Included this week: This week's Global Math webinar details and some awesome articles and blogging. This week's newsletter edited by David Wees.
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Project-Based Learning for Mathematical Practices

Presented by Zack Miller and Kyle Moyer.

This session shares Summit Public Schools' 21st century model of mathematics curriculum and instruction, designed to prepare all students for college readiness by teaching beyond content to the important life-long cognitive skills and mathematical practices. The session will share innovative strategies and resources for project-based learning, formative assessment, self-paced content, and blended learning, among others, all aligned to the Common Core.

Register to attend here here.
Last week (Tuesday, February 3rd, 9 PM EDT) Olga Cadilla-Sayres was to present on Common Mistakes on an AP Calculus Exam, but due to technical issues, was unable to do so.

Great Articles!

This week's articles are all focused on the legacies we leave behind. First Sahar Khatri shares an article sharing some of the history of the Common Core standards, next Audrey McLaren finds a connection between Confucius, Monopoly, and Mathematics, and finally Jenise Sexton asks us what our legacy as mathematics teachers will be.
Common Core: A Design Project, not a Political Project
My undergraduate studies of education started right around the time when the Common Core was being developed. It soon became a buzz word within the education and political world. Over 40 states were quick to adopt them and now just a few years later, many are repealing their decision. Just as other reforms, the standards drew both support and criticism from educators, politicians, researchers, and parents.

Having read many op-eds and social media postings by supporters and cynics (Remember, the 
"Dear Jack" subtraction problem) it was interesting to read an article from the perspective of one of three primary writers of the Common Core Math Standards, Jason Zimba. The NPR article outlines the thought process of the writers during the development, the work behind the scenes, as well as Zimba's views on the reception of the standards.

The article states, "Zimba and the other writers of the Common Core knew the transition would be tough, but they never imagined conflicts over bad homework would fuel political battles and threaten the very existence of their dream to remodel American education." Phil Daro, another writer of the standards adds, "It was a design project, not a political project."

The article goes on to mention that frustration regarding so called common core aligned curriculums was targeted at the standards themselves.  This experience demonstrated to Zimba that better standards aren't enough because they couldn't control how they were being interpreted. The writers are now involved with various efforts in getting better aligned curriculum and tasks into the classrooms (including
Illustrative Mathematics).  However, it's uncertain to what extent better aligned curriculum will enter our classrooms.  Only time will tell if Zimba's dream to improve education in United States through these standards will pan out. 

Written by Sahar Khatri (@khatrimath)
I Do and I Understand

Speaking of legacy, I saw these words by Confucius in a tweet by Nicky Case, and wondered if they were as hard to put into practice 2000 years ago as they are today!

Like anyone on twitter these days, I’ve been seeing a lot about games in education. As a mom, I’ve seen firsthand how focused a young person can be while playing and improving their results on a video game. 

If you agree with Confucius’ words above, as I do, and you’re interested in designing a game, then you and I should probably “learn by doing”, and design one. 

Nicky Case’s blogpost explains, very compellingly and in plain English, the design principals behind game design, and also gives a bit of intriguing history behind one of the most successful games of all time  - Monopoly. It was originally called The Landlord’s Game, and it was designed by a woman named Elizabeth Magie who wanted the game to convey a message about economics! Who knew? Wouldn’t it  be great to design a game that gets a message across AND teaches math? Case explains exactly how to do this in three steps.

Equally fascinating is the game “Parable of the Polygons”, designed by the author AND Vi Hart. First of all, holy wow, it’s Vi Hart. Second, it’s a game using polygons to get across a message about bias. And by the way those polygons are adorable. Finally, there’s even a bit of math in it!

Written by Audrey Mclaren (@a_mcsquared)

What will your legacy be?

When I think of Black History Month, the word legacy enters my thoughts several times.  All the things people before us have done has left a lasting impact on many lives. Their legacies show exponential growth as they continue to effect people who in turn establish their own legacy. 

How does this connect to the math class?  As math teachers, we hold the power to leave a profound footprint on each and every student, colleague and administrator who walks through our door. Have you considered the legacy you'll leave once you're just a memory to those whose life and education you affect?

Mike Wiernicki's most recent post exudes the passion and compassion of a math educator who has strongly considered the footprint he wants to impress. Math Students Are Bleeding Out is a warrior's cry for justice for those who cannot fight for themselves. It is a challenge for you to assess what the world will say about your impact on education when you're time is up. 

February shouldn't be the only month in which we discuss legacy. It should be a daily decision to fight for justice, equality and education just as many have fought for us.

Written by Jenise Sexton (@MrsJeniseSexton)

Puzzle for the week:

Draw a regular octagon and a regular hexagon that have the same area. Prove that their areas are the same.

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