Reading Assignment 10/12/14

Greetings! If you’re off for this terrible excuse for a three-day weekend, Columbus Day, I hope you’re enjoying it, and if not, I hope you’re not too bitter. Here are some interesting things I’ve been thinking about:

If you are anything like me, you initially saw this article and disregarded it because of your distaste for Disney. But then your friend Rebecca told you to read it, and you did, and it’s stuck with you. Apparently, they are at least slightly like me at Radiolab, because they made an episode devoted to this family’s story. It’s worth listening to even if you’ve read the piece, because you get to hear how everyone sounds. There’s also some interesting commentary at the end that raises the question: is it a good idea to tell such optimistic stories about children with an autism diagnosis, knowing that some people will never be as high-functioning as Owen is?

Two Percent is Not Enough
How I admire Eleanor Holmes Norton. In this piece, along with co-author Clint Smith, the DC representative laments the lack of black male teachers. While it’s absolutely necessary to be able to learn from people who are different from you, black male students would benefit from having older counterparts in their classrooms teaching them.

Nearly 1,000 Colorado Students Protest A Conservative Call to Change Their History Curriculum
Did you hear about what happened in Colorado? A school board proposed regulations on the AP History class that would encourage teaching to promote patriotism and downplay the “negative aspects” of US history, including civil disobedience. Students’ response: civil disobedience! I asked my students if they’d consider joining in the protests and one of them said “well, if it were in the winter, because then I’d go skiing afterwards.” Not sure he got the point.

Here are the Colleges and Universities that Do Not Require the SAT
This is such an important list. For students with testing anxiety, learning differences, ADHD, or any number of other exceptionalities, but who are bright and motivated, like the ones mentioned at the beginning of the article, the SAT is just a barrier. These schools seem to understand that. I noticed that many are art schools or religious schools, which may not be for everyone, but there are also plenty of liberal arts colleges to choose from.

You Can Always Add. You Can’t Subtract
What a lovely concept! I was sold immediately by the “informal dialogue” in the first. If students are talking about math, they are learning way more than they would if they had to just immediately start calculating.

Too Many Students Rely on Social Promotion
I witnessed social promotion’s ills firsthand while teaching in North Carolina. Students who have continually been pushed up without having to put forth much effort or actually learn anything are not set up to succeed in high school. On top of overcoming their knowledge gaps and skill deficits, high school teachers also have to instill in their students the idea that learning is important and necessary to earn a passing grade. Holding students back more than a year or maybe two would be disheartening and frustrating, but holding some back just one year would help them get back on track and have time to mature, grow, and actually learn.

Teaching Math to People Who Think They Hate It
I’m obsessed with this curriculum now, Discovering the Art of Mathematics. I can’t wait to try their techniques for teaching proof – I’m sure whatever they’ve got is better than anything else I’ve tried. I’ll be sure to post about it.

Z is for Zebra – 90 Percent of the Time
Super-tangible data-gathering and analysis from fivethirtyeight. This year we spent basically the entire data unit in math 3 “crunching” numbers about Oreos (hahaha cookie/math pun), but perhaps someday I’ll be able to get that to go more quickly and we’ll have time to explore other data sets, too. This would be an excellent starting place.


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