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4th grade division using arrays

on February 16th, 2013 at 1:09:17 PM

Have you seen 4th graders do division? It's completely different than the way we learned it. Here's Elizabeth showing how to do it - Khan Academy style


Don't Lecture Me

on February 10th, 2013 at 8:32:54 AM

Flipped classrooms are getting a lot of attention these days and this is great, since this teaching model can be hugely beneficial for both students and teachers. In a traditional classroom, students listen (usually passively) to a lecture and then they're expected to go home and learn the concepts on their own by doing homework. But in a flipped classroom, things are inverted and the passive lecture watching happens at home while the the active learning happens in the classroom. Students spend their classroom time doing activites with other students, working out problems, and getting coaching and help from their teacher and peers. 

Lots of teachers and college professors are using this new model and the results are positive. Here's one example of how one physics professor structures his class so that his students  learn more from each other during class time:


Here’s how he does it: Before each class, students are assigned reading in the textbook. Pretty standard for a lecture class, but if you talk to college students you’ll find that many of them don’t bother with the reading ahead of time. They come to class to figure out what information the professor thinks is important, then they go to the textbook to read up on what they didn’t understand.
“In my approach I’ve inverted that,” says Mazur.
He expects students to familiarize themselves with the information beforehand so that class time can be spent helping them understand what the information means.
To make sure his students are prepared, Mazur has set up a web-based monitoring system where everyone has to submit answers to questions about the reading prior to coming to class. The last question asks students to tell Mazur what confused them. He uses their answers to prepare a set of multiple-choice questions he uses during class.
Mazur begins class by giving a brief explanation of a concept he wants students to understand. Then he asks one of the multiple-choice questions. Students get a minute to think about the question on their own and then answer it using a mobile device that sends their answers to Mazur’s laptop.
Next, he asks the students to turn to the person sitting next to them and talk about the question. The class typically erupts in a cacophony of voices, as it did that first time he told students to talk to each other because he couldn’t figure out what else to do.
Once the students have discussed the question for a few minutes, Mazur instructs them to answer the question again.
You can see a video of Mazur’s peer instruction approach in action here:
Then the process repeats with a new question.

Read the full post on MindShift.

Online Math Games for Kids

on January 19th, 2013 at 7:54:57 AM

Coolmath-Games has some great games for kids. The design of the website is pretty dated - looks like it's from 1996 - but it has some really good games.

One of our favorites is a logic game called Factory Balls.

Opening Party of Book and Bar

on December 9th, 2012 at 8:12:56 AM

Portsmouth's new hotspot, Book and Bar, celebrated their opening last night with a party that drew book lovers from all over NH and MA. Our friend, Amy Mehaffey, is the head chef of this new store that combines a fantastic selection of likenew used books, craft beer, wine and great food.

MIT + K12

on May 1st, 2012 at 10:50:04 PM

MIT is trying to get more kids interested in science, tech, engineering, and math with a site called MIT + K12 where kids can watch short videos of MIT students doing different experiements. MIT is filled wtih thousands of brilliant students who have access to sophisticated labs and equipment. This project gives students a way to give back by letting them become "experimental partners" to teachers around the country. Teachers can suggest different topics or assignments and the students will create the videos. The research they've done so far is positiive and the kids really like the videos.

Bridger Bowl Montana - 27" of powder

on March 5th, 2012 at 9:36:11 AM

Alpine lift

New roof

on January 2nd, 2012 at 10:57:52 AM

It's a new year and we're getting a new roof - oh joy! Paying for a new roof is about as thrilling as paying for a root canal. But it turned out great. Here's the old and the new. 

NYC Dec 2011

on December 30th, 2011 at 7:00:00 PM

We had a fun couple of days in New York. Danny drove down midweek and the kids and I took the bus down on Friday morning, Dec 30th. I woke them up at 4:45 am to catch the bus to Porter station, the T to South Station, and then a bus to NY. They were fantastic travellers. Highlights of the trip were ice skating in Rockerfeller Center, watching them test the New Years ball in Times Square, Highline park, climbing on the giant rocks in the south side of Central Park, books and cupcakes at Books of Wonder and wandering around the streets. We stayed at our friends apt in the Upper West side (thanks Ben!) and I discovered the Westside Market on Broadway during a morning run - awesome place.

We waited over an hour to skate

Westside Market - Broadway and 110th


Funny kid

on November 16th, 2011 at 10:56:33 PM

The kids were getting ready for bed the other night and messing around to avoid the inevitable. Paige was jumping around and bumped her head.  Elizabeth said, "Served you right for fooling around!". And Paige replied with "No, it served me wrong!" and stompped off.

Apple Picking

on October 10th, 2011 at 6:51:16 AM

We had a great day at Honey Pot Hill orchard with the Stelzers. Paige ate about 5 apples and Elizabeth tried to climb every tree in the orchard. Ashley took some great shots, here are my favorites.