Crisis Averted

Documenting things I wish I knew as an education start up in the Philippines

Plus: Lessons, work music, Science education and internet interestingness

YES. You hate math.

Kids love math until… they don’t. They meet the multiplication table, or fractions, or was it trig for you? Were you that early math genius until fourth grade when your parents forced you to do Kumon?

"oh anything but math, my kid is better than I am", said a parent, now facing her nightmares while helping her child do homework. She gets flashbacks to all that negative feeling she carried around with her in math class, sweaty palms, rechecking answers and getting new equivalents, age problems you will never ever use in real life… the world is spinning. 

I remember having a teacher tell my freshman class “well the chinese schools will always do better at math than we will” and that just set a ceiling to all our abilities without even starting the class. GAH! 

A Stanford MOOC that changed the way I think of math, teaching it, and learning more about it, just launched a website tadaaaa:  http://youcubed.org/.

Here is the list of positive norms to set up a great classroom culture around math. Because let’s face it, most kids are not bad at math… we were just taught to hate it.

When I see a test paper where a student gave up at #2 it’s not because they can’t, but because they won’t. It’s breaking through that mindset that’s the first challenge.

I’m cheating and letting you read the back of the book (I copy pasted those norms below as a teaser), 

Positive Norms to Encourage in Math Class

By Jo Boaler

1. Everyone Can Learn Math to the Highest Levels.
Encourage students to believe in themselves. There is no such thing as a “math” person. Everyone can reach the highest levels they want to, with hard work.
2. Mistakes are valuable
Mistakes grow your brain! It is good to struggle and make mistakes.
3. Questions are Really Important
Always ask questions, always answer questions.
Ask yourself: why does that make sense?
4. Math is about Creativity and Making Sense.
Math is a very creative subject that is, at its core,
about visualizing patterns and creating solution paths that others can see, discuss and critique.
5. Math is about Connections and Communicating
Math is a connected subject, and a form of communication. Represent math in different forms eg words, a picture, a graph, an equation, and link them. Color code!
6. Depth is much more important than speed.
Top mathematicians, such as Laurent Schwartz, think slowly and deeply.
7. Math Class is about Learning not Performing
Math is a growth subject, it takes time to learn and it is all about effort.

Go forth and visit the site, read the the summary of awesomeness, and help grow this new point of view

8 : holding family when you have nothing left to say

1. She said, pray the act of contrition, clinging to the ceiling fan, toes on a table, noses tilted upward, “I’ll see you in heaven”

2. She said noodles taste so good when you haven’t had anything warm for 24 hours

3. She said it was her first time wearing men’s briefs she didn’t care as long as it was dry

4. He said we’ll take anything on the way out, even if it takes us to the wrong island

5. He said, just send me a net to keep the mosquitoes out.

6. He said sometimes he sees shadows on the road and thinks it’s water. 

7. He said, I can stay with my children in the U.S. but I don’t feel useful there.

8. Auntie said we are the last ones with these last names on that island. We survive.

_________________________________________________________

 A list I compiled listening to stories over the Christmas season. It seemed too shallow to share at the time when there needed to be more information and organizing and rebuilding. Now I’m reminded, how we laugh, and cry, and share and stay strong. 

Lessons Two Months into 2014

1. The hardest thing you’ve ever done really just expands the limits of what you thought you could do. On the horizon is a sunrise… and more land to cover.

2. Give people the space to ask more questions and they will surprise you. 

3. In order to build great things, it’s all time and skill, the money part is optional, the least of your worries. 

All of nature’s beauty grows from the generous giving of generations, and the magnificent interaction of the elements. It grows green from shit, literally.

There are so many lessons to be learned from billions of years of experience.

5 Funny and Beautiful things

1. “wow there was crowd funding in 2010?” - this quote from last night just made me feel so so internet old

2. “We don’t want social enterprises to remain niche, we want it to be the way we do business” - Noreen Bautista with her take aways from Davos

3. Jamir Ocampo went from rolling his sleeves and playing barrista, to talking about how he built things from nothing. My favourite story is about how he found his herbalist mentor. He lined up and pretended to be a patient. Then pitched his business proposal.  

4.  A story about being a wreck loose, and working mostly alone in a room, Then stretching yourself to overcome a fear of uncertainty, to share your ideas and your work. Ria Lu Komikase Gaming. I could relate!

5. 47 East. No air conditioning, the sound of those indoor waterfalls, the breeze going in and out of the room. You need to work here.  

p.s. Just putting this out there. I need to find the strawberries and cream cupakes that were randomly being tested yesterday. Thanks in advance. 

Crowd funding Q’s and A’s

Advice I usually give peeps who ask me about crowdfunding… in question form… because it’s more fun like that.

1. How will the platform you chose support the project?
Crowdfunding platforms take a cut, which means the success of your project, is paying for their service. Do they support you in terms of mechanics? ease of use? design? how supportive and strong is the community behind it? around it? If you are choosing to support a start up crowd funding platform, make sure you are ready to do most of the marketing, and you have a plan expands your reach beyond friends and family. There are other traditional routes to get funded, so ask yourself why crowd funding makes more sense than applying for a grant, asking for favors, or looking for an investor

2. How will your rewards involve your funders in your project?
For some this will be easy, perhaps an advance release of their CD, or a special funders only version of their product. For others, this is difficult, especially those that are building community gardens, school buildings, green houses, transparency projects. You can choose to go the traditional route, putting funders names or faces on your project, or you can do something awkward, cool, and personal. e.g. name a seed after them, ship them a coconut, create a gif of the building process. If you describe your project in my ASK box, i will blurt out a few random ideas in my spare time just for fun :)

3. Do you know how much this will cost you in time and money?
This will not be a build it and they will come kind of endeavour, plan to get featured in news articles, blogs, show progress even without the money in the bank, update more than once a week, even daily closer to the deadline. Plan in sending and creating rewards to your time line. Calculate shipping costs into the reward, after you deduct the platforms 5-20% charge plus amazon or paypal fees. After the thought you put in to the practical side of things… ask yourself question number one again :)

Something that is not here: a How-to create your video, highlight yourselves and the project in the mp3 with images. or just slides with pictures in a home camera. Bring people closer to you and your project. Don’t let the video part get in the way :)

jtotheizzoe:

ucresearch:

Happy Birthday Carl!


He would have been 79 today.

Carl Sagan was one of the first Miller Fellows at UC Berkeley back in 1960.  The program is designed to help young visionaries launch their careers in research. 

The GIFS above are from an animated version of Carl Sagan’s famed ‘Pale Blue Dot’ monologue.

A particularly brilliant and inspiring organized assortment of stardust, he was.

Happy birthday Carl. We miss you, but you live on in your words and our minds.

Teachers, do you have too little time and too many curriculum standards to cover? This image can be used to discuss about 3 quarters worth of science content, the human body, renewable and non renewable resources, and all about how plants make their food, among many other things :) of course not in one class! but in less time and with more understanding on the part of the students.
World, if we make visuals for classrooms, lets make them more like this.
Enough A is for Apple. No apples in the Philippines.
magictransistor:

Fritz Kahn. The Cycle of Virtue and Substance. 1929.

Teachers, do you have too little time and too many curriculum standards to cover? This image can be used to discuss about 3 quarters worth of science content, the human body, renewable and non renewable resources, and all about how plants make their food, among many other things :) of course not in one class! but in less time and with more understanding on the part of the students.

World, if we make visuals for classrooms, lets make them more like this.

Enough A is for Apple. No apples in the Philippines.

magictransistor:

Fritz Kahn. The Cycle of Virtue and Substance. 1929.

(via ilovecharts)

Dear 21

There is no high or low path really. There is the path you choose, and the ones you neglect. 

There’s not gonna be an abundance of choices, sometimes it’s a grind you need to get through to give yourself more options. But everyday, the most important choice is intangible. It’s found in the ways you decide to look at things. The habits of mind, are what make the difference. There will be no big opportunity if you’re not used to creating the little ones for yourself.   

Ground yourself in the daily more.

It’s all a high wire act of skill and performance, or artistry and exercise, of practice and improvise. 

I know we’re naturally introverts, just embrace it, don’t feel the pressure to pretend. Embrace your love for dreaming and quiet, coffee and cooking, early mornings over late nights. The ideal hierarchy is not dancing queens versus wall flowers, you are both. The real gauge for where you are is built on the fluctuating path to your best self. The labratory, junk shop, bodega of our room is your own half way house for making ideas real. You’re still kinda gonna be there at 25, but when you’re wondering if you’re wrong somehow, caught up in someone elses idea of you, please, stop wasting time.

Sincerely,

25

This stuff is hard to talk about, in large part because artistic choices are often indistinguishable from commercial ones. … The best work is often created in conversation with audiences, not by an artist talking to himself or herself in a windowless room. All art is compromise, too, because we’re working with flawed materials and trying to speak the angels’ secrets in the language of humans.