Math 753 Background

In 2010 I team taught a class in the grad math/science program at Fresno Pacific University. My teaching partner (Dave Youngs) was more a mentor than a colleague at that point, as I had only recently finished my journey through the masters in education program at FPU. I benefitted greatly from the opportunity to work side by side with someone who knew the ropes, and I enjoyed that sort of partnership (first with Dave, and later with another mentor, Richard Thiessen) for three or four semesters. Afterwards, I tried my hand flying solo through a couple of courses.

When my wife and I had twins in November 2012, I took a break from the adjunct instructor gig. The girls are almost a year old now (and diapers are expensive!) so with my wife’s full blessing and encouragement I’m back in the classroom. This semester I’m teaching Math 753, Concepts in Algebra, to a small (but amazing) group of teachers whose positions range second grade to middle school. Our first session was this past Wednesday (August 28).

This is actually the same course I taught in my first semester as an adjunct instructor, working side by side with Dave, but I feel like it’s brand new for two reasons. (1) I’m no longer team teaching. All of Dave’s expertise is now an email or phone call away, rather than right there in the room while I’m teaching. (2) In the three years since I first taught this course, my philosophy and practice (as a teacher of adults, as well as a middle and high school teacher of mathematics) have shifted more than a little bit.

Why Post on the Blog?

“Great Mike, thanks for sharing. Um… why are you sharing this?”

After each class session I’ll post a brief summary or reflection, a small collection of links to resources used or discussed in the class, and—more often than not—a reading assignment (in the form of links to articles and/or blog posts). My purpose for posting these sessions (and hence this background) is threefold.

  1. I want the participants in the class to dip their toes into the mathtwitterblogosphere. I could easily share resources with my students another way (Moodle, Dropbox, Edmodo, Piazza, etc.) but by posting them here, I’m hoping to use my blog to draw them into reading more widely and exploring more deeply the strange and amazing community that I discovered back in March.
  2. By making the course goings-on somewhat public, I’m motivated to design a better course than I might if everything we did in Math 753 remained hidden in our own little corner of the world. It’s not that I would just phone it in, but in sharing publicly I’m putting a bit more pressure on myself to create an even more meaningful course.
  3. In the off chance that someone not in the class is interested in exploring what we explore… Well, have at it. 🙂


These will all be dead links until the actual sessions have occurred (and the post-session writeup post has been written and posted), but eventually easy access to each session post will be found below.

Session 1 (August 28, 2013)

Session 2 (September 4, 2013)

Session 3 (September 11, 2013)

Session 4 (September 18, 2013)

Session 5 (September 25, 2013)

Session 6 (October 2, 2013)

Session 7 (October 9, 2013)

Session 8 (October 16, 2013)

Session 9 (October 23, 2013)

Session 10 (October 30, 2013)

Session 11 (November 6, 2013)

Session 12 (November 13, 2013)

Session 13 (November 20, 2013)

Session 14 (November 27, 2013)

Session 15 (December 4, 2013)

Session 16 (December 11, 2013)


I’ll close the comments for this post, but leave them open for the individual sessions (partially because I will share the course description/goals in the Session 1 post). If you have thoughts on how to make this experiment more useful to anyone involved, please share them. If you have recommendations for our reading assignments (articles, blog posts, books, Twitter chats, etc.), let me know. In the session posts, of course. 🙂