ch3cooh: (Ball Pit)
Weighing "Failing Gracefully" highly is one of the best strategies I picked up in college.  It means that among many options for how to do things, giving a strong priority (a "weight") to those that, even if they don't reach fruition, still make a significant positive impact.  Projects that have zero utility until they are completely finished are dangerous - because in reality, few things have the chance to finish before the world changes around them making a 'perfect finish' impossible.  And with a limited amount of time to work on projects, it's also a huge deal when the partial project, put on hold, still has utility in that state.

Last night I ran into a project that has the highest potential to succeed /and/ to fail gracefully that I'ves seen in a long time.  It's not a new idea.  It's simply a local school that wants me to come in once a week for 4 hours to do 4 sequential classes, one with part of each grade.  And the concurrent math classes would be split so that students who need more support with the current school unit have a much higher student to teacher ratio, while students who are ready to move on don't get board/distract the class - instead they come to my session and do something likely related to their teachers' curriculum - but open ended research and problem-solving centric. :)

This role has about 60% of what appealed to me about working at MoMath - outreach to students who might not yet know that math is awesome, non-traditional curricula, visibilty to other teachers and scalability.  And then it also has some remarkable positive differences - that I'd be working with the same group of students, building a community and relationships with them over an entire year for instance.  Also, more freedom in what and how to teach.  And it's /so/ tempting that the scalability is still there... just doing this for 4-5 schools myself is a lifelong career that I think I'd be pretty happy with, in part because of how much free time it would leave me with to do any projects I saw fit to do.  :)  But, the large scale dream would be collecting people to do this with me - maybe from the math-circle teaching community.  The MC lesson plans are a good fit, and what I'm doing now -- developing MC-style lesson plans that can parellel core 'school-content' could be useful to other people.  I can see life that I would really like in this -- teaching 2-3 days/week, and coordinating the administration of a dozen people doing similarly, observing their classes 2-3 days/week.  Constantly building and rebuilding lessons to fit what new schools and teachers are doing. Working with teachers to expand their regular curriculum with the support of these weekly sessions.  :D  Wow -- it'a a position and a lifestyle that meets almost every metric I've got.

So yeah, I'm excited.  And... I think there's only a 5, maybe 10 percent chance that what I'm describing above actually happens.  But the failure is doing this myself at one school and then it doesn't go further than that.  And that 'failure' is also OK - very OK.  A lot of what I'm doing right now is like this -- I'm not sure what part will 'take off' if any, but the partial steps -- teaching for a lot of Math Circles and trying out other types of teaching/tutoring as well - the partial steps are also good things.  :)
ch3cooh: (Yosemite)
In short: a month ago today, the New Museum of Mathematics opened in Manhattan, NY. 
Soon after that, I received an email with this video of the MoMath Opening
Soon after that, I applied... then an interview :) ... then a job offer :D... and, a couple days ago, I accepted the offer! :D!!!
I'm going to be an Education Coordinator at the museum starting in February!
I'm planning to move to an apt off the PATH line in New Jersey, since PATH drops right into Manhattan at Madison Sq. Park where the museum is located.
So if you want to visit me and/or the new museum sometime after March 1st, just email me regarding 'crash space'.  I <3 NY, but It's more than a little terrifying to be uprooting and relocating so suddenly! I am definitely going to miss friends in Boston, and I'd love to have you all visit! 

More About the Museum (and PICTURES!) )


Dec. 12th, 2012 12:12 pm
ch3cooh: (Yosemite)

Interested in mathematical origami or Swedish folk music?  How about online education or filmmaking?  If so, you might want to take a look at the project I'm working on, a site at  It's a page of video-lessons organized in 2 trees of subject matters: "Swedish Folk Music" and "Origami Design."


First of all, I hope you just think it's pretty.  I had a lot of fun doing the art - and the visual metaphore is that 'topics' are trees suspending glowing spheres: 'concepts' so to speak.  I'm not enough of an artist to fully demonstrate how beautiful this idea looks to me:  a forrest, (perhaps more like a garden for the variety ;-) full of softly glowing spheres connected by strings of smaller lights, like a neural network of lights draped over a living forrest.  If I could, I'd make a video in which you zoom out now and see that this lit forrest is itself inside a glowing sphere with thin lines connecting it to nearby concepts in aesthetics, education, and engineering:

So, in that order:


And more feedback/recomendations/insights on what's up already would, of
course, be appreciated!  So comment or email me if you have ideas! :)

ch3cooh: (Reena-Rabbit the Matrix has you)
I've been working on a series of poems for a class I took this semester, a poetry workshop.  During the first half of the class, there were more specific prompts, but the assignment for the rest of the year is just to write.  I decided to write a series of poems about something about which I dane ;-)  to know a bit more than average: food, cooking, and flavor.

I'm calling the project, "The Life of Flavor" and it's hopefully going to be an interesting cookbook of sorts, where each recipe is preceded by a series of poems that describe, separately, the main flavors and ingredients of each dish.  The idea is that the impression from each poem should hold strongly enough that the reader, having read the poems in quick succession can 'taste' the dish.  :)

For example, a recipe key lime pie would be preceded by four poems on a page:  lime, cool and smooth, graham cracker, and whipped cream.  So far, I've written a poem about lime, and another about... another food (it would spoil reading the poem a bit for me to tell).  Anyway, I've posted the two poems below, and I'd love feedback.  But I'm mainly posting because I'm looking for a few people to help me write.  If you're interested, either post in response or send me an email.

Poem #1 )
Poem #2 )


ch3cooh: (Default)

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