Great Classroom Action


Matt Vaudrey’s Daily Doozy.

I’ve been faithfully naming the “Learning Goal” with each class for several years now. And frankly, it doesn’t inspire. Yawn. Instead of (actually, in addition to) this, I’ve added the Daily Doozy to my pre-lesson routine.

This a really profound shift and it deserves a discussion that’s longer than this capsule allows. He illustrates the Daily Doozy on polynomial addition, also, which underlines a point I don’t make often or well enough: after you have enough experience with variables and numbers, pure math becomes real-world math.

Cathy Yenca’s How Much Per Gallon illustrates Matt Vaudrey’s Daily Doozy in an applied context:

I “set the stage” by grabbing the water bottle from my desk, and asked, “Have any of you ever bought that colored, flavored liquid stuff to put in your water? Is it good?” A wave of opinions came crashing toward me, as students expressed their love for or disgust of the product. “How much do you think a gallon would cost?”

Carol Rogers uses two photos and a perfect question to illustrate the power of arrays.

Jonathan Claydon illustrates one way to put student teachers to use in his implementation of Log Wars:

Anyway, rumor is that kids love this game so I was optimistic. I took the cards that Kate Nowak links to and modified them a little bit to make a better distribution of numbers (most of the cards in their sets evaluate to 2). I finished with a set of 40 logs, printed them on mailing lables and had my student teacher affix them to index cards that had been cut in half. I gave each color group their appropriate color deck of cards. We had a brief demo and then I let them loose.

PSA: Unless you explicitly aim for anonymity in your blogging, do you, your students, and your career a favor by putting your real, full name somewhere on your blog’s home page. The weirdest, coolest opportunities come from having your real, full name attached to your great blogging. I find a lot great bloggers voluntarily (and probably unwittingly) giving up those opportunities.

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


  1. Love it. Students tune out the learning goal very quickly. I love the setup. Put up a problem that sets up a problem maybe just out of reach or difficult to do with what they know.

  2. I might try this as todays opponent, rather than the daily doozy. Then I could describe it like a boxing match or something – “today’s opponent comes from section 5-2, and is known beat students by overwhelming them with like terms”. If done as an exit, and not enough students got it right, come in the next day and declare the problem the winner – rematch time.

  3. come visit me anytime. I proudly put my name on my blog. Won’t promise it is far reaching, or even reaching, reaching, yet I am doing it, for math blogging sake and to make a small, ever so small contributions to the education bloggers that inspire me.
    ps (There is a big follow up coming to last post, not to worry!)