tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post8620516181975757787..comments2017-05-16T05:39:35.438-04:00Comments on SpeEdChange: Real World MathIra David Socolhttps://plus.google.com/100145455899090230569noreply@blogger.comBlogger10125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-10622067207417825822011-01-09T20:19:47.244-05:002011-01-09T20:19:47.244-05:00There were 2 main differences between myself and m...There were 2 main differences between myself and many maths teachers I worked with: (1) I was new because (2) I previously worked as an (IT) professional - main point being not that I was in IT but that I worked in the "real world" for a significant time.<br /><br />These differences meant that my approach and philosophy to teaching maths were often in question. Blogging became an integral part of my practice.<br /><br /><a href="http://malyn.edublogs.org/2010/11/25/maths-calculating/" rel="nofollow">The most recent post</a> is a case in point. I wanted to take maths beyond the set curriculum which I (dare I say it?) found boring to teach, much less learn.<br /><br />In my brief experience as a maths teacher (3 years), I realise that students need context for learning maths - doesn't have to be the "real world" but something they can anchor their learning to. I have had a couple of students who were awesome thinkers but so bad at calculation and notation - made a point to tell them this and the importance of the latter (yes the latter are important, too).<br /><br />My blog shows how I fumble through all this, as well as some successes. However, I'm still searching....<br /><br />I don't fancy myself a great teacher nor do I necessarily aspire to be. However, it is gratifying to see changes in students who have typically struggled in maths - and I don't mean grades. I still count one of my top achievements as having most of my C-students say "I loved Algebra".<br /><br />Sorry - this has turned out so long!Malynhttp://malyn.edublogs.org/noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-70739588998086374072009-08-27T03:41:09.366-04:002009-08-27T03:41:09.366-04:00Blogs are so informative where we get lots of info...Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!<br />_____________________________<br /><br /><a href="http://www.ukdissertation.co.uk/buy_dissertation.htm" rel="nofollow">Buy Dissertation</a>marryhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/17811643324748313696noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-45329623458368983622009-08-02T21:15:02.977-04:002009-08-02T21:15:02.977-04:00Ira, as you know, I *am* a math teacher, and have ...Ira, as you know, I *am* a math teacher, and have taught at the university level as well. I totally agree with everything you have said. I suggest you have a look, if you haven't yet, at Darren Kuropatwa's blog A Difference (I think it is at adifference.blogspot.com). I hope Darren will keep up with it in his new job!<br /><br />Be well, Hadass.Dr. Eviatarhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09619240774309947361noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-60050967745913479112009-04-30T14:03:00.000-04:002009-04-30T14:03:00.000-04:00Thank you for writing this post. As a teacher on a...Thank you for writing this post. As a teacher on a mission to make math a joyful learning experience, I applaud your ideas and passion. <br /> <br />There are small groups of people throughout the country who are trying to change the way math is taught in schools. We all share a desire to toss out the textbooks and teach math in relevant and meaningful contexts.<br /><br />One such movement, currently underway online, is being driven by a passionate group of (primarily) high school math teachers. Based on Dan Meyer's What Can You Do With This? blog series, this group hopes to move problem solving away from the contrived situations in textbooks to real world scenarios presented through digital media. Kate Nowak, publisher of f(t), is using Diigo to organize the materials. There's not much there now but we do expect it to grow quickly over the next few months. I would like to see this reformation make its way to the elementary grades as well.<br /><br />I'm including some links to relevant information in case you'd like to learn more.<br /><br />Dy/Dan's WCYDWT archive:<br />http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?cat=70<br />Diigo WCYDWT bookmarks:<br />http://groups.diigo.com/groups/wcydwt<br />f(t)'s paradigm shift blog:<br />http://function-of-time.blogspot.com/2009/04/ready-and-almost-raring.html<br />LearningInMathland's revolution outline:<br />http://learninginmathland.blogspot.com/2009/04/structure-of-mathematical-revolutions.htmlcolleenkhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08194204545624618033noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-17258946366951394912009-04-30T11:20:00.000-04:002009-04-30T11:20:00.000-04:00Nancy,
One thing which might make it less scary, ...Nancy,<br /><br />One thing which might make it less scary, the kids will begin to supply the curriculum. They all do have "real world" math needs, time, money, et al. So let them bring the content.<br /><br />Bob,<br /><br />My email is on the way to you.<br /><br />Jim,<br /><br />Perfect. This is, of course, cross-curricular. A high school librarian I know begins 9th grade lessons in internet search with cars as well. Always works with American kids. Why fight student interests when we can leverage them?<br /><br />- Ira Socolnarratorhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01412837280249622430noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-28973510181545650962009-04-30T11:10:00.000-04:002009-04-30T11:10:00.000-04:00Another brilliant post Ira! I love your garbage t...Another brilliant post Ira! I love your garbage truck story! I would have loved to see your teacher's reaction.<br /><br />Several years ago I was teaching an 8th grade computer applications class. And of course, that meant teaching students about spreadsheets. Once we learned a few basics, I gave them this assignment: find out how much your favorite car costs online. Dream big-- if you want a Ferrari, go for it. One girl went for a used car because that was what she knew she could someday afford. Well, the point is they were WAY more interested in learning about spreadsheets because now they could figure out car payments, how interest rates and down payments affected their monthly payment, whether to take the rebate or the lower interest rate. What 13 or 14 year old doesn't dream about having a car in a couple of years?!? They understood why spreadsheets were so powerful and why they needed to know about them for the "real" world.Jim Dornberghttp://www.blogger.com/profile/09140413976397328837noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-86664651929449522622009-04-30T10:38:00.000-04:002009-04-30T10:38:00.000-04:00Alice Mercer on Classroom 2.0 pointed out your blo...Alice Mercer on Classroom 2.0 pointed out your blog to me and as soon as I read your comment, I knew I was in the right place.<br /><br />We are confusing arithmetic a rote, easily automated branch of mathematics, with the whole field of mathematics. We spend 4 years teaching basic computation and if a student has a problem they are labeled as Math Disabled. Suppose we made arithmetic invisible, how much more in terms of Math concepts can we teach first grade children?<br /><br />It is important to know basic computation at least how to estimate accurately, but basic arithmetic should not be a requirement for other branches of mathematics. In the real world, estimation is often all we need and if precision is essential, the I would prefer a calculator or computer to an arithmetic "expert". Would you choose an accountant who bragged they did all the arithmetic "in his or her head"?<br /><br />My personal preference would be to start students in grade 1 on Excel and never look back.<br /><br />There is too much to say in this area and I would enjoy discussing it with you.<br /><br />I am a retired professor of psychology and directed over 100 ph.d. dissertations. I believe you are a grad student and I am offering my help with the dissertation process. In addition, I can help with statistics if that is an issue for you.<br /><br />BobDigitalDRZhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12520407296252566487noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-84064367874110704322009-04-30T07:38:00.000-04:002009-04-30T07:38:00.000-04:00Ira-
As always, you have given me so much to thin...Ira-<br /><br />As always, you have given me so much to think about. And what a pleasant surprise to see my own name in this space that I rely on as a voice of sanity in the oft-crazy world of special education. You are too kind.<br /><br />I suppose that part of what is driving my strong urge not to do more of the same with these students is my own son’s experience. As a toddler, my husband and I were amazed at his keen observational skills and how he could identify, tabulate, categorize, integrate, and generalize information he picked up from the world around him. But long about third grade somebody decided he was “bad” at math. So, he was forever “bad at math.” It almost kept him from graduating high school. The teacher who tutored him and got him through Algebra II (bless her) told me he had natural math ability (no surprise to us) but that somewhere along the line something had convinced him he didn’t. As a teacher, it’s sad to me that I know what did that to him: school.<br /><br />So I see the logic in the real world approach you suggest. It also terrifies me. No textbook? No teacher edition? No curriculum guide? Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!<br /><br />I look forward to hearing responses from others to your post. I would love to hear from math teachers, too, and those who have taught students with learning disabilities using real world math.<br /><br />Thank you, Ira. You continue to inspire me to be a better teacher.Nancyhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/08017484322666477027noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-89968554808760788902009-04-29T13:58:00.000-04:002009-04-29T13:58:00.000-04:00Homer,
That's fabulous. "Start with philosophy. ...Homer, <br /><br />That's fabulous. "Start with philosophy. Teach kids about logical systems. Teach them how to understand a provable statement and how to spot a fallacy. Then say, "We're going to now apply this same set of rules about philosophy to math." Then teach algebra. The details of arithmetic will then follow, imbued with purpose and meaning."<br /><br />Exactly!<br /><br />Thanks, Iranarratorhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/01412837280249622430noreply@blogger.comtag:blogger.com,1999:blog-19457872.post-74729375817955884992009-04-29T12:55:00.000-04:002009-04-29T12:55:00.000-04:00I spent many untold hours of pain and suffering wh...I spent many untold hours of pain and suffering which were shared with my parents, trying to learn multiplication tables.<br /><br />"Here is an arbitrary matrix of numbers which you must learn, and some have relationships to each other that you might discover by accident because you're smart, but which we won't tell you because we don't value the meaning, we value your performance."<br /><br />So, staring at the giant mechanical multiplication game my parents bought for me, I realized that any number times 5 is half the number times 10. Or 3 and 6, or 4 and 8, and thus I only really had to memorize parts of it.<br /><br />I never made it to 'higher math' classes, because of my poor math grades. But what do I do for fun now? I script building tools, and make objects that simulate movement and vehicular behavior in 3D worlds. No doubt this would be a real job for me if I'd made it over the threshold into 'higher math' back in school. But now at the tender age of fortysomething, my brain seems to be reluctant to remake itself after the fashion of Issac Newton.<br /><br />So here's my advice: Start with philosophy. Teach kids about logical systems. Teach them how to understand a provable statement and how to spot a fallacy. Then say, "We're going to now apply this same set of rules about philosophy to math." Then teach algebra. The details of arithmetic will then follow, imbued with purpose and meaning.<br /><br />Teaching kids to memorize a multiplication table in order to understand math is like teaching kids how to make a yard sign in order to understand government.HomerTheBravehttp://www.blogger.com/profile/18261248973011130957noreply@blogger.com