Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2011

2011 will forever be significant in Elevated Math history.  Our iPad app was launched along our website and blog.   In Barbara Walters’ fashion, we decided to list the TEN MOST FASCINATING POSTS in 2011.  Oh, ok.  Fascinating is probably not the most accurate adjective, so how about if we list our ten favorites?

  1. Angry Birds Can Teach Math was one of our most popular posts. It showed how to teach parabolas and quadratic equations with the Angry Bird game.  We followed this up with Use Angry Birds to Teach Math Pt 2, which includes a portion of the Elevated Math lesson.
  2. A Case for the Flipped Classroom is a subjective examination of one the hottest ideas for teaching math that came out this year.
  3. Making Math Relevant May Be the Key was also one of our most popular posts. It details how a teacher made math relevant to a class of potential drop-outs.
  4. Handling Math Phobia and
  5. Treatments for Math Anxiety both focus on dealing with fear of math. “If you can teach your kids to overcome fear of math, you will help them learn to overcome other fears as they move forward through life.”
  6. Bringing rigor into the classroom while at the same time making math relevant in conjunction with building relationships with students is a lofty but noble goal as explained in Can Rigor, Relevance and Relationships Make a Difference?
  7. Elevated Math: A Cool App Review shares one of the best reviews our app received this year. The reviewer compares it to the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt algebra app. It was an eye-opener to many and, of course, made it in our “Top Ten.”
  8. [The next three posts get down to the nuts and bolts of teaching in the classroom, all focusing on teaching place value.]  Teaching Math: It’s All in the Balance demonstrates how both traditional and reform camps have something to offer math educators.
  9. The First Steps in Developing Conceptual Understanding of Place Value emphasizes the importance of developing a foundation of math understanding.
  10. The Pursuit of Place Value Understanding Part 3 demonstrates how the iPad can be used to reinforce place value.

Honorable mentions include:

What Albert Einstein Can Teach Us and How to Honor Steve Jobs show how we can emulate these men and thus honor them by thinking and acting as they do.

The New York Times Review of Technology in the Classroom examines the reactions critics had to this important Sunday feature in the New York Times.

Can Salmon Khan Teach Math analyzes the pros and cons of The Khan Academy. It “could definitely be a tool in a teacher’s arsenal. But if it’s the only tool, that is a problem.”

We had a few students who just graduated from high school write about their math experiences–quite enlightening. Don’t miss the comments in Math Class: One Student’s Perspective, one of the best.

Books Every Math Teacher Should Read is an excellent post from guest blogger David Wees.

Dyscalculia: Not a Cool Math Concept tells everything you need to know about this new disease.

Slip Sliding Away: A Summer Math Dilemma shows one way to deal with summer “brain drain.”

See you all next year!

3 thoughts on “Our Favorite Blog Posts of 2011”

  1. Seems I can’t comment on those posts. I work with students who struggle with math and the Khan Academy makes me wince, especially since it keeps getting touted as somehow making math so much more accessible. Not only does he teach procedure, procedure, procedure, he doesn’t seem to have any idea what it’s like not to already know this stuff. His explanation of what “average” means? Well, the ‘average’ student would like to leave class early; later on, the average sort of represents a group of numbers. If I were already feeling dubious about my math abilities, I’d be even more certain that I was the loser who this stuff couldn’t even help.
    I’m also rather uncertain as to how the “flipped classroom” does all those amazing things listed. “Learn at your own pace” is a lot more complicated than “hit pause.” If I’m watching an algebra lesson and I still think that “if there’s no number in front of it, x = 1” (as many of mine do), then slowing down the video or watching it five times isn’t going to fix that.

    1. Thanks, Sue, for your comments. I agree that The Khan Academy is flawed IF it is the only tool in a teacher’s arsenal, but it has its uses. Salmon’s videos bailed my daughter out on a couple occasions when she had no clue what her teacher had taught her in school.

      As far as the flipped classroom goes, I truly believe it’s the direction of the future. When teachers lecture in front of a blackboard they are connecting with a portion of the class, not all of the class. Some students already know the material and are bored. Others find the lectures incomprehensible and are embarrassed to say so. When students watch lectures at home, whether they are Khan Academy videos, Elevated Math lessons, or screencasts that the teachers create, students can skip forward if they understand the material or pause the lesson to consider what has just been said. Also the instruction in these videos are more thought out and thus are (hopefully) better teaching tools. But they do NOT replace the teachers who are now free to differentiate the learning among the students, provide real-life problems to some, and work one-on-one or in small groups with others. Learning becomes more efficient. Does this make sense?

  2. By the way, on that list of “must read” books, the name of the author of “What’s Math Got to Do WIth It” is misspelled. I wondered why no library catalog I checked had it… but happily, Jo Boaler’s book is just down the street… hoppin’ down there now…

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