Sometimes we overthink it. We (*ahem*) create big curriculum maps full of dynamic problem based lessons created by the most intrepid teachers on the internets. As useful and helpful as these are, the most reliable-to-hit-the-content, easiest-to-plan problems come from stuff that already exists. Textbooks and online problem sets are the most robust source of quality … Continue reading How a problem becomes a lesson

## Transversals Lesson: Street Views

The following Problem Based math lesson covers the concept of transversals crossing parallel lines and their angle relationships. The scenario of the task predicated on needing to determine "safe" and "troublesome" intersections in town. Intersections that are closer to right angles are deemed "safe," while intersections with extreme angles result in limited-vision turns. But that … Continue reading Transversals Lesson: Street Views

## Geometric Constructions Task: Pizza Delivery Regions

The following task is probably best suited for the a beginning unit on Geometric Constructions or use of a compass and straight edge. However, you may also wish to use it as a fun review as students reenter your classrooms in January, groggy from two weeks of sleeping late. The task is adapted from the … Continue reading Geometric Constructions Task: Pizza Delivery Regions

## Why don’t students feel like they’re learning? (when they actually are)

It's something we've all experienced: we'll lecture and feel like students got it. Maybe they'll even do well on the practice problems we assign them. Then the next day or the next week we try something a bit more open ended - a problem based lesson, a 3-Act Task, an Open Middle task - and … Continue reading Why don’t students feel like they’re learning? (when they actually are)

## Five steps to plan a problem based lesson

Far from a simple undertaking, incorporating more inquiry in your class is a challenging process. You and your students may have to unlearn some of the tendencies you’ve built up over the years. So I hope you don’t take this “five steps” post as a flippant, “it’s so easy” post. The opposite is true: problem … Continue reading Five steps to plan a problem based lesson

## Math Mindset and Attitudes Survey

The start of the school year offers a unique time in the academic calendar to obtain some baseline data on how your students view themselves as mathematicians and the discipline of math itself. Most beginning-of-year info sheets solicit information about students' passions and/or guardians' phone numbers. This year, I encourage you to ask some questions … Continue reading Math Mindset and Attitudes Survey

## Specifics before Strategies

In this blog post, we'll explore how to get specific with math or non-math classroom issues before we develop strategies. We'll also see an example of how to build a rubric from the ground up. === “My kids just won’t work together.” This (or something like it) is a common complaint I hear during professional … Continue reading Specifics before Strategies

## Your Student Portfolio System Begins Now

As we transition back into School Mode, I’d like to offer a brief encouragement to use this school year to establish a system of student portfolios. If you’d like a “why” around this, I’ll point you to my Shadowcon Talk from a couple years ago. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKgyvk28STM If you’d prefer not to watch a video, here … Continue reading Your Student Portfolio System Begins Now

## Problem Based Learning and supporting English Language Learners

A classroom with quality, complex problems as its cornerstones can support English Language Learners. First let’s check out a few “ground rules” about supporting English Language Learners. The following ground rules are not exhaustive, but are pulled strategically from English Language Learners and the New Standards by Margaret Heritage, Aída Walqui, and Robert Linquanti. Use … Continue reading Problem Based Learning and supporting English Language Learners

## What Khan Academy Gets Really, Really Right

There is no shortage of criticism of Khan Academy around these parts. In fact, Khan Academy criticism was among the first unifying themes of the math blogosphere. Since then, however, KA has made their platform more robust and useful. And those of us who swore it off might want to take another look. I’m taking … Continue reading What Khan Academy Gets Really, Really Right