Though I am most likely known to those who read my blog as a miracle school debunker, a TFA watchdog, or a education research number cruncher, the thing that I do most with my time is do math, think about teaching math, and teach math.
Sometimes an ed reform twitter troll will accuse me of just being a nay sayer who has nothing positive to contribute to the discussion and I guess they sometimes have a point that I do spend a lot of time fighting against false claims made in The74 or Education Post or places like that. It is true that they have kept me quiet busy.
What you may not know about me is that I have made hundreds of hours of YouTube videos on my YouTube channel when I try to share what I know about math to whoever in the world wants to learn it from me. While my videos are not as popular as the stuff you see on Khan Academy, they do get some traffic and I’ve received a lot of very nice comments.
Most of my videos are geared at high school students and cover some really esoteric topics like math proofs from the History Of Math, which is a hobby of mine. But I had an ambitious idea over the summer: Create a series of videos where I start with kindergarten math and work my way up, sequentially, until I get to about eleventh grade. Though of course I can’t cover every little topic of twelve years of math in just ten hours, the idea is to collect what I think of as ‘the essential’ concepts that I would want my own children to know about math through the various grades. It would give me a chance to do my own ‘master class’ in math based on all my years of teaching math and thinking about math.
I’ve been teaching math, in one form or another, since I was about 16 years old. So for 35 years I have been first a tutor, then a Princeton Review teacher in college, then a 6th grade teacher, a high school teacher in Houston, Denver, and New York, a trainer of math teachers for The New York City Teaching Fellows, an author of two books on teaching and several math review books, and a member of Math For America. Considering how many hours I have dedicated to thinking about math, I hope that my musings on the different topics in the school curriculum will be illuminating to some, especially parents who are trying to help their kids with their math during remote learning.
After I had posted the first four installments (there are now eighteen), I actually came under criticism for being (you won’t believe this) a defender of The Common Core! I was pretty surprised that people thought that thinking of 8+5 as 8+2+3=10+3=13 was something that originated with Bill Gates, but I did not get discouraged and kept pumping out the videos. These are not polished videos with beautiful graphics. But I really am proud of the ‘brain dump’ I did to get my thoughts on K-12 math down in one place.
I don’t know that I would recommend binge watching all ten hours at once, but I would be interested in whether there will be anyone who will start watching the first one and get intrigued enough to watch a video a week and within a few months watched it all. At this time, most of the videos have had under 10 views each. Perhaps this is something that will go unappreciated in my time only to be discovered fifty years from now. Who knows? All I know is that I’m proud of this series and hopefully someone will learn something form it.
The playlist can be found here: