Dave’s Faves: Books, Sites, Videos & More!

I’ve always been “David,” never “Dave” …. but I can’t resist a good (or bad) rhyme, so my favorite websites, books, blogs, videos, articles and more area going to listed here as “Dave’s Faves.”

Please tell me about your own faves. I will check them out and if I like them, I’ll add them to this page. So this is a page for, and by, everyone. I hope it will become a fave of yours.

Books:

I am working up a bang-up list of recommended books for children, teachers and parents… but it is not yet ready. While I work on it, you are very welcome to submit your own suggestions for me to consider. I’d love to hear from you!

Articles:

Art and Music are Key to Student Development”
by Fran Smith. Edutopia, Jan. 28, 2009
OR acrobatlogo_SML Download the PDF HERE
To quote the author, “Involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skill.”

“Why Alfred North Whitehead Opposed Standardized Tests”
In a particularly fascinating post, Diane Ravitch reports on why mathematician Alfred North Whitehead opposed standardized testing.

“Will Common Core Testing Platforms Impede Math Tasks?”
Some math mavens say they’re worried that the computer-based testing will hamper open-ended math-performance tasks that test students’ ability to apply their knowledge.

“We Need Congressional Hearings on Standardized Testing”
From Huffington Post Education, a retired high school teacher makes clear that students are being victimized by mandated standardized testing. Educators and parents formed a nationwide advocacy group, The Network for Public Education (NPE). Read about the questions that NPE is urging Congress to explore.

“What the PDK/Gallup Poll says about teachers” The Phi Delta Kappan/Gallup Poll now shows only 38% of Americans favoring using standardized test results to evaluate teachers. Read Diane Ravitch’s report.

“‘I’m Not A Math Person’ Is No Longer A Valid Excuse”
Contrary to popular opinion, a natural ability in math will only get you so far. It also takes hard work. Read the Business Insider article.

Vermont’s heroic response to the absurdities of No Child Left Behind As a former Vermonter (whose heart is still in the Green Mountain State), I am proud that the state refuses to let its schools become test-prep factories. But under absurd federal rules, the schools have to send a letter to parents explaining that the No Child Left Behind law requires them to confess that they are “failing.” Vermont refused to cave in!

Superintendent tells parents what matters most This inspiring, courageous, surprising back-to-school letter was sent to all parents of a rural school district by the superintendent. Can you believe this?: Superintendent Mark R. Cross believes an emphasis on fine arts is more important than an obsession with test scores (which do not assess the arts). Read all about it!

Vermont’s heroic response shows the way on No Child Left Behind letters As a former Vermonter (whose heart is still in the Green Mountain State), I am proud that the state refuses to let its schools become test preparation factories. But under absurd federal rules, the schools have to send a letter to parents explaining that the No Child Left Behind law requires them to confess that they are “failing.” Vermont refused to cave in!

Childhood: A Time for Play! Play is one of the most significant means by which children learn. Regrettably, it is increasingly neglected as an essential part of any education program, relegated to the status of an optional luxury or worse. Read the position paper published by the National Kindergarten Alliance (NKA).

Four Problems With Common Core Math Implementation Michigan State researcher and professor William Schmidt describes out what he sees as problems with how the CCSS are being implemented (not with the standards themselves). Here’s a taste: publishers’ claims that their materials are aligned with Common Core are, for the most part, “a sham.”

Ten Things Teachers Wish Parents Knew Before the School Year Begins I’ll let the title stand on its own given that, according to one quoted teacher, “Keeping parents happy is the hardest part of the job.” (I would say that depends very much on the school, the parents and the particulars of the job!).

Why Do Americans Stink at Math? This cover story by Elizabeth Green in The New York Times Magazine raised a lot of eyebrows…and awareness. It also provoked a strong response, both pro and con. (For one of the “cons,” see below.) No matter what side of the CCSS debate you’re on, it’s a must-read!

Six Myths in the New York Times Article by Elizabeth Green published in a Brookings Institution blog purports to identify six myths that the controversial article (see above) advanced.

Don’t teach math, coach it! “People ask me all the time how they can get their kids excited about math,” writes Prof. Jordan Ellenberg of the University of Wisconsin, the author of How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking. The secret, he says, is not to teach math at all. Fascinating stuff that makes perfect sense once you understand how learning really works.

Videos:

Here are some wonderful videos with math themes. Please send your own suggestions for additions to this section.

Powers of Ten This classic 1977 video is a mind-boggling romp into large and small dimensions of the universe, moving by a power of ten each ten seconds. It has inspired millions, including me: it was in the back (or the front) of my mind when I decided to write How Much Is a Million? and it was a direct influence on On Beyond a Million.

 

The Detailed Universe goes even further in both directions than Powers of Ten (above), from nanometers to billions of light years..

 

 

Math Bites is series of math episodes with host (aka star) Danica McKellar giving her take on subjects like percentages, binary numbers, pi, and mental math. In Math Heads: Do Math in Your Head. Danica shows off her mental math techniques and tells you how to use them yourself. It’s interesting to compare her with Prof. Arthur Benjamin.

Websites:

Bedtime Math Let’s Read MathWol
from Math World
– calls itself “The World’s Most Extensive Mathematics Resource” and it may well be.

Potpourri of Free Math Teaching Materials (notice “Next” at bottom right; it goes on for many pages).

Podcasts, Interviews & Clips:

Author Interview by Just One More BookGo to website OR Listen here!

Author (and Photographer) Interview by Smart Books for Smart Kids (acrobatlogo_SML download PDF)

“Sneaky, Cheeky, Catchy: Where In the Wild?” fun audio review by Just One More Book – Go to website OR Listen here!

Reading from How Much Is a Million? (excerpted from the Weston Woods DVD) – Listen here!
Videoclip from animated version of How Much Is a Million? (excerpted from the Weston Woods DVD – click on “Video Clip in English” on the right)

Reading from If You Made a Million (excerpted from the Weston Woods DVD) - Listen here!
Videoclip from animated version of If You Made a Million (excerpted from the Weston Woods DVD – click on “Video Clip in English” on the right)

Podcast from Science Books & Films (SBF), a project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, recorded at the 2008 award ceremony for the SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Literature (Where In the Wild? won in the Children’s Science Picture Book Category) – Listen here!

Two audio samples from the CD of Super Grandpa, read by the author