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We MUST Engage Our Kids

§ February 5th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Patrick Reddick

A memory of middle and high school is being stuck in class and daydreaming my time away, full aware that my inability to focus on the droning lesson in front of me would cost me dearly when I had to figure out later how to answer the homework problems. Maybe this is why I made educational films in college and more recently worked with a team to launch Elevated Math, an iPad app that teaches middle school math. Teachers need to do something to engage our kids. We have infinite ways to do this, but for now I’ll touch on four.

1. Passion. Teachers must not only love the subjects they teach, they must be passionate about them. In college, I took a class on existentialism. The instructor would talk an hour in the lecture hall and then, when the hour was over, would invite us to join him in the sculpture garden outside where he would lecture another hour. Everyone followed him. He would speak about each philosopher as if this person held the ultimate truth of life that we each needed to know. No doubt this professor passionately loved his subject. Can we approach our class in the same way, as if we hold a sacred gift of knowledge that we must pass on?

2. Real-world problems. I remember my earth science class when the first photographs of the moon were released. My teacher drove to Washington D.C. (we lived in northern Virginia) and acquired large prints of these maps. § Read the rest of this entry…

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Don’t Be Afraid of Making a Mistake. Flip Your Classroom.

§ January 16th, 2012 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Photography by Thomas Favre-Bulle

An article in EdWeek this month by David Ginsburg entitled Don’t Prevent Students’ Mistakes, Prepare for Them has prompted this post. The article discusses how traditional teaching methods often deny students the chance to learn from their mistakes. But what about the teachers?  Are they encouraged to make mistakes? Are they willing to take chances with their instruction? Is an unwillingness to create a video to use in a flipped classroom a bigger mistake than failing at the attempt?

In the traditional classroom model the information transfer takes place in class with assimilation of that information taking place outside the class. In an inverted model, as in a flipped classroom, the transfer takes place outside of class (often through online videos) and with assimilation in class.  If implemented correctly, the class can become a robust environment where students work on challenging problems aimed at making sense of what they’ve seen and heard outside of class. Read our earlier blog if you need to know more.

I’ve spent the last couple months talking with teachers, visiting their classrooms, and reading blogs.  I’m convinced schools should head in the direction of the inverted model and they should vigorously pursue the implementation of the flipped classroom.

A teacher I visited outside of Boston had a 6th grade flipped math classroom. It was a fascinating visit. Despite his struggles to keep § Read the rest of this entry…

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How to Optimize Your Study Time for the SAT or ACT

§ November 27th, 2011 § 3 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Other Voices, SAT/ACT Test Prep § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 

Photography by Alberto G.

 

Taking the SAT or ACT may not be the highlight of your senior year of high school, but it certainly ranks near the top of the priority list. Colleges will be shopping for freshmen with high scores, so it is imperative that you optimize your study time so you can get the most out of the experience. Staying at home to study while your friends are “having fun” might seem like a dreadful prospect, but this is a necessity for students to gain familiarity with such a long and tricky exam.
Collegeboard.com, the official web site of the SAT and ACT, allows students to register for the ‘SAT Question of the Day’. Signing up for this free service is a great way to get a daily dose of SAT study time. It also serves as a reminder to spend some time in review each day. Your college test day sneaks up on you, so make the most of every day leading up to it.

Instead of cramming right before the exam, it is much more beneficial to study in increments.  This incremental study pattern or rhythm is proven § Read the rest of this entry…

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A Case for the Flipped Classroom

§ November 14th, 2011 § 10 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Flipped Classroom, From the Elevated Math Team, Math, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Variations of flipped classrooms are as many as there are teachers.  Brian Bennett writes in his blog post, “The flipped class is an ideology, not a methodology.”  He stresses that it is not defined by the use of videos.  He has moved away from videos now that he has more time for “engaging activities and labs.”  The flipped classroom is all about “making connections with learners and differentiating your instruction.”  Therefore, a teacher can have such a classroom as long as the needs of all learners are being met.  Bennett is commended for meeting the needs of his learners.  However, for a classroom to truly be “flipped,” prepared instruction must continue at home, not just in the classroom.

The way we like to understand the term, the flipped classroom is used to introduce and reinforce the teaching in BOTH the classroom and at home. For example, a teacher introduces and provides direct § Read the rest of this entry…

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Treatments for Math Anxiety

§ October 21st, 2011 § 2 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Overcoming Fear § Tagged , , , , , , ,

photography by gianΩmerz

A study published yesterday in the journal Cerebral Cortex suggests some potential treatments for math anxiety. See the Education Week blog.

In prior research, the author Sian L. Beilock found that just the thought of doing math problems can trigger stress responses in people with math anxiety, and adult teachers can pass their trepidation about math on to their students.

One of the earliest posts on this blog was on Handling Math Phobia. This subject is worth revisiting.

The study released yesterday shows that students who are anxious about math yet perform well have a high activity in the frontal and parietal regions of the brain when they learn a math problem is coming up. § Read the rest of this entry…

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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…

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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.

 

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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.

§ Read the rest of this entry…

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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

 


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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…

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