On Do-overs

Don’t attempt a do-over until you have done a “re-learn.” Along with enhancing learning, the do-over is designed to help boost a previously low grade. When you re-take an exam without studying the stuff you messed up the first time, do you know what happens? Exactly nothing!

The mere act of re-taking an exam does not automatically improve your achievement. Learning what you missed does.

3 Reasons Math Students Struggle

This is my first post of the year, so it should be pretty insightful, right? Not really. Just the same old advice.

If things aren’t going your way, try to be reflective. Professor Cornwall says we must continually explicate the obvious for adolescents, so here I go again. The three reason students struggle in math are…

Hello again!

Welcome to the new Planet Numeracy™ website/blog. This undertaking has been a long time in coming. I hope that readers — and soon listeners — will learn something from the interaction.

New Stuff

Like I said, Planet Numeracy™ has undergone some changes. And with those changes has come a new look. This year, I am also in the process of adding a podcast. I hope to interview guests once the show is rolling. Colleagues, former students, athletes, etc.

Although I’m struggling with a name, the podcast is set to debut Tuesday, September 5, 2017. I hope to focus on the art of teaching and learning. Maybe that a good show name — The Art of Teaching or The Art of Learning.

Educational professionals — especially newbies — will appreciate the classroom hacks I share . I also anticipate many students enjoying an “insiders” viewpoint when teachers discuss hot topics. And there will be many classroom hacks for students as well.

What are the latest must have iPhone apps? How can you maximize smart phones in the classroom? How to post video YouTube? And much much more.

I’ll talk about all things educational along with special focus on the importance of student-life balance for academic performance. Students are busier than they have even been, so this balance has never been more needed.

And perhaps the most important key to success? Learning that balance of work, play, and rest.

Old Stuff

I still have free online flipped course content for ACE Statistics class. I have also curated a substantial amount of video content for ACE Calculus. Algebra 2 and Pre-algebra are undergoing creation by will serve as document repositories the way Algebra 1 did for me, and I will expand those as times allows. These courses are sometimes years in the making depending on my schedule.

I am also working on some evergreen content for YouTube as well as for premium courses that will be offered to the general public for a premium.

In case you’re wondering, all the previous content (i.e., blog posts) has been made private. Members may still have access, but new content is all that will be visible to the public beginning with this post.

What? Embracing Failure?

A not-so-novel idea for building a growth mindset

I saw this video over at edutopia.org, and it made a lot of sense. Imagine a world where students welcome — even seek out — tough critical feedback. No place for snowflakes in this program. The New Mexico School for the Arts trains students from the outset to expect failure, but to use it for personal growth. It’s okay to make mistakes. Encouraging this mindset allows students to accept constructive criticism and make improvements based on the feedback.

This is the essence of the growth mindset. At NMSA, students are taught that they can improve their abilities with effort. Just like playing an instrument, math ability is an acquired skill. Expect mistakes, especially if you are participating in a tough class. Criticism is tough to hear. For this reason, many students simply opt not to try without an iron-clad guarantee of instant success.

According to Dr. Carol Dweck, training this growth mindset should begin at a young age. Children being taught that mistakes are not only allowed, but should be anticipated, is contrarian in public schools. Most schools teach — perhaps unwittingly — that mistakes are bad. Cheating in secondary and post-secondary institutions runs rampant when this is the case.

As an entrepreneur, I have made a fair number of mistakes with business start-ups and failures, but I learned critical distinctions each time. As a husband, I have made miscommunications. As parents, my wife and I are certainly not batting 1.000.

Segue into parenting… Education starts in the home. The apple usually doesn’t fall far from the tree, so when I encounter classroom issues, I keep in mind that students are a product of those they spend the most time with — their parents. Or worse, absentee parents! So parents, I encourage you to learn all you can about a growth mindset. Fostering growth mindset from the start may even pre-empt many a meltdown during adolescence.

Course Prerequisites

According to Google, the noun prerequisite refers to a required prior condition that is necessary for something else to happen or to exist; I’m paraphrasing.

In school, a course prerequisite refers to a course, the successful completions of which, is designed to ensure success at the next level. That is, if a student barely manages a D in Math 100, there is a good chance they will also struggle in Math 200. This is the most misunderstood concept of the course prerequisite. Finishing with a D may be good enough to earn a credit, but a D will typically lead to future D’s, or even F’s.

In a perfect world, students would not be deemed to have met prerequisite criteria unless they earned at least a C, if not an A or a B. You see, the ‘taking of the course’ is not the prerequisite. ‘Mastery of course content’ is the intention of the prerequisite.

Any student can take up space in a lecture hall. Plugging in while there will increase not only your level of mastery, but your chances for future success. Then seal the deal by working outside the classroom, i.e., do your homework.

Cognitive engagement in the classroom along with deliberate practice outside the classroom are the one-two punch that will guarantee your success.

Join the nation!