### My Four Favorite TED Talks on Education

## My Four Favorite TED Talks on Education

### Math Class Needs a Makeover – Dan Meyer, Math Educator

#### Why It’s One of My Favorites:

We are taking the joy out of learning real math, and in this TED talk, one of America’s most popular math educators does a brilliant job explaining the problem and why it is important for us to do something about it.

### Changing Education Paradigms – Sir Ken Robinson, Creativity Expert

#### Why It’s One of My Favorites:

Is there a better way to approach our children’s education? Sir Ken Robinson, British author, speaker and international advisor on education, challenges conventional wisdom and addresses the growing trends in ADHD.

### Creative Ways to Get Kids to Thrive In School – Olympia Della Flora, Educator

#### Why It’s One of My Favorites:

We can’t educate our children in a vacuum. For children to thrive and learn, this school principal argues that we must address their social and emotional needs, as well as their educational ones.

### Teaching Kids Real Math with Computers – Conrad Wolfram

#### Why It’s One of My Favorites:

In this video, Conrad Wolfram, mathematician, technologist and entrepreneur, challenges the need for teaching procedural calculation in mathematics — something our students spend a lot of time doing (and maybe they shouldn’t).

### The Eight Math Practices and Why Everyone Should Know Them

## The Eight Math Practices and Why Everyone Should Know Them

In every industry and field of study, there is always a set of best practices or rules that are the results of years of research, expert analysis, and international test comparisons that ensure the best and most accurate outcomes. In mathematics, practicing mathematicians, math educators, and researchers have aligned with the following eight core best practices. How many of these do you know?

**Source:** https://www.resa.net/

To truly learn and do mathematics, students should be following all eight of these best practices. How many are being taught in your students’ learning environment?

Now, notice what these eight things are not. They are not:

- Memorizing and applying rules and formulas to work problems through procedurally and mechanically without understanding the purpose or why you are doing it.
- Once you find your answer, not knowing how to check your answer for reasonableness.
- Thinking that getting to the answer quickly is the same as being good at math.
- Believing there is only one way to approach a problem.
- Not being able to give a mathematically grounded reason for your thinking process or answer.

Too many students struggle with math, but I would argue that the math they are doing is just one dimension of math. Real math learning has multiple entry points and invites learners to make sense of problems. Once math makes sense, it is much easier to arrive at the right answer.

So why should you know the eight math practices? Because knowledge is power! Once you know the eight math practices, you know what learning math looks like and can compare that to what your children are doing and how you can best support their math learning journey.

### The Four Realities of Common Core Math

## The Four Realities of Common Core Math

You’ll hear parents say, “Math is math! Why does my third grader have to explain how to multiply 2 x 3 when it’s obvious?” The answer is: Common Core.

First, let’s define the Common Core approach to mathematics. The ultimate goal is to help students understand that there are multiple ways to approach a problem and that a problem or concept should be grounded in understanding. For example, you don’t want just to learn multiplication by memorizing facts. Common Core’s philosophy is that students should know that 2 x 3 is really two groups of three and that you can define multiplication as repeated addition.

Most parents learned multiplication through basic memorization. It is certainly more efficient from a time perspective simply to focus on memorizing the multiplication facts rather than having a student explain how he or she got the answer. But helping a child understand how they got the answer has far greater benefits.

The promise of Common Core is huge. Maryland is using most of it, even if it doesn’t call it that. Just compare the Maryland College and Career Readiness Standards against the Common Core Math Standards and you will see. But what’s the problem? There are realities that make Common Core implementation difficult.

Here are some of the positive and negative realities of Common Core math:

#### COMMON CORE SUPPORTS CRITICAL THINKING

Experts agree that the jobs of tomorrow require critical thinking, complex problem-solving skills, and great communication and people skills. Learning multiple ways of doing something and having to explain it is much harder and promotes critical thinking and problem solving compared to “just do what I do.” However, teachers are often required to cover material by a certain time and do not have the time to allow this process to occur.

#### COMMON CORE AND MATH FLUENCY WORK TOGETHER

Knowing your facts well is great until you forget them. When you do, you must have a way to rebuild that understanding to help you remember those facts. For example, if you forget 5 x 7, you can still find this answer by using number sense. You know that 5 x 1 = 5 and 5 x 2 = 10, so you can continue to build up to 5 x 7. Common Core supports fluency, but it starts with understanding.

#### COMMON CORE MATH STANDARDS AND CURRICULUM ARE OFTEN MIXED UP

Let’s say a mathematics teacher is required to teach CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.4.NF.B.3.A. When it comes to teaching this standard, there are two parts to it: the standard itself and the curriculum.

The standard is “understand addition and subtraction of fractions as joining and separating parts referring to the same whole.” The curriculum is how to teach that standard. If you ask different teachers or read a variety of books, you’ll find multiple ways to teach this standard, and sometimes, those questions, methods, and approaches are not aligned or well executed. This is why parents get frustrated and students get confused. It isn’t the standard that’s confusing. It is the interpretation of how to teach it.

#### Common Core Math Is Harder Than the Old Traditional Math

Some parents believe in the traditional way of teaching math because, frankly, that is what they know and are used to. Throw in the confusion of curriculum vs. standard and the varied execution of the teaching of that standard and you can get a lot of confused kids and parents.

But here’s the reality: The new Common Core Math Standards are meant to guide instruction towards understanding and go deeper in understanding a concept. If you promote thinking rather than just mechanics, it will be harder, and that’s not a bad thing if you are ultimately preparing for the future that requires complex problem solving to thrive.

### Top Five Must-Haves To Prep for the ACT and SAT in Math

## Top Five Must-Haves To Prep for the ACT and SAT in Math

With more than three million students taking the SAT and ACT tests each year, it’s no surprise that this fuels a lucrative test prep market. Parents who can afford to do so spend thousands of dollars on test prep companies and private tutors to handhold their students through the testing process. Is this the only way or the most efficient way? There is no one right solution for prep. However, there are key “must haves” if you look into SAT and ACT prep for mathematics.

#### Foundational Understanding Matters — Go Back to the Basics

Whatever approach you decide to use, whether it is using a tutor, a testing company, studying with friends, or working by yourself, you have to make sure you have basic understanding of the key concepts. If you don’t understand what a linear equation is, no amount of strategy, timed tests, intensive review, or testing tips will fix that. For each math concept noted, build conceptual understanding through models and simple examples and make sure that you completely understand the concept from multiple perspectives. Don’t be surprised if this means reviewing content from elementary or middle school.

#### Learning Takes Time, So Space It Out

Khan Academy offers free SAT practice tests, videos, examples, and resources and has a program you can use to track progress. They claim after 20 hours of practice, you’ll see an increase in scores. That might be, but you won’t want to do it all at once. Learning research shows that intermittent practice is the best for memory because it causes you to retrieve information again and again, strengthening connections between concepts. So start early. Instead of cramming, space out your practice into small chunks over a longer period of time. It is better to practice 30 minutes a day for 10 weeks than 10 hours each day for 10 days.

#### Dialogue, Notice, and Wonder – to Bust Anxiety

Many students freeze when they look at math word problems. It is like reading another language. Rather than just jump in, start in a safe space. What do you notice about the problem? What do you wonder? Can you make a list of things you know? A list of things you don’t? This will start your journey to the answer by thinking through the problem and trying to understand it first, rather than just plugging away.

#### You Do the Talking and the Work, Not the Other Way Around

The person doing the work is doing the learning. So, if your tutor is doing all the talking, and you are doing all the watching, you are not learning. Your helper should be prompting you, questioning and re-directing but never ‘telling you how to do it’. You will remember more if you are actively working on the problem yourself. This doesn’t apply if you are taking a practice test, but it should apply when you are reviewing materials.

#### Find Anchor Examples

These are problems to which you know the answer and can use as a “gut check” for math concepts that are more difficult. Can’t remember how to find 38% of $79? Start with something easier, like 50% of $10, then apply the same approach to the more complex one. For example, 50% of $10 = ½ of $10 or $5.00. To get the answer, you multiply 0.5 x $10 = $5. With this understanding, you can use the same pattern with the harder problem: 38% of 79 = .38 x $79, or $30.02. Math is a study of patterns. If you can find a simple example, you can extend that example and use the same approach and pattern to solve more complex problems.

At Simplify, our “Get Ready for the SAT and ACT classes” use all of these strategies to help students prepare.

**Contact us to get a set of free anchor examples to help you refresh your foundational skills needed for the SAT and ACT.**

### Sources:

Can coaching truly boost SAT scores? For years, the College Board said no. Now it says yes.