This Week in Math Ed: March 24, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 17: Tracy Johnston Zager writes "A Brief Ode to Blank Paper," in which worksheets try to be helpful but turn out not to be.

Shared by: Andrew Gael, Bowen Kerins, Tracy Johnston Zager, Geoff Krall, Joe Schwartz

March 18: Mark Chubb asks, "So you want your students to have a Growth Mindset?" Answer: Yes. I also want teachers to have more than a superficial knowledge of growth mindset. Making a poster with the words "growth mindset" on it might not be helpful, and neither is telling kids that there's something wrong with them if they don't have it. Mark works through some of the misguided ideas we have about mindset and makes suggestions for how to do it better.

Shared by: Deborah Rykken, Tom Snarsky, Laura Wagenman, Alison Hansel, Jo Boaler, Mark Chubb

March 19: Here's a post from last year rising again to the surface, which is a pretty good sign of quality: "#MTBoS Connected: Fraction Talks and WODB." It's good to see these kinds of cross-project connections.

Shared by: Matthew Oldridge, Simon Gregg, Tyler Anderson, Fraction Talks

March 20: Want more Mark Chubb? Lucky for you, he's on a roll this week, this time with "Estimating - Making sense of things."

Shared by: Judy Keeney, Jennifer Lawler, Mark Chubb, Laura Wheeler, Regina Barrett

March 21: Lisa Bejarano gave us all a little number talk advice: "It's the little things: How I improved student participation in number talks." Hint: It includes dropping something to signify you've made your point.

Shared by: Sarah Carter, Sarah Reynolds, Kate Nowak, Regan Galvan, Lisa Bejarano

March 22: I feel like we went a few months without Ben Orlin's bad drawings, but now he's on a hot streak. This week, it's "If Math Wrote Letters." Technically, this week only has hand-drawn text, not drawings, but I think it still counts.

Shared by: Spencer Bagley, DeAnn Huinker, Anna Blinstein, Joshua Bowman, John Golden, Simon Gregg, Ethan Weker, Dave Richeson, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Sharon Vestal, Ben Orlin, David Butler, Kathy Henderson, Jen Silverman, geonz, Michael P Goldenberg, Earl Samuelson

March 23: Brian Bushart hits kinda close to home with "Mathematically Correct," a blog post about his struggles in the state of Texas to acknowledge and hopefully fix an issue with a math question on their state exams. You see, I help with the PARCC exams and that makes me one of those people who, potentially, could catch problems like this before they go live on a test. However, I'm just one person, I usually just focus on a single grade, and the windows of opportunity to catch a problem like this are limited. It's frustrating to see an item that could be made better when it's not the right time to be improving items.

Shared by: Judy Keeney, Andrew Gael, Cathy Yenca, Pam Harris, Lindel, TCM - NCTM, Zach Cresswell, Ethan Weker, Shauna Hedgepeth, Tracy Johnston Zager

This Week in Math Ed: March 17, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 10: Michael Fenton asks how we'd ideally split "Teaching Ability and Content Knowledge." His blog post doesn't touch on it, but it reminded me of some research I saw cited long ago in Joan Ferrini-Mundy's chapter in the research handbook. The research found that more teacher content knowledge was linked to increased student achievement, but only to a point. When measured by college math coursework, the effect wasn't distinguishable beyond about five math courses taken. (If I wasn't in catch-up mode, I'd track that study down. If you find it, remind me what it is in the comments, will ya?)

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Tyler Anderson, Christina Sherman, Michael Fenton, Darren Burris, Gregory Taylor, Bridget Dunbar, Michael Fenton

March 11: Here's some art and math for you: "Artistic Expressions of Math Over Seven Centuries."

Shared by: Theresa Walker, Carrie Muir, John Golden, Egan J Chernoff, Paula Beardell Krieg, Jesse McNulty, Chi Klein, Edmund Harriss, Mike Lawler

March 12: If you want more links of the week, you can always check with our math ed friends in Ontario: Math Links for Week Ending Mar. 10th, 2017.

Shared by: Kyle Pearce, Matthew Oldridge, Mary Bourassa, Sunil Singh, Jon Orr, David Petro

March 13: I should really go back and watch this one: Peter Liljedahl presented "Building Thinking Classrooms" at the Global Math Department.

Shared by: Shelley Carranza, Jedidiah Butler, Christopher Parrish, Matthew Oldridge, Laura Wheeler, Annette Rouleau, Chris Hunter, Bridget Dunbar, Marissa W, Norma Gordon, Graham Fletcher, John Golden, Cal Armstrong, Global Math, Peter Liljedahl

March 14: The headline is "Rockies have perfect way to mark Pi Day," but those seeking the truth should know that yes, the uniform numbers were cleverly arranged with Photoshop.

Shared by: Brian Brennan, Eddi Vulić, Martin Joyce, Zack Patterson, Kristen Fouss, Sharon Vestal, Mike Thayer, Steve Phelps

March 15: Ben Orlin is back with some poetic math fun: "Limericks for Mathematicians."

Shared by: Carrie Muir, Ilona Vashchyshyn, John Golden, Nat Banting, Ben Orlin, Michael P Goldenberg, Evelyn Lamb

March 16: First Peter Liljedahl, and now Nathalie Sinclair. It was a big week for Simon Frasier University. "SFU education professor Nathalie Sinclair named Research Mathematics Ambassador Award winner."

Shared by: Nat Banting, Richelle Marynowski, Lovisa Sumpter, Peter Liljedahl, Annette Rouleau, Egan J Chernoff

This Week in Math Ed: March 10, 2017

Math Ed Said

March 3: What's MysteryGrid? If I told you, it wouldn't be much of a mystery, would it?

Shared by: Mary Bourassa, Scott Leverentz, Lisa Henry, Fred G. Harwood, Bowen Kerins, Kate Nowak, Shauna Hedgepeth

March 4: People were buzzing about the "Beyond Answers Webinar," which has since passed. An archive is accessible for a fee.

Shared by: Christina Tondevald, Shauna Hedgepeth, Ann Elise Record, Jill Gough, Ann Walters, Mike Flynn

March 5: Here's Marilyn Burns with a blog post about playing a math game with second graders called, "Oh No! 99!"

Shared by: Mike Anderson, Jennifer Lawler, Andy Martinson, Bridget Dunbar, OCTM, Matthew Oldridge, Christina Sherman, Jill Gough, Michael Welch, Marilyn Burns

March 6: "Solving the Math Problem" is a video clip about some kids who attended a Youcubed summer camp.

Shared by: Beth Kobett, Denise Green, Jenni Clausen, Kat Hendry, Larry Sizemore, Patty Stephens, Keith Devlin, Rusty Anderson, Kimberly Wassmuth, Math Coach Rivera, Susan Davidson, Shauhna Feitlin, Ben Woodford, Jo Boaler

March 7: If you missed it on the 6th, it was back on the 7th by popular demand: "Solving the Math Problem."

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Justin Bock, Andrea Ogden, Jen Overley, Carol Keating, Nic Petty, Regina Barrett, Richelle Marynowski, OCTM, Michelle Dupree

March 8: Ben Orlin asks, "How much of high school math would be easier if students understood that graphs express relationships between variables?" in his post, "Lines Beyond y = mx + b." I think of this as another example described by Sfard (1991), where learners need to make the leap from understanding something as a process to understanding it as an object.

Shared by: Martin Joyce, Kathy Henderson, Amanda Jansen, Brett Parker, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Matthew Oldridge, Bowen Kerins, David Butler, John Golden, Ben Orlin, Judy Larsen, Eric Milou, Christina Sherman

March 9: Warning: This will take more than five seconds. But maybe not much more. Dan Meyer writes, "The Difference Between Math and Modeling with Math in Five Seconds."

Shared by: Rebecca Gasper, Farshid Safi, Rene Grimes, Tyler Anderson, Jen McAleer, Alex Jaffurs, Dan Meyer

This Week in Math Ed: March 3, 2017

Math Ed Said

February 24: Desmos announced that information about the Desmos Fellowship Cohort 2 would be coming soon.

Shared by: Ellen Byron, Cathy Yenca, Stephanie Blair, Lisa Bejarano, Kat Hendry, Susan Wilson, Julia Finneyfrock, Shelley Carranza, Patty Stephens, Nerissa Gerodias, Meg Craig, Laura Wheeler, Andrew Shauver, Julie Reulbach, Andrew Shauver, Dan Meyer

February 25: Gregory Taylor gives us a long and lively recap of a PD day keynoted by Peter Liljedahl.

Shared by: Laura Wheeler, Matthew Oldridge, Cathy Campbell, Alex Overwijk, Martin Joyce, Gregory Taylor, Dan Anderson, Judy Keeney, Earl Samuelson, John Golden, Imtiaz Damji

February 26: If you've ever wanted some of the PCMI experience but can't make it to Park City, the program does have a number of outreach programs that bring PCMI to the web and maybe even a city near you.

Shared by: Kim, Carl Oliver, Cathy Carroll, Javier Garcia,Tina Cardone, Denise Green,Shauna Hedgepeth,Cal Armstrong, Suzanne Alejandre

February 27: The NCTM Annual Meeting program is here and the conference is right around the corner.

Shared by: Rosa Serratore, Janice Novakowski, NCTM, David Coffey, Suzanne Alejandre, Christina Tondevold, Carl Oliver, Sarah Bush

February 28: I'd never heard of this mathy day, but this Scientific American article by Evelyn Lamb told me "How to Celebrate Fatou's Day."

Shared by: Rebecca Gasper, Brian Bushart, Justin Lanier, Evelyn Lamb, MAA, Carrie Muir, Museum of Math

March 1: Self explanatory: Applications Are Open for Cohort 2 of the Desmos Teaching Fellowship!

Shared by: Marissa Walczak, Michelle Russell, Patty Stephens, Heather Sugrue, Bob Lochel, Julie Reulbach, Sara VanDerWerf, Julia Finneyfrock, Shelley Carranza, Zach Cresswell, David Sabol, Ben Rouse, Nerissa Gerodias, Ed Campos Jr, Katherine Martin, Kristen Fouss, Eli Luberoff, Karl Fisch, Dan Anderson,

March 2: If you're looking for resources related to growth mindset, check out this Youcubed archive of papers, videos, handouts, and other materials.

Shared by: Lora Kermode, Janine Franklin, Helen J Williams, Christina Hamman, Jesse McNulty

This Week in Math Ed: February 24, 2017

Math Ed Said

February 17: Amy Harmon wrote in the New York Times, "Equations and Inequalities: Math, Race and Fellowship," which later had the title, "Beyond 'Hidden Figures': Nurturing New Black and Latino Math Whizzes." Regardless of the title, the story is a great look at kids participating in a summer math camp in New York City, and the issues surrounding the underrepresentation of Black and Latino students in gifted and math programs.

Shared by: Dan Anderson, Theresa Walker, Elizabeth Statmore, Edmund Harriss, Kate Nowak, John Golden, Egan J Chernoff, Francis Su, Michael Pershan, Sue Jones, Christopher Danielson, Tyrone Martinez Black, Rosa Serratore, Tracy Johnston Zager, Jennifer Lawler, Malke Rosenfeld, Robert Berry, Justin Lanier, Geoff Krall, Gary Davis, Steven Strogatz

February 18: Didn't read it yesterday? Here's a second chance: "Equations and Inequalities: Math, Race and Fellowship."

Shared by: Brian R. Lawler, Amanda Jansen, Andrew Gael, Bridget Dunbar, TODOS, CMC - CA Math Council, Erika Bullock, Sheri Eastman, US World Class Math, Bridget Dunbar, Jen Silverman, Steven Strogatz, Alex Jaffurs

February 19: The big story today wasn't math, and wasn't politics, but instead was Susan Fowler's blog post, "Reflecting on one very, very strange year at Uber."

Shared by: CMC - CA MathCouncil, Spencer Bagley, Jacqueline, Anna Blinstein, Karen King, Gregory Taylor, Keith Devlin

February 20: The latest blog post from NCTM President Matt Larson is about "The Elusive Search for Balance. For more than 200 years in the U.S., the math ed pendulum has swung back and forth between procedures and understanding. The necessary difficulty, says Larson, is letting the pendulum come to rest somewhere in between.

Shared by: NCTM, Fawn Nguyen, Robert Berry, stefanie buckner, Ilona Vashchyshyn, Beth Brandenburg, Henri Picciotto

February 21: Dan Meyer explained "Why We're Suspicious of Immediate Feedback." It's a design principle at Desmos, where the key isn't immediate feedback, but feedback after a delay that provides for some productive contemplation.

Shared by: Jason Merrill, Ryan R. Ruff, Levi Patrick, Kris Karbon, Ed Campos Jr., Kevin Lawrence, Dan Meyer

February 22: Shannon Najmabadi writes at the The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Meet the Math Professor Who's Fighting Gerrymandering With Geometry." This is about the person behind the Geometry of Redistricing program at Tufts mentioned a few weeks back.

Shared by: Federico Chialvo, Carrie Muir, Theresa Walker, Glenn Waddell, Jr., Eric Milou, Evelyn Lamb, Vanessa Cerrahoglu, Steven Strogatz, Joshua Bowman, Ralph Pantozzi, Samuel Otten, Heather Johnson, Karen King

February 23: Jennifer Vadnais took the Marbleslides activity in Desmos and turned it into Mini Golf Marbleslides. Holes-in-one, only, please!

Shared by: Sara VanDerWerf, Brian Errey, George Carganilla, Ed Campos Jr., Norma Gordon, Audrey McLaren, Stephanie Ling, Ms. J. Brown, Jennifer Dao, Nerissa Gerodias,

Math Ed in Colorado

It's a huge list of updates!

CCTM Deadlines

Nominations for CCTM's 2017 Mathematics Teaching and Leadership Awards must be submitted by Sunday, March 5. Before teachers and leaders can be eligible to win these awards, they must be nominated. Once nominated, teachers and leaders will need to submit additional information to help the CCTM awards committee choose the winners to be recognized at next fall's CCTM conference. See the CCTM website for more information about the teacher award and the leadership award and to access the nomination forms.

PAEMST Nominations

Now that I have you in the nominating mood, why not nominate the very best math, science, or computer science you know for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching? Nominations are open until April 1 and applications must be completed by May 1. I strongly suggest getting a head start on the nominations and applications, as we have webinars and mentoring to help nominees through the application process. (I literally got notified of a new nominee as I wrote this -- let your nomination be the next one!)

CML Meeting

The next meeting of the Colorado Math Leaders will be the afternoon of Friday, March 10. This will be an important meeting because we will be voting to accept our new constitution and bylaws, which are necessary to become an affiliate of NCSM. We'll also be talking about officer elections for CML in addition to the usual professional learning and CDE updates. Watch the CML mailing list for more details.

Math Teachers' Circle Summer Workshop

The March 1 early application deadline has passed, but you can still apply for the 2017 Summer Math Teachers' Circle Workshop in Durango, to be held June 12-16 until May 15, 2017.

SLD Webinars

CDE's Exceptional Student Services Unit 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

Teaching Math to English Learners

CDE's Office of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education is offering Teaching Math to English Learners workshops later the spring. Two workshops have been announced so far in Lamar and Limon:
More information about these and other professional learning opportunities from the CLDE office can be found on the CLDE website.

Mathematical Mindsets Book Study

Cassie Harrelson of Aurora Public Schools is facilitating an online book study of Jo Boaler's Mathematical Mindsets beginning on March 27 and lasting through May 7. The book study comes with credit and you can register for it on the COpilot website.

Felicia Casto Wins the Milken Award

Math teacher, interventionist, and coach Felicia Casto of Mesa County Valley School District 51 won the prestigious Milken Educator Award. You can watch a news feature about Felicia at and more about her excellent work on her Milken Educator Award biography. Congrats, Felicia!

Math on the "Planes"

Karen Karp at Math on the "Planes"
I was happy last week to join in on the fun at Math on the "Planes", the annual math conference hosted by the Colorado Council for Learning Disabilities. This year the workshops were led by Dr. Karen Karp of Johns Hopkins University. Friday's portion of the conference focused on tiers of instruction and intervention for K-2 students, while on Saturday the focus was on students in grades 3-5. This really is a great conference I hope everyone keeps their eyes open for Math on the "Planes" 2018.

Apply to Serve on a Standards Review Committee

The application process for the standards review and revision committees is underway!

CDE is committed to conducting an open and transparent review and revision of the Colorado Academic Standards by engaging diverse stakeholders to serve as committee members in each standard area. CDE is seeking committee members for each of the 10 content areas, English language proficiency, personal financial literacy, and computer science to provide revision recommendations to the State Board of Education.

According to Colorado state law, the Colorado Academic Standards must be reviewed and revised on or before July 1, 2018 and every six years thereafter.

More information about the standards review and revision process and the committee application process can be found at

Go directly to the committee application at

CAS Online Feedback

CDE has developed an online standards review system to enable all Coloradoans to provide specific feedback on each and every expectation within all 10 content areas of the Colorado Academic Standards. This is your chance to provide feedback directly to the committees that will be making recommendations for revisions to the standards. This is a first-of-its-kind opportunity that will only be available until April 30, 2017.

Have your voice heard!

The review and revision process is 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.

More information about the standards review and revision process and the online standards feedback system can be found at

Go directly to the online standards feedback system at

Inviting Public Comment on Colorado's ESSA State Plan Draft

In order to demonstrate that Colorado meets the requirements of ESSA and to access the funding allocated to the state, CDE must submit a plan to the United States Department of Education for approval. Fundamental to the requirements of the ESSA plan, is that the department engage in meaningful consultation with a broad range of education stakeholders in developing the plan and, once a draft of the plan has been completed, to make the plan available for public comment. The draft of this plan will be open for public comment for 30 days, beginning on Friday, February 10, 2017, and closing on Friday, March 10, 2017.

There are two ways to submit your comments on Colorado’s ESSA State Plan:
  1. Visit our online portal to access the survey or upload a document:, or
  2. Mail your comments to: Colorado Department of Education, Federal Programs Unit, 1560 Broadway, Suite 1100, Denver, CO 80202-5149.
We invite you to read the letter from Commissioner Anthes on Colorado’s ESSA State Plan Development and release of the state plan draft prior to submitting your comments:

This stage of Colorado’s ESSA plan development is important as it is your chance to react to the plan. The comments we receive from you will be compiled and incorporated into the plan as appropriate. Next, the plan will be reviewed with the Governor and ultimately presented to Colorado’s State Board of Education for approval to submit to the U.S. Department of Education in April.

CDE also intends to post a draft of the state plan in Spanish and encourages members of the public to contact us at with any questions or requests related to accessibility.