Month: May 2019

Back to the real world

I graduated from PHP/IOP at Sonora on Friday. Now I’m faced with, as Jon Kabat-Zinn calls it, The Full Catastrophe: no summer job, research and dissertation to start making progress on, and two math classes to take. I have a mostly finished draft of a research paper on teacher education, but I haven’t done any substantive work since last year. It’s been nice to have the break, but now I feel more than a little lost..

I picked up Thomas Merton’s Seeds of Contemplation for advice:

“Let no one hope to find in contemplation an escape from conflict, from anguish or from doubt. On the contrary, the deep, inexpressible certitude of the contemplative experience awakens a tragic anguish and open many questions in the depths of the heart like wounds that cannot stop bleeding.” -Thomas Merton, Seeds of Contemplation, p. 12

So, it seems apropos that as I enter the real world I’m filled with doubt. Doubt is the beginning of renewal and rebirth.

Math for Social Justice: Racial Equality

The file attached to this post is a work-in-progress. In this project,  I tackle racial justice using mathematical tools in two different ways. First, develop a numerical index of racial equality that can be used to compare states using Microsoft Excel and JMP scripting.  Second, I develop a unit for a college course for non-math majors whereby the students use Google Sheets to explore the connection between race and income by using US Census data for Tucson, Arizona. 

Draw a math teacher task

I drew a classroom where students are engaged in the task : “Do white people have more income than People of Color?”  There’s a cart of laptops in the corner, a smartboard, a teacher’s desk with a computer and my Microsoft Surface next to it.  Students are in groups of 4, and each group has a laptop.  Me, the teacher, is larger than them and bearded, and each group has a task card.  I am going around and asking questions like “How would you know if there’s a relationship?” and “Show me how your group set up your spreadsheet?”.

Are you learning or grade oriented?

Based on Ohmer Milton’s book Making Sense of College Grades, I’ve put up his Learning Oriented-Grade Oriented quiz on my website. I could not find cut scores for the test, so the cut scores I used are arbitrary, and I have found it still a useful thing to use with my students when teaching study skills. You can take the test here, and feel free to send your students there:

AMS Grad Student Blog

Dear JamesSheldon.Com Blog Readers,

I have a secondary blog that I update quarterly. I blog with a mathematics educators’ perspective for the American Mathematical Society’s graduate student blog. You can find my blog posts on that blog here:

If anyone is interested in becoming a blogger for AMS, I’d be happy to connect you. I’m also open to guest posts on the blog.

James “Mountain Shadow” Sheldon