Friday, September 28, 2012

Hello Internet

It might be odd that a teacher whose entire focus is on 21st century learning has not yet entered the world of the blog. Perhaps it's because I work in a school district that's blocks blogs, wikis, Facebooks, Prezis, Google Docs and seemingly any site that can play a video.

This is the only post I intend to write on this blog. Everything else will be written by a series of personalities... we'll get to those later, but first... the point!

I have created this blog to help middle & high school math teachers dive deeper into engaging math problems and projects. At times I may toss some interesting ideas into the that perhaps a really nerdy math teacher can run with. Perhaps there will be a day when people actually read this blog. If that happens we can "conversate" about math. As the kids say. I'll also promote and dive deep into the products that I have posted on my site at
21st Century Math Projects @ TPT

While I am totally down with the open source movement and I can't stand how districts lock up their curriculum like it's KFC Finger Lickin' Crust, I have two kids under three. Lots of diapers. These cost lots of money. So for the time being, I'm a member of the dark side. Please call me out on this and make fun of me in the comments. I deserve it. However, I have only one solace...

...I think my products are REALLY SUPER COOL. And fortunately so do my buyers and their students (check out the Ratings & Comments!). I work hard to make sure everything I put up on the site is worth more than its price tag. It's the only way I can not hate myself.

If you are a math teacher that wishes to enrich your best students, my stuff is for you. If you are a math teacher that wants to engage your unmotivated students, my stuff is for you. If you are a math teacher that wants to show your academic swagg and be the swaggiest teacher in the department, my stuff is for you. (All items come with much, much swagg).

I have background working with many hard-to-motivate students in a low-income large urban school district. Both of my schools have also made attempts at innovative outside the box curriculum. There isn't anything on the site that I haven't (or one of my colleagues) haven't used themselves. It's not that students aren't interested in math, they aren't interested in the math that they are taught in most high schools. The math needs to be engaging, applicable and fun.

Some math teachers will deceive themselves into thinking that, two trains leaving the station at 1:00 is a fun problem. It's not. Some will think changing the verbs in a problem to basketball terms is authentic. It's not. Some will think doing a project will be fun. It might possibly be, but is it rigorous too?

I've battled this inertia and have dug deep to create and discover authentic, rigorous, engaging and fun middle and high school math projects. Project-based learning is a legit 21st century strategy. But for this to be effective in teaching content and meeting standards it needs to be authentic, rigorous, engaging and fun... see a pattern? It has to be all these things. Not drawing a venn diagram of the real number system. Not pasting your favorite function to a poster board.

As a young teacher, I found it impossible to find these types of math projects. They typically were uninteresting or to thin (where the concept was lost). While my stuff doesn't fill this gaping canyon sized void in our curriculum, perhaps I have rolled a medium sized boulder in the way. If other people start reading this, maybe they can find more boulders! We can be boulder friends!

If you aren't a math teacher, a math nerdy or ninja, why did you read this?

I will be back tomorrow to introduce you to the cast of characters who will run the blog on a daily basis! Til then, Math it Up. Boomdiggy.


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