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This is a talk I gave awhile ago looking at why students hate word problems, posing five ways to improve them, and introducing this thing called “three-act math.”

My 2015 Speaking Schedule


Here is my speaking calendar for 2015 in case anybody is interested in attending Dan’s Blog: The Unplugged Experience. Some of these sessions are private, others have open registration pages (see the links), and others have waiting lists. Feel free to send an e-mail to with inquiries about any of them. It’d be a treat to see you at a workshop or a conference.

BTW. Delaware, Idaho, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wyoming will complete my United States bingo card. If you’re the sort of person who schedules these kinds of sessions for a school or district or conference in any of those states, please get in touch.


Two quick meta-items about blogging from the last week:

  • I attended Twitter Math Camp 2014 in Jenks, OK, in which 150 math teachers who generally only interact online get together in person. I gave a keynote that could probably best be described as “data-rich,” in which I downloaded and analyzed details on 12,000 blogging and tweeting math teachers. Here are links to my slides and speech as well as the CSVs if you want to analyze some data yourself. (Who doesn’t!)
  • A doctoral student in Canada is interested in blogging as “unmediated professional growth” and sent me a survey about my blogging. Here is a link to my responses. How would you have answered?

NCTM 2014 Schedule

This is your official dy/dan conference planner® for next week’s conventions.

My Sessions

I’ll be doing three lecture-y things, then a panel with the #netkidz, then happy hour with our hosts, Mathalicious and Desmos.


The conference program is enormous. After making an initial list of every session I wanted to attend, I had three sessions listed for every hour of every day. Here’s how I decided where I’m going:

First, search for all the reliable people I’ve already seen or read.

That list includes:

Ani, Ball, Bass, Boaler, Callahan, Coffey, Danielson, Daro, Dougherty, Douglas, Garneau, Khalsa, Leinwand, Luberoff, McCallum, Mills, Milou, Murray, Olson, Pickford, Serra, Shih, Silbey, Wray, anyone from EDC, anyone from Math Forum, anyone from Conceptua Math, anyone from Key Curriculum Press, anyone from the #netkidz strand.

Then, admit your biases.

This year I’m partial to sessions on a) the transition from arithmetic to algebra, b) modeling with math, c) technoskepticism, d) technology.

In general, I shy from sessions on dead technologies and session titles with exclamation points. (Though exceptions have to be made sometimes!)

Use Google.

So I’m still looking at lots of session conflicts. There’s nothing quite as fun as discovering a new voice with new ideas at NCTM so I’ll head online and scan blogs, professional websites, or Twitter feeds. Occasionally, I’ll find the presenter’s slides online, which helps me make an informed decision.

How do you map out and prepare for an event as huge (in every dimension) as NCTM?

A Few Recommendations

I figure if you’re reading this you’re already going to Ignite, the keynotes, and the same #netkidz sessions I am. So here are some sessions I’m looking forward to attending that you may have missed. (Some of these are for ASSM and NCSM.)

Jere Confrey + Amplify

Jere Confrey has been working on Amplify’s tablet for the last four years as their chief math officer. She isn’t a technologist by training but obviously understands math and math education so I’ve been very curious to see what she’s been up to. She’s obliging my curiosity with three sessions at NCSM, all concerning digital curriculum.

  • Monday. 9:30AM. Using Digital Environments to Foster Student Discourse.
  • Tuesday. 11:15AM. Using Complex Problems, Rich Media, and Rubrics to Develop the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
  • Wednesday. 2:30PM. Jazz Fusion: Uniting Curriculum, Pedagogy, Assessment, and Teacher Support in a Tablet-Based Environment.

Treisman’s Back

  • Monday. 12:15PM. Navigating the Waters of Change and the Role of our Professional Organizations.

After his exceptional address last year, I don’t even check Uri Treisman’s titles or descriptions anymore.

Equity Strand

Treisman isn’t speaking at NCTM but we get Gutierrez and Gutstein in his stead.

Technology + Technoskepticism

I don’t know Kevin Lawrence but it takes some nerve to throw the gauntlet down at graphing calculators so I’ll hear him out. David Masunaga is just endlessly fun, which would be enough, but I’m especially interested in his provocation here. Former blogger Avery Pickford has a background in computer science so you know his technoskepticism comes from an informed position. Steketee and his co-speaker Daniel Scher both blog for Key Curriculum Press at Sine of the Times and their recent postings have been outstanding.

Judging Books By Their Covers

These were my favorite titles:

  1. Thursday. 2:00PM. The Mathematics of Casino Management. Micah Stohlmann.
  2. Friday. 11:30AM. Avoid Teaching Rules That Expire! Sarah Bush.
  3. Friday. 2:00PM. The Great Nutella Heist. Bonnie Spence.

Just Kill Me Now #1

Just Kill Me Now #2

What have I missed?

Also: be sure to say hello if we see each other.

And: I can’t recommend happy hour enough. It was one of my favorite sessions at Denver last year. Let’s make some memories.

PS: I may recap some sessions over at MathRecap. Toss your email address in the little slot if you’d like to receive those via email.

My 2014 Speaking Schedule


Hi there and happy 2014. I’m currently flying from sunny Mountain View, CA, into the heart of the polar vortex for some work with math educators in Madison, WI. That’ll be the first of 50-ish workshops and talks I’ll be offering over 2014. You can find the rest of that list on my presentation page. I’ve posted links to sessions that have open registrations. (Some later dates haven’t opened registration yet.) If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment here or an e-mail at Do say hi if we’re in the same area and tell me something interesting you’ve learned about teaching this year.

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