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Henri Picciotto's

Math Education Newsletter

June 2016

There is still room in my Saint Louis workshops!

Greetings!

This will be my last newsletter for quite some time, as I'm entering a very busy period of summer workshops. Hopefully some of it will be of use to you plan for next year.

If you're looking for a summer professional development opportunity, you might check out my Saint Louis workshops.

In any case, enjoy your break!

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Blog Posts

Here are links to posts on my Math Education Blog that you might find interesting.
If you are so moved, you may comment on the posts, and/or subscribe to the blog.

The Assessment Trap

In this eight-part series, I analyze the legitimate uses of assessment, its problematic uses, the meaning of grades, and the perils of so-called "backward design". A guest post by Sarah Clowes surveys some of the research on grades. Based on all this, I recommend de-emphasizing grades, and propose some tools and strategies to get the most out of assessment, while minimizing its often negative impact on curriculum and pedagogy. Finally, I propose a forward design strategy. Start here.

In Defense of Algebra 2

Algebra 2 is a favorite target of American anti-intellectualism. It is often used as evidence that learning math beyond the basics is pointless, as Algebra 2 is often about mindless manipulation of symbols and ineffective memorization of techniques — all of it divorced from meaning, and only relevant to future mathematicians. Unfortunately, the traditional course and the version favored by (e.g.) New York State, includes a random assortment of too many topics, taught too fast, which can end up supporting those arguments. In this post, I argue that Algebra 2 can be a great course, and propose an approach to make that happen.

NCTM Is Its Members

I've been a member of the National Council of Teachers of Math for decades. During that time, I have been a speaker at more than 80 conferences of NCTM and its affiliates. I have written and reviewed articles for The Mathematics Teacher. I edited the "Student Activities" department in that journal for a couple of years. I was excited and impressed that in his recent message “NCTM Is Its Members”, Matt Larson, the new President of the Council asked for suggestions. I took him at his word. I wrote to encourage him to get rid of the wall between the NCTM journals and the Web, and to launch a nationwide conversation on the strengths and weaknesses of the Common Core. Read my letter here.


MathEducationPage.org

New or new-ish on my Web site.

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Fractions

A new launch page about fractions, with links to:

Shrinky Dinks

An excellent Shrinky Dinks activity about scaling, by Rachel Chou, a teacher and department chair at Menlo School in Atherton, CA. I link to it in my Geometry Labs page, as it is very compatible with the book both in its subject matter (Section 10) and in its hands-on approach.

Algebra and Precalculus

In preparation for my summer workshops (see below), I made some improvements to three activities:

Saint Louis Workshops

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My Oakland workshops are sold out, but there is still room for you in these two workshops at the Principia School in Saint Louis, MO:
July 25-27: Visual Algebra (grades 6-9)
July 28-29: No Limits! (Algebra 2 / Precalculus)

Registration and logistics

There is more information about the content of the workshops on my Summer Workshops page.

If you have a question that is not answered there, just ask in a reply to this e-mail.

More info about me: Henri Picciotto

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