Category: reflection

Upscale Pattern Blocks

[Updated April 9th, 2020] First off, I hope you are well. This post represents a portion of my attempt to remain “well enough” in the midst of tremendous uncertainty. Most of my time is spent talking about the teaching and learning of mathematics, something that seems to have ground to a necessary halt in recent …

#FreeScalene

[Update Mar 16, 2020: If you read the following post and feel inspired to spread the geometric love, #FreeScalene products are now available here. Proceeds of the Math Positive store support teachers through professional development book giveaways.] This past weekend I was invited to Toronto to give the 2019 Margaret Sinclair Memorial Award Lecture at …

An Improbable Run at the Rosenthal Prize

In early December, I found out that my submission had been selected as the winner of the 2019 Rosenthal Prize for Inspiration and Innovation in Math Teaching. At the time, I had zero reference point to understand what that meant, but have since experienced first hand the hospitality of the international math education community. This …

Thirteen Days

A huge piece of my identity is invested in being a mathematics teacher. This week I began a new and interesting challenge as a university faculty member preparing pre-service elementary and secondary mathematics teachers. This provides me more time to think deeply and openly about the entirety of the mathematics education enterprise, and put some …

On Brilliance, Relevance, and Impotence: A Classroom Example

Everyone knows that you can’t wish for more wishes, but no one says you can’t wish for more genies. According to the binding rules of genies (as published by Disney in the 1992 film, Aladdin), there are a few restrictions on what can and cannot be wished for. Probably the most famous restriction is that …

Second-hand Student-ing

Billy: “Banting, I have a question for you.” It was 5-minute break between classes and I was trying to reset the random seating plan, open up the electronic attendance system, and load the image that would serve as a starter for the day’s lesson. During this small window of time, questions are usually about missing …

Real-World: An Attack on “Relevance”

**deep breath** Last week, I caught myself saying something to a pre-service teacher as we planned a Grade 1 lesson for the making of 10s. I asked her,  “Why would the students need to know how to make up 10s?” When she was auspiciously silent, I filled the space with a statement said entirely tongue-in-cheek. …

TDC Math Fair 2016: A Summary

Background: On June 15th, my Grade 9 class and I hosted our second annual math fair. What started out as a small idea has grown into a capstone eventĀ of their semester. This year, we had 330 elementary school students visit our buildingĀ to take part in the fair’s activities. Several people (following the hashtag #TDCMathFair2016) commented …

Mathematics Is: Student Impressions

I have taught the second half of a Math 9 Enriched course for the last three years. The students generally finish two-thirds of the curricular outcomes during the first semester (with an different teacher). This alleviates the perpetual nemesis of time, and leaves me with no excuse to stretch the boundaries of what is possible …