Sunday, August 8, 2010

Richmond Math Salon: A Sweet Sampling

Jeremy Stuart and Roy Robles, of 3StoryFilms, have produced a short video of the Richmond Math Salon. They recorded our April session, and interviewed me about it in June. It turned out great. Of course I'm embarrassed about how I look, but other than that, I love it! I'm looking forward to seeing the rest of Class Dismissed, the documentary this will be part of.

Our next session is September 18. Come join us if you're nearby.

[Edited on August 10 to improve video quality.]


  1. Congratulations! I'm glad your efforts are receiving some well-deserved attention. Can't wait to see the full documentary.

  2. Sue,
    Congratulations... I'm looking forward to seeing the entire project... I linked to your clip...more people need to see this.
    Keep up the great work.

  3. Loved it. What age kids usually come? I've got a 4 year old daughter and live in Mountain View. Would love to make it sometime if I could convince her to sit in the car for the hour or so it'd take to get there.

  4. Hi Sue - what a great video. For me, there were 2 key things you mentioned:
    (1) Getting the parents on board is very important
    (2) Measuring is vital.

  5. Sue,
    Congratulations on your "Richmond Math Salon". I am just a big kid, and would love to come and play at your place. I have linked to your article from my blog, because I hope that many people come to appreciate what you are doing. Keep on playing, and helping kids come to learn that Math can be fun and ....
    Kind regards, Jeff Trevaskis

  6. Jason, all ages come, but the kids who enjoy it most are usually 5 or 6 to 10 or 12. (I've seen younger kids totally involved.) If you'd like to come, maybe you could get her hooked on an audio book, and promise the rest on the drive. ;^)

    Murray, I picked up on the importance of measurement from the Davidov offshoots, and from Amanda Serenevy. We don't do measuring at the math salon, though. Maybe I'll build that into our session theme somehow in October...

  7. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this!! Someone posted a link on an email list, and I'm so glad to learn about what you're doing. I'm looking forward to reading more widely on your site now!

    I also love playing with maths, and inspiring others (children and parents alike) to do the same. Thanks for sharing!

  8. This is so wonderful! You've created a wonderful space for explorations in math. I will be linking you to my blog next week so more people can see the great work you're doing.

  9. "Sitting before me were a dozen boys and girls, aged nine to twelve. A week earlier, they asked me to teach them arithmetic. They wanted to learn to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and all the rest.
    'You don't really want to do this,' I said, when they first approached me.
    'We do, we are sure we do,' was their answer..."

    I invite you to read, " and Rithmetic," Free at Last: The Sudbury Valley School by Daniel Greenberg.

  10. Sue,

    What a great video! It looks like the salon was a lot of fun. I've been thinking a lot about including parents as well, and I'm not sure the best way. Should I invite them to the math circle where their kids are working? Or would that make things too tricky?

    I've been thinking about play a lot lately, and I think it's where math really begins. A perfect thing to do with little kids. The next question is, once you have the foundation, the beginning, that play provides, where to next?

    Thanks for the video!

  11. Hi Dan, I'm glad you wrote, because I was just trying to figure out how to contact you. I liked what you wrote over at your blog, and tried to respond. Your blog doesn't like me today, for some reason...

    Dan wrote about what happens after the play stage. My reply:

    I like this thinking. I'm still wondering how you get to the next step after the play. I write on my blog about a boy who I tutor. He gets very excited about exploring certain questions. It's all play for him, but he does work hard at it.

    I'll be writing a lot this semester about my beginning algebra students at the community college, and whether or not I'm able to get them to: 1. pose their own questions, 2. struggle with real problem solving, and 3. work on communication. #3 seems the easiest at the moment.

    >Should I invite them [the parents] to the math circle where their kids are working?

    My opinion is "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Your math circle sounds great (latest post). If you invite parents in, you might wreck the dynamic you've established.

    If you're eager to work with parents, I'd recommend setting up something else for them. (But I don't know any more than you do, I think we're all exploring possibilities with this math circle thing.)

    (p.s. You might want to get your math circle included on the page.)

  12. David, I love that story, too, and tried to get permission to include it in my book. It turns out the Sudbury folks have been inundated by people who want to know the title and author of that 1898 book. (That is not the point, of course.) They denied permission, and would like to get that story off the web. I may have deleted the copy I put up on Scribd.

  13. This is awesome! It made me so happy to see those kids being actively (and naturally) engaged with math. :) And your own enthusiasm really shines through. Thanks for sharing!

  14. You might be proud of what some of John Burk's students have been doing:
    Planting seeds: math/science salon begins

    "S, one of the most amazing students I’ve ever taught, has feverishly been working to develop plans for a math/science salon for 3rd and 4th graders at an Atlanta charter school. S has done an incredible amount of work on this project. She’s recruited 6 other ninth graders (5 girls and 1 boy) to help her out, she’s written up a detailed grant proposal for our service learning board and secured $1000 in funding. She’s filled the back corner of my classroom with boxes of carefully labeled supplies, and held a number of meetings with the leaders to practice and plan activities. And one of the group members has also started a blog (a must see)."

    They were inspired by your math salon video, of course!

  15. Frank, thanks for pointing to that post! I don't know how to find references to my blog, and would have missed it. That is so exciting.

  16. What a wonderful idea Sue. It is so invigorating to see people like you reaching out to the community and sharing your passion for the good of the children and their parents

  17. I want to come to a Math Salon!!! ;-) I don't live in your area, but I would definitely attend if I did. And I would help with your Math Center idea. These are great ways to bring math to people who think they "don't do math". Thanks for making a difference!

    I Tweeted the URL for your video. I think more people need to see it and start creating Math Salon's in their towns.

  18. Thanks, Shari!

    Ever since I started, I've felt like the name of it, 'salon', is a bit pretentious. I wish I had come up with something more down-to-earth.

    But I love that you tweeted it, and are suggesting that people do it all over. If you'd like to do something similar yourself, please email me or give me a call.

  19. Hi, I've never met you (First time here!) but I think what you are doing is amazing and you look beautiful doing it! A group like this is exactly what I've envisioned and sought out but couldn't find. Instead, we just do this at our home. We even have the trampoline! Anyone want to join a gathering like this in the Los Angeles area? :)

  20. Mrs. Z, Please email me (suevanhattum on hotmail) to discuss this further. I'd love to help you get started.

  21. Dee http://particlesofwords.comJuly 9, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Hi Sue,

    This is really cool. I may not be so afraid of math if I could have approached it in this way. As it is, I had to have the right teacher to get anywhere with algebra even, but that right teacher still could not ease my math anxiety when it came to testing.

    Unfortunately, I've also rubbed off on my daughter who is exactly like me where math is concerned. She is in college now and doing anything she can to avoid math.

    It was great to meet you.

    Dee in Michigan

  22. Dee, It was great to meet you too. If there's anything I can do to help your daughter, I'd love to.


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