Bon Crowder

Math Teacher and Blogger
MathFour.com

Expert: Bon Crowder

Bon Crowder is a Math Mom, Education Advocate, and Professor of Math at Houston Community College.

She teaches math at HCC using positive math talk, and encourages others to do the same in their daily lives to improve how everyone approaches math. Crowder has taught and tutored math to over 15,000 children and adults in living rooms, classrooms, and conferences. She publishes the site MathFour.com to help teachers and parents confidently and creatively support children in math. She is co-creator of THAT'S MATH!, a site that helps parents talk real-world math with their kids. Crowder has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, and has appeared on eHow.com, Great Day Houston, CreateChatter.tv, and Women in Business Radio. She has also hosted numerous seminars and webinars and emceed large conferences.

Related Work
Free parent involvement activities based on CCSS
Free content for teachers and parents to teach math and support math learners

More From This Expert

Girl In School

Academic Tips for the Summer Before College

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BODY <p>College academics are challenging; there is no denying that. Your student has to be prepared to take on the demanding coursework required in a college-setting, which will likely feel very different than their studies in high school. Hopefully by now you have established that they are indeed <a href="/advice-tips/is-my-teen-academically-prepared-for-college-how-to-know">ready to take on college academics</a>. But there are still some things your teen can do the summer before college to brush up on their skills:</p> <p><strong>Math Tips</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Encourage your student to tutor younger kids in math to brush up on basic subject. Even if it is just for a short time with younger siblings or kids in the neighborhood, there can be a benefit. Bon Crowder, a math professor at Houston Community College, says this is a great way to help solidify key math concepts for students.</p> </li> <li> <p>Have students calculate tips at restaurants when you go out to eat. This is a simple way to practice basic math skills that they will use when they are on their own.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="/advice-editorial/teaching-teens-to-budget">Review budgeting basics with them</a>. Have them plan monthly budgets for themselves during the summer so they are prepared for doing it on their own.</p> </li> <li> <p>Highlight examples of math in the real world. Check out our <a href="/video-series/that-s-math" target="_blank">That’s Math series </a>for examples.</p> </li> <li> <p>If you are driving to drop them off at their college, make your student pack the car. This requires analytical thinking to figure out how to make all of their belongings fit in the (sometimes small) space of your trunk.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>English Tips</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Encourage your student to read! “You only get better reading by reading,” Laurie Curtis, former assistant professor at Kansas State University, says. Students can read whatever they want; you get faster at reading by practicing it.</p> </li> <li> <p>Read the newspaper. This can be during breakfast together, or leaving it for them to read later. Talk about current events during dinner or other times to go over what you have read. This is not only helpful for literacy, but will ensure your kid knows what is going on in the world.</p> </li> <li> <p>Highlight the difference between novels you may read for fun and academic textbooks. Curtis suggests emphasizing that you don’t approach everything you read in the same way. For example, you should survey textbook chapters for titles, subheadings, and bolded words before starting to read them. You likely wouldn’t do this with a fiction novel you are reading for fun.</p> </li> <li> <p>Buy a journal for your student and suggest they keep notes and reflections about their summer before college. This is not only a great way for them to practice expressing themselves through writing, but it will be a great memento for them to look back on.</p> <p>_insertContent=B85456D0-14C4-11E7-96810050569A4B6C_</p> <p>President-Elect elect of the National Council of Teacher of English Jocelyn A. Chadwick suggests encouraging your teen to reflect on how they are feeling during this transition time.</p> </li> </ul>
BODYES <p>No lo negaremos, los estudios universitarios son todo un desafío. Tu hijo debe estar preparado para enfrentar las exigencias de cursar materias universitarias, que serán muy diferentes de las que cursaba en la escuela secundaria. Para este momento ya habrás determinado que tu hijo está <a href="/advice-tips/is-my-teen-academically-prepared-for-college-how-to-know">preparado para enfrentar la vida universitaria</a>. Pero todavía quedan algunas cosas que tu hijo puede hacer durante el verano antes de comenzar la universidad para pulir sus habilidades:</p> <p><strong>Consejos para Matemáticas</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Sugiérele a tu hijo que se ofrezca como tutor de niños más pequeños para así reforzar sus propios conocimientos básicos. No importa si es por poco tiempo y solo ayuda a sus hermanos o vecinos, siempre habrá un beneficio. Bon Crowder, profesor de matemáticas en Houston Community College, explica que es una excelente forma de ayudar a los estudiantes a consolidar los conceptos básicos.</p> </li> <li> <p>Cuando vayan a comer afuera, haz que tu hijo calcule la propina. Es una forma sencilla de practicar habilidades matemáticas básicas que utilizarán luego cuando deban arreglárselas por su cuenta.</p> </li> <li> <p><a href="/advice-editorial/teaching-teens-to-budget">Rapasen juntos los conceptos básicos para hacer un presupuesto</a>. Y para seguir practicando, encárgale a tu hijo la planificación del presupuesto mensual.</p> </li> <li> <p>Destaca ejemplos de la presencia de las matemáticas en el mundo real. Consulta nuestra serie de ejemplos en<a href="/that-s-math?lang=es" target="_blank"> ¡Eso es matemática!</a></p> </li> <li> <p>Si van en auto a dejar a su hijo en la universidad, haz que él se encargue de cargar el auto. Deberá emplear un pensamiento analítico para descifrar cómo hará para cargar todas sus cosas en el espacio limitado del baúl.</p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Consejos para Lengua</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>¡Alienta a tu hijo para que lea! "Para mejorar en la lectura hay que leer", dice Laurie Curtis, exprofesora adjunta de Kansas State University. Pueden leer lo que deseen, y leerán más rápido cuanto más practiquen.</p> </li> <li> <p>Lean el periódico. Pueden hacerlo juntos mientras desayunan o déjalo a mano para que tu hijo lo lea después. Durante la cena o en cualquier otro momento pueden conversar sobre las noticias que leyeron. Esto no solo será útil para la alfabetización, también garantizará que tus hijos sepan qué ocurren en el mundo.</p> </li> <li> <p>Remarca la diferencia entre las novelas que se leen por diversión y los libros de texto académicos. Curtis sugiere hacer énfasis en que no todas las lecturas deben abordarse de la misma manera. Por ejemplo, antes de leer un libro de texto se deben analizar los títulos, subtítulos y palabras resaltadas. Con una novela de ficción difícilmente se haga este trabajo.</p> </li> <li> <p>Puedes regalarle un diario para que tome notas y escriba sus reflexiones durante ese último verano antes de ir a la universidad. No solo es una excelente forma de practicar la autoexpresión por medio de la escritura, también será un hermoso recuerdo para el futuro. _insertContent=B85456D0-14C4-11E7-96810050569A4B6C_ Jocelyn A. Chadwick, la presidenta electa del Consejo Nacional de Profesores de Lengua, sugiere alentar a los hijos a reflexionar sobre sus sentimientos durante este período de transición. </p> </li> </ul>
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Guy in Library

Is My Teen Academically Prepared for College? How to Know

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BODY <p>There are a variety of ways in which teens can be <a href="/benchmarks/what-if-my-teen-is-not-ready-for-college"><em>college-ready</em>;</a> and many ways they might not be. They may have perfect grades, but cannot do their own laundry. They may have all the confidence in the world, but struggle to write an essay. Certain <a href="/advice-lists/8-life-skills-your-teen-needs-before-moving-out">life skills</a> are extremely important for your teen to have before living on their own, but to succeed in college, your teen needs to be academically ready to take on the demanding coursework. According to the <a href="http://cscsr.org/Journal.html">Journal of College Retention</a> from the Center for the Study of College Student Retention, only 50% of students who enter higher education actually earn a bachelor’s degree. Ensuring that your student is academically prepared is the first step toward the ultimate goal of seeing them start and complete their college education. Here’s what your teen needs in order to be academically prepared for college:</p>
BODYES <p>Existen diversas maneras en que los adolescentes pueden estar <a href="/benchmarks/what-if-my-teen-is-not-ready-for-college">preparados para la universidad</a>; y muchas maneras en las que podrían no estarlo. Es posible que tengan calificaciones perfectas, pero no sepan lavarse la ropa. Es posible que tengan toda la confianza del mundo, pero que tengan dificultades para escribir un ensayo. Hay determinadas <a href="/advice-lists/8-life-skills-your-teen-needs-before-moving-out">habilidades de la vida</a> que es muy importante que tu hijo tenga antes de vivir solo, pero para tener éxito en la universidad, tu hijo necesita estar académicamente preparado para hacer frente a un exigente programa de estudios.  Según el  <a href="http://cscsr.org/Journal.html">Journal of College Retention</a> del Centro para el Estudio de Retención de Estudiantes Universitarios, solo el 50% de los estudiantes que ingresan en el sistema de educación superior obtienen, en efecto, un título de cuatro años. Asegurarte de que tu hijo esté académicamente preparado es el primer paso hacia la meta máxima de verlo comenzar y terminar su educación universitaria. A continuación se indica lo que tu hijo necesita para estar académicamente preparado para la universidad:</p>
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Girl with Books

12 Questions Answered for Parents of Students Considering Community Colleges

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BODYES <p>Para muchos estudiantes, continuar con su educación en un <em>community college</em> es beneficioso. El alumnado de estos institutos representa el <a href="http://www.aacc.nche.edu/AboutCC/Documents/AACCFactSheetsR2.pdf">45%</a> de todos los estudiantes de grado en los Estados Unidos. Pero como padre, tal vez tengas muchas preguntas que te hagan dudar de si este camino es el adecuado para tu hijo. Al igual que las universidades tradicionales, los <em>community colleges</em> también tienen sus diferencias. </p>
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Allowances Provide Real-Life Math Lessons

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BODY <p>There are a variety of ways you can offer allowance to your child. Regardless of which you choose, you can incorporate important real life math lessons into it.</p> <p>There are generally four ways parents can offer allowances to their children. Most of us end up using a blend of these:</p> <p>1. No allowance </p> <p>2. Allowance in the traditional sense (child gets it regardless of chores completed or not)</p> <p>3. Allowance based on completion of chores (all or nothing)</p> <p>4. Allowance based on chores (pay-per-chore)</p> <p>Once you decide how you’ll distribute funds to your children, you can use allowance for math learning and dig into the fun of practicing finances with them. Here are a handful of ways to do it: </p> <p><strong>1. Compare Options: </strong>Where there is money, there are things to spend it on. Before allowing your child to spend cash on something, ask her to pick out some other things that she’s interested in.</p> <p>Have your child compare the prices and the perceived benefits for each. Give her time to consider, and possibly reject her various options.</p> <p>For the little ones, use comparing words like “greater than” and “less than.” For older kids, talk about how much more or less. And talk about how one of the large items could be given up for two of their smaller choices.</p> <p><strong>2. Track Expenses:</strong> Ask your child to keep track of his expenses. If your child is young, he can keep receipts in a shoebox. At the end of the month, help him type the numbers into a spreadsheet and total them.</p> <p>You both may be surprised at the final results!</p> <p><strong>3. Graph Expenses:</strong> Have your child look at the previous few months. Figure out the categories in which she spent money and help her set up a bar graph showing how much money is spent in each category each month.</p> <p>Here’s a nifty <a href="http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph">tool</a> from the National Center for Education Statistics to help you and your child create a bar graph. </p> <p><strong>4. Create a Budget: </strong>If you feel like your child is squandering too much of his allowance or using too much of your own disposable income, put him on a budget. Together, choose an amount that is reasonable and less than the amount he typically spends in a month.</p> <p>Look closely at the graphs for the past few months and help your child choose the amount to be designated for each category. At the end of each month, see how well he did.</p> <p><strong>5. Save Money:  </strong>Have your child include a category for savings in her budget. This can be for any “big ticket” items she dreams of having. </p> <p>Ask your child to create a master wish list. Depending on how much you give for allowance (or allocate for her), this list might contain American Girl dolls, video game systems, or Ferraris. Or all of the above. </p> <p>Consider helping your child plan for her long term future too. Build enough extra into her allowance that she can save for college or retirement.</p> <p><strong>6. And Have Fun! </strong>Talk about money and math in a positive way. Model happy budgeting and your children will learn there's joy in managing their finances. </p> <p>Remember, other parents want your take on this topic too. So don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments, below!</p> <p><em>Bon Crowder is a math education fanatic currently teaching at a private school for teens with neurological differences. She writes for </em><a href="http://mathfour.com/"><em>MathFour.com</em></a><em>, a math education website supporting teachers and parents, and is the co-creator of </em><a href="http://thatsmath.com/"><em>That’s Math</em></a><em>, a program that helps parents talk real-world math with their kids. </em></p>
BODYES <p><em>Bon Crowder, profesora de Matemática y blogger, MathFour.com</em></p> <p>Son muchas las formas en las que puedes ofrecerle una mesada a tu hijo. No importa cuál elijas, siempre podrás incorporar clases de matemática en la vida real.</p> <p>Por lo general, los padres pueden ofrecerles mesadas a sus hijos de cuatro formas. La mayoría de nosotros termina combinándolas:</p> <p>1. Sin mesada</p> <p>2. Mesada del modo tradicional (el niño la recibe sin importar si completó o no las tareas domésticas)</p> <p>3. Mesada sujeta a la realización de las tareas domésticas (todo o nada)</p> <p>4. Mesada según las tareas (pago por tarea)</p> <p>Una vez que decidas cómo lo harás, podrás recurrir a las mesadas para enseñarles matemática y divertirte mientras practicas finanzas con ellos. Estas son algunas opciones para hacerlo:</p> <h4>1. Comparen las opciones:</h4> <p>siempre que haya dinero, habrá un objeto en qué gastarlo. Antes de permitirle a tu hijo que gaste su dinero, pídele que elija distintas cosas que le interesan.</p> <p>Invítalo a comparar los precios y los beneficios de cada selección. Dale tiempo para pensarlo, y posiblemente desestime algunas opciones.</p> <p>Para los más pequeños, usa frases comparativas como “más que” y “menos que”. Para los más grandes, háblales de cuánto más o menos. Y diles que uno de los productos grandes podría cambiarse por dos de los más pequeños.</p> <h4>2. Controlen los gastos:</h4> <p>pídele a tu hijo que lleve un registro de sus gastos. Si tu hijo es más pequeño, puede guardar los comprobantes en una caja de zapatos. A fin de mes, ayúdalo a ingresar los números en una hoja de cálculo y a sumar el total.</p> <p>¡Ambos podrían sorprenderse ante los resultados finales!</p> <h4>3. Hagan un gráfico con los gastos:</h4> <p>comparen con los meses anteriores. Establece las categorías en la que gastó dinero y ayúdalo a dibujar un gráfico de barras para visualizar cuánto dinero gastó por mes en cada categoría.</p> <p>Aquí te presentamos una excelente <a href="http://www.parenttoolkit.com/index.cfm?objectid=6D9CDD50-DEF8-11E4-BD580050569A5318&amp;debateParentId=92D0C2F0-DEFB-11E4-BD580050569A5318">herramienta</a> del National Center for Education Statistics para ayudarte a ti y a tu hijo a crear un gráfico de barras.</p> <h4>4. Establezcan un presupuesto:</h4> <p>si te parece que tu hijo está malgastando la mayor parte de su mesada o de tus propios ingresos, fíjale un presupuesto. Juntos, elijan un monto que sea razonable e inferior a la suma que suele gastar en un mes.</p> <p>Observa los gráficos de los últimos meses y ayúdalo a elegir el monto que se destinará a cada categoría. A fin de mes, descubre lo bien que le fue.</p> <h4>5. Ahorren dinero:</h4> <p>tu hijo debería incluir una categoría de ahorro en su presupuesto. Podría ser para un objetivo “grande” al que sueña llegar.</p> <p>Pídele que escriba una lista de deseos. Según el monto que le des en su mesada (o le designes), esta lista podría incluir muñecas American Girl, consolas de videojuegos o Ferraris. O todo eso junto.</p> <p>Ayuda a tu hijo a planificar para su futuro a largo plazo. Incluye en su mesada dinero extra suficiente como para que pueda ahorrar para la universidad o la jubilación.</p> <h4>6. ¡Y diviértanse!</h4> <p>Hablen del dinero y las matemáticas en forma positiva. Muéstrale cómo puedes divertirte al armar un presupuesto, y tu hijo aprenderá que puede disfrutar mientras administra sus finanzas.</p> <p>Recuerda que otros padres también están interesados en este tema. Así que no te olvides de compartir tu opinión y experiencias en los comentarios.</p> <p><em>Bon Crowder es una fanática de la matemática que actualmente enseña en una escuela privada para adolescentes con diferencias neurológicas. Escribe para MathFour.com, un sitio web sobre educación de Matemática que contribuye con maestros y padres, y es cocreadora de “That’s Math”, un programa que ayuda a los padres a hablar con sus hijos de la matemática en el mundo real. </em></p>
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TEASER There are a variety of ways you can offer allowance to your child. Regardless of which you choose, you can incorporate important real life math lessons into it.
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7 Ways to Integrate Math into the Holidays

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BODY <p><em>Math expert <a href="http://www.parenttoolkit.com/index.cfm?objectid=C60D4D00-249E-11E3-AD580050569A5318">Bon Crowder</a> has plenty of ideas for how to incorporate math into the holiday traditions. Some of her suggestions are aimed at younger children while others are more appropriate for middle schoolers.</em></p> <p>Your kids are on winter break. They're having fun, playing, decorating, and being joyous. Why not sprinkle a little math into the mix? Here are some ways to connect math concepts to some holiday traditions.</p> <h4>Santa Claus</h4> <p>If your children believe in Santa Claus (or maybe even if they don’t), you can talk to them about Santa Math.</p> <p>Suppose the U.S. had its own “dedicated” Santa Claus. Since there are about 125 million houses in the U.S., how much time would he get to spend at each house if he has to make all his deliveries in one night?</p> <p>You can also calculate how many cookies “American Santa” will eat under different scenarios—having one at every other house, or two per house, for example. You can even get more advanced by asking how many calories he'd consume!</p> <h4>Ball Decorations</h4> <p>Christmas tree decorations come in various shapes and sizes. Use some sticky tack to hold a ball-shaped ornament on a piece of paper. Trace around it and measure across this to find the diameter and radius. Note: the radius is half of the diameter.</p> <p>Use the formula V = 4/3 π r<sup>3</sup> to find the volume of the ball. Do this for various balls and write down the results. Talk about how, as the radius changes, the volume of the balls also changes. In fact, if the radius doubles, the volume is multiplied by eight!</p> <h4>Eggnog</h4> <p>You can buy eggnog in various amounts at the grocery store. The quantities are indicated in fluid ounces, which measure volume. This is different from “regular” ounces, which measure weight.</p> <p>Weigh 4 fluid ounces of eggnog on a kitchen scale. Talk about how it weighs more than 4 ounces.</p> <p>Weigh 4 fluid ounces of regular milk, water, vinegar, and any other fluids you have in the kitchen, including cake batter. Compare the weights and talk about why each one would be lighter or heavier than the others.</p> <h4>Advent Wreath</h4> <p>An advent wreath consists of four candles arranged in a square inside an evergreen wreath circle. Get into geometry by saying, “The candles make a square inscribed in a circle!”</p> <p>You can also do some fun word problems: “We burn the first candle each day for a week. On week two, we burn the first candle every day as well as the second candle. On weeks three and four we add the other two candles the same way. At the end of advent, how many days has each candle burned?”</p> <h4>Door Wreath</h4> <p>Wreaths are a special shape called an annulus, which is basically one circle inside another circle, forming a ring.</p> <p>Measure the diameters of the outside and inside of the wreath. Find the areas of the circles using A = π r<sup>2</sup> Subtract the smaller sum from the larger to determine the surface area of the wreath.</p> <h4>Dreidel Game</h4> <p>The rules of playing the dreidel are simple, but the probability and statistics involved are more advanced.</p> <p>If you play with your kids, mention that with a “fair dreidel” there’s a 1 in 4 chance of getting a Gimel. And explain that an unfair dreidel, like an unfair die, has a different probability than 1/4 for landing on each of the four sides.</p> <p>With dice we call this “loaded dice.” For dreidels, it’s just part of the fun.</p> <h4>Menorah</h4> <p>The eight candles making up the menorah are arranged symmetrically on each side of the shamash (the center candle). Eight is a perfect cube (2<sup>3</sup> = 2 x 2 x 2 = 8), and nine is a perfect square (3<sup>2</sup> = 3 x 3 = 9).</p> <p>Invite your children to wonder if there are any other sequential numbers (like 8 and 9) that are perfect squares and cubes.</p> <p>The holiday season is full of opportunities to learn. And at every turn, there's a bit more math you can talk about!</p>
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TEASER Math expert Bon Crowder has plenty of ideas for how to incorporate math into the holiday traditions. Some of her suggestions are aimed at younger children while others are more appropriate for middle schoolers.
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