# ZeroSum Ruler (home)

## Blogging on math education and other related things

### The Language of Math PosterAugust 19, 2011

Below is a poster I hang in my classroom every fall.  Each year it grows longer as more and more terms come up for the different operations of math.  When I was a kid, no one told me to look out for these words, or that math was even a language at all, which made word problems pretty tough.  By clicking on the poster you will be sent to the original Excel file on Google Docs.  Do you have any words to add?

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### The Coolest Math Class Ever. Seriously!June 6, 2011

I was lucky to get into Oliver Knill’s class Teaching Math With a Historical Perspective, one of the choices within the Harvard Extension School’s ALM in Mathematics for Teaching program.  It changed the way I think and the way I teach.  He explained complex topics, such as code breaking and non-verbal proofs, with such ease.  He was inspiring and made me look at math in a way I had never before – from a historical perspective!  His site is worth checking out, especially if you can not get into his class!  (Click on the red circle to go to Oliver’s site)

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### Awesome Euclid and his AlgorithmNovember 19, 2010

One of my favorite things that I learned while in graduate school for math education was the Euclidean Algorithm for finding the Greatest Common Factor of two numbers.  If you click on the  picture to the left, you’ll get to a very informative YouTube video on the Algorithm.  It’s a bit boring, but very educational, and it shows exactly how to go about using Euclid’s method to find the biggest number that divides into two numbers.

(The screenshot to the left will bring you to the YouTube video on the Euclidean Algorithm)

The alternative, but mainstream, way using factor trees and circling primes always confused my students.  “Do I count the 3 twice since I circled it as a factor in both 81 and 57?”

If Euclid’s method was the mainstreamed one, math would be a lot more interesting and one more confusing topic could be checked off the list.  Euclid, you rock!

(The screenshot here of the kids is a funny video about Euclid and his algorithm)

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### YouTube… BLOCKED. Learning Today… BLOCKED!June 6, 2010

Sure, there are a lot of videos on YouTube that we don’t want kids watching at school.  But there are a countless videos on the site that can teach in 3 minutes what it would take a teacher a week to teach.  Our kids are visual learners, learning through video is most effective.

For teachers like me who use their LCD projectors extensively to reach our visual learners, having access to YouTube in school would be extremely helpful.  This year, I could have shown videos on solving systems of equations, finding the equations of circles, solving triangles with the trigonometric ratios, and this says nothing of how much I used YouTube myself to get through my graduate Java and Calculus classes!

But because someone made the executive decision that all of YouTube should be banned from everyone within the walls of BPS, I have to hope that TeacherTube- the ungroomed toenail of YouTube- has a video on the topic I am looking for, and moreover, has their search feature organized in way that a search for “algebra” doesn’t bring up “Mrs. Valentine’s Kindergarten field trip to the Museum of Science”.  TeacherTube is not YouTube, it never will be, and it’s a real shame that teachers in BPS cannot log into YouTube to access its wide range of useful educational videos.

In any case, I have posted videos on TeacherTube at the ridiculously long address: http://www.teachertube.com/members/viewProfile.php?user=Shanadonohue

They can be watched in school, even if they take 5 minutes to load.  There’s also one other option that[sometimes] allows you to convert YouTube videos to video files to save onto your computer and then show in class.  I stress, though, that it SOMETIMES works:  http://www.forinside.com/  In fact, it’s not even working now.  Blah!  Maybe this one works: http://www.zamzar.com/url/

### Webpage blocked! [possibly]May 25, 2010

I found a great video at http://adgonzalezmath.wordpress.com/ in the “February 2010 archives” that lead to what could [possibly] be the greatest collection of math videos on all of the interweb superhighway: http://justmathtutoring.com/  I say “possibly” because, like many things that could be useful to students, the site is blocked here at school!

So I’ll check it out at home.  My bet is, based on the video I saw on adgonzalezmath’s page, the videos are going to be nice.  So if you know how to save videos from the internet onto your computer, I’d love to hear from you.  I know of one site that may [possibly] do this, but it’s blocked here.  Though even if it weren’t, I’d have nothing to upload!