Author Archives: Chris Brownell

Support for Local Project to Strengthen Mathematics Teaching

The California Mathematics Council is a statewide organization dedicated to enhancing the learning and teaching of mathematics to all students. Most California readers of AIMS blogs are likely familiar with the work of this organization, but may be unaware that it has local expressions. These local entities are known as “affiliates” within the organization itself. There are 26 of these affiliate organizations across the state already. Although five of these are part of the Central Section, there are however, none listed in the Fresno/Madera County areas.

We at the AIMS Center thought this was a wrong that needed righting. So we pulled together teachers, district personnel, county office mathematics coordinators, and others interested in creating a network here in our area. On Thursday May 11, 2017 we met and created the Fresno and Madera Mathematics Educators (FaM2E). We gathered at a pizza parlor in Fresno, but before making plans for what we should do as an organization, we took the time to build Soma cube puzzles together and investigated some of the properties of these classic wooden block puzzles.

Once we got down to business though, a very serious meeting of 18 of the most passionate mathematics teachers you will ever know ensued. Wherein we discussed our purpose and the need for officers. It was decided to create four offices, each serving two year terms. These offices are President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. With a whole lot of laughter and general good fun we nominated and elected three of the four officers on the spot. They are:

President: Harlan Elrich from Sanger Unified

Vice President: Nancy Ferraro from Madera Unified

Treasurer: Yet to be decided

Secretary: Yours Truly, Chris Brownell

Our purpose statement is still being crafted but will encompass the following ideas:

  • Constructing and strengthening professional networks of mathematics teachers in the two counties;
  • Seeking to promote the joy of learning and doing mathematics in all classrooms in the region, and to do this through creating opportunities for professional growth;
  • Keeping a focus on achieving equity of opportunity and engagement for all students of mathematics at every level.

I look forward to working with all these folks to see mathematics education continue to improve its scope and reach throughout our region.

Coming soon, a local chapter of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA) as well. Stay tuned!


Episode 35 | Teaching in a Classroom Designed for Interaction

Eddie Campos Jr.(@edcamposjr), a staple on the Mathematics Twitter Blogospere (#MTBoS) joins us via Skype this week to discuss how he has transformed his classroom environment. Through the use of vertical and horizontal whiteboard surfaces, rich problems, and visual random grouping; Mr. Campos has completely changed his workplace. He talks with us about the effects… Continue Reading

Episode 33 | What Role Can Literature Play in Math & Science Teaching

Jon Dueck from the Fresno County Superintendent of Schools Office joins Chris in the studio this week. They discuss various ways in which Mathematics and Science teaching can be enhanced through the use of literature. This podcast accompanies the Colloquium Talk Jon gave on April 24, 2017. For more good resources watch that recording, after… Continue Reading

Episode 32 | Integrated, Creative Thought; STEAM at the Center of Versatility

Leslie Love Stone joins Chris to describe how art, and mathematics come together in her Geometric Abstract style of painting. With an incredible collection of processes, and metaphors Leslie typically collects and layers information sets upon layers. Chris and Leslie spend some time describing a series she recently painted, “California National Parks ∩ Last of… Continue Reading

Episode 31 | Mathematics Teaching ABOUT, WITH, and FOR Social Justice, Dr. Manjula Joseph

Based on the vision of education contained with the writings of Paulo Freire and others; Dr. Joseph has studied within the field of Teaching With Social Justice. This is to say she has sought to create, within her classes, a socially just system for learning. This podcast, we discuss the three aspects of teaching with… Continue Reading

Episode 30 | Helping Teachers Value and Build Models of Student Thinking

We at AIMS are focused upon helping teachers to understand and create useful models of their student’s thinking. This requires a shift in emphasis for some. This week Chris interviews Nicola Hodkowski, a doctoral student in Mathematics Education at the University of Colorado, Denver. She tells, first hand, how this shift can take place, and… Continue Reading

From Red Rock to Green Wall

I have nearly 30 years experience in the teaching of mathematics and the teaching of the teaching of mathematics. Some of my favorite teaching moments have centered on the use of, or focus upon, problems to teach with or from. Every summer for nearly 15 years I would teach the Problem Solving course at Fresno… Continue Reading