About 

I’m Dan and this is my blog. I’m a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. More here.

31 Comments

  1. Dan, you are a champion!

    I’ve been following your blog since I saw your TED talk, and I love reading about the ways you manage to make maths interesting and exciting.

    As someone who is about to enter the world of teaching (I graduate and the end of the year), I find it very encouraging that there are people like you, willing to share knowledge and resources, all in the name of promoting good mathematical teaching.

    Keep up the good work :-)

  2. Thanks! I’m heading into my first year of teaching and I woke up this morning with the resolve to get ahead with my lesson plans. You just make that task a lot easier.

  3. Cesar Fernandez

    August 19, 2010 - 6:26 am -

    Greetings from Chile!

    Thank you very much for sharing. Its astonishing to notice how there are the same kind of problems although our countries are so far away! I have already used some of your ideas with great success (e.g. graphing stories).

    thanks again!

  4. If this is anything like the Geom stuff you have out there, it’ll be a great resource.

    Thanks for making this available.

  5. First – Thank you for an absolutely first rate resource for math teachers and students.

    Second – Your work presents something of a paradox. The best curriculum is created as close to the learner as possible. But teachers are practitioners. Many of use don’t have the time (or talent) to constantly create. Work by talented individuals should be widely distributed and used (with appropriate modification).

    Third – How could we add a question or discussion forum to your work. Understandably, the resource site is not a wiki. Would a related (unmoderated) wiki be appropriate?

  6. Wow! That is an incredible volume of content to share. Now, how would we calculate the volume of a circle?

    I need somebody to clarify Godel for me…any insight?

  7. My question is regards to your homework: Do you base your tests off the “Practice” problems, or the “Challenge” problems? Has a student ever complained that they did all the “Practice” problems, but then the exams resembled the “Challenge” problems? Kind of like a ‘you can choose either, but the test is going look more like the Challenge problems so you better do those ones’?

    Thanks for posting your algebra and geometry curriculeums, I have been busy implementing these ideas as part of my own overall vission.

  8. It’s like Christmas! Thank you so much for sharing. I am in the midst of planning, writing and formatting my SBG quizzes for Algebra 1 and I have hit a wall. Looking at what you have provided here and your quiz examples definitely helps, but I need a better explanation or example. I know the quizzes have 3 concepts on them…do you just go in order and once everyone has passed a concept then you move on to the next one? Or those who haven’t passed, come in at a separate time? Also, years ago you posted something about the visual “competition” chart that you created for your classes to compare and how you made and used an excel spreadsheet to help figure it all out…would you be willing to share? :)

    Thanks again, this blog is a fantastic reference and thought provoking resource for any math teacher!

  9. Thanks for sharing, Dan! I’ll take a closer look at your actual content later, but I have to say what I did especially like was your random fact in the openers – what a great way to weave a little bit of fun into the start of your class. I can imagine that the students look forward to them everyday. I actually just found a used copy of the Vital Statistics book on Amazon Canada, and plan to borrow your idea for my opener. Thanks!

  10. Seth: Third – How could we add a question or discussion forum to your work. Understandably, the resource site is not a wiki. Would a related (unmoderated) wiki be appropriate?

    Sure. I’m not volunteering to moderate the thing, but I’m happy to link to it from this post here if someone (anyone) wanted to set it up.

    Brian: My question is regards to your homework: Do you base your tests off the “Practice” problems, or the “Challenge” problems? Has a student ever complained that they did all the “Practice” problems, but then the exams resembled the “Challenge” problems? Kind of like a ‘you can choose either, but the test is going look more like the Challenge problems so you better do those ones’?

    The practice problems most closely resembled the tests, though, just like the test themselves, I graduated their difficulty.

    Jessica: I know the quizzes have 3 concepts on them…do you just go in order and once everyone has passed a concept then you move on to the next one? Or those who haven’t passed, come in at a separate time?

    The second option. Due to time constraints, students get three shots at a concept, and then they need to make the concept up with me on their own time.

    Jessica: Also, years ago you posted something about the visual “competition” chart that you created for your classes to compare and how you made and used an excel spreadsheet to help figure it all out…would you be willing to share?

    Jessica refers to the chart at the bottom of this post. Here is the Excel file. Again, provided as is, without warranty, tech support, etc., but best of luck with it.

    Shannon: I have to say what I did especially like was your random fact in the openers – what a great way to weave a little bit of fun into the start of your class. I can imagine that the students look forward to them everyday.

    Right on. Those little questions have occasionally saved me from having to make a more punitive discipline call. Instead of brandishing a stick at my students who are dragging their heels getting to work, I can simply (and rightly) say, “Sorry, team, we don’t have time for the miscellaneous questions today. I hope we can get down to work faster tomorrow.”

    The most important function of those questions, though, is to announce daily that “curiosity is valued here — mathematical or otherwise.”

  11. I was just thinking about emailing you in regards to this the other day, and here it is, dropped from the clouds…jedi mind sh*t

  12. I had written myself a note about starting the year with your lesson #1 about looking at math as a language. I had read your post a year ago and was so impressed with the lesson that I wanted to make sure to try it out. It was great seeing their “a-ha” moment when we got there. Then I got this post with a whole year of “a-ha” moments for us to pick and choose. What a gift! Thanks for all you do and for sharing with us.

  13. Have I mentioned before how wonderfully awesome you are? Because if I haven’t… you are! This couldn’t have come at a better time for me, since I just started teaching Alg I – using CPM with kids who know it better than I do. (They’ve been through the course 3+ times, and I haven’t even been trained in it. :P) So something different that will drag them in is vitally necessary… I’ve been trying desperately to come up with WCYDWT style things and not having much luck, so this is absolutely fantastic. (And let me tell you… trying to lesson plan while entertaining my teething 5-mo old baby is less than fun or inspiring.)

  14. These are amazing! I am looking at the Geometry one (http://geometry.mrmeyer.com/) in particular. I am really interested in using some of the stuff from the first week. For the first day, what is the circle worksheet? Also, would I be able to get a copy of the homework assignment sheets? I am teaching Geometry for the first time and could use any help I can get.

    Thank you in advance!

  15. Danielle (and anyone else), you’re welcome to check out the Geometry homework on my website, http://gwen.chs.lane.edu/~grossberg_s/Grossberg_Mathtopia/Home.html. It’s organized around the chapters of our (low-level) Geo book, and there are a few assignments not completed, including all of Ch. 11 (we ran out of steam at the end of the year), but what you see there can be an example of how to have a small number (4) of HW problems and still try to challenge everyone. (As discussed in the lengthy “No Homework” thread elsewhere on dy/dan.) If you want to ask me any questions about it, my email address is on the homepage.

    All the work there was created by another colleague at my school and myself (though I’m sure some of the questions are from the teacher’s version of the textbook, hopefully at least in modified form), and our tests & quizzes look pretty much just like the homework, with 4 questions per objective.

  16. Thank you so much for sharing this information with us! It looks like you put a lot of work into it, and I am going to be a first year 8th grade Math Teacher. In fact, I am a 2010 Corps Member with Teach for America and having access to high quality resources like these will help me deliver lessons that will help me overcome my fear of teaching math. I will be sure to spread the word and keep up the good work!

    Many thanks!

  17. Seth: I have set up a wiki for discussion of Dan’s Algebra 1 curriculum.

    Thanks for throwing that together, Seth. I added a link to this post and to the curriculum page.

    Danielle: For the first day, what is the circle worksheet? Also, would I be able to get a copy of the homework assignment sheets?

    The circle worksheet starts on the 29th page of the file “1geometryBlue.pdf” in the handouts. Come to think of it, that’s pretty cumbersome. Note to self. *scribbles* And there aren’t any homework assignment sheets. Or, at least, I’m not sure what you’re referring to.

  18. Thank you for your work! I heard the talk that Steven Leinwand gave at NCTM about making math more accessible for students, but before coming across your blog, I had never actually seen a real life example of a teacher continuously connecting math to student’s lives. After spending the last few weeks reading your blog and going over your lessons, I have a much better understanding of how I can make my class more interesting and relevant for my students. Thank you for your example.

  19. Dan-
    Thanks for clearing up where the circle sheet came from! The homework from the first day is a choice between making a icosahedron and what looks like a graphing sheet. It says its from page 39 but that is making triangles within circles.

    Thanks!!
    Danni

  20. Thank you for sharing your work. It is wonderful to see your ideas and work and have access to them. I have just started reading your blog, so I maybe missing some understanding of how all your ideas work. In your powerpoints, I didn’t understand how the set of interesting pictures, e.g. the series of unusual swimming pool photos, fitted into the math lesson. Thanks for your help!

  21. The powerpoint for Week 3 of Geometry isn’t downloading. Would it be possible for you to repost it?

    Sorry to be so needy!!

    Thank you for all of your support!!!