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September 24, 2017

Final Post: Did We Prove It?

I started this blog more than two years ago. And this last post will soon join all of the others I've done in the great Internet Archive in the sky (luckily still searchable!). But before we say goodbye (for now), I want to gather up part of what I've learned, contributed, and where I went wrong.

August 08, 2017

Put Me in, Coach: Reworking Social Studies for Participatory Democracy

Civic duties involve doing things in the world—pushing us to go beyond knowledge, thinking skills, and values within our classrooms. Civic education requires practice working with others to take action.

July 29, 2017

Teaching From a Textbook Makes My Class More Student-Centered

My high school math textbooks felt like a barrier preventing me from connecting with the teacher and discipline, but I think I have found a way to use the CPM resources to forge deeper relationships with my students.

April 30, 2017

Have a Plan for Success

It is a complicated world and it feels like it gets more complicated every day. I'd never suggest to a student that I know how to navigate this complexity, but I do believe that there are some etablished principles that can help. One of these is to develop a road map to use to track where you are going and evaluate whether or not you've gotten there. Requiring students to devise a plan for a complex problem and discuss that plan in detail in order to graduate high school will help them develop that map for the problems to come.

April 05, 2017

Inspired by Pitchers to Develop a Teaching Mantra

t). Early in my career, I tried to teach with a running internal monologue. I would scroll through the various external factors that were changing moment-to-moment and search for ways to effectively respond to individuals while maintaining fidelity to my class and school goals. I needed a .mantra. The following phrase help to quiet the constant chatter and re-establish focus on a few things that I can control.

March 30, 2017

I Used to Think...Creating Aha Moments by Proving Our Intuition Wrong

Math teachers ought to look for situations where we can leverage the "aha" power of situations that conflict with our initial intuition. This task utilizes a redirection by setting students up to intuit an incorrect solution at first glance. They then explore the context and realize that what was the "obvious solution" is not even close to the best choice.*

March 27, 2017

This Tool Fights Fascists: The Power of the Two-Column Proof

Evidence-based reasoning provides bulwark against superstition and demagoguery. It forms the basis of most of the life-changing institutions we interact with: from science to law, journalism to business. This foundational principle is beautifully encapsulated in a simple form that starts with a "given" and moves, evidenced step by evidenced step, towards a desired assertion.

February 27, 2017

You Got It Wrong: Combating Alternative Facts With Straightforward Evaluation

One's perspective inevitably influences one's understanding of the world. The process that you use to get to a solution is interesting, useful, and should be explained/understood; however, this doesn't mean that everything is up for debate. We can and should identify right and wrong claims even in a complex problem or world.

January 26, 2017

The Motivating Value of High-Stakes Assessment

The movement against high stakes assessment is in danger of throwing out the motivational and organizational benefits of assessment with the proverbial bath water. Many "opt-out" activists (a movement of which I am generally supportive) seem to suggest that any increase in stress or consequences for students is inappropriate. Perhaps this perspective is well-intentioned, but it seems misguided to try to shield students from healthy stress which could build their resilience.

January 16, 2017

Engaging Students With Dr. King's Model of 'Multi-Mic' Participation

Effective "multi-mic" participation can help engage students and give teachers a quick sense of what student know and don't know. Like a dipstick on a car, they can give a snapshot of the class and whether or not it is OK to move forward.

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