This Week in Math Ed: October 28, 2016

Math Ed Said

October 21: Dan Meyer explained how a new Desmos activity embodied their design principles in a post titled "Marcellus the Giant."

Shared by: Kirsten Silverman, Andrew Stadel, John Golden, Cathy Yenca, Sara VanDerWerf, Jennifer Blinzler, Jen Silverman, Dan Meyer, Nancy Terry

October 22: A number of people shared a link to a PDF titled "60 iPad and iPhone Apps for the Math Classroom." It's not listed, but I'll plug PhET Interactive Simulations, a CU-Boulder project with some math simulations that recently became available for iOS.

Shared by: David Petro, Jessica Faurote, Matthew Oldridge, Tyler Anderson, Kyle Pearce, Dan Allen

October 23: Sunil Singh's post "Stop Selling Math For Its Usefulness" reminds me of why I think it's so critical for math educators to take a course or otherwise study the perspectives of mathematics and math education. How we define mathematics for our students, and the approach we take in helping them learn mathematics, directly shapes their perspective of math and its utility. And just as this post advocates one of several perspectives, students need multiple perspectives, too.

Shared by: Craig Barton, T R, Jocelyn Dagenais, Federico Chialvo, Cathy Campbell, Matthew Oldridge, Learning Maths, Chris Hunter, Jo Morgan, Edmund Harriss, Brandi Moore, Meleia Bridenstine, Sunil Singh

October 24: Jamie Duncan wrote a post for the Teaching Children Mathematics blog called "Primary Thieves, Part 1." The first paragraph has a great hook:
As a first-grade teacher, I lived in Literacy Land for the first thirteen years of my career. Nearly all primary-grade teachers live there. It’s a great place to be; learning to read, write, and comprehend is critical. Sure, we took day trips to Math Land, but it was less comfortable for us as teachers. We weren’t really sure where Math Land would take us next. We had heard that the older grades were throwing math parties,* but we weren’t invited. So, we just kept to ourselves, doing what we thought was best: using manipulatives and modeling for students in whatever way we (or the publisher’s curriculum) thought they should solve problems.
Shared by: Jennifer Bell, Chris Kalmbach, Steve Wyborney, Adrianne Burns, Brian Bushart, Mark Chubb, Jamie Duncan, Matt Larson, Zak Champagne

Matt Larson at the 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting
October 25: NCTM President Matt Larson announced a significant new initiative aimed at high school. With a working title of Pathways through High School Mathematics: Building Focus and Coherence, NCTM plans to look carefully at the purpose of high school math, define curricular pathways that lead to college pathways and career readiness, and describe exemplar courses.

Shared by: ElementaryMathTeach, Dylan Kane, Brett Parker, Arpi Lajinian, Matt Larson, Raymond Johnson, Farshid Safi, NCTM, Robert Kaplinsky

October 26: It's been a while since Ben Orlin entertained this blog with one of his comics, but here he is again with "The Student-to-Teacher Dictionary," in which Ben promotes an optimistic perspective on things students say that often come across as negative.

Shared by: Denise Gaskins, Shauna Hedgepeth, Joshua Bowman, David Butler, Rebecca Gasper, TJ Hitchman, Brian Bushart, Bowen Kerins, John Golden, Ben Orlin

October 27: Joe Schwartz gave us a "Frowny Face," a short post about an oddly (poorly?) specific estimation worksheet that caused a student frustration and how he resolved it.

Shared by: Brian Bushart, Jim Doherty, Shauna Hedgepeth, Simon Gregg, Joe Schwartz

Around the Math Ed Web

The last day to vote for NCTM Board of Directors is Monday, October 31! If you're a member you should have a link to your ballot in your email.

Don't miss Matt Larson's high school announcement people were sharing on the 25th, mentioned above! I think this is a big deal and I'm most interested in seeing where it goes.

Following the #NCTMregionals tweets from this past week will give you the latest from Phoenix, where math educators gathered for NCTM's Regional Conference. Next week NCTM will host a regional in Philadelphia before catching its breath and hosting Innov8 later in November. If you want to catch up on the Ignite sessions from Phoenix, Suzanne Alejandre has the Storify right here.

NCTM has an impressive number of grants available courtesy of the Mathematics Education Trust. If you've ever needed money for attending a conference, purusing some PD, or doing classroom research, there's probably a grant that fits your needs. Applications for this round of funding are due November 4th.

The Global Math Department welcomed Gail Burrill last week for a talk about calculus, and next up is "Children Living in Poverty Can Solve CCSS OA Word Problems" by Karen Fuson.

Tuesday, November 1st is the deadline to nominate someone for NCSM's Taylor/Gilbert National Leadership Award.

Research Notes

I see three new articles in AERA Open:
That's all the research from my regular sources. I realized recently that I probably should keep an eye on Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, so here are the math ed-related articles published there so far in 2016:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

There isn't much new but there's a lot in progress! Here are a few key items in case you missed them:

Colorado Academic Standards Survey

Please reply to the survey by November 13!

CDE invites educators, educational leaders, parents, students and the general public to share their perceptions of the Colorado Academic Standards through an online survey available through Nov. 13. To participate, click here.

The results of the survey will inform the department’s planning for the upcoming review and revision of the standards, required by Senate Bill 08-212, known as Colorado’s Achievement Plan for Kids (CAP4K). The law requires a review and revision of the CAS on or before July 1, 2018 and every six years thereafter.

In addition to the survey on general perceptions of the standards, CDE will launch an online feedback system in November which will enable all educators and others to provide specific feedback on every expectation within the 10 content areas included in the Colorado Academic Standards.

In early 2017, CDE will provide comprehensive information about the timeline and phases of the standards review and revision process as well as information about how to become involved.

The survey and online standards feedback system can be found at General questions and comments about the review and revision process can be sent to

Computer Science Standards Meetings

During the 2016 legislative session, the Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 16-1198 requiring CDE to develop academic standards for computer science for secondary students. The new law allows districts to elect to adopt these standards for their high school students. These voluntary, secondary computer science standards must be adopted by the State Board of Education by July 2018, and CDE is hosting three stakeholder meetings in October and November to engage a broad array of stakeholders to inform the development process:
  • Monday, October 31 in Pueblo
  • Monday, November 14 in Denver
  • Thursday, November 17 in Grand Junction
There will also be a webinar on Monday, November 28 from 3:30 to 5:00. For more information and to register to attend any of these meetings, see the announcement on the CDE Standards and Instructional Support webpage.

COmath Calendar

During a CCTM board meeting a number of us were discussing ways to help bring Colorado math educators together. One idea was to have a centralized calendar, not just for CCTM events, but for all events of interest to math educators in Colorado. You can access it here:
If you have an event you'd like to add to the calendar, email to submit your request.