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.

  • “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” (Rethinking quadrilaterals)

    Why on earth would we spend two whole days rewriting our Honors Geometry quadrilaterals unit? Our textbook, after all, contains a perfectly serviceable sequence of four lessons on this topic: These lessons are adequate. In the words of the standard… Read More ›

  • New furniture!

    Arrived yesterday to find new furniture for students to use in our Math Office. As you can see, the chairs have wheels and the tables are modular (eight of them, though not all are visible in this photo). This combination… Read More ›

  • Coding in middle school math

    Google Blockly? What’s that? And should we say coding or computer programming? We’ll deal with that terminological question in the last paragraph, but let me first tell you about Blockly and about the workshop we had yesterday. A group of… Read More ›

  • Confessions

    This psychological thriller by Kanye Minato is not a typical book, at least not in my universe. Some say that it’s a lot like Gone Girl — but I wouldn’t know, since I’m apparently the only person on Earth who hasn’t read Gone… Read More ›

  • Don’t get lost: mark your place!

    Who uses paper maps anymore? At least they can be recycled, but what if they’re already laminated? Barbara sliced one apart and turned them into bookmarks!

  • Watermelons?

  • Damaged

    If you’ve never read any of Lisa Scottoline’s South-Philadelphia-based Rosato & DiNunzio thrillers, Damaged would not be a bad place to start. (Note: I really like all the Rosato & DiNunzio books, though I don’t particularly recommend Scottoline’s so-called emotional thrillers. But maybe… Read More ›

  • Standards-based grading?

    What’s wrong with grading on a curve? Or what’s wrong with grading by straight percentages? Twelve years ago I wrote a post about why grading on a curve is destructive and counterproductive — and why grading by straight percentages isn’t actually… Read More ›

  • The Fight for English

    It seems that I have to write about David Crystal once a year or so. This expert popularizer of linguistics always provides well-informed but accessible antidotes to common myths about language, such as the one alluded to in the subtitle… Read More ›

  • Back from Manchester (but which one?)

    No, not that one! Not Manchester, New Hampshire. Not Massachusetts. (Oh, you’re right, that one is now “Manchester by the Sea.“) Not Connecticut. Does every state around here have its own Manchester? Not even Manchester, England. (Or do I mean “Manchester,… Read More ›