6 December, 2013
Volume 18 No. 49
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In This Issue

PNC Christmas Price Index

Nix the Tricks: The Book

2014 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition Online Conference Planner


Online PD

Orientation Sessions

Problem Based Learning Courses

Graduate Credit:
Mathematics Teaching and Learning Certificate

Master's Degree


PNC Christmas Price Index


For the past 30 years, PNC Wealth Management has illustrated the cost of all the gifts involved in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as a way of bringing the basic principles of economic fluctuation to life.

To celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the Christmas Price Index, PNC has created a website that lets students build and customize each of the gifts. It also offers a price chart and an explanation of how PNC determined the Christmas Price Index.

PNC's partner, The Stock Market Game™, provides accompanying lesson plans to help students identify economic trends and to project their impact on the 2013 PNC Christmas Price Index, available in

Nix the Tricks: The Book


When a colleague approached Tina Cardone to lament their students' grasp of slope, the Massachusetts public school teacher expanded the conversation — first to her math department, then to the MathTwitterBlogosphere (MTBoS) community. By sharing methods that emphasize understanding over memorization, together they developed a group document of the "worst offenders" to nix, and their fixes.

First featured in these pages four months ago, Cardone finished typesetting the Nix the Tricks book this past weekend. Freely download a PDF of its seven chapters, with illustrations and examples from contributor Michael Pershan's MathMistakes.org site, in full size (8.5" x 11") or optimized for tablets and e-readers:


The book aims for "teachers everywhere to seek coherence and connection rather than offer students memorized procedures and short-cutting tricks." Mnemonics, clichés, and other tricks that it nixes and fixes include:

  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking: PEMDAS, BIDMAS
  • Operations and Algebraic Thinking: Two negatives make a positive
  • Ratios and Proportional Relationships: Cross multiply
  • Arithmetic with Polynomials: FOIL
  • Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities: "Hungry" inequality symbols

Cardone asks that readers let her know of any issues by submitting them with the form at nixthetricks.com, leaving a comment on her blog post, or tweeting them to @crstn85. She also welcomes donations to help with the costs of maintaining the site.

2014 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition Online Conference Planner


The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) last week announced the launch of the Online Conference Planner for its 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Search the complete program for presentations by grade level, speaker, topic or day to see what's on the agenda for April in New Orleans:



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