More about expanding products of binomials

I've been thinking about how to engage students in as many different senses as possible when learning math, so as to ensure that students have many distinct memories about a particular topic. The hope is that these different ways of knowing mathematics will create a more robust schema for the information that is acquired, which… Continue reading More about expanding products of binomials

Budget cuts (part 1)

Every governmental agency seems to be having financial troubles right now, and the troubles only seem to be getting worse. Recently, California was disqualified from receiving federal Race to the Top funds. Our school district is planning in huge cuts. In our usual Tuesday professional development meeting, we were asked by our assistant principal to… Continue reading Budget cuts (part 1)

Microscaffolding (example)

Yesterday, I wrote about carefully scaffolded teaching. Today, I'm writing about how my Algebra 1 students learned how to expand the product of two binomials using worksheets and zero direct intruction. There are a number of ways to motivate the study of quadratic functions: projectile motion, number patterns (for example, triangular numbers), and areas of… Continue reading Microscaffolding (example)


After a little more than a semester, I've settled on a teaching style that seems to be getting results. In a nutshell, I teach using a combination of very carefully scaffolded worksheets, activities and direct instruction. For Algebra 1, 80% of class time is taken up by worksheets,  10% activities and 10% direct instruction. For… Continue reading Microscaffolding