Dana C. Ernst, Amy Hogan, Matthew Oldridge

Papert's Mindstorms
August 1: We were saddened by the passing of Seymour Papert, who died at the age of 88. Here's the statement released by the MIT Media Lab.

Shared by: Ryan R Ruff, Robin Hosemann, Josh Giesbrecht, Patrick Honner, Henri Picciotto, Matthew Oldridge, Keith Devlin, Mike Thayer, Jocelyn Dagenais, Dr. Natthapoj Trakulphadetkrai, Penny Bentley, Cathy Campbell, Denise Gaskins

August 2: I have an old "explaining invert and multiply" post on this blog and, frankly, I'm embarrassed by it. I did some short algebraic justification and I know I have better explanations. Thanks to Graham Fletcher, he's picked up the torch with a new post, "Making Sense of Invert and Multiply." Graham's explanation is way better than mine, but mine would still look and sound different. Maybe I should still plan on updating that old post after all.

Shared by: Graham Fletcher, Rusty Anderson, Josh Fisher, Jennifer Bell, Greg George, Laura Wagenman, Bryan Anderson, Andrew Gael, Julie Kubiak

August 3: There's a tie and I can't just pick one, so here's a three-fer:
  1. "How to Make Math More Emotionally Engaging For Students" from KQED News's "MindShift" blog
  2. "Math Teaching: What We've Learned From Research Over a Decade" on Education Week's "Curriculum Matters" blog
  3. "A Very Valuable Conjecture" by Dan Meyer
Shared by: (1) Jessica Faurote, Melinda Lula, Christina Moore, Alayne Armstrong, Sarah Powell, Dan McQuillan, Donna Boucher, Jennifer Lawler, Michelle Russell; (2) Math Coach Rivera, Robert Cop, NCTM, David Keller, Greg George, Andrew Gael, Matthew Oldridge, David Costello, Sendhil Revuluri; (3) Dan Meyer, Nancy Terry, David Butler, Sherri Burroughs, Mark Chubb, Alex Jaffurs, Bridget Soumeillan, Imtiaz Damji, Cynthia Crenshaw

August 4: People were sharing a new resource site, "Math and Social Justice: A Collaborative MTBoS Site." At first I was confused by this site, since I think of Radical Math when it comes to these issues. However, I see that much of what's on Radical Math is now getting quite dated and almost everything is explicitly copyrighted. Maybe in the future these two efforts will become more clearly complimentary, using the strong foundation of Radical Math with the fresh efforts behind the new site.

Shared by: John Golden, Gregory Taylor, Wendy Menard, Annie Perkins, Megan Schmidt, Norma Gordon

Around the Math Ed Web

The Global Math Department is back to having weekly talks, and this Tuesday the topic will be "Back to School Night Ignites."

The 13th International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME-13) was held July 24-31 in Hamburg, Germany. I wasn't watching Twitter much that week, so I don't know if there was much to follow along with live. However, they have been posting some videos on the ICME website.

The August 19 deadline for RUME proposals is creeping closer.

NCTM Research Conference proposals are now being accepted and the deadline to submit is September 4.

Research Notes

Yet another article has been added to the September 2016 issue of The Journal of Mathematical Behavior:
Here are the math-related articles in the August 2016 issue of the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education:
Michal Ayalon at the 2015 ISDDE Conference

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado


August 7th: This weekend is the last weekend to see the "Robot Revolution" exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

August 10th: There is a special screening of the film "Navajo Math Circles" from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Admission is free and representatives from local math circles will be on hand to answer questions about activities you can participate in around Colorado. Use the will call entrance on the north side of the museum to attend the screening.

August 17th: The Colorado Education Initiative is presenting a private screening of the 90-minute documentary Most Likely to Succeed on August 17th from 8:30 to 10:30 am. (Yes, in the morning!) The documentary highlights the approach to education used at High Tech High, where learning is very student-centered and project-based. I saw this film earlier this summer at a workshop we put on for Colorado teachers and it spurred some good discussions, some optimism, and some skepticism. If you can make it to Denver to see the film, I recommend it, but you'll need to RSVP as seating is limited.

This Week in Math Ed: July 29, 2016

I was out bike touring my home state last week, but here's my quick attempt to recap some of what happened last week in math ed.

Math Ed Said

July 22: Sam Shah calls on us to "#ExpandMTBoS," his way of asking us to help expand the online math teacher community. Maybe this means a local tweet-up, a presentation to your department or school, creating a new online resource, or contributing to an existing effort. As for me, I'm going to continue with TWiME and I hope to keep adding content — and hopefully more contributors — to the Wiki.

Shared by: Sam Shah, Justin Lanier, Tina Cardone, Jedidiah Butler, Ihor Charischak

July 23: In another plea to the online math teacher community, Julie Reulbach is "Calling All Algebra 2 Teachers!" to contribute their resources for the upcoming year.

Shared by: Sara VanDerWerf, Robin Mathews, Bridget Dunbar, Judy Larsen, Dan Meyer, Jonathan Klupp, Laurie Hailer, Bridget Soumeillan, Mary Williams, OCTM, Julie Reulbach, Ed Campos Jr

July 24: David Butler writes, "TMC16 reflections from someone who wasn’t there."

Shared by: David Butler, Tracy Johnston Zager, Megan Schmidt, Heather Kohn, Gregory Taylor, John Gibson

July 25: Joe Schwartz shared a photo-rich post, "Touching Calculus," which recounts an experience he had working with shapes at TMC16.

Shared by: Joe Schwartz, Michael Pershan, Tracy Johnston Zager, Megan Schmidt, Malke Rosenfeld, Max Ray-Riek, Paula Beardell Krieg, Denis Sheeran, Edmund Harriss

July 26: Folks were happy to share the news that the Global Math Department would return with new talks the following week.

Shared by: Global Math, Megan Schmidt, Sara VanDerWerf, Amie Albrecht, Debbie Hurtado, Kathy Henderson, Heather Kohn, Michelle Bailey, Deborah Boden

July 27: NCTM President Matt Larson responds to Diane Ravitch in a post, "A Comment on the July 24 New York Times Opinion Page." Matt highlights the alignments between NCTM positions and some of Diane's critiques, but argues that standards are still one key piece in ensuring that all students have access to high quality mathematics, and that in most ways, the Common Core State Standards are an improvement over the state standards that preceeded them.

Shared by: Kimberly Goff, Lisa Henry, Elizabeth Statmore, Bridget Dunbar, NCTM, Eric Milou, Crystal Lancour, Tracy Johnston Zager

July 28: This Chalkbeat story by Elizabeth Green displays some ways math can be incorporated into "restorative justice" classroom techniques.

Shared by: John Golden, Max Ray-Riek, Glenn Waddell, Jr., Bridget Dunbar, Malke Rosenfeld, Donna Boucher, Andrew Gael

That's all for last week — I'll catch up with research, news, and more stories in the next TWiME!