The History of Crisco, or What I Learned at Berkeley

I was just reading this article on the death of trans fats, thinking sheesh, will you people make up your mind, when I caught the Crisco quote: When Procter & Gamble debuted Crisco in 1911, it was billed: “It’s all vegetable! It’s digestible!” The shortening was also kosher, leading to the even better (worse?) slogan:…

Reform’s Most Recent Pivot

In America and its High Potential Kids, Andy Smarick rebukes the country for not caring about its high potential kids: In short, this country gives the impression that it doesn’t much care about such kids. We have an astonishingly under-resourced, deprioritized, and inchoate system of school supports for kids on the right side of the…

Self-Concept and Lowered Expectations

I’ve been writing a few pieces on and off, trying to get focused, and suddenly I thought of Darryl Yong. I’d forgotten his name, but I just googled “professor teaches high school math”. Darryl Yong, a math professor at Harvey Mudd, decided to teach for a year. He didn’t teach calculus, he taught algebra and…

Halloween Candy

One notable gap in my curricular resume is any sort of performance work based on real-life data. Like most math teachers who work with struggling populations, I think performance task projects waste hours of time for limited learning outcomes. So how could I create a performance-based task that didn’t waste time, had a number of…

Diane Ravitch at Stanford

I went to see Diane Ravitch give a talk and then discuss education policy with Linda Darling Hammond and Eric Hanushek at the Memorial Auditorium. For the record, I think Ravitch is generally right about what’s wrong, but completely wrong about how to make things right. Hanushek is wrong about both. Olive, I think you…

Ambiguous Factoring

Fun with factoring, part I–Difference of Cubes I wish I could remember the teacher’s blog that alerted me to this. I can see the page in my memory, but I can’t find it. I will happily include a link if anyone can tell me the blog. It was written in February, I think, a year…

New Teacher Types

I was reading the Melancholy Math teacher’s plaint to planning at 1 am, and am reminded that there are two sorts of new teachers. First, you have the stereotype, Type I, which the Melancholy Math teacher lives up to nicely: well meaning, dedicated to helping the community, and generally stunned to discover that kids weren’t…