## Monday, November 26, 2012

### Math Monday Blog Hop #76 (November 26, 2012)

Grab a Math Box: love2learn2day button for your own blog:

## Friday, November 23, 2012

### The Yearly Announcement...

As many of you hit the streets (cyber or otherwise) to shop, I'll take the opportunity to make the annual announcement. If you use the Amazon links on this site or enter through the Amazon portal on the right menu of my homepage, I give commissions (at no cost to you) to Grace and Hope, an incredible group who puts Chinese orphans into foster care. My son benefited tremendously from the three years he lived with his foster family. You can read more about our story here.  And you can find links to Math Toys, Gifts and Games and Math Related Children's Literature. Over the last several years, your orders have helped me to put two children into foster homes in China as well as to buy coats for orphaned children. On their behalf I thank you. Immensely!

Happy Thanksgiving...and may the holiday season begin! :)

P.S. If you order QUICK you could also get the 24 Penguins Before Christmas: A 365 Penguins Advent Calendar.

## Monday, November 19, 2012

### Math Monday Blog Hop #75 (Nov. 19, 2012)

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## Sunday, November 18, 2012

### Oregon Trail Adventure: Quilt Wall Hangings

We're just finishing up our Oregon Trail Adventure class. Here students share their beautiful wall hangings, combining a hand-sewn quilt block of 4 with a drawing (on fabric) of a memorable moment on the trail. Feeling very proud of my students.

## Monday, November 12, 2012

### Math Monday Blog Hop #74 (Nov. 12, 2012)

Grab a Math Box: love2learn2day button for your own blog:

## Friday, November 9, 2012

### The Most Important Grade in School

Have you ever considered which grade, K-12, is the most important? Take a look at this fascinating article, "Why Third Grade is So Important: The Matthew Effect," and see if you agree.

## Thursday, November 8, 2012

This fall, I've been fortunate enough to have a mom participate in one of my student math clubs. Why fortunate? Like many of us, she grew up learning that there was only one way to solve each kind of problem. (How do I know the math environment in which she was raised? I went to the same school...!!) That environment put a temporary damper on her math education.  (And mine!) Yet the story doesn't end there...

During math club, as we explore different visual models and strategies, she jumps right in, enthusiastically wanting to learn more. She shares her "ah-ha" moments; rather than finding new ideas threatening, she embraces them and mulls them about in her mind, connecting concepts and strategies faster than I can teach them.

I've learned so much from her. About enthusiasm. About reserving skepticism. (I'm really good at that!) And about being a lifelong learner.

Thank you, Momma B! May each of us have the pleasure of working with a parent like you! You reignite my excitement for teaching math each time I see you.

May each of us continuously strive to find the math momma in ourselves. :)

## Monday, November 5, 2012

### Math Monday Blog Hop #73 (November 5, 2012)

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## Saturday, November 3, 2012

### First Do No (Mathematical) Harm

The principle of "first do no harm" is a familiar one to medical personnel. Wikipedia sums it up in this way:
"given an existing problem, it may be better not to do something, or even to do nothing, than to risk causing more harm than good".
I've been contemplating the phrase in relation to math--specifically the teaching of math. In my job I am privileged to work with a wide variety of ages, abilities, grade levels, and teaching situations. I'm alternately awestruck by some students' mathematical thinking and downhearted to see some students--still quite young--who have already had their little mathematical minds messed up. Some of these kiddos, only a few years into their school careers, have decided that math isn't supposed to make sense. Math is just a confusing, random, jumble of rules that they cannot remember...or rules that they can't apply to situations outside the 25 identical problems given on the daily assignment in their textbook. It's painful to watch a child pull numbers out of the air, as he assumes that a random guess has as much likelihood of being correct as anything else he might figure out. As an esteemed colleague said, "Nothing makes sense after you've had your thinking taken away." I worry about these kiddos. A lot. And they're found everywhere. In every grade. And in every school situation: home, private, and public.