My Philosophy On Math Pedagogy, And Other Tidbits [Edutopia]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 1 Comment

Here’s an excerpt from my latest at Edutopia (including a diss on Robert Marzano and the like). It’s about engaging math teachers: Keep This Rule of Thumb: Complete, Consistent, Correct By “complete, consistent, correct,” I mean we should allow multiple pathways to a correct answer that a) allow for full understanding of a given procedure, b) can be used time and again without fail, and c) actually have a sound …

Why Learning Math Is Political

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

For my own professional development, I picked up the book Radical Equations: Math Literacy and Civil Rights by Robert Moses. The book equates the struggles Moses had with developing voter representations amongst the most underrepresented in the South with developing math knowledge / pedagogy into the curriculum in America’s classrooms. Observe: So algebra, once solely in place as the gatekeeper for higher math and the priesthood who gained access to …

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Teaching Exponents In Eighth Grade, Part 1: [Old To The Now]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 2 Comments

Every so often, I’m inserting some posts on pedagogy, especially for those of us who aren’t as math-inclined. If you find this helpful, just let me know in the comments. Today, I’m differentiating between the old way I used to prepare the students for a lesson on exponents and the way I do it now. Old Way 1. Ask “What’s an exponent?” 2. Here are the five mail rules you …


Great. Another Non-Math Person Complaining About Algebra.

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 13 Comments

Holy cow, Andrew Hacker. Shut up! OK, that was a bit harsh. Warranted, but harsh. Say what you want to, but lower your voice a few decibels. Frankly, I didn’t care much for your rhetorical question, but you had to write it in the New York Times, adding a semblance of legitimacy (if not outrage) to your argument against teaching abstract math to kids. The crux of your argument, that …


Stay In Your Lane [A Math Teacher’s Lament]

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 4 Comments

Why do people stigmatize math teachers? It’s bad enough we teach people that they’re either math people or they’re not (patent lie, I promise you). Now, we’re even limiting math teachers to the fields in which they can excel. They stereotype (!) math teachers as having hobbies like playing piano (fractions!) and read xkcd (might be true), but God forbid they actually know how to do things like write (without …

Beware The Calculator

Jose Vilson Mr. Vilson 7 Comments

As a math coach, people always want to catch my ear about the use of a calculator. I ought to put my voice into the argument since … well, that’s what I do here. The two sides to the argument go as follows: 1) Students should use calculators because the machine can already do it for them. 2) Students shouldn’t use the calculators because computers (big and small) make kids …

Love Is The Base, Not The Exponent (A Theorem Semi-Proven)

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Recently, I’ve been going over exponents with my students for the big math state test next week. Not sure if it was the chalk hitting my nose or the positivity I’ve surrounded myself with, but I’ve been thinking lots about this idea of love. Thus, I was prompted to put out this thought a couple of days ago: Love is the base, not the exponent. Here’s my reasoning: Let’s assume …


Finding A Needle in A Stack of Needles: A Solution to the Racial Achievement Gap

Jose Vilson Jose 7 Comments

In the category of “Yes, That Makes Complete Sense,” David Kirp of The LA Times reported that scientists have figured out a 1-hour “fix” for our most disadvantaged students: encourage them while they do it. Combined with the latest article from The New York Times regarding Jump Math, this piece almost made me smack the screen. These articles are fortunate I’m typing on my Mac. Anyone who’s had any exposure …

Double Reading Rainbow

Creativity Is Almost Dead … and Non-Educators Want To Kill It

Jose Vilson Jose 6 Comments

After posting a few crosswalk documents between the New York State math standards and The Common Core Standards on this site and at my place of employ, I’ve been very involved in understanding how these mandated national standards will transform our way of teaching students, and how we need to get parents and students involved in the education ecology. By all accounts, the new standards are pretty good; light on …

The Idea of Race As A Number Line

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

I recently had the delightful experience of hanging out with the alumni of Nativity Mission Center, the Lower East Side based Catholic middle school, most of whom I only get to see once a year at these events. This time felt different in a good way; most of their discussion was around my blog and how they’d occasionally read my postings on brotherhood, race, and education. I did most of …