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March 18, 2010

It’s intriguing how often I find myself learning a new word or hearing of a new idea only to encounter that word or idea again shortly thereafter in another conversation or context.  For my whole life, I was never aware of the word or idea, but suddenly within the span of a few hours or a few days, I hear it twice!

As an example, a friend of mine recently used the phrase “bored out of my gourd.”  I’d NEVER heard anyone use that expression before, but the following day in school, one of my fellow faculty members, whose students were on a field trip with another teacher that day (leaving him with no one to teach to), used the exact same expression.  Go figure.

This morning, a fellow math teacher was telling me about the findings of a study that had been done with street children in Brazil.  Apparently, these kids are whizzes at on-the-fly mental math, accurately calculating answers to all sorts of numerical situations involving pricing, quantities, remainders, and so on; however, when these same kids are given non-contextual problems on worksheets, they can hardly answer a darn thing. 

Later this afternoon, I checked my email to find a message from my dad with a book proposal attached.  He wanted me to read it because it was about both math (which I teach) and street kids in Brazil (where I’ve lived).  Well darn if the book isn’t about the same thing that my colleague was just telling me about this morning!


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