The Judo Math app is here!

One of my former students came up to me a few years ago, wanting to know what extra work he could do because he was going to be absent the next day.  He said he was going to a seminar on coding.  I told him he’d probably learn a lot more in that seminar than he would in a day’s worth of school so he shouldn’t worry about any homework.  “Maybe you can write me a Judo Math app one day,” I said. Two years and thousands of hours of work later….he delivered.  It’s called Judo Math: Pathfinders.  It’s a free app that is available on both Android and Apple.  Download it now and let me know what you think!...

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Can first graders really figure this out in 20 seconds?

Can first graders really figure this out in 20 seconds?

Take a look at the picture below.  According to the text, it’s a question given to 1st grade students in Hong Kong as part of an admissions test.   I guess my question is, why does a first grader need to know this in under 20 seconds?  Does it prove intelligence somehow?  It took me longer than 20 seconds to figure it out.  I’m 44 years old.  I managed to graduate at the top of my class in high school.  So what makes this question special or predictive of anything? Divers diseases can affect the muscles that can slow the flow of blood, cause erectile dysfunction. Currently more than half of men aged over 50 reported some degree of erectile dysfunctions. A general sexual complaint among men is the erectile dysfunction. Now many articles were published about http://finasteride.me/. Our article tell more about the evaluation of erectile disfunction and “finasteride“. Questions, like “finasteride drug“, are linked variant types of health problems. Keep reading for a list of drugs that can cause side effects and what you can do to put an end to feasible side effects. Sometimes medicinal conditions or other medicaments may interact with Viagra. Before buying this generic, tell your physician if you are allergic to...

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Achieving Equity in Assessment

Achieving Equity in  Assessment

  I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and shout, “Go!” It sounds like I am standing in the middle of Qualcomm Stadium and the Chargers just won the Super Bowl. But it’s not cheering I am hearing—it is students helping students. It may be the sweetest thing I have ever heard. I look to my left and I hear a student say, “Tell me the steps you went through to solve that.” I walk to my right and I hear, “Are you sure that’s what the next step is?” I keep walking around and I keep hearing students challenging each other, playing devil’s advocate in math. I think this is actually working! I remember when a college professor of mine said something that would change the way I think about everything around me. He said that the equal treatment of unequals is the worst practice in teaching that still occurs today. This happens not only in the classroom, but everywhere around us. Treating everyone the same isn’t the right thing to do. It may sound great on paper, but it does a disservice to everyone involved. It may sound like you are doing the right thing if you are giving every student the same options, opportunities, or advantages. But is that what they all need? To me, teachers who teach the same thing to everyone are creating a learning environment that is not conducive to every student in the room. To teach equitably, one must look to the needs of each individual student. Our goal as educators should be to veer from an equal learning experience toward an equitable learning experience. Our job is to make sure all students have a fair, and possibly unequal, learning experience. Ensuring that each student has a fair opportunity to succeed means that one student’s path may look very different from another’s. I have been restructuring my assessment practices in class lately because I tend to see the same students failing repeatedly. I came to the conclusion that maybe it isn’t them, but that my assessments aren’t up to par with what they need. When I started asking some of the students why they believed they got the grade they did, I got some interesting responses: “I thought the quiz was on something else.” “I didn’t have room to write my answers.” “I don’t remember covering that material.” “I couldn’t memorize all the steps.” “I didn’t get some of the questions.” None of these responses were positive in nature. I began to wonder: How might I change students’ perceptions of assessment and raise their confidence in the classroom? Recently, I have been focusing on how to assess students in math, particularly students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), while maintaining equity in the classroom. In the past, I have modified the actual test in various ways. I have changed the number...

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The Thrill of Converting Math-Haters Into Appreciators Through Inquiry

The Thrill of Converting Math-Haters Into Appreciators Through Inquiry

via Mindshift A good portion of the adult population hates math, and a lot of people believe they aren’t good at it so they avoid it completely. Those perceptions often come from their experiences learning math in school, which may not have been positive. parental security . In her Atlantic article Jessica Lahey writes about a Cornell professor who takes special pride in teaching non-math majors to appreciate numbers. He does it with an inquiry-based, hands-on approach that would likely work for kids learning math for the first time too. Lahey writes: “Twelve years of compulsory education in mathematics leaves us with a populace that is proud to announce they cannot balance their checkbook, when they would never share that they were illiterate. What we are doing — the way we are doing it — results in an enormous sector of the population that hates mathematics. The current system disenfranchises so many students.”   Check out the article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2014/10/teaching-math-to-people-who-think-they-hate-it/381125/...

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Equity in Education: Where to Begin?

Equity in Education: Where to Begin?

In a profession increasingly full of angst and positioning and corrective policy, there are few ideas as easy to get behind as equity. Equal. Equality. Equity. Equilibrium. Equate. These are all fine ideas — each tidy and whole, implying its own kind of justice while connoting the precision of mathematics. Level. Same. Twin. Each word has its own nuance, but one characteristic they share is access — a level, shared area with open pathways that are equidistant to mutually agreed-upon currencies. When discussing equity, there are so many convenient handles — race, gender, language, poverty, access to technology — but there may be a larger view that we’re missing. The Scale of Equity There isn’t a more global issue, equity being perhaps the global issue of our time. According to United Nation statistics published last year in The Economist: While progress is being made in sub-Saharan Africa in primary education, gender inequality is widening among older children. The ratio of girls enrolled in primary school rose from 85 to 93 per 100 boys between 1999 and 2010, whereas it fell from 83 to 82 and from 67 to 63 at the secondary and tertiary levels. And elsewhere, in Chad and the Central African Republic, there is a flat rate of less than 70 girls for every 100 boys. This is a starkly different conversation about equity than the one we might have in the U.S., U.K., Canada, or Australia. We have the luxury of becoming choosier, and harsher on ourselves, as progress is made. In other words, let’s first make sure there are free, quality schools everywhere, and that children can all read and write, and later we can concern ourselves with iPads vs. Androids, or the broadband access in our poorest communities. It’s easy to miss the scale of equity as an “issue,” because unlike assessment, curriculum, teacher pay, class sizes, educational technology, or any other persistently evergreen edu-choke point, equity never stops affecting. It’s both the center and periphery of everything because we’re always who we are and where we are. The Cultural Effect As a species, we express ourselves through difference. What makes “culture” interesting is how it both recognizes the individual and simultaneously allows individuals to disappear into the whole again — identity and anonymity. There is a constant self-to-group transaction based on both affection (inward expression) and image (outward expression). This transaction is then repeated across cultures, with completely different functions. Differences within and across cultures are differences nonetheless, but the individual can think while groups simply gather. So this is a brutally narrow take on how people gather, cohort, and manifest their vision of what it means to be human, but the point remains: As educators, we suffer that same reductionism when we see the masses in the same way that Nielsen does television ratings. Students aren’t demographics, and it’s murky at best...

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What Motivates Teachers?

via Mindshift A recent Gallup poll of 170,000 Americans — 10,000 of whom were teachers — found that teaching is the second most satisfying profession (after medicine). Ironically, the sameGallup poll found that in contrast to their overall happiness with their jobs, teachers often rate last or close to the bottom for workplace engagement and happiness. “Of all the professions we studied in the U.S., teachers are the least likely to say that their opinions count and the least likely to say that their supervisor creates an open and sharing environment,” said Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education, at the Next New World Conference. This is a troubling trend at a time when schools need to continue to attract high quality educators. “If the perception in our country is that teaching is not a great profession to go into, we certainly aren’t going to be encouraging really talented young people to be thinking about the profession of teaching,” Busteed said in an interview with Stephen Smith on the American RadioWorks podcast. That will be especially problematic as baby boomer teachers begin to retire. “What our research reveals is an important nuance that teachers rate their lives overall very highly; they love their lives,” Busteed said. “They love their work. They love what they do in terms of helping encourage young people.” But they often dislike their bosses, the policies they must abide by, the tests that govern their lives and the low pay and lack of respect often shown by other adults. “It’s a big opportunity to try and get this right across school systems, but also a tragedy in that all these people who otherwise would be off the charts with their performance if we could just improve their workplace environment,” Busteed said. MindShift readers discussed openly what motivates them to keep teaching, as well as what changes they’d make to the system. “I’m motivated by the curiosity of my students,” replied Lewis Marshall A. Elaine, in a Facebook call-out to teachers to weigh in. “Being able to collaborate with more teachers who possess these qualities would make my job better: professionalism, positivity, and competency.” Teacher Dana Smith wrote: “The students are my motivation: love those crazy middle-schoolers! A better salary and being able to teach without headaches and heartaches from mandatory testing, nonsensical paperwork/computer work, and crazed administrators would make my job perfect.” Vix Cee Kreidel wrote: “I am motivated to teach because I believe that every child deserves to have someone who believes in them. I love to watch the light bulb go off in a child as their eyes light up when they have an idea or ‘get’ something. Teaching would be easier if I got paid more to make up for all the things I buy for my classroom. Also if we were held accountable in other ways besides the test.” We talked...

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