Tag Archives: Education

I Learned Something Neat Last Night

Rottenecards_CommonCore3Last night, my good homeboy Mike introduced me to his frustration over the new common core math style that has ran the conservative gauntlet of criticism since the Common Core State Standards suddenly became AGGHH! EVIL! When the POTUS signed his name to it.  As much as it pains me to do so, I will share this link to show you what I am talking about.  Yes, THAT Tea Party.  Why?  Because the only criticism you are going to find of this new math is from foaming at the mouth, Barack Obama is a stinking commie Muslim non citizen, conservative right media outlets.

Anyhow, we argued, because we argue.  We have good times arguing and if you know me, I love a good debate.  Anyhow, this is not about the frustrations of change and the challenges of wizard math.  This is about a type of multiplication that I was introduced to amidst the arguing.  It’s called lattice multiplication, and boy is it interesting.  Well, as interesting as math generally gets.

I learned this last night and wow, it is hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, well, it’s actually kind of fun.  Now, would I ever work out a problem like this when I need to?  Perhaps not.  However, it’s a different way of finding a solution to a problem.  I showed some of my students this style of multiplication and they would have none of this alternative thinking, which is indicative of the problem that those supporting the CCSS are cramming down teacher’s throats:  Our students are not taking enough chances with their education, limiting the quality of enhancing their problem solving skills.  Lattice multiplication terrified my students.  Hell, it terrified me, but guess what?  One student liked it.  That means introducing new concepts may be in fact the right way to teach math.  Maybe we should be offering different routes to solve a problem.  Hopefully that translates well into the real world, and the Common Core ends up being a great idea, as opposed to a terrible idea.



The Seven Deadly Sins Applied to the Common Core

If you know me, you know I am not a very religious person.  I don’t have faith like many do, and that’s fine to me.  I will never say there is or isn’t a higher power.  I will always believe that we were not put here to worship anything, but to ensure we make this world a better place by all means.  I believe that we should be humanistic to our approach to every day things and that we should honor our neighbors.  I respect those with faith and without it.  I do believe spirituality is an important part of the human factor, but not one that should ever be forced.

If you listen, you will hear buttholes clenching shut while reading.
If you listen, you will hear buttholes clenching shut while reading.

This being said, I love reading about religions and one of my favorite things are the seven deadly sins.  If you have watched the film Se7en, then you may know these sins.  If you are deeply religious you may know them as well.  Also, if you know anything about these sins or the similar 10 commandments, then you know preachers and priests love applying these to anything we can view as sin.

The Common Core is a new curriculum for schools across the nation to align to, and it has caused a tremendous amount of grief amongst teachers, students, parents and politicians.  There are many things wrong and right about the common core, and the things people are the loudest about are actually things that are inaccurate.  I will share with you seven ways the Common Core has led us to sin in seven different ways.  This is just as much of a stretch as your Sunday morning sermon.  Oh yeah, strong adult language ahead.  TSK TSK,

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A Few Things About the Education System (Well, Four Things)

The school year is beginning and the political climate of education in my state is heating up with the battle between State Superintendent John White and Governor Bobby Jindal.  While the school year approaches, it certainly would be wise to remember that the administration, the supposed elite of the elite squad of teachers, have a tendency to make whacky decisions, or respond foolishly to certain events.  Take for example:

4. A Teacher Being Denied a Map of the World Because it Split the United States

This is a personal story from a teacher I met some time ago at a workshop.  I was responding on Facebook to a news article about some crazy education event and he sent me a private message.

I couldn’t post this on your Facebook cause our district seems to have eyes and ears everywhere. You said, “How do these types of people end up running schools?” I have been asking my principal to let me purchase this $300 dry erase map that is so big it takes up an entire wall. I actually found the map on Amazon for $130…. even better! To show her what it looked like, I sent her this small picture of the map:

If by the United States you mean the United States in Socialist Russia (I know), then yeah.
If by the United States you mean the United States in Socialist Russia (I know), then yeah.

She sends me back an E-Mail, “For $130, why is the United States cut in half?”

Now, you may be thinking that this personal experience has no basis in reality.  Well, perhaps my friend could have fibbed, but then, as teachers, nothing surprises us.  Look at that amazing map and it’s USA centric style.  The greatest nation is not cut in half, but is front and center.  Our mortal enemies, the Ruskies, are the ones cut in half.  Now, the map could have been better, and not split any lands, but that’s not important.  What’s important here is that a teacher tried to make the classroom more interactive, and through ignorance of the administration, this is no longer possible.

Yes, he gave me permission to talk about this.  No, I won’t be sharing his name.  He’s a pretty cool guy.

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How Stuff Works: Stuff You Should Know

Call me a nerd, but I love an educational discussion that explores different topics.  Stuff You Should Know is the podcast that got me into listening to podcasts almost exclusively.  A factoid podcast that explores a different subject each episode, SYSK offers in depth discussion into topics varying from How the La Brea Tar Pits Work to How Avalanches Work.  I try to keep up with their podcast, and I can honestly say that every subject is interesting, no matter how boring they may seem (Microlending anyone?).  Each episode runs, on average, 30 minutes, but occasionally they may fall shorter or run longer.  Hosts Josh Clark and Charles W. Bryant are both endearing speakers who manage to make every topic feel personal and enjoyable.

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Joe Rogan is the Podcast Jesus

JREJoe Rogan is not your every day, run of the mill comedian, game show host, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) ringside commentator, martial artist, actor, or radio personality.  In fact, he is one of the most interesting sources of entertainment on the Internet who decided to plant his roots in the pod casting world.  Over 500 episodes in, running at around 2-3 hours per episode, the Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) is, without a doubt, the best variety podcast available, and honestly, there are quite a few choices in variety shows that may be reviewed in future articles. (I forgot to mention that the show is cohosted by Brian Redban, who runs Death Squad TV).

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