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Moving Young Minds with Middle School Math Apps

§ August 8th, 2012 Comments Off on Moving Young Minds with Middle School Math Apps§ Filed under Math, motivation, Other Voices, Teaching Math, Technology in Education § Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

With over 650,000 apps in the App Store, how do you determine what’s really worth your time, and in some cases, money? As a middle school math teacher and summer math enrichment program director, I’m always looking for new games and ways to engage my students. I have spent countless hours scouring the App Store, downloading and testing out various apps, sometimes even getting addicted to some myself! Without further ado, here is my list of the five best math apps currently on the market. § Read the rest of this entry…

How I Became a Math Tutor: A True Story

§ April 2nd, 2012 Comments Off on How I Became a Math Tutor: A True Story§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, motivation, Other Voices, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Two months ago we posted an article entitled: We MUST Engage Our Kids. Here we listed what we considered the necessary ingredients for a teacher to conduct a successful math class. These were passion, real-world problems, humor, and caring. The other day I was chatting with Vijay, a math tutor working in Romania, and he sent me a short article he had written about how he had started tutoring. I found it fascinating. Two of the ingredients really stood out (though I’m sure he uses all four). Can you guess which two? Here is his article.

It all started about two and a half years ago when I was told to leave Oracle where I was working in Bucharest as an educational consultant. § Read the rest of this entry…

Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery

§ January 11th, 2012 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Other Voices, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you have taught your math students about perimeter and area, if you are ready to present them with an application challenge, and if they are into Pythonesque comedy (Do you know many middle schoolers who are not into the absurd?), consider showing this clip from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

After watching the clip, distribute the activity, “Monty Python and the Quadratic Shrubbery,” for your students to complete.

Applying newly learned math skills in a real-world helps students master those skills instead of just § Read the rest of this entry…

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., 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…

Are We Listening to the Students?

§ August 22nd, 2011 Comments Off on Are We Listening to the Students?§ Filed under Other Voices § Tagged , , , , , , ,

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

Math Through the Years

§ August 4th, 2011 § 6 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Other Voices § Tagged , , , , , , ,

In a few months, I am beginning my liberal arts education. According to Merriam-Webster, a liberal arts education consists of “college or university studies (as language, philosophy, literature, abstract science) intended to provide chiefly general knowledge and to develop general intellectual capacities (as reason and judgment) as opposed to professional or vocational skills”. In other words, there is no emphasis on math. In fact, all ten schools I applied to this past fall are liberal arts colleges and only require one math class, if any.

Thus, it is safe to say I’m not a math person. I always took the “easier” math classes so I could commit to more difficult courses in the humanities. This worked well considering I never actually had any problems in math until this past year. In fact, I enjoyed my first three years of high school math. § Read the rest of this entry…

Books Every Math Teacher Should Read

§ July 26th, 2011 § 8 Comments- Add yours§ Filed under Math, Other Voices § Tagged , , , , , , ,

Photography by Jon Hayes

I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, and I’ve come across a few books in the past few months that I think every math educator should read.

A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart

I don’t see how it’s doing society any good to have its members walking around with vague memories of algebraic formulas and geometric diagrams, and clear memories of hating them.” ~ Paul Lockhart, p33

The original essay that inspired this book is still available online here, and if you can’t find the time to read all of Paul’s book, I recommend at least reading the essay. Paul talks passionately about some serious problems in mathematics education today, most notably that much of what is taught in schools is not actually mathematics itself, but a caricature of mathematics.

Mathematics Miseducation by Derek Stolp

[M]athematics, as it is taught, does not give children any view of reality, let alone a rational one.” ~ Derek Stolp, p33

Derek argues first that mathematics, as it is taught today, does not warrant inclusion in our curriculum, but then demonstrates some clear ways that mathematics education could be changed to make it viable again. He has the best argument for a constructivist approach to mathematics education I’ve read so far. § Read the rest of this entry…

Teaching Math without Words Can Be Done

§ July 21st, 2011 Comments Off on Teaching Math without Words Can Be Done§ Filed under From the Elevated Math Team, Other Voices § Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

It has often been said that math is a language all to itself, that it is the universal language because speakers of all other languages share it.   Okay.  I accept that adage.  Even though I believe it, I still have questions as to how it would play out in an actual classroom, in particular an ESL classroom not only with children who speak different languages but also with differing abilities.

In the accompanying YouTube video Matthew Peterson explains how removing the language barrier when students learn mathematics can actually improve language skills.  Through interactive computer software games that provide informative visual feedback, students are taught how and why math works.  He explains that when kids play an active role in figuring things out, they want to talk about it; sharing what they have learned helps them improve their language skills.  So, removing the language barrier can actually increase communication. § Read the rest of this entry…

Math Class: Student Perspective 2

§ July 12th, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under Other Voices § Tagged , , , , ,

Photography by Klara Kim

Math always came to me quite easily in grade school and middle school.  I just never was able to find a way to actually motivate myself to learn it most of the time.  The majority of the teachers I had over the years had us read straight from the textbook and copy down problems at the end of the section.  I found it extremely easy and boring, so I wouldn’t put much effort into doing any extra work.  I went through middle school with mediocre math grades.  Pre Algebra, Geometry, Algebra 1… all boring for me.  One would think that if the subject was so easy for me, I would get good grades… apparently not.

In tenth grade, I transferred to a new school where I took Algebra 2.  I continued my trend of not trying because of boredom.  My grades weren’t stellar, which wasn’t promising for a new transfer student.  After a few weeks, the teacher decided the class was too hard for me and dropped me down to a lower Algebra 2 class.  My grades continued to be only average for the rest of the year. § Read the rest of this entry…

Slip-sliding Away: A Summer Math Dilemma

§ June 28th, 2011 § 1 Comment- Add yours§ Filed under A Historical View, Math, Other Voices, Teaching Math § Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Beverly Hills Math Factor instructor Jesse Meyen assists students on the iPad

Summer Slide. Brain Drain. Learning Leak. While it may sound like I’m describing a decaying water park, in reality these are terms used to explain the effect summer vacation has on young students and scholastic retention. If those terms don’t incite fear, they should. Students can lose more than two months of previous year math knowledge in the short time between signing yearbooks and picking out a first day of school outfit. § Read the rest of this entry…

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