This post is brought to you by procrastination.

Since creating a blogpost is much more fun than practicing my presentation for the NWP meeting next Friday, here we are. And here’s this on procrastination, which I read while procrastinating.

Accolades and fabulousness

obamaatthetable4-13Obama: At the Table with book, lyrics, and music by ALC teacher Mindy Levokove, is being performed at the WOW Cafe Theater, 59-61 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10003 on Fridays and Saturdays, April 12, 13, 18, 19. As the description notes, “Hear the voices and perspectives of many varied groups, traditionally marginalized by the ‘ruling class’ in America, and be empowered!” For more information click here (scroll down).

New York City Mathematics Project presentation at ILS inquiry, March 8, 2013

In spite of some seriously treacherous weather last Friday, ILS people met for their third program presentation exploring the connections between our practice and ILS values. I was traveling and sad to miss it, but I caught up on the details in the following week.

The New York City Mathematics Project presented their teacher leadership work and linked it to the ILS core value of “transformative work for all persons.” The Math Project’s focus questions were:

  • How do you see the leadership work of the NYCMP as having been transformative for teachers?
  • What aspects of our work should we carry forward? How should we continue to nurture teachers and develop leadership given the challenges?
  • What suggestions/advice do you have for us to enhance our programs, especially in overcoming the challenges we have presented?

The Math Project has been intentional in using their professional development programs to build leaders. The idea of leadership development has been a core mission of their work since the first NSF grant that started the project back in 1989. At the presentation on March 8, various individuals talked in person and on video about their leadership development in the Math Project, and how their own trajectories informed or influenced the Math Project’s later work. In talking about the presentation on the following Monday, ILS project directors observed that many of the leadership narratives were about identity–about the satisfaction and surprise at having others take your work seriously. Erick Gordon noted how in the Math Project and in the Writing Project, reaching out to notice someone’s potential helps people grow. Anne Campos added that in Mathematics Teacher Transformation Institutes (our current NSF-funded program) the research underscores that the strongest predictor for teacher leadership is self-efficacy, which was quite evident as a thread in the Math Project’s presentation.

Here are a few photos from March 8, courtesy of Ann Cola.

Thanks to NYCMP Director Suzanne Libfeld, MTTI Director Ronald Schwarz, Math Project consultants and leaders past and present, and to folks from the ALC, who fed everyone magnificently.

Reading/Clicking Around

Along with the various pundits, comedians, sportwriters, cultural critics, and colleagues that fill my Twitter feed, I also follow some education activists who have piqued my interest or outrage. One group that I’ve just begun following is Education Evolving (@EdEvolving), a project of the Minnesota-based Center for Policy Studies offering a curious amalgam of teacher empowerment, 21st century school design, and a pro-charter orientation.

Through Education Evolving I landed on a summary of a recent report from the Gordon Commission. Led by Dr. Edmund Gordon, the Commission includes an esteemed group of scholars and education leaders from diverse worlds and schools of thought. I can’t imagine what their meetings have been like. Visit the commission’s website

The report issued by the Commission last week asserts strongly that the purpose of assessment should be instructional feedback more than accountability. Citing the potential of the new Common Core-aligned assessments, the Commission calls for a broader, deeper look at the role of assessment in instruction and at the ways in which technology and social media have changed what it means to be well-educated. Read the summary here.


Do we really need algebra? What should be the purpose of mathematics education in the schools? Here’s a little piece of the debate, published to stimulate conversation before an event that took place in L.A. a couple of weeks ago. Among the voices in this dialogue are Lynn Arthur Steen (some of us may remember him from our year of inquiry into quantitative reasoning) and Bob Moses. Here’s a snippet from Bob Moses:

Do you all have to master algebra?  Yes, if you all intend to be twenty-first century “Constitutional People” rather than Information Age ‘serfs’.

Read the debate here.


Karen Griswold and Kitty Crooks, along with other ALC teachers, ALC students, and Lehman faculty, are gearing up for some development work with the Lehman Edible Garden–a wonderful model of sustainability, situated learning, maker culture, cross-Lehman collaboration, and good food. More as this develops. 

Erick Gordon, Jane Higgins, Joe Bellacero, Chris Bellacero, and I will be in Washington, D.C. on Thursday and Friday to participate in the National Writing Project’s spring event — visiting policy makers on Thursday to talk about the NWP’s impact and value, and participating in cross-site professional development on Friday morning. More on that in the next blog post.

Upcoming events

March 18: NYC Writing Project Inservice Advisory Group
March 22: National Writing Project Spring Meeting in Washington, DC
April 9: NYC Writing Project Elementary Advisory Group
April 23: World Book Night. The ALC was selected as a World Book Night giver.
April 27:  NYC Writing Project conference featuring keynote talks by Peter Elbow and Katherine Schulten and a host of sessions led by Writing Project teacher-presenters.
May 4:  NYC Math Project conference featuring a keynote talk by Andy Clark and sessions conducted by teacher-presenters.

Follow me on Twitter (@marwol), if you are so inclined.

Be well,

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2 Responses to This post is brought to you by procrastination.

  1. Mindy Matijasevic says:

    I wanted to fix the mistake in paragraphing, but there seems to be no edit option for the comments. Aaaah. That brings back second grade, Miss Endler, coming to snip off your eraser with her huge scissors.

  2. Mindy Matijasevic says:

    Though I read the article on procrastination and appreciate it, I still feel awful from doing it. It affects so many other things. Also, that algebra debate brought back Walton High School, ninth grade with me whining to my teacher, “If I don’t want to be a pilot, why do I have to learn to find x?” Ms. Fahri responded, “Because you may teach math one day.” I rolled my eyes and said,

    “Yeah, right.” Thanks for letting us know what’s going on. I didn’t know until I read this that we are a book giver for World Book Night.

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