Asilomar Notes: Tech

It is widely agreed among its attendees that the Asilomar meeting of the California Math Council is the best math teacher conference anywhere. Certainly, the setting is beautiful. Over the decades, I have attended some great talks there, and this year was no exception. I will post some notes and reactions here, starting with two tech-oriented talks I… Continue reading Asilomar Notes: Tech

April Travels, May Webinar, Summer Workshops

I'll be traveling a lot this month. Here's the plan, should you want to say hello.New York City April 5, 4:30pm: I will present Geometric Puzzles at the Museum of Math Teachers’ Circle. Geometric puzzles are accessible to solvers of all ages, but they can also challenge even the most tenacious of solvers.  Join math education author… Continue reading April Travels, May Webinar, Summer Workshops

Puzzles for the Classroom

In my last post, I shared some generalities about puzzle creation. Today, I will zero in on the specifics of creating puzzles for the mathematics classroom. I will do this by way of analyzing some examples. Multiple PathsA characteristic of all classrooms is that they are constituted of students whose backgrounds and talents vary widely. … Continue reading Puzzles for the Classroom


Many students have weak arithmetic skills. Many teachers blame this on calculator use, but it is just as likely that the real reason lies elsewhere. For one thing, the teaching of arithmetic traditionally does not involve developing any understanding, so the learning is shallow and fragile. For another, students correctly feel that mindless arithmetic is… Continue reading Calculation

Time and Tide

This is my yearly report on the Asilomar conference of the California Math Council, Northern Section. Because I was presenting three times, I didn't end up attending as many sessions as I would have liked. As always at Asilomar, I enjoyed hanging out with my ex-colleagues, running into friends, and meeting the occasional fan of… Continue reading Time and Tide

Upcoming presentations

I have a bunch of presentations coming up. That will be your last chance to hear me for a while, as my NCTM San Antonio talk was rejected†. Who knows, maybe retirement will finally kick in!Online Webinar: Reaching the Full RangeAs everyone knows, students learn math at different rates. What should we do about it?… Continue reading Upcoming presentations

More Notes from NCTM Phoenix

See Part 1 of my notes from Phoenix: A Brief History of Math Education (NCTM President Matt Larson's presentation.)Here is Part 2.Growth Mindset: telling is not teachingIn his short session, Dylan Kane pointed out that talking about growth mindset may be helpful to students "in the middle". But there are students in our classes who… Continue reading More Notes from NCTM Phoenix

Reading Algebra

Symbol sense is an essential part of mathematical literacy. It is the understanding that undergirds effective symbol manipulation, and perhaps more basically the ability to interpret and create algebraic expressions. Symbol sense, like number sense and operation sense, is not learned so much through listening to a teacher. Rather, it grows as one gets practice… Continue reading Reading Algebra