This Week at Global Math – 1/19/21







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Curated By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Building Fact Fluency Through Virtual Storytelling

Presented by Graham Fletcher

When we ask students to memorize their facts, we are essentially asking them to memorize over 100 isolated equations. This approach doesn’t allow students to explore the relationships between numbers that are foundational to mathematics. In this session, we’ll explore the important role that context plays in developing fact fluency. By purposefully sequencing a series of tasks and activities through the same context, students can begin to make connections and develop an understanding that is scalable well beyond single digits.

To register for this webinar, click here.

Volunteers Needed: Editor of Captioning for Webinars

We want our webinars to be accessible to everyone, but we need help to meet that goal.

The reason the Global Math Department community is so wonderful is because we have a solid group of volunteers working behind the scenes.  Since our webinars are free, we cannot afford software to caption the recordings of our webinars.  Captioning in YouTube works at times, but needs to be edited to be accurate.  If you have 4 hours a month that you could devote to editing the webinar captioning, please let us know. (If we have multiple volunteers we will distribute this workload!) 

Send an email to globalmathdepartment@gmail.com to express your interest in volunteering.  Training will be provided and you can work at your own pace.

Check out past and upcoming Global Math Department webinars. Click here for the archives or get the webinars in podcast form!

You can also visit our YouTube Channel to find videos of past sessions and related content.

#GMDWrites

The Narcissism of Mathematics Education
 
In “The Narcissism of Mathematics Education”, Alexandre Pais says that “mathematics education research is narcissistic because, lacking a concrete object, it sees nothing but itself”.  Math education researchers who talk about “mathematics for all” turn a blind eye to the reality that many students are in math class for the school credit, and so mathematics is not actually “for all”. Instead, math education researchers—and by extension people interested in this research—create “an imaginary world where mathematics can be an adventure into knowledge, the ultimate problem solving technology or the most crucial component of critical citizenship”. 
 
The math education research community, as he claims, is sometimes so optimistic about the role of math in kids’ lives that we don’t stop to consider when kids may be in it for the grades and not the math. By subtracting from reality the economic role of school math, the research community flourishes under the illusion that math has inherent relevance while creating the very problems it seeks to address.
 
That’s quite the claim, and in response I say, cool, then let’s be narcissists. I don’t entirely agree with his argument. But even to the extent that he’s correct, it’s still an open question where this thinking takes us. The recent events at the Capitol and everything else kicking off 2021 make clear that taking a critical approach to mathematical, quantitative, statistical, scientific, and data literacy is now more important than ever. 
 
I think about a thread by Aristotle Ou, in which he, Jenna Laib, and Marian Dingle talk about asking students to feel and act in response to U.S. poverty rates and economic justice.
 
I think about the mathematics of machine learning algorithms, which have been used in AI technologies to perpetuate gender and racial bias. The Algorithmic Justice League has a new film, Coded Bias, which is screening in virtual theaters beginning this week.
 
I think about Kendra Pierre-Louis’s open question about how often the media covers white supremacists versus people who have experienced white supremacist violence.
 
I think about how many executions are happening now and how much racial bias continues to exist in a school-to-prison pipeline that can ultimately end in death.
 
I think about how $1400 is not enough and the mathematical models that have supported fiscal conservatism for the past four years.
 
I think about the minimum wage, teacher salaries, experiments around UBI, and the economic and mathematical “common sense” that drives repeated arguments against wage increases.
 
I think about the overwhelming whiteness of mathematics that results in this.
 
I think about this analysis of Paycheck Protection Program funding given to charter schools, religious schools, and private schools across the U.S.
 
I think about the spatial relationship between COVID fatalities and vaccinations in the U.S.
 
I think about pharmaceutical price hikes, bonus formulas, and what we let people do with math when we’re too preoccupied by whether the math is technically correct.
 
These mathematical questions matter. They touch students’ lives in ways that are sometimes hard to see and other times grievously easy. They are as real as grades and should be among the driving forces behind everything that goes on in math education. Sadly, this is not always the case.
 
@melvinmperalta

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With this in mind we are calling for new volunteers to expand our perspectives and raise our collective voices to move this publication forward. If you are interested in becoming a regular contributor or would like the opportunity to contribute as a guest writer, please fill out this form.

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This Week at Global Math – 1/12/2021







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Curated By Chase Orton (@mathgeek76)

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Online Professional Development Sessions

The Global Math Department Webinar resumes next Tuesday, January 19th!

Building Fact Fluency Through Virtual Storytelling

Presented by Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

When we ask students to memorize their facts, we are essentially asking them to memorize over 100 isolated equations. This approach doesn’t allow students to explore the relationships between numbers that are foundational to mathematics. In this session, we’ll explore the important role that context plays in developing fact fluency. By purposefully sequencing a series of tasks and activities through the same context, students can begin to make connections and develop an understanding that is scalable well beyond single digits.

To register for this webinar, click here.

Check out past and upcoming Global Math Department webinars. Click here for the archives or get the webinars in podcast form!

You can also visit our new YouTube Channel to find videos of past sessions and related content.

The GMD Needs Your Input

Global Math Department and researchers at North Carolina State University are undertaking a study to learn about teachers’ learning experiences from participation in the GMD. You can participate in this study if you have participated in the GMD as a presenter, attendee of a GMD webinar, or reader of the GMD newsletter. 

We invite you to click the link to join the study as a participant and to learn more!

Click Here to participate in this study

#GMDWrites

Gratitude
by Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)
 
Dwayne Reed’s (@TeachMrReed) pinned tweet on his Twitter page reads, “Even if you weren’t the best teacher today, chances are, you were still someone’s favorite. Keep at it.”
 
 
Humans in general are not the best at expressing gratitude. Sometimes we just assume that others know how we feel about them. Or at least we hope that they do perhaps based on what we do and how we act.
 
Angela Duckworth (@angeladuckw) shared some advice in an opinion article from Education Week (@EdWeekTeacher) called “What Your Students Will Remember About You.” She said:
          
Don’t assume that people who have changed your life know how much you appreciate them. What is obvious to you may be invisible to them.
 
Do start a tradition of writing gratitude letters to people you haven’t properly thanked. If you can, muster the courage to read your letter aloud. Perhaps your kids will see you wipe a tear from your eye. Perhaps you will have to explain why. I can’t think of a better way to kick off the new year.
 
Originally, I was drawn to the article because of the tag line, “The best teachers care about students unconditionally but, at the same time, ask them to do things they can’t yet do.” And I do think this article is a good reminder that pushing students out of their comfort zone is important. And even if at first they resist they will thank you for it because they know you care about them. But I think this article is also a good reminder of how important gratitude is. This gratitude should extend to yourself as well.
 
Minaa B. (@MinaaBe) is a writer and licensed therapist whose mission is to “help people cultivate healthy relationships with themselves and others by being intentional about practicing self-care through the lens of boundaries and community-care.” This is an image from her Instagram page.
 
 
It’s important to remember, especially after a week like last week, that our students need us. And in order to show up for them, sometimes we need to take care of ourselves. Show gratitude to yourself. “Even if you weren’t the best teacher today, chances are, you were still someone’s favorite. Keep at it.” (@TeachMrReed)

Active in 2020 & Proactive in 2021
by Benjamin Dickman [@benjamindickman]
 
Among the many twitter-interactions I chanced upon in the first week of 2021, here is one that caught my eye [anonymized because this view runs deep]:

One more tweet:

Are math educators, as compared to other educators, especially “ill-equipped” for a “day after”? I speculate that the answer is No, and/but that there is a more widely held belief that it doesn’t fall into our purview — that the “quadratic formula” is too far from insurrections and coups to adjust, whereas a history teacher would have the knowledge and space to tweak their lesson so as to address the attack on Capitol Hill: an act of domestic terrorism that was encouraged by republican politicians, who knowingly support ecosystems of disinformation and conspiracy theories, and who now want us to unify(?) and heal(?) with racist, anti-Semtitic, violent, white supremacists who seek to invalidate an election based on unfounded claims of fraud. (No thanks!)
 
Educators have a responsibility to react by telling children the truth, and there is plenty to react to these days. The same Wall Street Journal to welcome Op-Eds that claim the outgoing prez* “champions U.S. liberty and prosperity” went on to target BIWOC through a hit piece on #DisruptTexts that followed its misogynistic “kiddo” policing of Dr. Jill Biden’s honorific. These “opinions” do not reach the national level of a “day after” but I wonder how well we are equipped to respond to them. I am not sure whether WSJ Op-Eds in 2021 will all require reaction, although I empathize with the many who feel that they are stuck in a cycle of inaction. Today, though, I want to talk about action.
 
These are a few actions that I have taken since 2020, and I transparently share a subset below in the hope that others who feel caught up in a reactive cycle can shift towards a proactive 2021:
 
  1. Donations. I made a few small adjustments last year: When others have offered to compensate me in some way, I have shifted from outright refusal to asking that they donate the amount that they believe is appropriate; the most recent three times that I have done this, I have pointed others to Found in Translation, which I hope the reader will check out. When this last occurred, it was after assisting a former colleague’s child with their non-routine Calculus homework; that is to say, I successfully converted assistance on an antiderivative to money that can help sustain a program designed for low-income women. Similarly, when I was asked to give a talk on justice in mathematics education during the stressful month of October 2020, I asked whether there was an honorarium; transparently, the NSF sponsored conference offered 1100 USD for a Zoom hour. So, I agreed to write and deliver the talk, and I gave the honorarium to six different Senate races. In other words, I successfully converted NSF math education funds into money that helped Democrats compete in the Senate. Lastly, I am of the belief that restrictions on stimulus checks (“stimmies”) should err on the side of Too Generous, and that those who receive these extra moneys while in the privileged position of not seeing a significant interruption in income should consider giving the money away. I gave my first stimulus check to a double-matching campaign organized around cash bail; I gave my second stimulus check to a local food bank. This is not to guilt the reader or flex on anybody; and, I think that if you are at a real loss for how you can engage in direct action, then donating money to trusted organizations is a good choice.
 
  1. Math Education. I have been contributing to the Global Math Department newsletters while also managing the GMD twitter account; this involves a fair amount of highlighting others’ powerful work, and has also – for those paying attention – involved a lot of proactive posts about elections (POTUS/VP in Nov 2020 and then Georgia in Jan 2021). Sometimes this means amplifying calls for action (e.g. from MoMath, which has yet to respond) and other times it means proactively thinking about boycotting ICM 2022 in Russia, or asking questions about ICME 2020 (now hybrid in 2021) in China as relates to ongoing human rights abuses in Xinjiang (thread). It also means that I am actively trying to incorporate Teaching Tolerance anti-bias standards into an Algebra 2 course, and that I am preparing to shift a junior/senior elective math course towards projects on, among other topics, Social Justice Math Trails. (Here are a subset of references compiled by a student who worked with me on a senior project last May around this topic; pull-quotes are in blue and her writing is in red.) There is plenty more to say here; off top, a shout out to the three people who reached out to me proactively over the winter break to Zoom around contemporary happenings (e.g. antiracist pushes in math education), as well as a separate shout out to Winger and Harris for their excellent book.
 
  1. School-based Organization. This is the one area in which I will avoid detailing specifics; suffice to say that Rochelle Gutiérrez’s paper Strategies for Creative Insubordination in Mathematics Teaching is a must-read. Other than that, I have continued in my capacity as one of the two faculty members taking part in our high school’s social justice club, and I volunteered my time during Fall 2020 to participate in an Anti-Racist Committee that consisted of various stakeholders (faculty; staff; admin; students; alums; families; trustees). This was at a time in which the outgoing prez* was using BDV to weaponize her position as EdSec in policing language (like “white privilege” or talking about race, gender) used by private universities; I have no doubt that, were the racist-in-chief to have been reelected, we would have seen this tactic pushed out further (e.g. targeting public schools directly and threatening non-profit status for independent schools). I plan to push our collective AR recommendations hard in this calendar year, and one of my 2021 goals is to stop recreating mission statements and guidelines.
 
  1. Political Candidates. The four areas here are not mutually disjoint, and/but I have grown tired of the superhuman rhetoric around Stacey Abrams. To be clear, Abrams’ work is transformative and extraordinary; yet, she is fully human – not “super”human – and, as she would tell you, there are many whose collective work went into “Georgia’s evolution.” Therefore, to those of you who are looking at organizing and potential political candidates for 2022, I strongly urge you to learn more about Danielle Allen as she looks into running for Governor of Massachusetts. Watch this video (2m18s) and check out her site. There is a republican gov in MA now, and here we have a Democrat Black woman with two doctorates (Cambridge University, Harvard University) who worked with a transdisciplinary team on a Roadmap to Pandemic Resilience produced through the Safra Center for Ethics of which she is the director. I have read through two of Allen’s books: one containing original research on the Declaration of Independence and another about her firsthand experiences with the criminal in/justice system and her incarcerated cousin (Adichie calls it “unbearably moving”). A supporter of RCV and MacArthur Fellow; an organized thinker who can govern based on institutional experience as well as lived experience; I hope that you will learn more and consider signing up under the site’s Take Action tab.
 
Let us push to effect proactive, collectivist change in 2021.

Get Involved with the Newsletter

Our team of writers and curators is committed to produce content that is reflective of our Statement of Solidarity and with the goal of moving these words into action.

With this in mind we are calling for new volunteers to expand our perspectives and raise our collective voices to move this publication forward. If you are interested in becoming a regular contributor or would like the opportunity to contribute as a guest writer, please fill out this form.

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The Best Online Teaching Tool: Socially Relevant Math – 1/5/21

The Best Online Teaching Tool: Socially Relevant Math

Presenter: Dashiell Young-Saver

Date: January 5, 2021

Data is at the center of discussions about police use of force & race, climate change, educational inequity, and many other important social issues. As math teachers, how can we lead meaningful discussions on such topics while teaching in the often tech-issue-ridden, awkward, and dehumanizing online setting? Together we’ll tackle this challenge by exploring the #1 predictor for students’ ability to succeed while learning online: their genuine interest in the content.

Recommended Grade Level: 9 – 12

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/The-Best-Online-Teaching-Tool-Socially-Relevant-Math-35425d52e5236b6269ec7307