The post It Must Be Believed To Be Seen appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>I recently saw that Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical, and one song really caught my attention. It took the common saying of “you have to see it to believe it” and gave it a twist in the song It Must Be Believed to Be Seen.

One of the verses is:

Beyond this door’s a factory

Begat from just a bean

Beyond this door

Surprises in store

But it must be believed to be seen

Applications in Education

It also reminded me of the Pygmalion effect which demonstrated that teachers’ pre-conceived expectations of students affected those students’ actual results. In the study, 20% of students at a single California elementary school (note the small sample size) were randomly labeled as “intellectual bloomers”. They tested all the students early on and later in the year, and students who were labeled as “intellectual bloomers” showed statistically significant gains compared to their peers. While the actual study has been hard to replicate, it suggest that whether we believe a student can or cannot be successful, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Put another way, when teachers *believed* that the students could be great, it was eventually *seen*.

I wonder where else this might apply. How would you complete this sentence? Please let me know in the comments below.

In education, we need to believe ___________________ so we can see it.

Conclusion

The post It Must Be Believed To Be Seen appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post No One Is A Prophet In Their Own Land appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>If you’ve ever felt like you don’t get the attention or respect you deserve from the people who know you well, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve even heard the saying that no one is a prophet in their own land? The phrase has it’s origins in Luke 4:24 meaning that this phenomenon is by no means new. The basic idea is that people take for granted the things they’re familiar with.

This can take many forms including when you tell a loved one about a restaurant you want to go to, only for them to dismiss you. Then, later that same loved one may come back telling you about how they want to go to that same restaurant because their friend told them it was great. If you’re laughing because this has happened to you, you’re not alone. It’s so common that we’ve all probably experienced one or both sides of it yet, yet it can be exceptionally hard to defeat.

Applications in Education

It can drive you bonkers because you’re pretty sure that what you’re sharing is worthwhile, if you’d only be taken seriously. It can sow seeds of doubt that make you question whether others are right for not taking you seriously. Believe me, I’ve been there.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a magic spell to make this reality go away. However, I do have a couple pieces of advice for you:

- Realize that you’re not alone in feeling this way, and there’s a good chance that the people who doubt you also feel that way because they’re often the ones being doubted.
- Consider sharing what you’re doing in other ways. For example, if you’ve got great lesson ideas and strategies, consider posting them on social media or presenting them at a conference. Doing this has several great results including:
- it will give you valuable feedback that’s less biased, help you determine your ideas’ worth, and help you refine your ideas.
- the next time someone doubts you, you’ll have a reserve of memories you can go back to to help you find balance and realize that it’s not you.
- it may also cause people to give your ideas a second look when they see that others like them too.

Conclusion

If this has happened to you before, I’d love to know what saying you use to describe this phenomenon or any other suggestions you have for defeating it. Please let me know in the comments.

The post No One Is A Prophet In Their Own Land appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post My Six Favorite Non-Education Podcasts appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>I’m always looking to learn about new podcasts and so I wanted to share six of my favorites. In general, I like podcasts that teach me things I didn’t know or help me see things I thought I knew but really didn’t. Here they are in alphabetical order with a little about why I love them.

99% Invisible

This podcast has helped me appreciate some of the thoughtful decision making that I take for granted in our world and be more intentional about the choices I make when creating something.

Ear Hustle

It has helped me to appreciate what prisoners go through, how they’re treated, how they are supported and given other opportunities, and what comes next.

A really interesting plot twist has been that after 21 years Earlonne Woods had his sentence commuted towards the end of season 3. He’s continuing with the show by talking about the challenging transition after prison.

Freakonomics

One episode that still sticks with me is called The Upside of Quitting. The episode’s premise is that as a society, we stigmatize the idea of giving up on something. In reality, we all have to decide when it’s time to quit something. It could be a relationship, a job, a hobby, a lifestyle choice, or more. Saying no to the right things is often more challenging and important than saying yes to everything else. This has been something I’ve struggled with as I want to please everyone and sometimes get overcommitted. I enjoyed this economic take on quitting.

Again, I’m super interested in rethinking things I thought I knew and seeing what else could be learned.

How I Built This

For example, when he interviews John Zimmer, the co-founder of Lyft, you have to realize that the idea of the company goes against everything your parents told you as children: never get in cars with strangers. If you had invited me to invest in Lyft early on, I would have said that the business idea was crazy and would never work. Yet, here we are.

As a business owner myself, with Grassroots Workshops, I find inspiration from this show because I also hope that one day we’ll help so many people that the idea of allowing educators to learn from the educators they love will also seem obvious in retrospect.

Revisionist History

Some memorable episodes include Free Brian Williams where he examines how fallible our memory is and why Brian Williams’ recollection of what happened in his reporting may not have been lying (SPOILER: what happened to Brian Williams happens to all of us, just much less publicly). I also enjoyed Puzzle Rush where he shows how the LSAT and law school are intended to help find the best potential lawyers but instead seem to act as gatekeepers that prevent people who could be amazing from having the chance. It’s bad because we’re probably turning away thousands of great lawyers.

I have learned soooo much from him.

Sleep With Me

Personally, I have a lot of trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. My biggest problem with falling asleep is that my mind races, replaying events from the day, thinking about what’s going on the next day, and pondering the future. Before this podcast, I might be up for an hour or more before falling asleep. Now, I pop this on and soon enough I’m listening to stories that crowd out my thoughts. Soon, I am drowsy, turn it off, and fall asleep.

I should say that it took me four or five listens to go from “What the heck is this guy talking about?!” to “Oh, I get it. This could work.” Now it triggers a Pavlovian response where as soon as I think about listening to it, I get drowsy.

Conclusion

Do you like any of these podcasts? Are there any that you think I should check out that are similar to these? Any tips you’d recommend? Please let me know in the comments.

The post My Six Favorite Non-Education Podcasts appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post California’s Math Teacher Subject Matter Test Is Awful appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>Imagine that people who wanted to become a math teacher had to take a test to determine how well they understood mathematics. Sounds reasonable. However also imagine that this test was both ludicrously hard and assessed topics that had little to do with what teachers actually teach. Not so great.

Well unfortunately, this test exists and in California we call it the CSET (California Subject Examinations for Teachers). It’s supposed to ensure that math teachers have sufficient content knowledge but instead acts more like a misinformed gatekeeper. To show you an example of what I mean, check out these two problems below from the Algebra and Number Theory subtest:

Problem 1

Problem 2

**Here’s your reality check**: if you can’t solve problems like these, then you can’t pass the test and you won’t be able to teach math from 6th grade through calculus. I don’t know about you, but I know two things when I see these problems:

- I have no clue how to solve either of them.
- These problems are MUCH closer to something you’d see in a college level Linear Algebra class than anything in high school.

With this in mind, let me take a step back. The CSET has three subtests which have names that seem reasonable enough (click on the test names to see more practice problems):

1. Algebra and Number Theory

2. Geometry, Probability, and Statistics

3. Calculus and the History of Mathematics

If you want to teach middle school mathematics, you only need to pass the first and second tests. If you want to teach high school mathematics, you have to pass all three. I was a math major at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and I took the first and second tests about three years after I graduated. They were by FAR the hardest math tests I had ever taken. Most of the content was college level mathematics, and a lot of it I had never seen in high school *or* college. So this entire test hangs on the assumption that if you know how to do this math, you must know all the math that came before it. That would be like giving kids a Geometry final and having that grade represent all earlier classes.

When I first took the first practice test ahead of the actual test I got something like 4 out of 32 right on my first try! It took me two weeks with the answers AND explanations to fully understand how every problem was solved.

So think about what this means: there are potential educators who have solid content knowledge of middle and high school level mathematics yet are not able to pass these tests… and conversely, people could pass these tests yet still not know the mathematics they’d actually teach!

Conclusion

I’m all for ensuring that math teachers understand what they teach, but this test does not do that. Why are we not assessing the content knowledge teachers actually need? How do we go about revising these assessments?

If you’ve had similar experiences with these tests or one for where you live, please let me know in the comments. If you think I’m missing something, I’d also appreciate reading about that too. Thanks.

The post California’s Math Teacher Subject Matter Test Is Awful appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 5th Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>**[Looking for other grade levels? The button below allows you to download all of them or you can look here.]**

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)
- 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 matrices (separate matrices for each grade level)

Preview

You’ll notice that the first problem in the column is traditional and familiar. It’s something you’d expect students in your class to eventually be able to figure out. Then look at the Open Middle problems at DOK 2 and DOK 3. You’ll notice that they’re on the same topic, yet are significantly more challenging. You may start to wonder whether or not your students can solve them, and what that may imply about how well they understand the concept.

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve recorded a free webinar with versions for elementary (K-5) and secondary (6-12) math teachers called Why We Should Reconsider Using Worksheets (And What We Should Be Doing Instead) where I make the case for less worksheets and more Open Middle problems like these.
- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

- I’ve created an online workshop called Empowered Problem Solving that I offer every fall and spring where I dive deep into how to implement these problems (and others like my real world lessons) so that you feel prepared to use them with your students.

Acknowledgements

- The DOK 2 volume of rectangular prisms problem written by Joe Schwartz.

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 5th Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 4th Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>**[Looking for other grade levels? The button below allows you to download all of them or you can look here.]**

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)
- 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 matrices (separate matrices for each grade level)

Preview

You’ll notice that the first problem in the column is traditional and familiar. It’s something you’d expect students in your class to eventually be able to figure out. Then look at the Open Middle problems at DOK 2 and DOK 3. You’ll notice that they’re on the same topic, yet are significantly more challenging. You may start to wonder whether or not your students can solve them, and what that may imply about how well they understand the concept.

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve recorded a free webinar with versions for elementary (K-5) and secondary (6-12) math teachers called Why We Should Reconsider Using Worksheets (And What We Should Be Doing Instead) where I make the case for less worksheets and more Open Middle problems like these.
- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

- I’ve created an online workshop called Empowered Problem Solving that I offer every fall and spring where I dive deep into how to implement these problems (and others like my real world lessons) so that you feel prepared to use them with your students.

Acknowledgements

- The DOK 2 fractions on a number line problem inspired by Illustrative Mathematics.
- The DOK 2 multiplying decimals problem written by .
- The DOK 3 comparing fractions problem written by Peter Morris.
- The DOK 2 adding multiples problem written by my son, Owen Kaplinsky.
- The DOK 2 multiplying differences problem written by my son, Owen Kaplinsky.
- The DOK 3 multiplying differences problem written by my son, Owen Kaplinsky.
- The DOK 3 multi-digit division problem written by Ellen Metzger.

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 4th Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 3rd Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>**[Looking for other grade levels? The button below allows you to download all of them or you can look here.]**

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)
- 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2 matrices (separate matrices for each grade level)

Preview

You’ll notice that the first problem in the column is traditional and familiar. It’s something you’d expect students in your class to eventually be able to figure out. Then look at the Open Middle problems at DOK 2 and DOK 3. You’ll notice that they’re on the same topic, yet are significantly more challenging. You may start to wonder whether or not your students can solve them, and what that may imply about how well they understand the concept.

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve recorded a free webinar with versions for elementary (K-5) and secondary (6-12) math teachers called Why We Should Reconsider Using Worksheets (And What We Should Be Doing Instead) where I make the case for less worksheets and more Open Middle problems like these.
- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

- I’ve created an online workshop called Empowered Problem Solving that I offer every fall and spring where I dive deep into how to implement these problems (and others like my real world lessons) so that you feel prepared to use them with your students.

Acknowledgements

- The DOK 2 perimeter problem written by Dan Meyer.

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – 3rd Grade appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Algebra 2 appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)

Preview

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Algebra 2 appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Geometry appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)

Preview

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

Acknowledgements

- The DOK 3 geometric proof problem was a collaborative effort of Jose De La Torre and Nanette Johnson answer by Ricardo Navarro with help from Robert Kaplinsky

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Geometry appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Algebra 1 appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>

If you’ve been looking for a way to challenge your students that was simultaneously accessible for all students but still challenged your high flyers, then you’ll love the problems on my Open Middle Depth of Knowledge matrix. I’ll be releasing each grade level separately but if you want to see all of them now, you can download high quality, printable PDFs by clicking the button below.

It includes:

- Elementary & Secondary matrix (a selection from 8 grade levels)
- Elementary matrix (kindergarten through 5th)
- Secondary matrix (6th grade through calculus)

Preview

Want answers or more Open Middle problems?

Want more support?

- I’ve written a book called Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking, Grades 6-12 that walks you the entire process of using problems like these including:
- how to choose a problem
- how to prepare for a lesson
- how to facilitate classroom conversations
- what to do when things don’t go as expected
- how to make your own Open Middle problems

It’s available now in paper or Amazon Kindle versions.

Acknowledgements

- The DOK 3 solving equations with variables on both sides problem was created by Dan Luevanos.

Conclusion

The post Depth of Knowledge Matrix – Algebra 1 appeared first on Robert Kaplinsky.

]]>