Monday, June 6, 2011

Update 6-6-11

Now that I am a full-time tweeter, I realize that I've lost most of my followers in the blogophere but I will post every now and then.

1) Twitter enables me to publish my "puzzles" 2-3 times daily. That's probably the best domain for brief math challenges. In the end, it's still all about content. If you're on just to promote yourself, people will see through that quickly, but they will come back if you offer something interesting and substantive.

2) Anyone miss the musings of my now 4-yr old grandson? Well,when he was 3, he was in his preschool class hanging out with his 2 buddies. One started to make loud silly boy noises and the teacher reprimanded him. A moment later my grandson did the same. The teacher approached him and asked why he would do that right after his friend was told to stop. He replied without hesitation, "That wasn't me, it was just an echo of ___." This is why I told my daughter to get an unlisted number immediately!

3) Actually his about-to-be 8-yr old brother is unique in his own right. His interests in and knowledge of science, astronomy in particular, astound me. He is already an expert on galaxies and nebulae. What do you think he wanted for his birthday other than a telescope? An authentic lab coat! Of course, we obliged.

4) It would be remiss of me not to mention my 2 granddaughters. Not only beautiful and very smart, they are filled with love and joy. What a blessing!

5)Looking for some controversy here? Miss my provocative comments about the current state of math education in the US? Sorry, I'm a very boring person. All I want is a blend of procedural mastery (practice!) with conceptual understanding. Although there are numerous ways to help ALL students understand, there are established practices and principles of effective math instruction which cannot be ignored. Using multiple representations, linking to prior learning, motivating with real-world examples and guiding with questions are some of these essential components. These will never go out of style.

6) Although I am a strong proponent of a standardized curriculum, I fully recognize that this leads inexorably to teacher eval based on test scores. This politicizing of education and imposing a strict business model on an essentially human endeavor will have far-reaching negative consequences.

"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