Monday, March 23, 2015

The Wannado* Curriculum: A Math Teacher's Journey to the Dynamic Math 2.0 Classroom

Ihor Charischak
In his new book Ihor Charischak describes the dynamic classroom as a place where the interaction between teacher and students produces engagement and learning. Success depends on what the teacher does, how it fits in with the needs of the students, and the quality and utilization of resources. In The Wannado* Curriculum, Charischak tells how he turned his vision of a dynamic Math 2.0 classroom into a reality. Part memoir, part teaching tool, the Wannado Curriculum offers insight into helping teachers establish a context for creating their own "wannado" curriculum, a project-based approach where the context makes the content interesting to students. The book:
  • describes how growing up as an immigrant in America impacted his learning
  • tells how he discovered the secret to working with unmotivated students 
  • Explores the idea that alternative ways of teaching and learning are the keys to powerful, dynamic teaching and learning that motivates students 
  • discusses his experiences in a private, child-centered school, where he used computers to practice the teaching and learning he was excited about 
  • relays how the real-life game of craps inspired a reluctant student to ask questions about the mathematical intricacies of the game 
  • brings to life his experiences with computers in teaching math 
  • details his vision of the dynamic math classroom 
  • introduces Math 2.0, a powerful environment that uses mathematics software and collaborative Web 2.0 tools in a dynamic classroom setting 
The Wannado Curriculum presents glimpses of what twenty-first century math teaching and learning could look like if a student-driven and teacher-supported method was universally embraced.

More information about the Wannado Curriculum is available here.

*Wannado is the heightened version of “want to do” It’s what kids (and adults?) say when they really, really want to do something.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Wannado* Curriculum - A Math Teacher's Journey to the Dynamic Math 2.0 Classroom - now available!

Now Available at Amazon
“The Wannado* Curriculum: A Math Teacher's Journey to the Dynamic Math 2.0 Classroom” presents glimpses of what 21st century math teaching and learning could look like if, we truly embrace a student driven, teacher supported, national approach. The flawed NCLB and recent “Race to the Top” reforms are doomed to failure because they depend on a model that stubbornly will not scale, namely having cadres of well-prepared teachers who are experts in their field in every school. False hope continues to support these misguided efforts because of success stories from smaller, more homogenous countries like Finland and cities like Shanghai. Our more diverse, and heterogeneous approach does not lend itself easily to copying their successful(?) platforms. We need our own style that fits our needs better.

In this book, I plan to address this issue head on and explain how we could have a “tipping point” [1] where math achievement dramatically improves without having to resort to “super teachers” in the classroom to save us. Yes, we need good teachers, but to achieve progress in student math learning we need to follow a variety of paths, not just the one set over 100 years ago by the Committee of Ten [2] that outlined the current order of math topics in play today. What I propose is not a new idea. John Dewey and other progressive pioneers (mostly ignored by the mainstream decision makers in proposing solutions) offered it and practiced it successfully in their pockets of influence and notably in places where research studies acknowledged their success. Unfortunately, most reform efforts just tinker around the edges and don’t get at the heart of the problem: Most students find formal math learning boring and unrelated to their everyday life.

Even the top kids who are successful have little choice in how they study mathematics because the path has been set in stone, a path I call the “Royal Road to Calculus” which has its origins in the aforementioned Committee of Ten report.

The question, then, is what can educators, parents, and mentors do to offer alternatives to the current “one size fits all” path so that students will want to go to school not just because they need the necessary credentials and grades, but because they see the content of what they are learning as significant stepping stones to their dreams and ambitions and because they have adults around them who support their visions and provide the opportunities for them to explore the paths that interest them. Everyday math [3] is important but it can be learned in much more creative and empowering ways that enable students to see the value of math in their lives. This book will share examples of how this can be done.
Now available at

*Wannado is the heightened version of “want to do” It’s what kids (and adults?) say when they really, really want to do something.

[1] Malcolm Gladwell – Tipping Point
[2] Committee of Ten 1893 report
[3] Keith Devlin – Mathematics Education for a New Era. Chapter 3. P. 23