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Shira Helft and Rick Barlow gave one of the most stellar talks at a recent, stellar math education conference. Like many teachers of ELL populations, they struggled to help their students speak mathematically. They described their transition from blunt prompts like “justify your answer” to precise participation structures they developed with their colleagues. They talked about two of those structures in their session – “math fights” and “middle bits” – which are simultaneously accessible and demanding. We could have kept that session running for another few days for all I cared.

They gave that talk to a room of maybe 50 teachers. It should have been 500, or however many math teachers there are in the world. (I assume around 500.) I hassled the Global Math Department to set them up with a forum, so here they are.

The live show is Tuesday, May 5, 6:00 PM Pacific Time. The recording will live on forever. Do yourself and your students a favor and watch it.

2015 May 4. I’m informed there’s a 100-person cap on live attendance, which means 400 of the world’s 500 math teachers will have to watch the recording. I’ll be sure to add that here once it’s available.

Every Handout From NCTM

Some people on Twitter were grousing about the inconvenience of clicking every single session link in the NCTM directory to find out if the speakers uploaded handouts. NCTM also mentioned that the handouts would only be available for about a month. For both of those reasons, I wrote a script to crawl all 814 talks and yank out the 208 with file uploads.

So here’s that directory. Or you can download all of the handouts in one big swipe [360MB] if you’d rather.

If you find anything interesting, do let us all know in the comments. It’s almost like you were there!

BTW: My slides don’t make a bit of sense without my voice attached so I don’t tend to upload them or send them around. I will be editing together video from my talk and posting it later this summer, though.

2015 Apr 26. In the comments, Eric Henry asked if my script could be easily tweaked to download all of the NCTM Research Conference’s handouts. It was easy! Man, code is cool. Directory + giant ball of handouts.

NCTM 2015 Schedule

Poking my head up briefly to let you know where I’ll be speaking at NCTM in Boston this week:

I really think we should spend Thursday evening together.

From 3:30 on you have a) the Ignite sessions, which are always fun, then you have b) ShadowCon, which is basically the future of NCTM conferences, after which c) your two favorite math education companies want to buy you a drink.

If you’re looking for help with the rest of your schedule, have a look at this list of Internet-enabled presenters as well as any of the names from my list last year.

For my part, if I can only make it to one session, it’s going to be this one.

Hibernating + Open Thread

A reader via email:

Blog monster hungry. Feed me.

I’m not big on the retroactively “sorry I haven’t been blogging” posts. I’d rather proactively explain why I’m not going to be around here for the next several months.

It isn’t for lack of interest in math education or for lack of interesting things happening in math education. For instance:

But my dissertation hearing is scheduled for mid May. I’m in the middle of data collection with lots of writing and analysis ahead and I’m sure I need to become a bit more ruthless in managing my time and writing.

So I’ll see you on Twitter (can’t quit that obviously), at NCTM and other conferences. But I won’t see you around here for a few months.

Please use this as an open thread to talk about whatever while I’m off dissertating. Also here’s all the great classroom action I haven’t written about over the last twelve months. Plenty of food for the blog monster there.

The Frozen Code

Here are the locations of your chain of gelato shops:


Here is the temperature in the United States today (Fahrenheit):


So basically business is bad. No one wants your frozen treat.

So what do you do? You lower prices. An across the board cash discount? Maybe. But if you’re Gelato Fiasco, you institute The Frozen Code:

On each day that the temperature falls below freezing, we automatically use The Frozen Code to calculate a discount on your order of gelato dishes. [..] You save one percent for each degree below freezing outside at the time of purchase.

But how do you write this code using the language of variables that your pricing system understands? (Click through for Gelato Fiasco’s answer.)

How would you set this up as a mathematical learning experience for your students?

[h/t reader Nate Garnett]

This is a series about “developing the question” in math class.

2014 Jan 8. Updated to add this important exchange with Gelato Fiasco on Twitter.

Featured Comment


With the clear correlation between temperature and number of chain gelato shops, CLEARLY the temperature causes more gelato shops to be built…or does the number of gelato shops cause the temperature to decrease…am i right?

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