Posted: August 17th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

I asked John Mighton about his latest thinking on math teaching.  JUMP (a non-profit math curriculum producer based in Canada) has been getting some traction in the USA.  This is not a response to the NYT Magazine piece, just a general view as he watches discussions about Common Core re-trigger debates from the past few decades.  Here's a 2011 NYT article about John's work. 

So here's what John emailed to me:

Posted: August 6th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

1. Best thing I'm reading right now is a 6-part Boston Globe series by Farah Stockman.  She was a summer-camp counselor years ago, a camp that served poor kids in Mission Hill.  She catches up with them now.  

Start here.   

2. A busy Kimberly Steadman from Edward Brooke charter took a moment to share with me their school's math teaching document; it opens with:

Students engage in the struggle

- We reject I-we-you teaching in which students watch a teacher solve a problem and then imitate the teacher’s approach.  Instead, good math lessons require students to use what they know to struggle with and logically attack a new problem that is more challenging than anything they have seen before...

Posted: August 5th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 1 Comment(s) »

Randall is curriculum director of Match Education's small graduate school of education.  It is named in honor of a schoolteacher, Charlie Sposato. 

This Ed School is unusual in several ways.  One is that tuition is low, because it's subsidized by "employers" -- top charter schools willing to pay a premium to hire recent graduates of the program, a finder's fee of several thousand dollars per candidate. 

That, in turn, means Randall and the Ed School team are often on the phone with school leaders.  By understanding what top charters want, Randall can make sure the teacher residents are better prepared to succeed there. 

In terms of our math teaching discussions, Randall says (some edits for clarity):

We prep rookie teachers for both "I We You"...

Posted: August 4th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

1. Jen

Jen made her bones as a math teacher at Roxprep.  She also has 2 kids same age as my 2 kids, so when she writes "Things were pretty busy this week at the Spencer house in the past few days" I have some idea of what she means.  Thanks Jen, for making some time for sharing your thoughts.

One perspective she brings builds on Sean's observation from yesterday: You Y'all We has higher upside but bigger downside. 

Jen worked in a typical Boston elementary as a math coach.  Here is her recollection using the district's assigned curriculum (called "Investigations" which is conceptual, uses manipulatives, etc).  With slight edits for clarity, Jen writes:

Straight up untrained, fully conceptual, little practice (Investigations) ends up with

Posted: August 3rd, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

Hi folks,

I'm 45 years old today.  Taco night with Pru's family at our house.  I suspect they'll bring a cake.  It'll probably be from Rosie's.  Rosie's is waaaay better than all other bakeries in the world.  I'm not exactly sure why.  I wonder what the baking equivalent is of the math teacher question we've been discussing, which is I-We-You versus You-Y'all-We. 

Sean works on schools in Kenya, for Bridge International Academies.  Before that he taught math in NYC and was a star coach at Match Teacher Residency.  MTR gets every trainee to rate every single coaching session, so the result is a database that notices outlier coaches, and Sean was high on that list. 

Sean knows Ryan and Eddie, and he knows Paul's school (Brooke), so I wondered about his opinion on...

Posted: August 1st, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 2 Comment(s) »

Max Tuefferd, teacher coach, writes:

I think that Paul is probably hitting the nail on the head by suggesting that students (especially those who receive less outside/parental support on their studies) are served best when we do not focus on ONE method of instruction. While constructivist approaches do seem harder to pull off well than the traditional method, it seems as though it can lead to a much deeper understanding of math. I have seen teachers attempt this and succeed and fail.

The successes seems to happen when the teacher has a masterful grasp on management and their own deep understanding of the concepts they are teaching, which, sadly, many do not have.

Can a rookie teacher pull that off? Why not? If it is harder, then it means we raise...

Posted: August 1st, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 2 Comment(s) »

I got some good feedback on the first 2 blogs from Peter Meyer and Kay Merseth.  I'll share their comments and my responses soon. 

Moreover, 3 old friends commented yesterday.  I'll add #3.5 out of 6 as a separate blog so we get the thoughts of Ryan Kelly, Sara Schnitzer, and Max Tuefferd.  Plus I think the computer ate some comments by Paul Friedmann so if he tries again, I'll share those too. 

For today, remember, this is #3 in a 6-part blog thinking about the New York Times Magazine article about math teaching

0. Yesterday the Cardinals traded away a very good outfielder, Allen Craig.  One reason: they had a young talent waiting in the wings, Oscar Taveras. 

Posted: July 30th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 5 Comment(s) »

Hi folks,

1. This week we're examining the I Do/We Do/You Do format of a math class, versus the alternative Elizabeth in her NY Times Magazine article describes as “You, Y’all, We." 

Up first, Ryan Holmes and Paul Friedmann.  

Both have jaw-dropping results in terms of test-score gains. 

Ryan taught several years at Excel Academy (he's now at Match Next).

Paul has taught for many years at Edward Brooke Charter School, and a finalist for the Fishman Prize, and was a frequent commenter on this blog until we ran into some spam issues.  (Working on it!)

Excel and Brooke are among the top charters not just in Boston, but in the nation.

Both Ryan and Paul generally agree with...

Posted: July 29th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

Hi folks.  Blogging was light in July.  But I'm back with a 6-part series on math teaching. 

1. Elizabeth Green wrote a Sunday piece about math teaching, called Why Do Americans Stink At Math?  

It is excerpted from her new book.  You can pre-order it here.  She's an excellent writer, so good chance it's a best-seller. 

The book features several friends you've seen on this blog before, including Deborah Ball at U Michigan and Doug Lemov at Uncommon, as well as Magadalene Lampert of Boston Teacher Residency.

Today I'll briefly snip from her math teacher article. ...

Posted: July 24th, 2014 | Author: Michael Goldstein | 0 Comment(s) »

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