This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Park City Mathematics Institute/Teacher Leadership Program

Presented by Peg Cagle, Dylan Kane, and Cal Armstrong

An intensive, three-week residential program, the PCMI/TLP provides participating middle and high school math teachers with the unique opportunity to engage in a deep dive into their own professional development, alongside parallel communities from across the larger umbrella of mathematics profession. In addition to doing math, reflecting on practice, and developing capacity as a teacher leader, both formal and informal interactions connect teachers to research mathematicians, mathematics university faculty, undergraduate & graduate students, and thought leaders addressing equity in mathematics education at the post-secondary level.

Join Cal Armstrong (@sig225), Peg Cagle (@pegcagle), and Dylan Kane (@dylanpkane) to learn about this unique professional development offering, in time to meet the summer application deadline of January 15, 2019.

To join us at 9:00 PM EST for this webinar click here!

Next week at Global Math Geoff Krall will be sharing ideas from his new book Necessary Conditions.  You can register ahead of time here!

You can always check out past Global Math Department webinars. Click here for the archives or get the webinars in podcast form!

Focusing on What Matters

Grade Less

David Wees recently wrote a blog post called “Teach Better By Doing Less.” In this post he talks about the “two common activities teachers do that have either little to no impact on student learning but which do take teachers a tremendous amount of time, time that could be spent on other activities.” One of these activities is grading student work.

In the post, David quoted Dylan Wiliam when he talks about how his work in schools has shown that students only focus on the number grade and mostly fail to read or process the teachers comments. So David’s point is that teachers should still look at student work, but that it should be used to plan future lessons.

His tweet is quoting Henri Picciotto who also wrote a blog post called “More Catchphrases.” In this post he talks about budgeting your time and not grading more than you need to.

So what are your strategies for grading less? How do you make sure you are giving students feedback that is meaningful, yet isn’t too time consuming? Anyone trying to go gradeless? I’d love to hear about it!

Written by Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

Student Feedback

I recently read Cornelius Minor’s new book, We Got This: Equity, Access, and the Quest to Be Who Our Students Need Us to Be, and it’s stuck with me for several reasons. For one, it’s a beautifully written and illustrated book, drawing on comic book art to add visual impact to Cornelius’s lyrical words. For another, it’s a powerful blend of the visionary and inspirational teacher book that makes me a) want to do better and b) feel like it’s possible; the concrete and practical resource with guided questions to help readers think through dilemmas and situations in their own classrooms, in addition to strategies and advice; and the deeply personal and vulnerable memoir of moments from his teaching experience where he didn’t do everything right, or where a student gave some very honest, very difficult feedback.

It’s sitting in my mind as I visit classrooms this week and talk to teachers who know—like Cornelius—that they’re not going to single-handedly end racism or fix inequity, and who walk into their work every morning facing problems that cannot be solved by balancing both sides of the equation. Nonetheless, I feel like their classrooms are characterized by a lovely interaction of warmth, caring, and thoughtful mathematical instruction, and I’m curious how their students experience these classrooms. One thing these teachers and I have been talking about together has been giving a survey before winter break.

In my experience, students are both astute observers and also very generous with their feedback, and creating the opportunity for students to share their perspective both honors their voice and invites them to practice reflection and metacognition—but only if what they say will be taken seriously (in the past, I have also seen teachers dismiss student feedback as biased or motivated by a grudge, in which case, why waste everyone’s time?). This makes me think that surveys should be accessible (will students know how to answer the types of questions you’re asking?), concrete (questions that are too open-ended—”what do you think about this class?”—tend to lead to vague answers—”it’s great”), and focused only on what the teacher cares most about (if there’s no intention of actually changing a particular practice, why ask how they feel about it?). I happen to like questions like “tell me about a time when…” or “describe what it’s like to…” or “how does it make you feel when…” Maybe that’s self-evident, but I always find it easier said than done.

Are you giving a student survey before winter break? What kinds of questions are you asking?

Written by Grace Chen (@graceachen)

GMD is Looking for Presenters!

Do you know someone who you think should lead a GMD Webinar?

Did you see something amazing at a recent conference that needs to be shared?

At Global Math we are proud of our Webinars!  We appreciate all of our presenters and look forward to bringing you the best “PD Iin Your Pajamas” on the internet.  We’re always on the lookout for fresh faces and new ideas.

Please use this recommendation form to let us know who/what should be shared next!  We will take your recommendations and reach out to try to make it happen!

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