re·cur·sion
noun /riˈkərZHən/ recursions, plural

I’m Paul Salomon, a math nerd.teacher.artist living in Brooklyn and working at Saint Ann’s School. Thoughts are constantly careening around in my head about these things, and this blog is is my way of getting them out into the world. As a math nerd, I spend time connecting ideas together and thinking about what new questions might be appealing or fruitful. As a mathematical artist, I spin those thoughts out into beautiful images and objects, genuinely doing mathematics in the process. And as a teacher, I get to share it all with my students: myself and my passion; beautiful ideas and objects; the pleasant confusion and wonder of mathematics; and the humanity of it all. Lost in Recursion is my place to share that with you.
contact Paul via lostinrecursion@gmail.com or follow @lostinrecursion on Twitter. Paul also cowrites Math Munch: a weekly digest of the mathematical internet.
One time in the second day of my DCC math class the teacher gave us some problems. I asked her if she could give me an example of when someone might use this specific rule. She responded “on the test on friday” followed by giggles. She later in the same class said that “no one should fail this class”. Remembering that a few other teachers had said this before; I shook my head and excused myself. I stopped going to classes after that. Not because i couldn’t pass them, school was not too much of a problem for me. But if there is no chance to fail; then where is the chance for the better students to separate themselves?? Not sure if that is applicable or not haha .
Thanks for sharing your story, David. I’m almost worried about any system in which the basic process is chances to fail or succeed. Is it possible to have schools that really allow students learn and lead successful, sustaining lives, without having to separate them by grades and other carrots? I think so.
I think that it was great.
It’s not only possible but has been done since 1968 at the Sudbury Valley School and others like it.
http://www.sudburyvalleyschool.com
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What do I think? I think there is something extraordinary happening at St. Ann’s school. This is the second math blog I read from teachers at St. Ann’s. You and your collegue’s creativity, intellectual curiosity, and use of technology is quite rare in math classes in America. You are a breath of fresh air. I hope you don’t mind if I point you out in my work with schools.
Michael Gielniak, Ph.D.
Director, OnetoOne Institute
Michael Thanks so much for your kind words.
The department has strong consensus for what valuable mathematical experiences are like, but we are surprisingly varied as classroom teachers. This blog is really only a representation of my own approach, but I feel very strongly that what I do and push for is at the heart of our history and mission statement.
Feel free to bring me up anytime, and I am not afraid to stand behind my work as a Saint Ann’s teacher. However, I am not a representative of the school, and the views expressed here are my own.
Take care, and feel free to contact me.