Open Middle Template

If you’re reading this blog post, there’s a pretty good chance that you’re also a big fan of the kinds of problems on Open Middle, a site I co-founded with Nanette Johnson and run with help from Bryan Anderson, Zack Miller, and Dan Luevanos. In case you aren’t familiar with Open Middle, it’s a website…

3 Reasons Math Educators Should Use Social Media

Not that long ago, I would have laughed at the thought that I would be using social media to talk about math education. Nowadays, I can still recall that feeling but my perspective has changed so much that I can’t imagine being an effective educator without support from the community of math educators in the MathTwitterBlogosphere (#MTBoS).

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the MTBoS, you’re a part of it and you probably don’t even realize it. The MathTwitterBlogosphere is the collection of people and content (think blog posts, lessons, activities, tweets, etc.) about math education. Some people create the content. Some use it. Some do a combination of both. Every role is needed! For example, if everyone made content and no one used it (or vice-versa) that would be a problem.

So, I want to share three reasons why being a part of this group is so important to me so that you might want to participate more as well.

Open Middle Worksheet

If you are frustrated that your students will try a math problem once or twice and then give up, this blog post is for you.  Let me (re)introduce you to one of my favorite tools for helping students persevere when problem solving: the Open Middle Worksheet.

To explain why many educators find it invaluable, I’ll need to tangent and briefly explain a central theme of one of my favorite books, Freakonomics.  Life is all about incentives.  There are positive incentives (I go to the gym because I want to stay healthy) and negative incentives (I don’t steal because I don’t want to go to jail).  Without these incentives (or if the incentives changed) what you do would change.

Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Elementary & Secondary Math

It’s challenging to have a conversation about depth of knowledge (DOK) when everyone has different ideas of what it is. So, I’ve decided to refine how I distinguish between DOK levels and turn it into a tool that can be used to facilitate a conversation. The two-page tool covers topics from 1st grade through high school as well as topics ranging from number sense, fractions, geometry, probability, and functions. The pictures below give you a preview of the tool and you can download it by clicking the button at the bottom of the page.

How do the Common Core Math, ELA, and Next Gen Science Standards Overlap?

I wanted to share a resource from Tina Cheuk out of the Understanding Language department at Stanford University who created a very useful graphic organizer to show that the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have significant overlap and can be collectively implemented for…

What Does The Common Core’s “Coherence” Shift Look Like?

When the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Mathematics were written, the authors defined three shifts (coherence, focus, and rigor) to articulate “how the standards differ from previous standards—and the necessary shifts they call for.”  The shifts are useful in articulating the big picture as to how things have changed.  This blog post delves solely into…

Content and Language Objectives using the Standards for Mathematical Practice

Math content and language objectives can be challenging to create, especially when you don’t want to explicitly tell students what they will be learning at the beginning.  Additionally, if your school is using the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model, content and language objectives are required for every lesson.  Fortunately, the Common Core State Standards’…