Lesson Planning; Lesson Participating

Occasionally, I give a task to my students before I have done it myself. Sometimes it is because the solution is fairly straightforward and I can see multiple ways to arriving at it without actually doing it. Other times it is because I want to have no impact on my students’ thought pathways. The practice also makes class time more exciting as students reason through methods that I would not have though of–I am trying to move from a monotonous state of lesson planning to a more exciting one of lesson participation. About two weeks ago, I was preparing a unit on surface …

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Embedding Atomic Skills

This post marks a couple of milestones for Musing Mathematically. First, this is the 50th post overall. For some reason that seems significant. Second, this post marks the blog’s first coined phrase–Atomic Skills. I love the term atomic skills, but I can’t remember when I started using it. I believe it was the result of my limited vocabulary attempting to explain the current disconnectedness of math education. An atomic skill is a foundational skill. An atomic skill is a skill that holds no real ‘stand-alone’ significance, but can build toward a very significant solution. Atomic skills are usually practiced in …

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10,000 Hours

My leisure time is often interrupted by educational thoughts. I am often sent scrambling to find a piece of paper after I have accidentaly encountered a mathematical situation that I feel would fit great in to the classroom. Last night an episode of Modern Family piqued an interest I have had for months. In the show, a father is desperately looking for a skill that he can say his son excels at. He creates a list of candidates, but settles on baseball as the most likely avenue for this success. As he and his boy are heading out for their …

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Staffroom Maths

I don’t mind the staffroom. I share a prep period with my math department head, and we often engage in meaningful conversation about the ongoing struggle of curriculum renewal. It is an unbelievable support to have a leader who is so willing to learn about what the reform approach has to offer. Teachers do not spend near enough time learning–which is an ironic shame. One morning, I walked into the staffroom and he greeted me with a question: “What’s new in math education today?” I didn’t pretend to be on the cutting edge of everything math education, but was working …

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