This Week in Math Ed: January 27, 2017

Math Ed Said

Speakers in the tools and tech strand
 at the 2017 NCTM Annual Meeting
January 20: A promotional image for speakers in the tools and technology strand got a lot of retweets and send people to the page for the NCTM 2017 Annual Meeting.

Shared by: Annie Forest, Sarah Bush, Kimberly Wassmuth, Andrew Gael, The Math Forum, Cathy Yenca, Kathy Henderson, Janice Novakowski, PhET Sims, Shelley Carranza, Carl Oliver, Marc Garneau, Kristin Gray, Andrew Stadel

January 21: People in the math education community were sharing the NY Times gallery of "Pictures From Women's Marches Around the United States and the World."

Shared by: Keith Devlin, Emily Harmon, Bryan Meyer, Karen, Robin Hosemann, Joshua Bowman, Andrew Gael, Christine K, Kay Endriss, Norma Gordon

January 22: As you might expect, estimation exercises in the news get the attention of math teachers. People shared the NY Times article, "Crowd Scientists Say Women's March in Washington Had 3 Times More People Than Trump's Inauguration."

Shared by: Andy Martinson, Egan J Chernoff, Mister Ed, Gretchen Eastman, Nerissa Gerodias, Jorge Nuno Silva, Keith Devlin, Nick Yates, Kay Endriss, Annie Perkins, Earl Samuelson, Dan Anderson, Lisa Bejarano, Amy Hogan

January 23: Lara Pudwell wrote on the AMS Blog, "What is an Experimental Math Course and Why Should We Care?" She advises that experimental courses should focus on the approach to mathematics and be flexible with the content.

Shared by: Dana C. Ernst, Tom Snarsky, Francis Su, Keegan Phillips, Ben Braun, TJ Hitchman

January 24: Robert Kaplinsky has been posting about Depth of Knowledge lately, something I've been studying up on myself. Here Robert uses sets of examples to illustrate what different DOK levels look like at the elementary level.

Shared by: Chris Kalmbach, Daniel Luevanos, Tanya Beck, Andrew Gael, Greg George, Robert Kaplinsky, Laura Wagenman, Allison Hintz, Mark Chubb

January 25: Concerns about the role of science in a new presidential administration had people sharing "Thanks to Trump, Scientists Are Planning To Run For Office."

Shared by: Matt Lane, Ed Campos Jr, MotherWupper, Karen King, Doug Moore, Janice Cotcher, Andrew Gael

January 26: People were buzzing about the NCTM Ignite lineup.

Shared by: Julie Wright, NCTM, Avery Pickford, Andrew Stadel, Mary Bourassa, Janice Novakowski, Suzanne Alejandre, Sarah Bush

Around the Math Ed Web

Are you a college instructor wanting to know more about inquiry based learning? You might want to check out these IBL summer workshops at DePaul, Cal Poly, and Nazareth College.

I'm not interested in sharing information about every math-related webinar and MOOC, but the set of offerings from the Place @ the Friday Institute has a set of courses designed specifically for math teachers and their courses are beginning now.

I'm having trouble with the Global Math Department conferences on BigMarker right now, but trust me, they're still hammering out the dents in math ed every Tuesday night.

Research Notes

To save myself a little time in the research notes, I may not always list the institution of each author. Some journals make it near-impossible to copy and paste this from the article page — looking at you, Taylor & Francis!

In the March 2017 issue of The Journal of Mathematical Behavior:
Four new articles in Mathematical Thinking and Learning:
Here are the math ed articles in the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education:
Rogers Hall at the 2014 ICLS Conference
New in Cognition and Instruction:
New in the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Mathematics Teacher Education:
One new article in the Journal of the Learning Sciences:
New in the April 2017 issue of Teaching and Teacher Education:

Math Ed in Colorado

CCTM SAT Workshops

CCTM is offering three workshops designed to help teachers become more familiar with the PSAT and SAT. Each half-day workshop will provide an orientation to some of the PSAT/SAT materials that are available and instructional practices that support students to do well on these tests. The cost of the workshop is $15 for a CCTM member and $45 for a non-member. The workshops are from 8:30 am to noon for each of the three dates and locations:
  • Saturday, February 11, at the Littleton Public Schools Board Room
  • Saturday, February 25, at the CSU-Pueblo Physics/Math Building
  • Saturday, March 4, at the CSU-Fort Collins Lory Student Center

Winter 2017 CMT

The Winter 2017 issue of the Colorado Mathematics Teacher is available for all to read. To support the CMT and the work of CCTM, become a member.

CoMMIT Meeting

The next meeting of the Colorado Metropolitan Math Intervention Team (CoMMIT) will be held Friday, February 3 from 8:30 to noon in the Littleton Public Schools board room (5776 S. Crocker St., Littleton). The featured speakers will be Doug Clements and Julie Sarama of the University of Denver.

CML Meeting

The next meeting of the Colorado Mathematics Leaders will be Monday, February 6th in Jeffco. Stay tuned to the CML listserv for details.

SLD Webinars

CDE is offering a series of five one-hour webinars addressing the needs of struggling learners with specific learning disabilities. The webinars will be on the first Monday of each month:
  • February 6: Focusing on the Nonstrategic Math Learner
  • March 6: Learning Whole Number Operations
  • April 3: Let's Be Rational: Learning Integers, Fractions, Decimals
  • May 1: Mathese: The Language of Mathematics
  • June 5: Bridging the Arithmetic to Algebra Gap
Register for any or all of the webinars in this series at

Colorado Academic Standards Review & Revision

The first monthly informational webinar about the review of the Colorado Academic Standards will be Tuesday, February 7, from 3:30 to 4:30. Connection information can be found on the CDE website.

CDE continues to collect standard-specific feedback using an online standards feedback system. This is a unique opportunity for any Coloradan to provide line-by-line recommendations that will be considered by the standards review committees. All forms of feedback are welcome: if you think something should stay as-is, be revised for clarity, moved to another grade, or removed altogether. Do not let this opportunity pass if you have ideas that you think should be considered! The online standards feedback system will be open through Sunday, April 30, 2017. This end date has been extended again because your input is so critical to the review and revision process.

Colorado Revised Teacher Rubric

CDE's Educator Effectiveness unit is collecting public feedback about its teacher rubric. See here for dates and locations of focus groups (must register by 2/24) and an online form to submit specific feedback about the rubric.

Girls Lead the Way

Monday, January 30th is the deadline to register 9th-12th grade girls for the Girls Lead the Way Leadership Conference. The conference is February 11 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden.

This Week in Math Ed: January 20, 2017

Math Ed Said

January 13: As I mentioned in the last TWiME, people were excited to see that Desmos will be included in California's state tests.

Shared by: Eric Milou, Ellen byron, Matt Vaudrey, Megan W. Taylor, Bryn Humberstone, Cathy Yenca, David Wartowski, Monica Brannan, Sharon Rendon, Elizabeth Statmore, Jeremiah Ruesch, Kathy Henderson, Christopher Rohde, Bridget Dunbar, Judy Keeney

January 14: Prompted by the blogging initiative at ExploreMTBoS, Marissa W wrote "Soft Skills: Encouraging Perseverance #MTBoSBlogsplosion."

Shared by: Jennifer Dao, Marissa W, Tom Hall, Nolan Doyle, Alex Overwijk, Sara VanDerWerf, Marissa W

January 15: I think math teachers were a bit envious of the technology used by the New York Times in the story "You Draw It: What Got Better or Worse During Obama's Presidency." Politics aside, it was a cool way to make and test your predictions on a graph.

Shared by: Federico Chialvo, Denis Sheeran, Sue Wilson, George Woodbury, Tom Snarsky, John Scammell, Judy Keeney, Gregory Taylor, John Golden, Keith Devlin, Nerissa Gerodias, Bridget Dunbar, Samuel Otten, Martin Joyce, Sharon Vestal, Tyler Anderson, Nick Yates, Norma Gordon, Eli Luberoff, Geoff Krall, Laura Kinnel, Darren Burris

January 16: In a post that's sort of about baking, and sort of about a book, but not really about either, Christopher Danielson gives us "Muffins, math, and the lies we tell about both."

Shared by: John A. Pelesko, Judy Larsen, Sharon Vestal, Justin Lanier, Michelle Naidu, Mathalicious, Ilona Vashchyshyn

January 17: Kristin Gray's post on the Teaching Channel is about "Lesson Study: Choosing a Mathematical Goal and Task." It's the first in a series, so be prepared to read, be given something to think about, and return for the rest of the discussion.

Shared by: Lisa Melton Pizzuto, Rosa Serratore, Julie Kubiak,David Petersen, Illustrative Maths, Andrew Gael, Sadie Estrella, Kristin Gray

Fawn Nguyen at the 2016 NCTM Innov8
January 18: If you're wondering why Fawn Nguyen's "Growth vs. Proficiency" post from last August would suddenly get attention, it all relates to a question asked by Senator Al Franken during Betsy DeVos's confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Education. DeVos didn't appear 100% prepared to answer Franken's question, which sent members of the public to the internet to see if they couldn't figure out what the whole growth vs. proficiency debate was all about.

Shared by: Kevin Lawrence, Jennifer Dao, Patty Stephens, Andrew Gael, Ilana Horn, Casey McCormick, Fawn Nguyen, Earl Samuelson

January 19: Folks were still talking about Fawn's post, but there was also notable sharing of "The Teach to One Math Experiment in Mountain View, CA Is a Trainwreck."

Shared by: T R, Gregory Taylor, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Dan Meyer, Elizabeth Statmore, Kate Nowak, Maria H. Andersen

This Week in Math Ed: January 13, 2017

If it hasn't become obvious, I'm struggling to get TWiME out on a regular basis. Until the crunch of finishing my Ph.D. is done, I may have to rely on abbreviated versions of TWiME for a while. I don't want to give it up entirely but there's only so much time in a week!

Math Ed Said

January 6: Annie Perkins put together a teacher guide for the movie Hidden Figures."

Shared by: Debbie Hurtado, Nita Cochran, Kathy Henderson, Sara VanDerWerf, Edmund Harriss, Crystal Morey, Andrew Gael, Kate Nowak, Christopher Danielson, Annie Perkins

Michael Pershan at the 2015 NCTM Annual Meeting
January 7: I urge you to read Michael Pershan's "Missing Factors: On Learning What You Don't Know." It's a long and thoughtful post focused on a student, Rachel, who struggles with basic facts despite the best efforts of her teachers. I love that this post caused Marilyn Burns to say in a comment, "There have been times in my teaching experience where I've had students bring me to my pedagogical knees." I'm guessing most of us have, and openly discussing those struggles gives us opportunities to overcome them.

Shared by: David Butler, Anna Blinstein, Brian Bushart, Taylor Belcher, Kent Haines, Josh Fisher, Kassia Wedekind, Michael Pershan

January 8: Are you ready for another long, thoughtful post? Francis Su wrote "Mathematics for Human Flourishing," a recap of his retiring presidential address given at the Joint Math Meetings.

Shared by: Andy Shores, Jennifer Lawler, Maria H. Andersen, Dan McQuillan, Joshua Bowman, Dave Richeson, Robert Talbert, Kate Owens, Tyler Anderson, OCTM, Steve Phelps, Nerissa Gerodias, Andrew Knauft, T R, Janine McIntosh, Spencer Bagley, Matthew Oldridge, Dana C. Ernst, Evelyn Lamb, Tom Snarsky, Amy Hogan, Justin Lanier, TJ Hitchman, Ben Braun, Farshid Safi, Francis Su

January 9: In case you didn't read it on the 8th, it's back for the 9th: "Mathematics for Human Flourishing" by Francis Su.

Shared by: Kate Owens, John A. Pelesko, Glenn Waddell, Jr., Kay Endriss, John Golden, Sharon Vestal, Dan McQuillan, Fawn Nguyen, MAA, Francis Su, David Butler, Ben Braun, Anna Scharfeld, Markus Sagebiel, Math Coach Rivera

January 10: If you missed Michael Pershan's "Missing Factors: On Learning What You Don't Know" on the 7th, I hope you saw it on the 10th.

Shared by: Anna Blinstein, Dan Anderson, Michael Pershan, Joe Schwartz, Marilyn Burns, Lindel, Julie Kubiak, TCM - NCTM, Kristin Gray

January 11: Andrew Garrett, a software engineer for Google, wrote "New Google Classroom features make it easier to learn, teach, manage and build."

Shared by: Kayla Floyd Duncan, Phil Macoun, Kelly Boles, Tyler Anderson, Denis Sheeran, Craig Klement, Kimberly Wassmuth, Ben Rouse

January 12: There was some Desmos news that got people excited, but instead I'll draw your attention to the "Math Autobiographies" that people are writing and sharing in response to the first chapter of Tracy Johnston Zager's new book. (You'll see the Desmos news in the coming days, so you're not missing anything!)

Shared by: Shauna Hedgepeth, Simon Gregg, Kate Nowak, John Golden, Tracy Johnston Zager

Like I said, I need to keep TWiME a bit shorter for a while. See you in the next one!

This Week in Math Ed: January 6, 2017

Happy New Year! Here's the first TWiME of 2017, full of arguments for number sense, upcoming NCTM chats, and a lot of new research. If you want to see what I thought was the best of 2016, I found 30 noteworthy posts from the year's worth of TWiME in 2016.

Math Ed Said

December 30: Cory Turner of NPR writes, "Teachers Are Stressed, And That Should Stress Us All." Teachers are indicating stress levels similar to those of doctors. Thankfully, there are ways of relieving the stress.

Shared by: Lisa Choate, Nita Cochran, Shelby Aaberg, Chris Mueller, Sahar Khatri, Erika Bullock

December 31: David Radcliffe asks and answers, "Why is 2017 an interesting number?" There's a lot more going on with 2017 than being prime.

Shared by: Rebecca Gasper, Sara VanDerWerf, Mark McCourt, James Tanton, David Radcliffe

January 1: Keith Devlin wrote "All the mathematical methods I learned in my university math degree became obsolete in my lifetime" for the Huffington Post. This article is a mini-celebration of number sense, and the kind of understanding humans need to thrive with calculating machines.

Shared by: Mark Ellis, Kate Fisher, Joshua Bowman, Shauna Hedgepeth, Zack Miller, Tom Snarsky, Nerissa Gerodias, Judy Keeney, Keith Devlin

January 2: Sixteen more people shared Keith Devlin's post that became popular on New Year's Day, but an equal number were sharing "Labels Work Every Time" from the Desmos blog.

Shared by: Joshua Bowman, Nerissa Gerodias, Bryn Humberstone, Bridget Dunbar, Nolan Doyle, Jesse McNulty, Dan Anderson, Ben Rouse, Julia Finneyfrock, Aimee Shackleton, Audrey McLaren, Elizabeth Statmore,, Dan Meyer, Eddi Vulić, John Golden

January 3: In NCTM's Teaching Children Mathematics blog, Zak Champagne wrote, "2016: The year in review." He lists ten highlights from 2016 that had implications for elementary math education.

Shared by: Andrew Gael, Math Coach Rivera, Mike Flynn, TCM - NCTM, Cathy Yenca, Megan M. Allen, Zak Champagne

January 4: BEAM is short for "Bridge to Enter Advanced Mathematics" and they are seeking applicants for their summer programs. Some of those listed on the "shared by" list below have worked with BEAM and had positive things to say about the experience.

Shared by: Bethany SansingHeltn, David Keller, Dan Meyer, Michael Pershan, Jennifer Lawler, Kate Nowak

January 5: Keith Devlin's post "All The Methods I Learned In My Mathematics Degree Became Obsolete In My Lifetime" stayed popular throughout the week and was again most-shared on the 5th.

Shared by: Math Coach Rivera, Denis Sheeran, Ruth Knop, Jo Boaler, Jocelyn Dagenais, Matthew Oldridge, Beth Curran, Museum of Math, Jen Silverman, Keith Devlin

Around the Math Ed Web

Hidden Figures movie poster
Hidden Figures hit theaters nationwide this week and the reactions I've seen in my circles has been nothing but positive. I anticipated as much, so earlier in the week I assembled a list of Hidden Figures resources that could be useful to teachers and students. Annie Perkins has a similar list. I saw the movie Thursday night and I'm about halfway through the book. Not mentioned in the movie is that many of the "colored computers" had been math teachers prior to working in research, as teaching was generally the best job available for an African American woman with training in mathematics.

The Joint Math Meetings were this past week. I admit that I don't follow the JMM closely, but I know there were a number of math ed presentations. You can learn more from the JMM website or the #JMM2017 hashtag.

NCTM now has articles for all their chats this month:
Here's what's recent and upcoming from the Global Math Department:

Research Notes

The Journal for Research in Mathematics Education is out with their first issue of 2017:
The February 2017 issue of Educational Studies in Mathematics is here:
A couple articles have been added to the March 2017 issue of The Journal of Mathematical Behavior:
New in AERA Open:
Here's one last issue for the Journal of Statistics Education for 2016:
The first issue of the open access journal Numeracy is out:

Math Ed in the News

Math Ed in Colorado

Colorado Math Leaders

A CML meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11 from 9:00 to noon in Pueblo. CML has had inconsistent attendance so far this school year (perhaps a result of inconsistent scheduling), so stay tuned to the CML mailing list if there are any last-minute changes.

Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle

The Rocky Mountain Math Circle is meeting this Saturday from 8:30 to noon in Denver. See the RMMTC website for more information and to RSVP.

Also, mark your calendars for two summer workshops:
  • Southwest Colorado and Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle workshop in Durango, June 12-16
  • Rocky Mountain Math Teachers' Circle in Denver, June 19-23

Online Standards Review System Extended Until Feb. 17

As CDE continues to develop its plan to guide the upcoming standards review and revision process, the department is actively seeking feedback on the Colorado Academic Standards from all interested parties. In November, CDE launched an online standards review system which enables all Coloradoans to provide specific feedback on each and every expectation within all 10 content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards. To provide sufficient time for meaningful feedback, the department has extended the timeline to provide feedback to Friday, February 17, 2017.

The results of the feedback received through the online system 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 Colorado Academic Standards on or before July 1, 2018 and every six years thereafter.

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 online standards feedback system can be found at


The nominations are now open for PAEMST awards for 7-12 math teachers to be awarded in 2017.

Math on the "Planes"

Registration for next February's conference is open. The focus will be Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions for K-5 math students, with Dr. Karen Karp as the workshop leader. CCLD encourages you to apply for a Mikkelson Mathematics and Science Teachers Scholarship to cover the costs, as MOTP attendees from outside the metro area are eligible for travel, lodging, and registration reimbursement.

PARCC Released Items

PARCC has released a new set of items for grades 3-8. These are items that have been used on operational test multiple times and were slated for retirement, and the set of items approximates the content coverage of a typical test. High school items should be released in early 2017.

The Best of TWiME 2016

Starting January 1, 2016, I tracked the most-shared stories each day in my math ed Twitter list and assembled them as part of a weekly series called "This Week in Math Ed." This puts me in a pretty good position to review 2016. Instead of judging posts by what was most shared on the list, as I did each week, this time I'm using my own judgment and giving you the posts, stories, articles, resources, etc. that I liked the most. There's no way I could limit myself to ten (and no reason to), so I've listed 30 below. If you want to review all the year's TWiME posts for yourself, here's a handy table to find them all:

Jan 8 15 22 29
Feb 5 12 19 26
Mar 4 11 18 25
Apr 1 8 15 22 29
May 6 13 20 27
Jun 3 10 17 24
Jul 1 8 15 22 29
Aug 5 12 19 26
Sep 2 9 16 23 30
Oct 7 14 21 28
Nov 4 11 18 25
Dec 2 9 16 23 30

Here's what I found to be the best of Math Ed Said:

Kate Nowak
January 4: "f(t): In Defense of Unsexy" by Kate Nowak. Kate said it's all well and good for people to share their one-of-a-kind curricular masterpieces, but the world needs high-quality, everyday practice in their math curriculum, too.

January 5: "My Criteria for Fact-Based Apps" by Tracy Johnston Zager. I applauded this post a year ago for how it articulated criteria for the choice and use of curricular materials, and I'm happy to applaud it again.

February 1: "Many parents hated Common Core math at first, before figuring it out" by Jay Mathews. I don't know if this article got much attention, but Jay Mathews has a long history writing about math reform and much of it hadn't been this positive.

February 4: "Why I am not quitting teaching" by Anne Schwartz. It's not uncommon for teacher-bloggers to announce that their leadership abilities have led them out of the classroom. Anne wanted to push back and made sure the world knew that she was staying right where she was.

February 9: "A Group of American Teens Are Excelling at Advanced Math" by Peg Tyre. This article in The Atlantic did a great job highlighting math clubs and competitions, and the opportunities they create for students looking to push themselves.

February 21: "Purposeful Numberless Word Problems" by Brian Bushart. There have been some other posts about numberless word problems, but this one sticks out to me for its application of problem types identified in Cognitively Guided Instruction (CGI).

February 27: "The Wrong Way to Teach Math" by Andrew Hacker. Hacker's Math Myth drove a lot of conversations this year and I chose this op-ed out of many articles and blog posts to represent those conversations. Hacker rubbed some math educators the wrong way, but did so while rubbing an itch that apparently needed to be scratched.

Ilana Horn
March 7: "Professional Development is Broken, but Be Careful How We Fix It" by Ilana Horn. In discussing the influence of local context on problems of practice, I love this observation from Lani: "In teaching, we see repeatedly that terms acquire the meaning of their setting more often than they bring new meanings to these places."

March 13: "On Purpose" by Karim Kai Ani. Karim answered his question, "What is the purpose of math education, and what does it mean for the experience to be complete?"

March 15: "Teaching to the Test" by Joe Schwartz. Joe had a number of well-shared posts in 2016, but I liked this one for the way it drew quality connections between instructional tasks and assessment tasks.

April 12: "Quarter the Cross" by David Butler. This was my favorite account of one person's mathematical exploration in 2016.

April 30: "The Search for Common-Core Curricula: Where Are Teachers Finding Materials?" by Liana Heitin. This Ed Week article summarizes some findings from a RAND Corporation study that found that teachers are using things from all over the place — and using a lot of materials they've developed themselves — in an attempt to align their curriculum to the Common Core.

Geoff Krall
May 5: "A presentation format for deeper student questioning and universal engagement" by Geoff Krall. Geoff described a nice routine for improving the quality of class presentations.

May 13: "Straight but Wiggled" by Tracy Johnston Zager. I'm not sure I really felt the impact of "Which One Doesn't Belong" until I read this post.

May 25: "First Grade Fraction Talks... What?" by Jamie Duncan. Jamie has a wonderful ability to tell the story of a lesson and illustrate it with student actions and artifacts.

June 7: "Lessons for Other People" by Chris Lusto. Chris's post was a good conversation-starter as lots of people have things to say about using curriculum materials from someone else versus things they've built for themselves. This was one of the things that triggered my series on lesson planning and sharing.

Matt Larson
June 17: "The Vision Thing" by Matt Larson. NCTM's new president regularly wrote good things this year, but I thought this post about his vision for NCTM stood out.

July 1: "Concept vs Procedure: An anecdote about what it means to be good at math" by Mark Chubb. Mark's post highlighted the understanding some students can demonstrate when we give them opportunities to look at non-routine problems.

July 22: "#ExpandMTBoS" by Sam Shah. Sam isn't just interested in getting more people involved. Here he got specific about the kinds of projects he'd like to see started and shared in the community.

July 31: "Habits of highly mathematical people" by Jeremy Kun. There are very real debates about the ability of knowledge to transfer from one situation to the next, but I basically agreed with Jeremy that enough time and experience doing mathematics (and being immersed in the culture of mathematics) can shape a person's skills and perspectives in math-oriented ways.

August 13: "This Is Why There Are So Many Ties In Swimming" by Timothy Burke. This Deadspin story came along with the Summer Olympics and was a nice example of attending to precision.

August 15: "#ObserveMe" by Robert Kaplinsky. I'm impressed by the staying power of the #ObserveMe idea, as just this morning I saw a math teacher post a picture of the #ObserveMe sign they've put on their door. Thanks, Robert, for giving us a concrete way to help make teaching more of a public, professional act.

August 28: "Why Black Men Quit Teaching" by Christopher Emdin. Emdin's post discussed the need to address systemic issues of race and power in education along with creating a more diverse teacher workforce.

September 11: "How to sabotage your classroom culture in 5 seconds" by Ilona Vashchyshyn. Ilona admirably admitted a classroom moment gone wrong, and the steps she'd take to prevent and repair fragile relationships with students and mathematics.

Dan Meyer
September 15: "The Desmos Guide to Building Great (Digital) Math Activities" by Dan Meyer. Dan gets a lot of airtime on TWiME because of his large following, and of all the posts I saw this year I chose this one as my favorite. Again, I like it when people articulate their criteria for quality classroom materials.

October 2: "Discovery" by Dylan Kane. Dylan interrogated the "discovery" side of the false "discovery vs. direct instruction" side of the dichotomy and found several reasons for using discovery approaches sparingly.

October 8: "Meet the New Math, Unlike the Old Math by Kevin Hartnett. This was the first in a well-written Quanta Magazine series about teaching math and science.

Fawn Nguyen
October 28: "Good-Enough-for-Now Curriculum" by Fawn Nguyen. Again on my favorite theme of articulating criteria for quality, Fawn helped us understand what curricular resources she uses and when she decides to use them.

December 8: "The Progression of Fractions" by Graham Fletcher. I could have chosen any of Graham's "Progression" video series, but I chose the most recent one for sharing here. They're all worth checking out.

December 28: "Exploring Fraction Constructs and Proportional Reasoning" by Kyle Pearce. I appreciate this post by Kyle for the obvious effort that went into the ideas and the illustrations. The community benefits from posts like this.


The Math Myth
If there was one story that stood out above the rest, it has to be Andrew Hacker's The Math Myth. Week after week something would appear on TWiME that was related to this book and its ideas. It's not a bad idea to periodically rethink what content students should be learning and when, but I was surprised by the staying power of these stories. I think Hacker's publishing agents did a very good job of spreading out reviews and other coverage of the book across a variety of outlets, which gave the online math ed community a lot of opportunities to react.

As I mention in multiple places above, the posts I found most valuable were the ones that got descriptive about why something was liked or effective. It's difficult for me to accept your praise of something unless you help me understand the criteria you're working with. The TWiME posts I found least valuable were the promotional ones for yet-to-be-released books or other products. The products and books themselves might be valuable, but links to announcements about their future availability are less so.

It took me about one day each week to put together a full edition of TWiME, assuming I included all the parts (shared links, events, research, news, and Colorado items) and I've taken the time to read things. Looking at the list above, I'm happy that I was able to track and help share so many stories and ideas. I'm also happy and grateful that I'm able to do this work as part of my role as a math specialist for the State of Colorado. I hope this kind of curation helps math teachers in Colorado (who get some of this on a mailing list) and beyond. I sometimes check my blog statistics to see if I was reaching an audience. I believe I am, although sometimes it's not entirely clear.

Monthly sessions on in 2015 and 2016

The above chart is from Google Analytics, with the top line being 2016 and the bottom 2015. I wrote 68 blog posts in 2016, and only four in 2015. I expected a bigger increase in pageviews, but not everything gets measured by Google Analytics. For example, I had 20 Feedburner email subscriptions when the year started, and 76 when it finished. I don't think views in Feedly get measured by Google Analytics, either. Anyway, pageviews are not something I'm particularly worried about, except that I want to make sure I'm using my time in a way that benefits others. Sitting down each week and digging into the popular posts of each day has certainly benefitted me, and I hope it has for you, too.

Resources for Hidden Figures

I'm excited to see Hidden Figures, the new movie based upon the true stories of NASA's early African American 'computers,' a job title that applied to humans long before it did to machines. The movie opens nationwide this Friday.

I've been enamored with space and space exploration since I was young, and as I've grown older I've enjoyed learning more about NASA's history through documentary projects like When We Left Earth. Astronauts have long gotten the bulk of the attention in these stories, with occasional glimpses of behind-the-scenes engineering work like we saw in Apollo 13. Hidden Figures tells a story that very few seem to have heard, and as a fan of NASA, a mathematician, and an educator, I'm excited about the potential for this film (and the book it's based upon) to educate and inspire students to pursue opportunities in math and science — especially female students of color. Rafranz Davis explains why.

John Burk, a physics and math teacher in Delaware, said "Lets Start a Movement for Hidden Figures." Count me as on board. His idea includes things like a teacher's reference guide, contests, and organized discussions. That sounds like a good start, and I'll be thinking about this as I read the book this week and see the movie this weekend. Simply getting students to the theater seems like an obvious Step #1, whether it's through encouraging them to attend on their own or with their families, or organizing it as a class or school outing.
Below I've curated some resources related to the book and the film. I can't say that much of this is lesson-ready, but there's plenty here to fuel the curiosity of students who want to know more about this story. If you find or create additional resources, or want to share your ideas about promoting the film to your students, feel free to mention it in the comments or let me know on social media.



Official Sites


Updates to Original Post:

  • 1/8/17: Added "Who is Katherine Johnson?" to resources
  • 1/8/17: Added "Hidden Figures: The Female Mathematicians of NACA and NASA" to resources
  • 1/8/17: Added "NASA Modern Figures Toolkit" to resources
  • 2/11/17: Added Max Ray-Riek's lesson plan to resources
  • 2/11/17: Added Journeys in Film discussion guide to resources
  • 2/11/17: Added Denise Gaskins' teaching resources