A Brief Ode to Blank Paper

Maya (7) brought home a folder full of completed math worksheets yesterday, which put me in a funk. First, there was the bugs problem. I couldn't decide which part of this problem bothered me most. Was it the ridiculous premise? I mean, come on. Was it that the problem was, ...
Read More

The Up Sides of a Near Miss

This morning, as I was nearing the top of a curvy highway entrance ramp, I broke into a skid. I don't mean a little fishtail. I mean a full-on skid where I desperately wanted to be on the entrance ramp but was actually sliding across the highway into traffic, at speed ...
Read More

A Problem with the Space Inside it to Learn

Justin Lanier shared this bit of loveliness on Twitter the other day: I love everything about it. I printed out a couple of copies this morning and made them available at breakfast. My kids are 5 and 7. Maya, the 7-year old, has read A Fly on the Ceiling a time ...
Read More

The Art of Deciding, or Would You Drive Under the Overpass?

Maya (7) asked me about this sign in the coffee shop drive-thru the other day: And so, we had a lovely conversation about clearance. Once she understood the notation, she asked, "Does that mean if your truck is 9'5", you could drive underneath?" That's just gold. I said, "Well, ...
Read More

Maya and Daphne Find Math in Their World

This is a video the girls and I made when they were 4 and 6, in response to 1st and 2nd graders who thought math was only found in worksheets and classrooms. I discuss this clip in my book, and needed a permanent home for the video, so here it is! ...
Read More

The Same Amount of Tall

My 5-year old daughter, Daphne, was looking out the car window when she laid this question on me: "I've been wondering something. If there's a whole of a tree, and half of a tree next to it, what do you call it? A whole half?" At the next light, I ...
Read More

Making Sense

Last week, between work with grade-level bands, I had a complete K-6 staff for about an hour. I wanted to tackle "story problems," so I started by showing them "How Old Is the Shepherd," by Robert Kaplinsky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kibaFBgaPx4 Seriously, take the 3:07 to watch it. You'll see that 75% of 8th graders ...
Read More

The Math of Medical Decisions

I've spent the summer immersed in medical decisions around several loved ones, so this blog has been brewing for a while. At each appointment, I am struck by HOW MUCH MATH patients need to know in order to understand the choices framed by their doctors. There are always odds, statistics, costs, ...
Read More

“I don’t ever want to ask a question in math again!”

This past week, my older daughter shared with me that something "horrible" had happened in math class. She didn't understand the worksheet (it was a terrible worksheet, but that's another post), so she asked about it. She said: "Everyone was staring at me, and I heard some people whispering, and ...
Read More

“You just listened, so then I could figure it out”

This blog was also posted at Stenhouse's blog. My daughters and I climbed in the car to go shoe shopping before their first day of school. I sat in the driver’s seat while they buckled themselves into their car seats, and noticed I was keeping track of the loud clicks I ...
Read More