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Why Twitter?

Earlier this week, as part of a larger workshop on mathematics and technology, I gave an introduction to Twitter as a digital collaboration playground for educators. I wanted to give my “pitch” using more than my own words, so the night before I posted this: Hey #MTBoS, can you give me 140 characters on how Twitter impacts your teaching life? Gathering responses to …

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A New Adventure

Friday marked the last day of my school year. More significantly, it marked the last day of my tenure at Fresno Christian Schools. After 11 years in the classroom, next year promises to look quite a bit different. This August I’ll join the Desmos team as a teaching faculty member, where I’ll help their already-amazing crew design activities for teacher.desmos.com. I’ll miss …

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Open the Middle (GMD Video)

Tonight I gave a talk on Open Middle problems for the Global Math Department. It was loads of fun. (Though I very nearly became the only presenter in the history of webinars to get locked out of his own presentation.) Presenting online feels a bit like talking into the void, especially with everyone else’s mics turned off. The chat window scrolling by—and a series of great questions …

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Open the Middle: My Global Math Department Talk

Greetings, fellow citizens of the Internet! Got plans for tomorrow night at 9 pm ET? If so, cancel ’em. (Kidding. Well, sort of.) I’m giving a free online presentation for the Global Math Department on Open Middle style problems. We’ll explore how to transform closed, uninspiring problems into rich, engaging tasks. I’d love to see you there. To learn more (or to sign up): bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/19May2015 Backup Plan If …

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The Date Game

As is often the case when a school year winds down, a few ideas have crept into my head that I wish I’d have thought of eight months earlier. Things are winding down quickly at my school (seniors are done with classes; junior high wraps up this Friday; and high school next Friday), so I’ll share this here in case it’s …

Polar Graphing Sorting Activity

After an introduction and exploration (which I wrote about here and here) to my polar graphing unit, I wanted to steer our attention in a more algebraic direction so we could establish some connections between polar and Cartesian forms. On top of that, I needed an activity that would work well with a sub. The intersection of those wants and needs? A …

What Can You Do, Now?

The other day in Math B (mostly 8th graders) we spent a decent chunk of class time working on something rather boring. But somewhere in that boringness, something awesome happened. I had prepared two related, but non-identical handouts, each with ten problems related to CCSS.8.F.04. Prior to class, I decided I would use the first handout as source material for a few examples and …

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Polar Graphing Exploration

Over the weekend I wrote about an alternative launch to my Precalculus polar graphing unit. After that first lesson, I decided to throw out my usual “Day 2 Notes” and replaced them with a six-part, Desmos-driven exploration. I started by having students fire up Desmos, working in a 2:1 arrangement (two students per screen). While they got that ready to go, I distributed a stack …

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Polar Graphing Introduction

My polar graphing unit in Precalculus has always started in the same lackluster way: With me telling students how to graph polar coordinates. We then launch into some point-by-point graphing, followed by various explorations and challenges involving graphing polar equations, and we’re off to the races. This year I wanted to try something different. Instead of telling students how to plot polar coordinates, …

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New Lesson: Charge!

Last summer I sat next to a power outlet for more than two hours, taking screenshots of my plugged-in-and-charging cell phone once every four minutes for nearly 2.5 hours. The result? A linear modeling task with a nice twist near the end. I’ve presented the lesson in a variety of workshop settings (each time it was well received), but this week marks the first time I used …