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[NBI] Week three of the Math Blogging Initiation

September 8, 2012
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Three weeks into the Math Blogging Initiation and we’re still going strong with 84 entries.

Here’s my crew:

Steve Grossberg | @5teve6rossberg | It’s all math.

Steve Grossberg (@5teve6rossberg) has a blog named It’s all math.. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled I teach, and I teach math.” and the author sums it up as follows: This is an epic tale that illustrates why one young child with no friends wanted to be a teacher when he grew up. It also relates how it came to be that even though he didn’t like math in high school, he eventually became (spoiler alert!) a high school math teacher himself. A memorable quotation from the post is: By high school I had teachers who blew my mind, in different ways, and I decided that those were the kind of relationships I wanted to spend my career building.

My thoughts: This is a funny and thoughtful essay about how Steve managed to overcome elementary school teasing and taunting thanks to his teachers, and how that later developed into him pursuing a career as a math and physics teacher. I can totally relate.

Craig Ortner | @cortner | Mr. Ortner

Craig Ortner Mr. Ortner Craig Ortner (@cortner) has a blog named Mr. Ortner. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Fixed” and the author sums it up as follows: Fixed mindset bad. Struggle good. Growth mindset good. A memorable quotation from the post is: Struggle is good.

My thoughts: This is an outstanding reflection on Carold Dweck’s Mindset work, and in particular the harms of fixed mindsets to even the strongest students.

Jimmy Pai | @PaiMath | The Pai Intersect

Jimmy Pai (@PaiMath) has a blog named The Pai Intersect. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Why Learn Math?” and the author sums it up as follows: I provided 5 ways that I respond to the question of “when do need this?” or “why do we need this?” It has been successful for me, and hopefully they will be successful for you as well! A memorable quotation from the post is: Students are almost always surprised by how much I love answering this question.

My notes: These are some pretty great responses to the why study math question. I hope that Jimmy shares them with Andrew Hacker, of Is Algebra Necessary fame.

Courtney Steketee | @csteketee21 | thenumbertwentyone

Courtney Steketee (@csteketee21) has a blog named thenumbertwentyone. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Obvious Mathematics” and the author sums it up as follows: My thoughts on the problem most of us have about student motivation and not caring about the correct answer, just putting down the first thing they think of. A memorable quotation from the post is: Obvious is the most dangerous word in mathematics.

My notes: Short sweet and true. I love the quote from E.T. Bell, and I agree that getting students to focus on questions, and multiple paths toward a solution, rather than just the answer is the way to overcome obvious mathematics.

Bill Thill | @roughlynormal | roughlynormal

Bill Thill (@roughlynormal) has a blog named roughlynormal. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Stats, Sports and School:” A new adventure beyond AP Statistics” and the author sums it up as follows: I am embarking on a new course, which I will (hopefully) teach next year: “Statistics, Sports, and School.” It’s a new interdisciplinary adventure for me. After many years of training/advising teachers, I’m putting on my “student hat” again in a new adventure. A memorable quotation from the post is: As I’ve grown in my teaching, I now find myself wishing I could do more with my students than what is done in [AP Statistics].

My notes: I’m really inspired by the curriculum work that Bill and his school are doing. They seem to be on the vanguard of curriculum design—exploring integrated studies and special topics courses, like Bill’s Sports and Statistics class that encourages students to pursue their own research into a mathematical question around sports or spots medicine.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 9, 2012 2:05 am

    Thanks for the review, John. I sure appreciate all the work you and the other old-school bloggers have been doing for us newbees. I set a new record for views on my site today, and I imagine this post is a big part of the reason why.

    (Not that I ever look at the stats. That way madness lies, right?) 😉

  2. September 9, 2012 9:19 pm

    Hey thanks for the post! I read that article by Andrew Hacker recently but not in detail.

    I think I am going to read it over carefully again and evaluate his arguments.

    Thanks for reminding me!

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