Having survived the first week of my “Mathematics for Teachers” course during Winter Term, I have mixed feelings about the one-intensive-4-week-course model. I’d still vote to get rid of it (sorry, Hallie); it’s exhausting for me to keep students busy enough, and I’d love longer fall and spring semesters. However, it’s nice to know that I can schedule school visits more easily and give open-ended assignments in this format. I have an interesting mix of a couple of math majors, some economics (and other) majors who are considering independent school teaching jobs, and one parent of three on a path to teaching license renewal. Thanks to a mini-course at the Joint Mathematics Meetings in Boston last week, I now know about these “Resources for Teachers.” They’re all fun and rich and interesting, but I strongly recommend the first page of the first 2008 file. For at least some of my students, this is (sadly) a much different way of looking at doing mathematics than what they remember from high school.
Another result of my trip to Boston: I’ve signed on as a “reviewer” of “tasks” submitted to the “Illustrative Mathematics” project. The project takes an open-source approach to providing resources for teachers about the Common Core standards. A “task” is an exercise for students related to a specific CC standard, anyone (including you!) can submit tasks. Each one is reviewed by both a mathematician and a K-12 education expert. The community approach appeals to me. In fact next week I’m going to have my students pair up and write tasks and submit them.
When I was growing up, the New York Times was delivered to our front door every morning. In my mind, it’s still the Paper of Record, despite quite a few quarrels (my dictionary says a “quarrel” is “typically between people who are usually on good terms” — exactly what I mean here) I’ve had with the Times on a variety of issues. I now get NYT alerts to their education articles. Here are just two that I’ve found compelling recently:
- A graduation speech from a former math teacher (here’s an edited print version);
- “Class Matters. Why Won’t We Admit It?” about poverty and education.