Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Grappling with transforming mathematics? Us, too!

We've written specifically about the discipline of mathematics several times -- the two specific to concept-based are here and here. To me, it's the discipline that requires the greatest shift in how it is traditionally taught. Many experts talk about how we need students to be better problem-solvers, allowing them space to figure things out without… Continue reading Grappling with transforming mathematics? Us, too!

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Procedures are conceptual too!

When we started designing concept-based curriculum, the folks in the humanities jumped on board pretty quickly. Our science teachers, especially earth science and biology, were game right away too. The procedure-heavy disciplines, though, were tougher. Many foreign language teachers were used to assigning vocab lists and conjugation charts for students to memorize. Many math teachers… Continue reading Procedures are conceptual too!

Stage 3: Conceptual Understanding

Why we need to educate parents, too

Ever since the Common Core State Standards were introduced, a barrage of parents, educators, and laymen have taken to social media to voice their discontent. Now, I'm not saying that the standards are a panacea for all that's wrong with American education, and if you read this blog regularly you know that our vision for… Continue reading Why we need to educate parents, too

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Throwback Thursday: Discipline Their Minds

Imagine the following classroom assignment: Explain the causes and impacts of the Great Influenza outbreak of 1918 Photo credit: If we want to save the world, we need to learn to prevent (or at least very effectively treat) pandemics like this, right? We can imagine that studying the causes and effects of the Great Influenza… Continue reading Throwback Thursday: Discipline Their Minds

Stage 5: Students as World Changers

Using Math to Save the World

Although we seldom talk about them on the blog, our husbands are big supporters and contributors to Ed to Save the World. All three of them have backgrounds in education and their advice, expertise, and humor are invaluable to our operation. This week, we're proud to feature Craig Ferraro's "Statistical Servants," which refers to the big… Continue reading Using Math to Save the World

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Try this: Behave like a disciplinarian

What subject(s) do you teach? When was that last time you explored an unknown or created something new in that field? Try it out and then write out the steps you took and the questions you asked yourself along the way. Then model it, thinking aloud in front of your students! Ideas: Mathematics = Solve a… Continue reading Try this: Behave like a disciplinarian

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Try this: Model expert thinking

How many times have you stood in front of the class with an interesting situation or dilemma and narrated your thoughts aloud for your students so they can hear how you reason through it? If we just "tell" students what experts have "figured out", it doesn't help the students move in the direction of expert… Continue reading Try this: Model expert thinking

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Try this: Invite people in

This week as we turn our focus to disciplinary thinking, we ask ourselves, How do we get kids to think like experts in each respective field? How can students think like mathematicians in math class and literary critics in English class? How can they behave as scientists and historians and artists do in the real… Continue reading Try this: Invite people in

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

Is mathematical thinking natural?

Many math teachers struggle to teach disciplinary thinking in their classrooms. The list of procedures that students must "master" by the end of each math course seems overwhelmingly long. There is no time for students to "play" with math, explore its beauty, or think deeply about any one idea in the course when a new… Continue reading Is mathematical thinking natural?

Stage 4: Disciplinary Thinking

What is the purpose of academic subjects?

  "The best way to understand circles is to reinvent the wheel."   Nicholas Negroponte, Founder MIT Media Lab   My thinking about the purpose of academic subjects has evolved quite a bit over the last decade. Even the use of the word "disciplines" instead of "subjects" demonstrates how my thinking has changed. What I used… Continue reading What is the purpose of academic subjects?