Sunday, June 28, 2015

An Excellent Plan to Begin a Math Class

Dr Rule was a professor at UTN who unlocked Mathematics for my Dad. His course was called mathematical analysis.  The things Dr Rule taught my father, my father in turn taught me.  I asked my Dad to tell me about his classes.  What resulted was a series of notes that I will be sharing with you in the next few blog posts.

First lecture, my father recounts this section of Dr Rule's first lecture to the college age people in his class:
  • 'He told us upfront that most people dread math. They feel they can't understand it. He began by introducing the elephant in the room.
  • Then he said he just got finished teaching in a private middle school and those kids were absolutely amazing. They could do anything.  With this statement he showed the students kids were able to succeed. Then he gave the recipe the kids used for success.
  • "They listened, retained and gained a command of mathematics."  One of the greatest struggles in Math is staying focused so you can follow what is being shared.
  • Finally, he told them he was going to teach some of the same things he was teaching to 7th graders with these college students.
  • He ended this initialization process with a little bit of a challenge, "Don't worry if you can't catch on I will be here to remind you."'
If anyone knows Dr Rule I would love to meet him.  He taught at either MBA or BGA.  The way he taught echos.  It resonated with my father, with me and I hope it will resonate with you. Tune in next week when we will talk about his lecture on Odd and Even numbers.

If you would like to gain a better command of Mathematics I have crafted a lecture to help you understand this beautiful Philosophy better so you can help your child learn it. You can learn more about it at our page on Facebook called EDGE-ucational Consultants.  We would love to see you stop by and like our page.

Have a great week!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Five Things You Should Tell Your Child about Math

Sometimes people can be afraid of Math and can pass that fear down to their children. A young person's beliefs drive who they become and there is no greater driver of a student's beliefs than what their parents say to them.  The words you use with your child can profoundly shape your child's feelings and beliefs about a variety of subjects. Today we are going to talk about the top five things you can say to help your son or daughter succeed at Mathematics. 

     1.  Math is beautiful! If you have trouble with this concept here are a few links.
     2.  Math is a system that is designed to make sense. Similar to a Philosophy, one idea builds on anther so we can move from 1+1=2, to 2+2=4, to 2+2+2=6 just like 2X3=6 and so forth.

     3. Math numbers and equations relate to one another.  When my daughter was very young we started talking about fact families. A fact family is four equations that use the same numbers and logically follow from one another. For example, 3+9=12, 9+3=12, 12-9=3, 12-3=9 is the set of equations that make up a fact family for 3,9, and 12, using addition and subtraction.  My children and I would make up fact families during road trips sometimes to keep us entertained.

     4. Math can be entertaining. There are several Math problems which have which are so loved they are passed down from generation to generation. Here is a version of one of our favorites:
     5. There are recipes to help us do Math well. The Order of Operations tell us what part of a large equation to do first and how to follow the order to get the Math to work.  If it has been too long since your seen the Order of Operations: start with parenthesis; then exponents; multiplication or division; lastly addition or subtraction. When you need to choose one of the operations from the ors always work left to right.
Other recipes come along later.  In Math they are usually called formulas or algorithms but they are just directions on the steps to get the solution you need to a special problem.

If you would like more direction for a parent group on teaching mathematics to your child at home you can connect with Amy at @AmyFlatt1Five things to

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Not another map

It's not that I didn't try.  I schlepped over to the CDC and tried multiple times to generate this map but I cannot get it to work today.  WISQARs, pronounced 'whiskers' may be taking the day off.

The map I wanted to query for you was another map of the country.  If you recall I compared two maps in January.  One was the ranking of schools based on test scores and the other was a map showing the levels of childhood poverty by state.

We already know that test scores are lower where childhood poverty is higher.  We also know that high stakes testing is placing a great burden on impoverished students with no evident return for the student. It seems, in fact, poverty students are penalized by having their schools underfunded and dismantled.

We know that this additional pressure creates stress which can be a contributing factor in self harm.  I was curious to see if there was any correlations between high stakes testing and suicide levels in our state.

We already know the countries that have been utilizing high stakes testing for a while such as Japan have a high youth suicide rate.  I noticed that CNN reported a recent increase in youth suicide and that the rate is high here in Tennessee.  We are ranked 13th in the nation for youth suicide.

As soon as I can pull that map I will post it.  I recognize that poverty could be a factor.  I am going factor that out by looking for an increase in suicide since high stakes testing came in.  Since poverty in many states has been stable for years.  We should not consider stable levels of poverty to bring an increase in suicide.  High stakes testing is the new factor.

High stakes testing is a stresser that creates esteem issues for children who do not test well.  HST narrows he curriculum and can cause illness like effects such as nausea and vomiting on the day of the test.

 Parents are not allowed to opt their children out in our state.  I am hopeful that will change with the right information. I believe the legislatures in our state mean to help the children and not harm them. 

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Eleven-Year-Old Gives You a Free Copy of His Book

My son and I finished a book this month.  Thomas wrote a paper which I helped him turn into an e-book.  The book was released yesterday on Amazon. It's called The Eleven-Year-Old's Guide:To Linux.  Linux is an Operating system like Macintosh or Windows.  Unlike the other two it's less likely to get viruses and there are many free programs that come with it.  Programs you would have to pay extra for with the other systems.  Linux is open source which means it's free.  In honor of the Linux community who created so many wonderful free things we enjoy, we are giving away some free copies of our books.  

We gave free copies away to anyone who attended the National Day of Civic Hacking in Down Town Nashville.  People gave us their email addresses and we had planned to send them a link to get a free download.   I did not realize I can't give out coupon codes to get free books through Amazon.  Instead I am setting up a free day for everyone at the Hack and anyone reading our blog today.  Tomorrow, on June 8th,  you will be able to download a free copy of his e-book by following the link.
Here is the link to Thomas's book:

The book turned out better than I imagined.  It's short and easy to read.  Lee Perry edited it for us.  She did a beautiful job editing for readability and errors. If you need an editor she is not cheap but she is really good. I spent many nights formatting and rewriting with Thomas sitting on the arm of the easy chair beside me.

I have learned if you really want to understand something about Tech you should ask an 11 year old.   They aren't afraid to figure things out and they can teach us things about narrow subjects they are geeking out about.  Because I was able to learn how to publish everyone gets the chance to hear about Linux the way an 11 year old can explain it.  We hope you enjoy our book.

If there are other tech subjects or even non tech subjects you would like to hear a child teach about, ask us.  We might be willing to learn about it and write another guide.  This one was a lot of fun.