This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Making Fluency Meaningful

Presented by Anne Agostinelli

Have you heard about Math or Number Talks but wonder how to make them meaningful? Let’s explore what makes them effective: the protocol, talk moves, and the many resources from our #MTBoS community, along with ideas for making it all fit into your math classes.

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

Next week will be our final webinar (and Newsletter) of this school year!  Join usas Megan Holmstrom and Ryan Grady lead a discussion on how our beliefs impact our identity as math educators.

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

Another School Year Comes to an End…

Ends and New Beginnings

Since this is our team’s last newsletter of the year, I wanted to share two resources that represent a typical teacher end and a typical teacher beginning.

In the End…

There is usually a test. At least, that’s how it is in NYC public schools. My 7th graders – yes, SEVENTH GRADERS – are currently stressed about an end-of-year math exam called the Regents. It’s not a great way to end an otherwise great year of relationship building, inside jokes, and shared tribulations, but it is what it is.

In the spirit of thinking about math exams, please read @howiehua’s piece in Edutopia on A Strategy for Reducing Math Test Anxiety. In sum, it’s based on giving students a chance to have a brief pre-test conversation with the test in hand. He shares an anecdote where one student talks about having pre-test jitters, and the pre-test conversations help calm their insecurities. He also notes that since he and his co-teacher encourage discussion and collaboration in class, it only makes sense to test the way they teach. I can say from personal experience that if you ever implement this strategy in your class, it will be some of the most intense five minutes of mathematical discussion you’ll see.

In the Beginning…

Teachers do new stuff to their classrooms. This year, I put up many of @MrCoreyMath’s mathematician posters in my room. It’s a thoughtful and extensive selection of mathematicians from diverse backgrounds, which I used this year as a first step in a larger campaign to broaden my students’ conceptions of who does mathematics.

In addition, @jocedage recently tweeted a link to STEM role model posters, which were released for International Women’s Day and which are now available in multiple languages. They look amazing!

In Summary…

Thank you to everyone who read our newsletter this year and, of course, to our amazing editor, @thegozaway. I’ve learned so much participating in the GMD this year and look forward to learning even more!

Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)

#BreakRank

It was September of last year when Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach) first brought the Global Math Department Newsletter to my attention and being the exceptional educator she is, she sparked an idea and waited patiently for it to ignite my passion. It wasn’t until seven months later she highlighted my first blog post on my experience as a first-time attendee at NCTM 2019 in San Diego and I started to contribute to the GMD Newsletter.

This is my last post for the school year and I must thank Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge) for passing the baton and sharing this opportunity with me. I appreciate Nate Goza (@thegozaway) for connecting with me and inviting my thoughts and reflections into this new virtual space.

This week, I am highlighting the #ClearTheAir and #BreakRank chat that Christie Nold (@ChristieNold) and Scott Bayer (@Lyricalswordz) hosted on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 in which they discussed “Racism, whiteness, and burnout in antiracism movements: How white racial justice activists elevate burnout in racial justice activists of color in the United States” by Paul Gorski (@PGorski) and Noura Erakat (@4Noura).

Specifically, I draw your attention to a few sub-threads within this chat and invite you to review them with a focus on how crucial these conversations are to the intentional design of mathematical learning spaces.

Let us start with a sub-thread featuring JoyAnn Boudreau (@MrsBoudreau) in which participants discuss setting norms in professional learning spaces with fellow mathematics educators as well as co-constructing them in mathematics classes with our students. The prevailing topics are presuming positive intention, tone policing, a right way to do things, and individual personality traits that hinder our work.

Alice Jane Grimm (@Alice_J_Grimm) beautifully articulated a brief sub-thread about mandatory gender pronoun introductions that I have bookmarked so I may return to it again when next I plan professional learning for colleagues or classroom introductions for students.

Alecia Ford (@AleciaHiggFord) shared a brain break game she has used successfully with her students that creates space to talk openly about race and identity while developing fluency with fractions.

Some of us are settling into summer break routines and slowly shedding layers of this school year’s experiences and others of us are preparing to wrap up the school year with a final perseverance. Let our reflections and forward planning include how we intentionally establish psychological safety for students and colleagues to be and learn in mathematical spaces. Let the goal be to thrive not just survive. (Shout out to Bettina Love.)

As Val Brown (@ValeriaBrownEdu) stated at a Teaching Tolerance workshop in February,  “This is your homework. For the rest of your life.”

Thank you for reading and engaging,

Hema Khodai (@HKhodai)

Summer Time!

This can be a time of joy for teachers to take a much needed break, to rejuvenate, and gather new ideas for next year.  For our students, it can be stressful without the routine of seeing friends, having a safe space with caring adults on the daily. Therefore I offer you a nationwide resource to share with students and families (Thank you @edcampOSjr for sharing)

As we reflect on what worked throughout the year, I plan to be more intentional about building and maintaining relationships with and among my students; I was drawn to the thread started by @EmilyAnderle about morning meetings.  This is a strategy often used in my own child’s 1st grade classroom; I am certain with intentional use in a secondary classroom could be a positive change.

Finally, as we set to start the cycle again (not literally an infinite loop) I was pleased to learn some mathematical content knowledge started on this thread:

Hopefully, we all get a chance to relax (for those still in the classroom I wish you the best).  It has been a pleasure sharing my twitter treasure hunts with the Global Math Department audience.  I have met many virtual and IRL friends.  Thanks @thegozaway for inviting me into this space.

Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

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Jump-start Number Sense and Reasoning in 10 Minutes
Presented by John SanGiovanni
Do your students struggle with reasoning about numbers? Are they challenged to think about the reasonableness of their solutions? Are you looking for practical, high-quality tasks to engage students and ignite discussion? In this session, participants learn about dynamic, doable activities engage students in reasoning and discussion. A collection of ready-for-use resources will be provided and explored so that pursuit of number sense becomes a daily routine. These resources naturally complement each and every lesson in any K-2, 3-5, or 6-8 mathematics class regardless of the “core” program.

To join this meeting tonight when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week, Ranjani Krishnan presented “Teacher Cloning.” If you missed it, you can catch the recording here.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

In Preparation for Next Year

While the end of the school year is a time to reflect, I’m also inspired by the potential of the next school year. In particular, I have been thinking about how I might develop students’ identities as mathematicians and how this relates to their futures.

“I’m preparing you for college” is a phrase Patricia Vandenberg (@VbergMath) confessed she would use to defend some of her class policies. In a tweet, she asked math professors to share what they’d truly like to see in their math students.

Responses varied, but some common themes were (1) teach students how to take ownership of their learning through organization and engagement, (2) encourage students to take risks and embrace ambiguity, and (3) instead of using this phrase, meet students where they are.

Christelle Rocha
@Maestra_Rocha

Year-end Survey Options

If you are looking for some ideas for a year-end survey, Deidre O’Connor (@historywithmsoc) posted this tweet and has a thread loaded with great suggestions that are general enough for any subject and any grade level.

By Amber Thienel
@amberthienel

Notes from an Inspired Editor
Adding to the suggestions of the authors above, Matt Vaudrey has written quite a bit about Teacher Report Cards. It’s brilliant stuff and a wonderful way to build culture at the beginning, middle, and end of the year. How would your classroom culture changed if you considered doing a Teacher Report Card after the first month of school? Would your students open up more? Would the autonomy and authority shift in the classroom?

Here are onetwo, and three short (less than 5 minute reads) blog posts from Matt’s site. Dive in! And let us know what you think.

Chase Orton

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!

Stay nerdy my friends! Got something you think should go into the GMD Newsletter, hit me up on Twitter at @mathgeek76.

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Teacher Cloning
Presented by:  Ranjani Krishnan
I am not enough’ is the feeling I used to get everyday after each class and each day’s work. I wish I could clone myself and spread myself around the classroom so I can meet the needs of every student. Luckily, an online program named Gauss Academy Webwork came to my rescue. With this tool students work online on challenging problems, get instant feedback, engage in a risk-free yet productive struggle, while, I, the teacher can interact with students meaningfully by conducting discussions at the white board with these students about these problems. I have also been cutting my class sizes in half, so to speak, by setting different groups of students into different zones of productivity. One group would work on video note-taking, while the other would work on Gauss Academy Webwork. I redefined video instruction for my classes. After completing video note-taking, students would show me their notes, answer the inquiries posed in the videos, summarize notes, and then debrief with a classmate. I wouldn’t call my video note-taking model “flipping” the classroom, however. I am excited to say that with these two “cloning” tools, I am able to bring face-to-face conversation with students back!

To join this meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week, Kateri Thunder presented ” Math Buddies: Effective Peer Tutoring.” If you missed it, you can catch the recording here.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

#MathPhoto19

The Math Photo Challenge is a series of 10 weekly photo prompts posted to Twitter. Each week, participants take photos inspired by that week’s prompt and then share them on Twitter using the hashtag #MathPhoto19. This challenge is a fun way to interact with other #MTBoS teachers and to practice viewing the world through a mathematical lens. Anyone can check out the collection of photos on Twitter by searching the hashtag #MathPhoto19 or at the website https://mathphoto19.wordpress.com/ organized by Carl Oliver. This year’s photo challenge will start on Thursday, June 13th. Anyone can join in at any time.

This is the fifth year of the Math Photo Challenge. The first year was organized by Malke Rosenfeld with assistance and contributions from numerous members of the #MTBoS. It was initially called the Summer Math Photo Challenge. Following years dropped “Summer” from the name in recognition of all the participants from the Southern Hemisphere for whom Summer is still a long way off.

The first week’s challenge will be the number #five to celebrate the fifth year of this annual challenge. Check it out!

Written by Erick Lee (@TheErickLee)

I’m Not A Game of Thrones Guy

I could give a rip about Game of Thrones. I’m one of the few people who has never watched a single episode. I’m not living under a rock. I do know it is popular (or was) and there are some really passionate fans.

One of my favorite feeds is Cool Infographics and they recently posted Visualizing how Fans Rated the Last Season of Game of Thrones.

First, I appreciate how the post included fan ratings of the last season of other shows. Secondly, I love the visual math landscape of all the infographics. Thirdly, a question I have is what does this say about us as consumers of television? Do we rate something poorly when it’s not what we “expected”? I don’t know. Lastly, I appreciate how the author, Randy Krum, expresses his hesitation about one of the axes. Krum says,

My only hesitation with the choices they made when designing these charts is the y-axis. I appreciate that they kept the scale consistent throughout all of the charts in the article, but the non-zero baseline starting at 4.5 is an odd choice. Non-zero baselines are generally a poor design practice, and can mislead viewers that aren’t paying close attention. It looks like using a non-zero baseline was chosen to maximize the visible differences between the ratings, but on a 0-10 scale, it wouldn’t have been much different with a true zero-baseline.

Krum is using a few of the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Can you identify which ones?

Just like I’m not a Game of Thrones guy, I wonder if we asked Krum about his math experience and if he would say, “I’m not a math guy.” I would beg to differ. My challenge to you all is to question anyone who says, “I’m not a math person.” Rubbish. Don’t let them off the hook. Find out why they said that and join the conversation Tisha Jones and I have been having.

Written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

Diversity With Intentionality

If you haven’t already seen this tweet from Kristopher Childs, it sparked an interesting conversation this week. And after reading the inaugural blog post from Makeda Brome, I think they both pair well together. Her post, entitled Diversity with Intentionality begins with this line:

“Yes, this is another post about diversity in mathematics.”

She writes about how such goals as diversity and equity can not be achieved haphazardly, but rather with deliberate intent. She uses her recent NCTM experience as an example of how she intentionally sought the conference experience that fulfilled her. I won’t give any more away, but it should be read.

Back to the above discussion, among the pros, there was the power of articulating the importance of diversity and inclusion in math. Among the cons, there was the potential harm of these practices being seen as separate add-ons instead of naturally embedded practices. I keep thinking about intention. How can this type of intentionality be ensured?

The topic of this week’s #ICTM chat was SEL and its relation to mathematical identity hosted by Tyrone Martinez-Black. This was one of the thoughtful questions asked:

The first two statements highlight the importance of identity and agency. It connects to the next image of recent Brandeis mathematics graduate @Algebrandis, as she wears her identity and agency, and intends
to continue to pursue her doctorate.

Written by Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach)

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Math Buddies:  Effective Peer Tutoring

Presented by Kateri Thunder

Peer tutoring has the potential to accelerate student achievement (Hattie effect size = .53). In fact, under three conditions, the effect is has high on the person doing the tutoring as on the person being tutored. How do we orchestrate these meaningful interactions among peers? Come learn how to implement peer tutoring between two different grades for weekly math lessons. Unpack the three conditions that make peer tutoring effective and be inspired with ideas for your own “Math Buddies” lessons.

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

Next week Ranjani Krishnan’s presentation is called “Teacher Cloning.”  If that piques your curiosity click here to read more and register ahead of time!

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

From the World of Math Ed…

All In

The Ontario Association for Mathematics Education held its annual conference in the nation’s capital this past week. Many thanks to the host chapter, @ComaOttawa, for the incredible planning and organization of this professional learning experience.

Many of us first time presenters, like myself, were comforted by friends, colleagues, and new acquaintances that offered words of wisdom to soothe frayed nerves, a lending hand to troubleshoot technical difficulties, and provide directions to water bottle refilling stations. Of particular note is the way fellow educators showed up to support first-time attendees and first-time presenters alike. This community of mathematics educators was all in.

Ilana Horn (@Ilana_Horn) spoke to members of the Ontario Mathematics Coordinators Association (@OMCAMath) about Designing Motivational Math Classrooms. She posed a question on belongingness, “What gets in the way of belonging in math class?”

The prominent student-centered message is mathematics educators are invited to create learning cultures in which students see themselves as doers of mathematics, to spark joy in their mathematical discoveries, to establish brave spaces where mathematical discourse and rough draft thinking/talking/writing is encouraged.

The emergent themes for educators in the sessions I attended at the OAME annual conference were identity, community, and vulnerability. Featured speakers, Sam Shah (@SamJShah2) and Matt Baker (@Stoodle) had a full lecture hall of educators roaring with laughter and then weeping into shirt sleeves as they shared their stories about the power of #TeacherVoice. Tracy Zager (@TracyZager) modeled a beautiful experience of community by sharing high-yield mathematical interactions and we were hooked as we worked independently and then collaboratively to discuss Magic Vs. Jamie Mitchell (@realJ_Mitchell) and Matt Coleman (@MrColemanArt) shared their journey of innovation and humbled us with their transparency and courage.

This tweet perfectly captures the spirit of #OAME2019 – a community of mathematics educators coming together to learn, share, and collaborate. Derek invited attendees of the mathematics conference to collaborate on a shared document in order to “learn about sessions that you missed…see what others took from the session…get some learning from a distance.” The Google Doc was 83 pages long at last check!

We will each have returned to our regularly scheduled life events by the time this article is published; however, the learning continues. Peruse the hashtags, take a look at the many presentations that have been shared by presenters, and keep sharing how you will action what you have learned at #OAMEChat.

@OAME2020 “In Focus” will be held at UOIT/Durham College in Oshawa, Ontario from May 7th – 8th, 2020. Stay tuned to oame.on.ca for details and practice your live-tweeting skills for #OAME2020.

Hema Khodai (@HKhodai)

A People’s History of Math

A couple of weeks ago, Anna Haensch (@extremefriday) asked the Twitterverse about suggestions for a “People’s History of Math”. There were lots of great replies, mostly about histories beyond the white, male, Eurocentric stories often told about mathematics.

One very thorough response came from Michael Barany (@MBarany). He warns against the common pitfall of framing non-Western math as taking place in the past and serving as a mere predecessor to modern mathematics. I was struck by his pointing out that this origin myth was actually created by a prejudiced process of early modern Europeans.

Barany’s thread continues, and he includes a handful of fascinating links I had never heard of. One essay that you might particularly enjoy is Lady Wranglers by Joy Rankin (@JoyMLRankin). The essay, along with Barany’s thread, helps readers reconsider the assumption that the history of math should be conceived as a linear march of progress. Rather, mathematics has had many moments of creating obstacles that people with marginalized identities have had to overcome. It’s a shame that so many popular books on mathematics, and even university courses on the history of mathematics, construct mathematics as a simple sum of the achievements of a few, positioned-as-brilliant men.

Other common names that came up in the thread include Sophie Germain, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and Hypatia of Alexandria. One name that came up I was happy to see was Marjorie Rice, a non-university-affiliated mathematician who made discoveries involving tessellating pentagons.

Finally, one book that was left out of the thread was recently tweeted about by Annie Perkins (@anniek_p) – Power in Numbers: The Rebel Women of Mathematics. Guess what’s next up on my reading list?

Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)

And Speaking of Reading Lists…

#CleartheAir is bringing up so many educators into the process of introspection and action. Here is an image of books recommended by their various threads. #AntiracistBookfest:

And here’s a list:

Title Author
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker Damon Young
We Speak for Ourselves: A word from forgotten black America D. Watkins
The Color of Compromise Jemar Tisby
Heads of the Colored People Nafissa Thompson-Spires
A Kind of Freedom Margaret Wilkerson Sexton
Counting Descent Clint Smith
Looking for Lorraine Imani Perry
Long Way Down Jason Reynolds
So You Want to Talk About Race Ijeoma Oluo
No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black & Free in America Darnell L. Moore
Dying of Whiteness Jonathan Metzl
Separate: The Story of Plessy V. Ferguson, and America’s Journey from Slavery to Segregation Steve Luxenberg
I Want to do More Than Survive Bettina L. Love
Stamped From the Beginning Ibram X. Kendi
On The Other Side of Freedom DeRay McKeeson
Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America Martha S. Jones
They Were Her Property: White Women Slave Owners in the American South Stephanie F. Jones-Rogeen
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism Robin DiAngelo
The Privileged Poor: How Elite Colleges Are Failing Disadvantaged Students Anthony Abraham Jack
This Will Be My Undoing Morgan Jerkins
From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America Elizabeth Hinton
Well Read Black Girl Gloria Edin
What Truth Sounds Like Michael Eric Dyson
OLIO Tyehimba Jess
Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge Erica Armstrong Dunbar
American Prison Shane Bauer
I’m Still Here Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness Austin Channing Brown
I Can’t Date Jesus Michael Arceneaux
Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom David W. Blight
One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression is Destroying Our Democracy Carol Anderson
The Day You Being Jacqueline Woodson
Policing the Black Man: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment Angela J. Davis
Thick: And Other Essays Tressie McMillan Cottom

Check out this simple tweet from @ClearTheAirEdu with 75 responses!

We have work to do, part of the work is self care, part is learning, part is challenging the status quo.

Here is a link to the find the local bookstores in your area (because we all love the convenience of Amazon, but let’s keep these places to browse in business too).

Happy Summer Time Reading,

Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

Also this: ExxonMobile successfully used a mathematical model to predict our current global warming crisis – how can we teach kids to advocate for change when they are confronted with possible truths such as these?

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Edited By Chase Orton @mathgeek76
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Google in the Math Classroom
Presented by Mandi Tolen
When people think of Google Apps, they think about typing papers and making presentations, not math. Google apps, extensions, and other Google tools can help make your classroom a rich learning environment. This session will be full of activities, ideas, and resources to help you differentiate, engage your students, and get them creating, communicating, and thinking.

To join this meeting tonight when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Food For Thought on Accelerating & Tracking Students

In a recent NCTM (@nctm) article in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School (@MTMS_at_NCTM), Sarah B. Bush (@sarahbbush) talks about ways middle schools can support the position in Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics(2018). Her article, NCTM’s Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Our Role in the Middle” is in the March 2019 issue.

She writes about de-tracking students because this practice leads to the success of more students: “We can all agree that students should not be denied access to the instruction needed to become mathematically literate and that students should not have qualitatively different mathematics learning experiences.”

When I saw Robert Kaplinsky’s (@robertkaplinskytweet asking why we do not accelerate students through English Language Arts (ELA) like we do with math, I immediately made a connection that I invite you to contribute to.

Dig deep into the thread because the conversation gets really interesting. For example, check out Patricia’s (@TeacherPrepTech) tweets about students having an emotional response to the speed of math class.

And don’t forget to check out Sarah B. Bush’s full article in the March issue of MTMS. Let’s continue this conversation.

By Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

Family Math Night

A couple weeks ago, my middle school hosted a Family Math Night. It was really special to see students and their families participating in math games, creating math art, and exploring mathematical ideas. If your school has never put together a Family Math Night, FamilyMathNight.com has tips on how to get started, and a twitter search of “Family Math Night” will leave you with plenty more ideas for stations.

What stood out to me the most was that every person involved with Family Math Night knew that each station had to be fun and accessible. As a result, there was a clear contrast of what was a valid and welcomed mathematical activity in Family Math Night versus the mathematical activities our curriculum. For example, if creating tessellations and estimating quantities are valid activities for Family Math Night, there must be potential for math play, art and estimation as a regular part of our daily instruction. I immediately thought of Kassia Wedekind’s talk at ShadowCon 2017 on math play, and Sara VanDerWerf’s play tables as strong starting points.

I also noticed students and their families looked confused at some stations, often asking, “that’s it?” It seemed like the difficulty of math in the activity wasn’t clear and they were looking for the catch. How could we have made connections to our curriculum and the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice, so that students and their families can have more conversations around math beyond our classrooms and in their homes and communities?

We know math is everywhere, and mathematical agency starts with helping our students and families understand that.

Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

Notes from an Inspired Editor
Part of my joy serving as an editor is reading deeply about what our team of writers bring to the table and making connections between ideas.

Like Christelle, I’ve been thinking a lot about our conversations as math educators with the non-teaching public (like Family Math Nights) and how we can make them better. I think we (math educators) can do more to reframe our work with parents (and other non-math-educators) by redefining what it means to do math.

I found this tweet by Mark Trushkowsky about #sidewalkmath, a project by Brian(@_b_p):

The thread is well-worth checking out. I appreciate the efforts folks are making to shift the dialogue about what it means to be a “math person” by bringing more math conversations into public spaces. I gave a talk recently about this topic to a (non-math-educator) conference about creativity. It’s my case for why and how we move the conversation forward. You can see a screencast of the talk here.

What do you do to shift the dialogue about what it means to do math with the general, non-teaching public? What works? What doesn’t? Participate in the conversation here.

Chase Orton

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!

Stay nerdy my friends! Got something you think should go into the GMD Newsletter, hit me up on Twitter at @mathgeek76.

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This Week at the Global Math Department

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Mathivate … be the best fraction of a kid’s day!!

Presented by Kim Thomas

M-A-T-H What does it spell? Best subject ever!! Let’s celebrate KIDS + YOU + MATH!! You will leave this celemathbration with mathtastic learning experiences to implement in your classroom. Be ready to have an amathazing time with projects and activities that are personalized for kids. Mathlicious ideas like Math Muscles, Equationanza, MEflection SymMEtry, Fraction of Your Brain, MathO’ween, Namerea, Christmath Trees, Yahmathzee, and Fracordiddles will put a positive parabola on everyone’s face!! Most of these activities can be adapted to any grade level, but the primary focus are middle school grades – Bring your mathitude to this celemathbration!!

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

Join us next week when Anne Agostinelli presents on Making Fluency Meaningful.  Register ahead of time here!

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

From the World of Math Ed…

Avoiding Racial Equity Detours

I recall sitting in my school’s mandatory “Diversity and Inclusion” PD two weeks ago. Fifty-plus teachers and staff listened to our principal, a well-meaning man, talk cautiously about issues of race, gender, and status in our school. Besides citing the “statistic” (his word, which he emphasized) that our accelerated track had few students of color, he read from slides that defined terms such as “diversity”, “inclusion”, and “equity.” Then we watched a TED talk on implicit bias.

Near the end of the presentation, one teacher claimed that implicit bias doesn’t exist and “equity” only creates problems where there is none. Sensing the room’s rising discomfort, our principal was quick to assure his staff that he was not accusing them of racism. He went on to focus on how teachers and students talk about tracking in our school.

Then the meeting ended. That was it. No follow-up or questions. Just some slides on diversity and inclusion, a TED talk, which I fear sent our staff the message that inequity can be solved by fixing our psychology alone, some white fragility, some placating that fragility, and a pivot toward talking about status while keeping race and gender safely at arm’s-length.

I think this is why the article Avoiding Racial Equity Detours by Paul Gorski was so impactful when I found it strolling the streets of the Math Ed Internet Universe. Gorski starts with four “racial equity detours” embraced by schools that refuse to reckon with its reality of racial inequity. They are:

  1. Pacing-For-Privilege Detour: Coddles the feelings and fears of hesitant educators.
  2. Poverty of Culture Detour: Using vague notions of culture to explain everything.
  3. Deficit Ideology Detour: “Fixing” students through mindset and grit alone.
  4. Celebrating Diversity Detour: Using PoC as props for gentle diversity education.
Gorski also talks about five principles of “equity literacy” (which by the way reminds me of another useful term, “racial literacy”). It’s important to note these are not simple strategies to solve problems of equity but rather clotheslines on which to hang weightier conversations:
  1. Direct Confrontation Principle: “How is racism operating here?”
  2. Redistribution Principle: Redistributing access and opportunity to PoC.
  3. Prioritization Principle: Filtering every policy and practice through the lens of “How will this impact families and students of color?”
  4. Equity Ideology Principle: Developing deep understandings of racism and an ideological commitment to eliminate it.
  5. #FixInjusticeNotKids Principle: Eliminating racist conditions instead of focusing on efforts to “fix” kids.

Written by Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)

What is Math?

I spend a lot of time thinking about what math is and why we spend so much time on it in school.  For me, mathematics is joyous and learning it also feels useful.  Not useful in the sense that I plan to “use it in my real life,” but useful in the sense that I am growing as a result of it.  I’m not sure I can explain that growth, nor can I quantify it, but it feels very important nonetheless.  I want my students to feel the same way.  I am thankful for folks who put math problems up on Twitter because they often reinforce my ideas of what math is, why I love it, and why it’s worthwhile.  Here are a few of my recent favorites (the pictures are links to the tweets):

Written by Nate Goza (@thegozaway)

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This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Chase Orton @mathgeek76
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Engagement: Just 3 Acts Away
Presented by Felicia Casto
What do a majority of math classes lack? Engagement! Come join us for conversations on how to incorporate real world 3 Act Tasks and feel like a true mathematician. Hear from teachers and students how 3 Act Tasks bring joy and excitement to math classes. We will also discuss how to create these engaging three act tasks that are accessible to all learners.

To join this meeting tonight when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Did you miss last week’s webinar? Click here to watch “How to Expose It: Contemporary Mathematics at the High School Level.”

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Is It Harmful or Helptul?

#MTBoS is a community that is filled with diverse knowledge, skills, and resources. Among the resources are rich tasks, the most celebrated being those that involve real world application and mathematical reasoning.

To add to the archive of tasks, recently Robert Kaplinksy posted:

The image of Nelly in a math task was strange on my feed, so I paused to read the tweet, only to feel confused about why we might need to #SaveNelly. I didn’t think much of it, so I scrolled on. Until Hema Khodai replied:


With a single tweet, Hema challenged #mtbos to consider and oppose stereotypes in the tasks we create. While these stereotypes may be subtle, Hema reminds us that we have a responsibility to be critical of the images and notions we normalize in our classrooms of communities that have been historically marginalized.

Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

Rethinking Grading
I work with some wonderful math teachers all over California, and I admire their perseverance and courage. One of the things that I think gets in our way of our good teaching is our attachment to traditional assessments of learning as the primary driving force behind assigning students grades.

I sent out this Tweet to see what folks had to say.


Check out the thread for full details, but here’s what I loved most about my journey down this worm hole of learning.

Rhonda Hewer recommended Aleda Klassen‘s blog “Pedagogical Patterning.” It’s an insightful resource for many reasons and you should check it out. In particular, I dig this post about how we can better listen to our students. She builds upon Max Rey-Riek‘s Ignite Talk from a few years ago title “2 > 4.

Dave Martin writes about his experience removing grades from his high school calculus class in this blog post. He made this stand a few years ago: “I will only assess in a way that increases learning; if my assessment isn’t increasing learning then the assessment needs to change.” Read the post to find out more.

Sunil Singh offers this post on Medium making an argument for how abolishing our traditional notion of grading is the first step to better assessment in mathematics.

If you want to get your academic groove on, Anna Blinstein offers this insightful research article entitled “Teaching More by Grading Less (or Differently).

Geoff Krall gave a brilliant ShadowCon talk about this topic not long ago. Give it a watch and let us know what you think.

Again, check out the thread to see what everyone else said. Thank you to those who helped us further our thinking.

Stay nerdy my friends!

Chase Orton
@mathgeek76

[Editors Note: Please forgive me for a thin newsletter this week. As an editor, I missed my own reminders to my writers. My apologies to them.]

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!

Stay nerdy my friends! Got something you think should go into the GMD Newsletter, hit me up on Twitter at @mathgeek76.

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This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Casey McCormick @cmmteach
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Online Professional Development Sessions

How to Expose It: Contemporary Mathematics at the High School Level
Presented by: Nitsa Movshovitz-Hadar
This presentation will focus on an R&D project aimed at exposing high school students to contemporary mathematics by periodically sharing with them Math News Snapshots (MNSs). Metaphorically speaking the idea is to take high school students on a glass bottom boat tour over the deep, colorful, vivid, often stormy mathematical ocean, for 45 minutes, once a month or so. The rationale, the definition of MNS, MNSs development, and results of their implementation will be discussed. You may wish to take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the website.

To join this meeting when it starts at 9pm Eastern (or RSVP if it’s before 9pm), click here.

Last week  the Global Math Department took a break. Don’t forget – recordings for all previously held webinars can be found here.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Hallway Math

I recently saw a tweet from Heather Dodge about her fantastic estimation bulletin board. I really like how interactive bulletin boards can bring mathematics outside of the classroom and into the broader school community. They help to create a positive culture of mathematics in a school.

Heather’s tweet made me think of the other examples of mathematics bulletin boards I’ve seen or heard about. Some math activities just seem to be a great fit for a spot in the hallway. Kim Figura shared an example of a Which One Doesn’t Belong bulletin board and Danielle Marchandshared her Year Game bulletin board.

Interactive bulletin boards seem like a great way to promote mathematical conversations and inspire collaboration. Tracy Zager, in her book Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had, wrote “Mathematicians frequently talk about standing around blackboards or whiteboards together, thinking and talking. […] This particular kind of collaboration – standing, talking, thinking and writing – is so inherent to doing mathematics that many buildings are designed around it.” If you don’t have space for a whole bulletin board… no problem. How about just posting a math puzzle or problem in the hallway? Sara VanDerWerf wrote a great blog post about how she experimented with this and the surprising results she saw. Read her post Even if they say they don’t like doing math, they secretly do. An Experiment you should try.

Written by Erick Lee (@TheErickLee)

Got Relationship?

Jenise Sexton gifts us with a brief, yet powerful post to reflect on the relationships we have (or don’t) with students. In here post, The Push Without Relationships, she shares a few experiences and practical bits of advice. These three quotes from her post say a lot about the impact of relationship.

A common confession about students:

“The ones who when they were absent I secretly rejoiced because I knew the class would run smoothly.”

About lesson plans:

“You can have the best laid plans for your classroom, but without relationship those plans can easily go awry.”

About the necessity of relationship:

“Relationship is the important aspect of teaching that gets you through the tough moments.”

But wait, there’s more… go read her post. It’s not too late to create positively impactful relationships with your students.

Written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

Virtual Strangers

It’s been a week since NCTM in San Diego, but many observed that this meeting felt different.

Some have even blogged about their experience, including first-time blogger, Hema Khodai. Reading her piece, entitled Virtual Strangers, gave me the confirmation that relationships first formed through social media can indeed be the support that sustains us.

Hema shouts out the #ClearTheAir community and its intersection with math educators. And, she acknowledges that she received something she perhaps did not expect to receive: a sense of belonging. As we think about what we want in math spaces, I think her blog is an important piece of that puzzle. No more spoilers. Please read.

Written by Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach)

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This Week at the Global Math Department