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.

  • Blogs in the math classroom?

    Blogs are public writing. We want our students to publish their work — to take ownership of it, to take personal responsibility for it, to take pride in it. These goals apply not only to English class but also in… Read More ›

  • Radians

    From Trigonometry for Dummies, by Mary Jane Sterling: Measuring angles in degrees is easier, but measuring angles in radians is preferable when doing computations. The radian is more exact because the radius, circumference, or area of the circle is involved…. Read More ›

  • Adequate Yearly Progress

    A Boston Globe article on October 3, 2004, included Weston High School among the schools cited by the Department of Education for failure to make Adequate Yearly Progress on the No Child Too Far Ahead Act. Sorry, I mean the… Read More ›

  • The Achievement Gap

    Yesterday I wrote about the pressure to take honors math, but I didn’t even consider the reasons for this pressure. The implied one — which I tried to debunk — was that honors math is necessary in order to get… Read More ›

  • Misanalyzing textbooks

    The Washington Monthly publishes an interesting example of the lies about incorrect analysis of math textbooks by right-wing zealots. Not that I’m a fan of very many textbooks, but a little truth would help.

  • Honors math courses

    Weston, of course, is really Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average®. Weston’s only public high school has just two levels of math courses: the higher level is called honors, the lower level college-prep. Everyone is above average…. Read More ›

  • Casual Fridays

    David Allen rants about Casual Fridays. Many of his readers’ comments concern seeing clients in business settings on Mondays through Thursdays. But what about school settings? At Weston High School we’ve had Casual Fridays for many years (though there have… Read More ›

  • Intellectual growth

    I’m examining an Algebra II book that looks really good so far (Discovering Advanced Algebra: An Investigative Approach, by Murdock, Kamischke, and Kamischke — if you’re interested). But a statement in the Note to Teachers got me thinking: Students will… Read More ›

  • Listlessly

    It has been so hot and muggy that the cats are just lounging around listlessly. Which means…well, the word seems to suggest that they don’t have any lists. I’ll admit that cats aren’t big list-makers (though they are otherwise fine… Read More ›

  • Phys Ed online?

    OK, we’ve heard of online math courses and writing courses, but phys ed???? Even as I type this, I’m listening to a report on NPR about the online phys ed option for students in the Minneapolis Public Schools. Hmmm….