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Insπre 2 Insπre: A Circle of Ins(pi)ration

March 9, 2012 Leave a comment

π Day is just a few days away, and, as a person who loves math, I cannot wait to celebrate.  However, over the past ten years being a math educator, the most common cliche I hear about pi day are phrases like Key Lime π, Apple π, (Insert Fruit) π.  I guess it is okay to associate a dessert to one of the most amazing mathematical constants.  Call me greedy, but I want to start a new a new cliche for π Day.  How about linking π Day to the phrase,

Insπre 2 Insπre: A Circle of Ins(pi)ration

This is when people take a moment to reflect on who or what inspires them to inspire others.  For π Day 2012, here is the start of my Circle of Ins(pi)ration.

  1. James Grime –  Just when I thought math was cool, awesome, pick any superlative you want, James took math to the next level.  His energy, enthusiasm, and passion for mathematics oozes out of his pale skin pores.  Every numberphile video influences me to share with my students and I have been known to spend my weekend working on his math puzzles.  Now I am hooked to see what this overseas chap will show me next.
  2. Maria H. Anderson – I work at a community college as a math educator and Maria was a gold mine to find on the internet.  She always kept me informed with technology in the classroom and showed simple tricks, such as using a rubber band and camera to attach to an ELMO.  I would watch a lecture of her talking about having students up at the board, and now I have student at the board all the time, though some call it “simulated confusion at a white board”.  She motivates me to keep making the most of my career, as I have seen hers grow with leaps and bounds.
  3. Keith Devlin – I would think that most educator have moments when they believe they really got teaching concepts down.  Well, Devlin has more than once challenged me to reflect on my surface teaching beliefs to core teaching beliefs.  Even simple ideas, such as the infamous multiplication is not repeated addition, seem to strike a chord and, now, when I teach developmental math I don’t bring up the idea of repeated addition.  I believe the Keith has challenged me to trim the fat off my teaching, which has been going on for awhile, so I wonder how obese my teaching was in the past.

At my school, on π Day we are going to have a large circle.  Students, faculty, and staff will be encouraged to take a post-it-note, circular not square of course, and write down their ins(pi)ration, what ever it may be, math would be great.  All of these notes will then become our Circle of Insπration.  Now this activity is not so math intensive but I think it is more nutritious than having another dessert pi.

Tweet your #inspiration today!

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Categories: blah-blah

Math Reasoning Inventory

March 2, 2012 Leave a comment

Yeah, I am checking out math on my day off, that is just who I am.  Days off make it easy to blog and search around on the web.  I came across a website called Math Reasoning Inventory and I think you will find their assessment section interesting.

Check out the interview videos of kids thinking, and I bet you could relate some community college students to the same style of thinking.  For example, how would most students answer 1000-998?  Of course, we want them to answer two, but do we have a goal about how they should come up with that answer?  Also, check out the “Question Cards”, “Written Computation”, and “Reasoning Strategies”.  Below are some examples about whole numbers.  Question CardsReasoning Strategies, 4 Questions about Whole Numbers.
So, maybe this tool could help assess the new North Carolina Developmental Redesign, and, at the same time, help teachers focus on how they want students to think and do problems.
Categories: assessment, redesign