May 152013

The one problem with having a summer list is that I always want to add to it. I try not to, but things come up that I cannot say no to.

This is one of those things. It is a course taught by Stanford University professor Jo Boaler. If you don’t know about her, she has gone to bat for math teachers and taken some professional licks for it, and she is the author of the fantastic book “What’s math go to do with it.” (Amazon, B&N). I can not say how much I liked this book, and then to have the opportunity to take a class from her for free; well, that is too good to pass up.

The class is: EDUC115N: How to Learn Math.

Many of my Twitter PLC has already signed up for it, and I just sent the link out to my department and hopefully many of them will sign up too.

I hope many people will sign up for it so we can have some great conversations in the class.

Here are the topics the course will cover, which makes it even more inviting and exciting! See you there!


1. Knocking down the myths about math.
Math is not about speed, memorization or learning lots of rules. There is no such thing as “math people” and non-math people. Girls are equally capable of the highest achievement. This session will include interviews with students.

2. Math and Mindset.
Participants will be encouraged to develop a growth mindset, they will see evidence of how mindset changes students’ learning trajectories, and learn how it can be developed.

3. Teaching Math for a Growth Mindset.
This session will give strategies to teachers and parents for helping students develop a growth mindset and will include an interview with Carol Dweck.

4. Mistakes, Challenges & Persistence.
What is math persistence? Why are mistakes so important? How is math linked to creativity? This session will focus on the importance of mistakes, struggles and persistence.

5. Conceptual Learning. Part I. Number Sense.
Math is a conceptual subject– we will see evidence of the importance of conceptual thinking and participants will be given number problems that can be solved in many ways and represented visually.

6. Conceptual Learning. Part II. Connections, Representations, Questions.
In this session we will look at and solve math problems at many different grade levels and see the difference in approaching them procedurally and conceptually. Interviews with successful users of math in different, interesting jobs (film maker, inventor of self-driving cars etc) will show the importance of conceptual math.

7. Appreciating Algebra.
Participants will be asked to engage in problems illustrating the beautiful simplicity of a subject with which they may have had terrible experiences.

8. Going From This Course to a New Mathematical Future.
This session will review where you are, what you can do and the strategies you can use to be really successful.

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