education is creating a million cans of peas There is a proverb that says, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."  This weekend, this letter was posted in the Washington Post from a school in New York.  Read the letter and then come back here, and we'll talk. 

the results are in This week we had our students fill out the annual feedback forms, their opportunity to tell their teachers what is going well, what is not, and how we can become better. 

improving student performance If you want to change student performance, change teacher expectations.  This isn't news to a teacher.  As a former psychology teacher I am more than familiar with Rosenthal's 1964 study in which he told teachers that some of their students were very bright.  The catch was that the kids were randomly selected. 

gaming the system There's been a lot of talk in education about gamification.  The idea is to use game mechanics, dynamics, and frameworks to promote desired behaviors.  This concept is broadly used in marketing when companies use games to increase consumerism in the form of participation or purchasing. 

3.14 reasons for leadership I am the sponsor of our school's Mu Alpha Theta chapter and each year we elect officers to do the work of spreading the word that math is cool!  I am proud of our chapter.  The members spend hundreds of hours tutoring their classmates and participating in monthly competitions.

why you should care about Rick Roach Long-standing Orange County School Board member Rick Roach has decided not to run for a 5th term.  This may surprise people, as he has been a passionate and vocal member of this board for 16 years. 

how parents can help their children succeed in school So it's happened. Your wonderful, happy child earned a less-than-stellar grade in school. Whether this happens in 1st grade or late in high school, only once or many times, it can be a really stressful time.

two roads diverged in a yellow wood Our society seems to think that there is a best way for a school, a teacher, or a community to educate children.  There is apparently only one way, a standardized test, to measure the progress that children make.  I disagree at every step of this discussion. 

what makes a teacher great Over the past few months I have been engaged in activities at our school that have made me ask the question, what makes a teacher great?  If you have a moment, please think about ...

a hard look at the SAT This weekend I was working with one of my own children on SAT questions.  We were looking at questions he had either missed or omitted.  I offer a pair of such questions for your consideration. 

rolling the dice At the start of school a colleague asked me, "Can you use these?" and handed me a box of dice.  They weren't regular 6-sided dice.  They were crazy dice with 8, 10, 12, or 20 sides.  They were a dozen different colors, beautiful and unique. 

global intelligence Yesterday the results of an international standardized test were released and surprising to no one, the U.S. did not fair well in the comparison.  You can read a brief summary of the findings here. 

transformations When my own children were little, I hated teacher workdays.  The school being closed meant that I had to find a place for them or take off work, and being a teacher myself, it drove me crazy.

the long and winding road Yesterday we were looking at problems like the one pictured in College Algebra.  In most cases, the students were able to clearly explain what to do, 

fold, spindle, and mutilate This weekend I went to an FCTM math conference and heard one of my all-time favorite presentations.  

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