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How To Honor Steve Jobs?

§ October 8th, 2011 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under A Historical View, From the Elevated Math Team, Technology in Education § Tagged , , , , , , ,

The Christian Science Monitor article so entitled inspired me to create this post. I learned of Steve Job’s passing six minutes before starting a debate with three other candidates. You see, I’m running for school board in Beverly Hills. The news shocked me and I wondered if I could continue. I felt choked up and could not think about the issues I was expected to discuss. As the other three candidates gave their opening statements I realized what I needed to do. As they talked I confirmed the news I had heard with a reporter sitting in the front row. Then, when it § Read the rest of this entry…


The Pursuit of Place Value Understanding, Part III

§ September 23rd, 2011 § 4 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On May 23, 2010 in my very first blog, Teaching Math; It’s All in the Balance, I shared my view that both the traditional and reform camps have something to offer math educators. Basically, traditionalists believe skills should be taught based on algorithms, formulas and step-by-step procedures; reformists support a more inquiry-based approach that emphasizes developing conceptual understanding and problem-solving skills. My contention is that a balanced approach is best.   Also, I am an advocate for using engaging, interactive technology whenever possible to reach and teach this generation.

I shared a conversation I had with Grant, my oldest grandson, about adding two two-digit numbers. During our talk it was obvious his skill for adding single digits was developing nicely, but he lacked an understanding of place value concepts.  Even though he could get the right answers, when I asked him the value of the digits, he had no clue.

In my second blog posted on June 27, The First Steps in Developing Conceptual Understanding of Place Value, I emphasized the importance of developing a foundation of understanding.   I also shared ways to help children understand place value when first learning to count with non-proportional items (straws and money) and with proportional manipulatives (base-ten blocks) when adding and subtracting.

Grant is now in the 3rd grade.  He tells me he “gets” math.  He doesn’t need my help, thank you very much.  That is… until this week. Monday, he called to say he had taken a test last week, and he wasn’t happy with his grade.   “Can I come down, Gigi? Can you help me?”   Smile. Gigi is back in the picture.

§ Read the rest of this entry…


Use Angry Birds to Teach Math, Pt. 2

§ September 9th, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

In the previous blog Use Angry Birds to Teach Math (see below) we shared a plan to introduce students to parabolas. Students can follow Bruner’s CRA teaching method from tossed-beanbags to the parabolas in Angry Birds to graphing-quadratic-equations in Elevated Math. The popularity of our blog post has inspired us to include an excerpt from the Elevated Math lesson. This lesson is part representative and part abstract. We have removed from the video the “autopauses” found in the iPad lessons so the video will flow better. This lesson, A14.1, continues for another 18 minutes and includes abstract activities for the students. Also, two subsequent lessons A14.2 and A14.3 further explore quadratic equations.



Use Angry Birds to Teach Math

§ September 7th, 2011 § 7 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

As David Wees shares in his blog entitled, Make Mathematics Fun, “too many students spend a lot of time not enjoying themselves when learning mathematics.”  He challenges mathematics educators to make math accessible and more easily learned for their students.  Being up for the challenge, here is a suggestion.

Angry Birds is the largest mobile app success the world has seen so far. It is an interactive, animated projectile launcher that creates parabolic motion. The parabola is traced by the flight of the projectile (the bird).  In the app players use a slingshot to launch birds at pigs stationed on or within various structures.  The goal is to destroy all the pigs on the screen. The game is such a huge hit that The MIT Entrepreneurship Review predicts that the game will be bigger than either Mickey Mouse or Mario.  If  kids are that into it,  let’s change it from a mindless game to a vehicle for learning math.

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Have a Safe Labor Day Weekend!

§ September 3rd, 2011 Comments Off§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , ,

photography by Abe Novy


D is for….

Determination Drive Dedication Desire

These are the traits of the hard-working American. Whether it is the soldier on the front line, the factory worker punching a time clock, the Wall Street broker moving stocks, the social worker fighting to end child abuse, the farmer who provides us with the food we eat, the waste management crew who picks up your garbage or maybe even the salesman who sold you that Nissan you drive *wink*….these are the people that drive this country. It is you and I, it’s your neighbor, your family, your friend, your co-workers….

Together, we make a formidable team of individuals who have what it takes to pick ourselves up off the floor, dust ourselves off and make things great again here in the land of opportunity.

I’m honestly not the most patriotic guy in the world on a daily basis, but I believe not many of us are…but today, I can honestly say, “God Bless America.”

by Abe Novy



Poverty Does Affect School Achievement

§ August 30th, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under Education Policy § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

On August 18, 2011 a panel of experts discussed the state of black education in the U.S. at the Edgartown Whaling Church, in Edgartown, MA.  The topic of the evening was Separate But Unequal: Closing the Education Gap. The online publication, the Vineyard Gazette, ran an article written by Mike Seccombe summarizing the discussion entitled Poverty and Failure of Education System Weigh on Black Students. I learned about it from Diane Ravich’s tweet.  § Read the rest of this entry…


Whole Number Division with Semi-Concrete Base Ten Blocks

§ August 26th, 2011 § 4 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Teaching Math, Technology in Education § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Helping children develop conceptual understandings, making math learning relevant, and integrating discovery and skills-based learning are all important.

In the blog post The First Steps in Developing Conceptual Understanding of Place Value I shared my 2nd grade grandson’s experience in learning two and three digit addition and subtraction.  He had been learning to add and subtract digits without any understanding of place value, so I introduced the operations using non-proportional objects to teach re-grouping. § Read the rest of this entry…


Relevance: Discovery, Skills-based, and Manipulatives

§ August 23rd, 2011 § 4 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently I penned My Last Math Class and shared how I made math learning real for an unique group of students.  Following on its heels, I shared information on the 3 R’s —Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships— coined in 2010 by The International Center for Leadership in Education.

Now I want to expand this theme into another area of math education and discuss what is more meaningful and effective — discovery learning or skills-based learning.  Much material is available to fuel this debate, but I don’t lean towards one or the other.  I am quite comfortable with my seat on the fence, where I have a vantage point. § Read the rest of this entry…


Are We Listening to the Students?

§ August 22nd, 2011 Comments Off§ Filed under Other Voices § Tagged , , , , , , ,

Here is a video project conceived and created by middle school students in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.


Rigor, Relevance and Relationships Can Make a Difference

§ August 19th, 2011 § 8 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Instructional Frameworks § Tagged , , ,

artwork by Steve Heath

After the blog post, My Last Math Class, was re-tweeted many times last week, I realized that making math relevant for our students is important to a lot of people.  If that’s the case, then the Rigor/Relevance Framework should be of interest to our readers. § Read the rest of this entry…


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