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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: danica mckellar, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 4 of 4
1. Girls, Math, and Image


Remember Winnie Cooper from The Wonder Years, Kevin Arnold’s first love and ultimate crush? Danica McKellar, the actress whom we all wished to end up with our hero, Fred Savage, grew up to be a mathematician! She graduated summa cum laude from UCLA with a degree in mathematics and even co-authored a theorem that bears her name. As an actress, she made the experience of falling in love as a kid relatable to millions. Now she aims to guide a new generation through a different part of growing up: middle school math class. She’s written three books, Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail, Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss, and Hot X: Algebra Exposed!
Going from child actor to math book author is rare enough, and McKellar has gotten a lot of attention, notably with a racy photo shoot in Maxim magazine (accompanied by an article about her books and the coolness of math). In an interview with Salon.com, she offers, “Most of the images that girls are getting of what is attractive are so limiting. And that's what I want to fight against.” That’s great!

I think there’s a lot of potential for good here, but is it appropriate for educators to conflate attractiveness with math ability? And what exactly is she advocating, a bait and switch? She seems to be going on the assumption that math isn’t cool enough on its own, but we can coerce students into liking it, like offering them chocolate-covered vitamins. The books have increasingly racy titles. I also have a gripe that the books argue, “If you are good at math, then you are attractive.” (Conceding there is no accounting for taste, I’ll argue that there is no shortage of counterexamples here.)

I’d like to continue this argument mathematically by offering the following two statements. (Please note that the arguments are, in general, centered on girls.)

A: You are good at math.
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2. Featured Series: MATH DOESN'T SUCK, by Danica McKellar

Happy Monday, readergirlz! Today, instead of a Featured Title, we've got a whole entire SERIES as our nonfiction pick for the month. And boy, do I wish these books had been around when I was in school.

It's no secret that historically, the perception was that math and science were "boy" subjects, while girls obviously gravitated to the social sciences and the arts. As a theory, it had, um, a few flaws. Sexist? Yep. Unfair? Sure. Self-fulfilling? Definitely. I can tell you from personal experience that after a few less-than-stellar experiences with math, I decided I was a hopeless case, and wrote it off. If only I'd had a role model to encourage me, and to push me to rethink my attitude toward math!

If only I'd had someone like Danica McKellar.
Here's what she has to say about her books, the MATH DOESN'T SUCK series, and her own experiences in school:


Let's get a few things straight: Acne sucks. Mean people suck. Finding out that your boyfriend kissed another girl? That would totally suck. Too much homework, broken promises, detention, divorce, insecurities: suck, suck, suck, suck, suck.
But math is actually a good thing. Here are a few reasons why: Math builds confidence, keeps you from getting ripped off, makes you better at adjusting cookie recipes, understanding sports scores, budgeting and planning parties and vacations, interpreting how good a sale really is, and spending your allowance. It makes you feel smart when you walk in a room, prepares you for better-paying jobs, and helps you to think more logically.
Most of all, working on math sharpens your brain, actually making you smarter in all areas. Intelligence is real, it's lasting, and no one can take it away from you. Ever.
And take it from me, nothing can take the place of the confidence that comes from developing your intelligence—not beauty, or fame, or anything else "superficial."


The MATH series is a perfect fit for this month's theme, as McKellar gives girls everywhere hope that with a little patience, we can conquer anything, even those school subjects that seem scary and overwhelming. 
And it's no surprise that McKellar makes such a poised spokesperson; some of you may know her as the teen star of the tv show,"The Wonder Years." Check out this video, where she talks about her own experiences with math!
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3. Ypulse Essentials: Foursquare For Universities, Young Netflix Users Cut Cable, The Return Of Bratz

Fourquare for Universities (Check-ins are coming to campus with a new program customized for partnered universities to "share information about classes, building hours, campus activities and traditions." We'll definitely be watching this space)... Read the rest of this post

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4. Danica McKellar: Helping Girls Around the World with. . .Math

Danica McKellar

My generation knows Danica McKellar best as Winnie from The Wonder Years, and West Wing fans know her as Elise Snuffin (8 episodes). But that’s not why I chose to write about her on my blog on a Monday–it’s because she’s helping girls around the world (especially in the United States and Canada) improve their math skills, treat themselves and others with respect, and strive for high self-esteem and self-confidence. I am a new fan of Danica McKellar and her math series for girls. Here are the three books:

I had seen these books at Borders and Barnes and Noble and thought they looked interesting. But I never really had a reason to pick one up. Then, through my job reviewing books for The News-Gazette, I was lucky enough to review a copy of Hot X: Algebra Exposed a couple weeks ago, and I fell in love with this book. That’s hard to say about a non-fiction book that helps girls do math, isn’t it? But it’s the truth.

What I love about these books is how easy they make math–I was even working algebra problems I hadn’t solved in 20 years. But the best part of Danica McKellar’s math series is the message she is sending to tween and teen girls: “It’s OKAY to be SMART! Being SMART is WONDERFUL! Math is nothing. You have the power over math.” Love it! Love it! Love it! We need a beautiful celebrity spouting out this message, and Danica McKellar is doing just that. Besides math explanations that your daughters and students will actually understand, Danica provides advice and tips for dating, dealing with friends and low self-esteem, and lots of other problems that girls endure. She offers tips from her own life as well as quotes from REAL girls. She even has QUIZZES!! You know teens love quizzes.

If you have a daughter or a female student (the book really is for girls) who is struggling, struggling, struggling with math, then recommend any one of these books.

On a side note, Arlene from Adventure Salon (a blog about your Bucket List!), recently gave me this award:

As part of the award, I am supposed to pick 5 blogging friends whom I can pass on the award to. All they have to do is mention my blog when they tell their readers about the award, and then pick 5 blogs that they enjoy. So, here are my five:

Thanks, Arlene. Readers, I hope you will check out these other blogs!

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