Author Archives

I am entering my 21st year as a math teacher at Weston High School, the sole public high school in Weston, MA. It’s also my 44th year as a teacher altogether. In addition to my day job, I taught for 20 years at the Saturday Course in Milton, MA. I also teach at Harvard’s Crimson Summer Academy each summer; 2017 was our 14th consecutive summer.

Sometimes I work on educational software. I also read, cook, and continue building my model railroad whenever I can. For some reason I'm left with less so-called free time than would be ideal. Nevertheless, I manage to devote time to my wife, Barbara, and to our excessive number of cats as well.

  • Conspiracy theories

    From the right: THE HILLARY CLINTON ’08 CAMPAIGN AIRED ITS FIRST, HOUR-LONG COMMERCIAL last night. [caps in original] Unfortunately, it came masked as a primetime network TV series… Last night, “Commander in Chief” portrayed conservatives as ruthless, power-hungry, militaristic, Bible-thumping, sexist… Read More ›

  • Are men malingerers?

    According to the Boston Globe: Men are twice as likely as women to play hooky by calling in sick, according to a recent poll. The 11th annual Attitudes in the American Workplace poll, reported by the Marlin Co., a workplace… Read More ›

  • Robert Noyce and Bringing Down the House

    Usually I’m in the middle of reading two books at once — typically a novel and a non-fiction work. But for some reason I’m currently reading a biography that’s definitely non-fiction and a former best-seller that purports to be non-fiction…. Read More ›

  • Merit pay

    Our distinguished governor, Mitt Romney, advocates merit pay for teachers, based on the standardized test scores of their students. Vivian Troen and Katherine C. Boles wrote an op-ed piece about this idea in the Boston Globe on 9/28. I was… Read More ›

  • Back-to-school night

    Yesterday evening we held our annual Back-to-School Night at Weston High School. You know the drill: the parents come to school, arrive late at their first-period class because they can’t find a parking space, go to one ten-minute class after… Read More ›

  • Partial Credit

    One of my students — let’s call her Artemis — muses in her blog: Giving partial credit may be helpful to a student’s grade in school but in real life, people don’t want to know how you did something, they… Read More ›

  • Habits of highly effective teachers?

    Key Curriculum Press publishes our new Algebra II textbook as well as two software products that have had a significant impact on many high-school math teachers, Geometer’s Sketchpad and Fathom. Their recent catalog includes a moderately long article entitled “The… Read More ›

  • Bullet voting, pro and con

    On Tuesday, Boston voters will go to the polls in the “preliminary election” for City Council. Something like a primary, the preliminary election narrows each race down to a number of candidates equal to twice the number who will be… Read More ›

  • Standards-based Education, Part IV

    Standards-based education encourages us to give untimed tests. This idea makes a lot of sense: if I want to tell whether a student can solve a quadratic equation, I shouldn’t be testing how fast s/he can solve the equation. The… Read More ›

  • The unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics

    If you look at almost any set of modern standards for mathematics teaching — such as the NCTM’s or the Massachusetts curriculum frameworks or Weston’s own standards — you will see a prominent role for applications of mathematics. This is… Read More ›