A calling ...

"We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims."

"Make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."

- Buckminster Fuller

Friday, June 11, 2010

Math Update

I recently completed reading Elementary School Mathematics and am thoroughly convinced that it needs to be required reading for anyone who teaches mathematics in elementary school.  Although my copy is out of date, and Van De Walle heavily emphasized the integration of technology in instruction, Elementary School Mathematics provides a broad foundation and an array of tools and activity types that should be standard operating procedure for both curriculum designers and classroom teachers.

Since my goal was to assemble a mathematics instructional toolkit by the end of May, a goal which I unfortunately failed to meet, I put aside my desire to blog about it as I went, and even took some shortcuts in the write to learn process.  Despite these unanticipated setbacks, I managed to spend an appropriate amount of time to reflect on the discussion questions as I went, noting page numbers where I could find the information for future writing.  Now that I've completed a thorough first reading, I will continue to refer to it as I build upon the foundation it has provided me.

Meanwhile, I am taking an online course at Northern Virginia Community College, Pre-Calculus, which relies heavily on a graphing calculator and technology.  Van De Walle places a heavy emphasis on calculators, which is something that we did not do when I was taking Calculus in High School in 1980 and 1981.  Interestingly, the way I learned how to simplify algebraic equations, which was the long way, allows me to trust and cross-check my calculations.  Van De Walle's heavy emphasis on the use of calculators is his most controversial recommendation -- my brother, a high level systems engineer for IBM absolutely deplores the practice -- is deeply misunderstood.  Moreover, Van De Walle's calculator activities are so well though out, assembling my calculator activities will be a first priority.