Grant Wiggins, What issss UBD?

Grant Wiggins and How I View Math Curriculum

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

This week, a few of us got into a discussion, and involved Grant Wiggins. He calls himself a troublemaker, but I don’t remember seeing him at the last few meetings, and I’m the treasurer. In any case, for his 100th blog, he wrote this: Algebra is a dumb course. It survives only by unthinking habit. It cannot be justified intellectually as a subject, really. It is just a set of …

Don't Drink and Derive

Math As A Merit Badge (And Other Comments)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 2 Comments

The responses to my last post about math (who said I’m not a math blogger again?) ranged from the plauditory to the super-critical. Here’s a selection of some of my favorite comments to my last piece. First, Michael Doyle sets the record straight: Algebra II has become a badge, one of many, that pretends to separate middle class white boys from, well, everybody else. You can pass A2 without understanding a whole …

No One Puts Baby In The Corner

No One Puts Algebra 2 In A Corner (Math For All Kids)

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 21 Comments

First, let me say that this Nicholson Baker article already starts off wrong by not discussing al-Khwarizmi’s contributions to algebra, mainly NAMING it. Secondly, this conversation about math reminds me of the conversation we had about Andrew Hacker’s article last year. Here’s another guy who ostensibly doesn’t have a focus in any math-related subjects trying to reform math by limiting how much math students get. I wonder if he thinks …

Bayard Rustin

Know Your Stuff (And Other Thoughts On Teacher Leadership) [Edutopia]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

I wrote an epic post on Edutopia about transforming teacher leadership, especially for those just starting out. Here’s something you ought to know: 1. Know Your Stuff My advice to any teacher leader, new or old: know what you’re talking about. Teachers respect leaders who have expertise and demonstrate confidence in that expertise. Having classroom experience goes a long way, but if our message doesn’t sound classroom-based or substantive, it …

Pay Teachers

On Selling Your Lesson Plans [Making Money As A Teacher]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 8 Comments

Do you want to make money as a teacher? Of course you do. You know how hard it is to make money as a teacher? We already work enough unpaid hours grading papers, calling parents, and writing lesson plans. Why not profit off of it? These and other questions came up today because a frequent commenter asked me on my Facebook page what I thought about this topic. I said …


The Difference Between “Best Practices” and Teacher Expertise [TransformED]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

My latest at TransformED. It’s been a long time, but I thought I’d share. Check this: Obviously, I would love for the students to prove me wrong, but in my experience, I haven’t yet. If anything, it tells me that, if I know the existing issues, I can spend more time working with students and getting deeper into my students’ academic and personal needs. Autonomy in teaching is slowly becoming …


#HerePastJune, A Primer On Teachers’ Summers [Collaborateurs]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson Leave a Comment

Here’s my latest at The Collaborateurs, where I discuss my reason for joining #HerePastJune, a United For Public Schools project: … we actually need to reconsider how we look at time in school. According to many reports (including some that US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan quotes), the United States already has the highest teacher-to-student time in minutes in the entire world. Where high-performing countries beat us (I won’t use …

Isaiah Mustafa in Old Spice Commercial

A Thought On Graduations As A Whole

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

A list of the common complaints about graduations from K-12: Not everyone deserves to graduate. A more detailed subset of that list: At this rate, should we have to make special accommodations for our kids when we’re trying to raise the rigor of all curricula? Better yet, can everyone just get an intervention plan so we can stop lying to ourselves that every student who graduates gets the same criteria? …

Serious cat.

Why So Serious? [On Demeanors In The Classroom]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 3 Comments

“Why are you so serious all the time, Mr. Vilson?” The students just finished giving me my student evaluations, something I thought I’d try this year, but probably waited too long in the year to do. “Well, it depends …” And before I could finish, my co-teacher put me on blast by saying that it depends on the situation. The yearbook has a picture of me smiling for the first …