We should always be learning something new

Last week I started auditing a class on Hapkido, which is a Korean martial art. A friend asked if I’d be interested in attending the once-a-week class with him and I said I would. Having never done any martial art at any time in my life (I don’t even think I’ve watched any of the […]

My Brain on Lesson Planning

Okay. I’ve a got a few minutes. Where is what I did last year? Ah, that’s right. We did that activity, with some direct instruction following. Seems like I didn’t quite the point across when I closed the lesson. Like the kids still struggled with parts of this on the quiz. Maybe I should change […]

What I wish I could tell my students

Here’s a list of few things I want to say to students, but am not quite sure how to do it. I’ve said of some of these in whole class contexts and variations of some to individuals. But I’ve noticed in my career that sometimes I notice things about students that are difficult to tell […]

6 Reasons This is My Favorite Lesson

I want to share what might be the best lesson I’ve created and a few reasons why. I actually wrote about this a couple years ago but since we’re doing it right now I thought it useful to reflect on and share it again. This lesson came from the following problem I was struggling with: […]

“Everything Springs from That”

I don’t listen to many political podcasts. In fact, only one. Dan Carlin’s show, Common Sense. In his latest podcast he interviews James Burke, a science historian, documentary creator, broadcaster and all around smart dude. This episode flirted with politics, but was more focused on how technology affects society and how the rate of change […]

Order – How Mathematics is Life

Humans are in a constant pursuit of order. We try to develop schemas to help us deal with frequently occurring situations. We constantly look for patterns. We try to make our lives somewhat predictable. The brain doesn’t like to think. Thinking is hard. So the brain naturally gravitates towards pattern finding. This is mathematics. Mathematicians […]

Why I wouldn’t tell my kid to become a teacher

Right now, in the Michigan legislature, they are working to pass a bill that would gut the defined benefit retirement system for newly hired teachers, replacing it with a 401k system. And it would cost tax payers $28–$33 billion over the next 30 years ($1.6–$3.8 billion over the next 5 years).They’ve been working on this […]

Real Questions

Every year in precalc, two things happen. First, the exponential and logarithm unit gets squished (education jargon, I know). Second, we do the “student loan” blog post, which Steve came up with when we were first working on precalculus together. The former drives me crazy because I think that unit is more useful than some […]

I’ve underestimated the importance of vocabulary

I thought for a long time that I could get by teaching math while deemphasizing vocabulary. Obviously we would discuss the meaning of words, especially the ones that come up frequently. But I thought that if I was able to help students get a feel for the math, and show kids how to do math, […]

How to Factor Quadratics

After years of teaching how to factor quadratics and then getting in my car and banging my head on the steering wheel, I decided that enough was enough. I was going to spend some time finding a better method. I took to my favorite community of math educators, the #MTBoS. I'm teaching factoring quadratic in […]