Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Little Birdie Tweeting the SAT Blues, Carnivals and Other Musings

Well, today's SAT Tweet comes too late for many students taking SATs this morning (unless you're in a much later time zone) but I posted it anyway since it can certainly be used to review for final exams in Algebra 2 or whatever"∫ -ated"  name you have for it in your district!

As you can see if you visit this site (rather than get the RSS feed), I'm now posting the Twitter Problems of the Day in the right sidebar.  I'm new at this, don't have too many Twitter followers yet and I am learning that you need to get the word out there any way you can. Those who have replied to me seem to really like the level of these questions. I do feel the need to explain some methods to students who want them. If they're following me, they can simply send me a Direct Message or, if not, they can reply with @dmarain. I've also placed these questions in the  #Math and #SAT categories on Twitter so more will be able to see them, but a lot of what's there is promotion, links and personal thoughts --  so who knows. I may also post a video or two here and on my YouTube channel, MathNotationsVids, to explain a couple of these problems using a variety of approaches both for teachers and students.

If I were a faithful math blogger I would have been  announcing Denise's latest Math Teachers at Play and latest Carnival of Math 66 over at Sol's Wild About Math sites. They are in my blogroll, but I am deeply ashamed I haven't been promoting them here. So, please please please go over to Let's Play Math and Wild About Math to view the latest and greatest Carnivals!  Also, look here for Denise's ranking of her most popular posts broken down by categories, a mammoth undertaking, but well worth it. Sorry for being so negligent...

Finally, I feel the need to say something that may be provocative but is absolutely necessary for my integrity and the raison d'etre for this blog:

While I have been advocating for a standardized math curriculum for the past 25 years, I know fully well that learning outcomes depend far more on teacher effectiveness than any other factor. Yes, algebra should  cover the same topics in every district, however, there's coverage and then there's teaching. It is my observation that most professionals who've been on the job for awhile, whether in education, medicine, engineering or whatever, are open to receiving new information about the latest research and technology, but when you start making suggestions about the actual practice of their profession, you're sure to provoke strong negative reactions in many.  

Bottom line, folks...
There are ways of introducing and developing ratio concepts, for example, that are more effective than other methods. I have never pretended to know what the best practices are in every case, but I sure know what has worked better for me and what has failed. We need to be open to these ideas and accept the truism that when students do not perform there is a myriad of reasons, one of which was our failure to reach these particular students. We have the obligation to vary our methods and be the researchers in the classroom. We have the obligation to learn from our students, our colleagues, our supervisors and others who have been there and done that.

Ok, I'm off the soapbox.

Also, I must say that I find it fascinating that recounting my grandchildren's latest observations on life seems to bring in far more my readership than any math post I have published! Surely this is the ultimate tribute to Art Linkletter.

Have a great "end of the year" and an even better summer!


"All Truth passes through Three Stages: First, it is Ridiculed... Second, it is Violently Opposed... Third, it is Accepted as being Self-Evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer (1778-1860) You've got to be taught To hate and fear, You've got to be taught From year to year, It's got to be drummed In your dear little ear You've got to be carefully taught. --from South Pacific

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