Keeping Engagement

Engagement is always a hot top in education.  From upper level missions and goals, down to the minutes of each class, we all want the students to be engaged.  Sometimes our activities allow easy access to engagement while others do not.… Read the rest

Learning Portfolios and SBG

In my first three years of teaching I have done a gradual move towards giving better feedback and more active learning experiences. At the same time, I’m getting better at meeting student needs, and this is one area that I want to focus on in the coming year.… Read the rest

Math Correction

Donna Morgan created a great youtube video which outlines the false math of adding percentages together to come up with an incorrect and misleading number. In particular, she pointed out that an 8% increase in salary + 6.5% increase in benefits does not equal a 14.5% overall increase in remuneration:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJkx9Yz1p44&feature=youtu.be

I thought I would give another example, using numbers for individual teachers.… Read the rest

Cognitive Load Theory

A few weeks ago I started reading up on Cognitive Load Theory. I found a few things about CLT to be quite interesting. In particular, there seems to be quite a bit of research to back up the idea that guided instruction can be the most effective way for people to learn.… Read the rest

Passive Teaching vs Active Learning

From Teaching and physics education research: bridging the gap (Fraser, Timan, Miller, Dowd,
Tucker and Mazur, 2014)

Examples of passive teaching techniques masquerading as active learning include: entertaining lectures, demonstrations, multimedia presentations, recipe labs (hands-on, yes, but perhaps not heads-on), class-wide discussion involving a minority of students, and classroom response systems used primarily for attendance taking or testing memory recall.

Read the rest

The Wrong Tablet

There has been a lot written about the LAUSD’s decision to purchase iPads for each student in their school district. It’s been reported that they paid more than the retail price for the iPad, although I think it comes with some apps.… Read the rest

PBL in Proportional Reasoning

Grade 8 math has been fun and interesting for me to teach. Compared to the algebra and pre-calculus parts of the higher grades, the topics covered in grade 8 seem to be immediately relevant and useful. None more so than proportional reasoning.… Read the rest

Making Complex Trinomials

Tired of making new complex trinomials for quizzes and tests on factoring polynomials?  If you have python installed, you can use this script for making quiz questions.

from random import randint
import math
 
############################################################
 
# complex will take the form ax^2 + bx + c
# binomial factors will be in the form (dx + e)(fx + g)
 
#randomly choose d, e, f, g
for questions in range(0, 20):
     a, b, c, d, e, f, g = 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0
 
     ## use while statement to avoid zeroes
     while (d == 0):
          d = randint(-6,6)
     while (f == 0):
          f = randint(-7,7)
     while (e == 0):
          e = randint(-6,6)
     while (g == 0):
          g = randint(-10,10)
 
     a = d*f 
     b = d*g + e*f
     c = e*g
 
     print ("(" + str(d) + "x + " + str(e) + ")(" + str(f) + "x + " + str(g) + ")
Read the rest

Reaching For Mastery

good_enoughTwo days ago I read Grant Wiggins’ article “How Good Is Good?” in the latest volume of Educational Leadership.  My immediate reaction while reading it was one of embarrassment.  Embarrassed because I do pretty much exactly what he strongly advises against. … Read the rest

Justifying the Shift

Last week I started getting some pushback from the students in my Math 10 classes.  I have been running the classes in a flipped manner, where the lecture is replaced by activities and application/practice.  I’m sure the students are benefiting from the classroom environment, but it’s not completely obvious to them. … Read the rest