This week was weird for my family. I will walk you through it, while making attempts to tie it into mathematics and teaching.
Monday: It had been 14 days since I got my first dose of vaccine, and while there is debate about precisely how much protection that gives you, I decided to do a safe thing that I hadn’t done yet: go to the Cloisters Museum, which is a short walk away from our apartment.
The coolest thing I saw was The Book of Chess. It posits that the game of chess was invented ‘to correct the evil manners of the king, to avoid idleness and sadness, and to satisfy the natural desire for novelty by means of the infinite variety of the play,” according to this.
Can a game provide moral instruction? That’s what The Book of Chess stands for, and this remains an idea knocked around in education. Maybe students will learn lessons from the problems they solve that go well beyond mathematics? I was excited to see an example of this line of thought from 1483.
That night, we are informed that my daughter’s preschool teacher tested positive for COVID.
Tuesday: We begin quarantine for my daughter.
Wednesday: Quarantine, day 2. And, hey, my book has a cover and a webpage! It’s called “Teaching Math With Examples.” It does not have a release date to my knowledge, though. It’s about how students learn from the examples of others, and how we teachers can use examples to engage kids in deep mathematical thinking. I’m very excited for people to read it! Though I don’t think it’s really “out” yet and I don’t know when it will be.
Thursday: I go and get my second dose of vaccine in the morning, and clearly I have somewhat given up on making this all about mathematics and teaching.
That afternoon we get test results from my daughter and: she has COVID.
It is currently a debatable question how prevalant COVID spread is in schools. Matt Barnum’s reporting and tweeting on this has been excellent, in my opinion. See this and this for instance. Well, I can tell you that spread at preschools is indeed possible.
Friday: And our deeper quarantine begins. I’m feeling lousy, which is either the side effects of the COVID vaccine or the actual coronavirus. Who knows? It doesn’t matter, we’re locked up for a while anyway.
Anyway, thanks for paying attention. I’m sorry that this week’s email isn’t very much fun. I feel bad about that. Do you really need more stress and sadness in your inbox?
I’m also sorry, I had a lot of things I wanted to blog about that I didn’t get to this week. Here’s what they were, maybe I’ll get to them or maybe I won’t:
I have been thinking and you know what? I am anti-coronavirus. Not a fan. Not. At. All.
Sorry that you’re getting this side of me this week,