This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Fostering the Equitable Math Talk Community

Presented by Shannon Kiebler

Engaging students in math discourse is reliant upon a strong math community. How can we empower students and defeat helplessness in efforts to reach higher levels of math discourse? Come explore simple, yet transformative ideas to better your community and therefore better the discourse.

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

Next week’s webinar features Joel Bezaire who will share how he helps students see mathematics outside of the classroom.  You can get more info on the session and register here.

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

On the Topic of Twitter Chats…

Twitter chats have been an amazing resource for the online math ed community. They’ve allowed math educators worldwide to engage in a wide range of focused, public conversations, where anyone is welcome to join. Two recent chats come to mind as representing some of the best that the Twitter platform has to offer: #ClearTheAir and #SWDMathChat.

#ClearTheAir had its first chat around the book “White Rage” by Carol Anderson last Wednesday (1/9). The #ClearTheAir chat is focused on issues of race in education and in general, and Val Brown gives an excellent introduction to the chat and its origins in this blog entry. I have yet to catch up on reading the book, so I chose to lurk rather than actively participate this time. However the schedule for the next three sessions are here:

And I must say, the chat was . Some people have been contributing to #ClearTheAir even after the last question was asked Wednesday night, so I strongly encourage reading people’s thoughts and contributions if you haven’t already done so. There’s a lot to process, but here’s just a sample of what went down. Shout out to Christie Nold!

The other chat I have to mention is #swdmathchat, which as you can probably guess focuses on math education issues impacting students with disabilities. The most recent chat (1/10) was facilitated by Theodore Chao, who is an amazing math ed professor at OSU. Check out he spring schedule for #swdmathchat:

The theme for this most recent chat was “What is Possible?” Participants discussed what was possible for engaging students with disabilities in mathematical thinking and reasoning. The common denominator denounced, rightly so, the isolation that can occur when special education students are physically, intellectually, and/or socially isolated from their gen ed peers, especially in math class.

@ScottGeisler12@Julie12129030, and many others participated in last week’s chat.

I’ll close with a short list of books that I’ve read or are next up on my reading list in addition to “White Rage”. Such books highlight the multi-faceted, political nature of the work we do as educators.

Written by Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)
Like Melvin, the book “White Rage” by Carol Anderson is on my mind.

The book details the extent and depths and insidiousness of white rage, from “Reconstruction”, all the way through to voter suppression. Some sections will make you want to throw up (either from intense violence described, or from a “how can this even be real?” feeling).

Some brief notes about 1957, “Sputnik”, and Brown vs. Board of Education. Many of us are often scolded for tweeting about things other than mathematics, as if we have no humanity, no interests, outside of our jobs as eduators. Many who come from more conservative perspectives, both about the world and about mathematics, suggest that it can and must be “neutral”.

Some things are about mathematics are neutral, like the square root of any number, or counting to 100. Sure, fine. But the systems that mathematics are embedded in have their own axioms and their own beliefs that become encoded in what mathematics is taught, and how.

The book goes briefly into Sputnik, and the moral panic it inspired about mathematics. A clarion call for “back to basics” was issued, and the fault laid by some at the foot of “progressive education” (plus ca change…)

But at the same time, many states were fighting to keep segregated schools, outright defying Brown vs, Board of Education, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, ostensibly in the name of “state’s rights”. (What is it with America and “state’s rights”? Isn’t it possible that the conception of federalism your country uses just doesn’t work? Maybe the wrong compromises were struck, way back when?)

There was a school district in Virginia that closed all schools for 5 years, rather than let black students in. This is called “cutting off your nose to spite your face”, and yes, the powers that be were willing to close the schools even to the poor whites who might have needed them, rather than let blacks in (the rich, presumably, had their own schools).

So forget Sputnik, forget “back to basics”, and forget about mathematics as “neutral”: many students weren’t even allowed in to learn the basics.

That doesn’t even get us to gerrymandering, a whole other cruel and unjust use of mathematics. And that doesn’t even get us to human prejudices, encoded in algorithms (I am reading Hannah Fry’s “Hello World” now, and algorithmic prejudice is a new frontier of prejudice, don’t you think?)

Are we feeling “neutral”, yet? Not after reading this book, I am not.

I would add to Melvin’s list above of books for the #ClearTheAir shelf, Ijeome Oluo’s So You Want To Talk About Race.

Written by Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge)

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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This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Chase Orton @mathgeek76
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Online Professional Development Sessions

True Talk with the Gurus of Open Up Resources 6-8 Math
Presented by Sara VaughnMartin JoyceMorgan Stipe, and Jen Arberg
Implementing a new curriculum is never easy – especially when it involves completely changing your teaching methods and philosophy. Each of these “Gurus” experienced such change when they adopted the problem based Open Up Resources 6–8 Math Curriculum. Learn from their classroom and district successes and challenges and get a glimpse of what makes a problem based curriculum engaging and challenging for all learners including Students with Disabilities and English Language Learners.

Join @Vaughn_trapped, @martinsean, @mrsstipemath, and @jenarberg and leave with ready to use instructional strategies you can implement in your classroom tomorrow using this free and open curriculum.

To join this meeting 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 “Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics.”

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

[Editor’s Note: I invited Amber and Howie to put an ear to the ground of the #MTBoS world and report out on some interesting conversations that are happening. Here’s what they found. We share these conversations because we think they matter, and we think you do too. So we invite you to click on the threads, read more, and participate however you feel inspired! Happy geeking out! And Happy New Year!]

Navigating Through Twitter

I saw this tweet from Tim Bennett about how we can all use social media more efficiently as teachers to find what we need. Our time is precious. When you’re looking for ways to be better at teaching a certain topic, it can be frustrating having to sift through posts that talk about building relationships with students. I really liked Kate Nowak’s tweet showing that it’s not all about relationships:

It is important to grow both in student-to-teacher connections as well as being able to build great, engaging lessons for our students. Unfortunately, sometimes my Twitter feed feels a bit lopsided on this matter. If you feel like Tim, or you want to help people like him, here are some of my suggestions:

  1. Follow hashtags such as #geomchat, #alg1chat, and #statschat to find more content-specific advice. [Editor’s Note: Here are more hashtags.]

  2. Just like Natalie Perez says, simply ask! The Twitter community is more than happy to help. Just like we cannot read our students’ minds, we cannot help other teachers if we don’t know what they are looking for.

  3. Meg Craig suggests following some blogs that include lesson plans. I personally love Sarah Carter’s (@mathequalslove) blog. 

Finding the information we need on Twitter may feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but it doesn’t have to be. Remember that we are all here to help each other in many capacities; all we have to do is ask.

Howie Hua
@howie_hua

Thoughts On Grading

Howie Hua (@howie_hua) posed this question to Twitter and got a great response.

The response was quite diverse often steering Howie away from grading using points. Kevin Santry (@MrSantry) talked of using a rubric instead of percentages or points.

I can tell from his responses that Howie has been considering using Standards Based Grading (SBG) in the future. I wonder if this exam and response from the student will be the push to move him in that direction.

This was an interesting response from Scott Figgins (@scott_figgins) that really talks to the purpose of grading.

Grading is such a hot topic and I love that Twitter is a great way to hear from so many points of views. Read through the entire thread of Howie’s post here.

Amber Thienel
@amberthienel

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Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations
Presented by Robert Berry
Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations identifies and addresses critical challenges in high school mathematics to ensure that each and every student has the mathematical experiences necessary for his or her future personal and professional success. This session provides an overview of Catalyzing Change and initiates critical conversations centering on the following serious challenges: explicitly broadening the purposes for teaching high school mathematics beyond a focus on college and career readiness; dismantling structural obstacles that stand in the way of mathematics working for each and every student; implementing equitable instructional practices; identifying Essential Concepts that all high school students should learn and understand at a deep level; and organizing the high school curriculum around these Essential Concepts in order to support students’ future personal and professional goals. Catalyzing Changeis written to engage all individuals with a stake in high school mathematics in the serious conversations that must take place to bring about and give support to necessary changes in high school mathematics.

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

Last week Geoff Krall presented a webinar focusing on his new book, Necessary Conditions. If you missed it, make sure to catch the recording! Don’t forget – recordings for all previously held webinars can be found here.

Please note, the Global Math Department will be taking a 2 week holiday break from both webinars and newsletters. We will see you in the new year on Tuesday, January 8, 2019! Happy holidays to you and yours.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Active Caring

Build positive relationships, get to know your students, show personal interest in your students lives. I’ve heard these suggestions often. And indeed, I think these are fine suggestions, but they only go part way. They are just a bit vague and seem incomplete. I feel they need a bit more focus and sincerity or they risk being empty platitudes.

On Tuesday evening, I participated in Geoff Krall’s Global Math Department webinar (check out the recording at Big Marker) highlighting themes from his recent book Necessary Conditions: Ingredients for Successful Math Classrooms. One part that really resonated with me was when he talked about the difference between Passive Caring and Active Caring and shared the table below.

I feel like in the past I have too often displayed passive caring to my students. I haven’t worked hard enough to reach out to every student. Geoff recently wrote to his blog some additional details about enacting Active Caring. He tackles the question of how to find time to accomplish these active caring strategies in the classroom and makes some practical suggestions.

I remember really reflecting on my own practice after reading Joe Schwartz’s description of Emily, a student that in some schools might go days or weeks without any teacher really paying attention to her or doing more than saying hello at the door. Being intentional about active caring can make sure that students like Emily are not ignored. As Rita Pierson said,“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.”

Many schools will soon be taking a holiday break and returning in January. As you return to classes in the new year, think about how you might demonstrate active caring with your students (you might even consider it a new year resolution). How will you be intentional about incorporating this?

Written by Erick Lee (@TheErickLee)

On Fidelity

I first met Cristina Paul at Twitter Math Camp this summer. She recently began her blog entitled Neglected Thoughts, and her first post speaks powerfully of her experiences as a dual language mathematics teacher and of her work with the UCLA Mathematics Project. She is an advocate of her Latinx charges, and urges us to respectfully observe the rich knowledge dual language teachers possess. You have probably seen her Spanish versions of WODB on Twitter like this example:

Her most recent post, On Fidelity, seeks to explain the importance of translanguaging and all its nuances. Although I had a basic knowledge of it, Cristina, a trilingual herself, patiently explained the answers to some of my questions. This post offers so much more.

Translanguaging is more than switching from one language to the next, as I once thought. As she explained in a DM:

Translanguaging is the idea that bilinguals are not two monolinguals trapped in one brain. It acknowledges the richness of our lived experiences and that multilinguals should have opportunities to use their full linguistic repertoire. Translanguaging does not believe in siloing languages. Although it does recognize that sometimes one language may need to be protected from being overtaken by a “language of power”.

Her blog post begins with her description of her journey as a student in a monolingual world. She then describes how the embrace of translanguaging has evolved in her life and teaching of students and leading professional development. She gives us a new view of what is possible when we let go of our assumptions and our allegiance to conventional views of teaching and learning.

As I read her piece, so many thoughts emerged related to student and educator identity, and how it shapes our learning and teaching experiences. Cristina offers us quite a bit to chew on here, and I look forward to her continued writing.

Written by Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach)

Estimation Clipboard

Full disclosure: I’m extremely partial to estimation in the math class.

Back in April of 2018, Steve Wyborney posted a wonderful series of 40 estimation lessons under the name “Estimation Clipboard.” The estimation lessons include 4 highly similar images that allow students to estimate based on additional information and context with each image. There are plenty of opportunities for students and teachers to have rich mathematical conversations.

In addition to the free 40 estimation lessons, Steve offers facilitation tips to help you get started. Be sure to head over to Steve Wyborney’s blog and begin estimating.

Written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

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Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Necessary Conditions:  Ingredients for Successful Math Classrooms

Presented by Geoff Krall

Take a look at pieces of Geoff Krall’s book on Secondary Math. He’ll share the inspirations for the book as well as a framework for pedagogy for secondary math teachers. You’ll see excerpts from the book as well as printables to advance your practice.

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

Next week at Global Math NCTM President Robert Barry will be here with an overview of “Catalyzing Change in High School Mathematics: Initiating Critical Conversations.”  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!

Approaching the New Year

The Year Progress Twitter account is amusing. It only tweets an old-fashioned looking “loading” bar showing, well, the progress of the year towards the end.

It may well be that you feel like “Teacher New Year” (for many, people, the day after Labor Day is the “real” New Year) was yesterday, and you have barely made progress in reaching your goals. I assure you, you have. That bone weary feeling you have right now means that you have worked hard, and need a rest. Take some time to pause, reflect, and think on what goals you have for the “other” New Year. Humans love patterns, we are good at perceiving them, and we love the sweet feeling of “starting over”.

If 2019 is a blank slate, what do you want to accomplish? What goals will you continue to work towards? Is there anything new you want to try?

It could be a time for new habits, new goals. I recently read “The Power of Habit”, and it powerfully describes how, set in our ways though we often are, we have the power to change our habits.

Perhaps you want to consistently get your students in a reasoning routine, like Fraction Talks, or Would You Rather. Build the habit. Perhaps you want to use #VNPS (or little white boards, or whiteboard paint on desks). Create a new routine for yourself. Maybe you want to read more research. Start with one good article. Maybe then you could put it into your calendar or agenda on a regular basis. Habits will form. (You could start with the Boaler curated journal special issue “Dispelling Myths About Mathematics.”

Be kind to yourself though – maybe pick one good goal for yourself in your practice, and find the steps you will need to take to achieve that goal.

All best wishes for the holiday break, Merry Christmas to those who celebrate, and Happy New Year! 2019 will be great!

Written by Matthew Oldridge  (@MatthewOldridge)

I was fortunate enough to attend CMC-North Math conference at the beginning of December.  I saw Howie Hua playing piano in the lodge.  He has shifted my teaching with small transformations toward a more humanitarian classroom.  One thing that gets lots of attention is his method of allowing students some processing time before a test.  This, being my first year at High School (giving finals), I saw students respond with positivity when I allowed them time to prepare a “one page” prior to the exam.  Given that we have block periods (and it is against most progressive research to ask kids to sit for two hours), I had them take a “one rule” break mid-exam.  Flip there tests upside down, take your one page, STAND-UP and collaborate to add more to your notes.  There was active discussion; and the process of a “final exam” felt more humane.

Adding to this theme; I was fortunate enough to attend a talk by @BeckyNftP titled: “Warm up to Mathematical Freedom.” She landed on this idea from an aside in Jo Boaler’s talk last year and has since been grappling with the meaning.  This question posing session had me considering my “tent poles” or the structures that support the rest of your teaching practice.


When have we felt “mathematically free”?  When do our students feel free?  Should we consider as Jo Boaler says both Organizational and Mathematical freedom?  Should we lean toward Tracy Zager’s ideas of Mathematicians as Rebels?

Next topic: Teaching is a Political Act; follow @BadAssTeachersA to keep up to date and enter into the realm.  If you are fortunate enough to be at a school with a teacher’s union; show up for their events: everyone benefits when public schools thrive.

Other quick tweets that caught my eye this month from people I enjoy having on my feed: pictures are linked so you can have them too 🙂

Enjoy your holiday break; as @MatthewOldridge said, “take care of yourself.”

Written by Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

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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Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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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!

Follow us on Twitter
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This Week at the Global Math Department

 

 

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

GMD is taking a break for Thanksgiving this week!  We will be back next week with a presentation from Amie Albrecht titled Developing Mathematical Thinking Through Problem Solving.  Click here to register!

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

Thanks to the MTBoS

Beyond the Algorithm

One of the most obvious strengths of the online math teacher community is their passion for creating and sharing resources that help math teachers move beyond rote, traditional teaching centered on the memorization and execution of algorithms. Take. for example, this tweet from @vaslona:

As another example, @MathTeachScholl has sent out a request to learn how teachers use the game of Set in their classrooms. Let’s give her more replies!

 

As @MrKitMath points out, algorithms and rote procedures have the counterproductive effect of masking the relational nature of mathematics.

This reminds me of a paper by Cobb, Gresalfi, and Hodge, which talks about the difference between “conceptual agency” and “disciplinary agency”. Although it is neither current nor part of the online teacher space, I wanted to bring it up because it does an excellent job pointing out that even in student-centered classrooms, mathematical learning is unlikely to occur unless students have opportunities to create meaning on their own apart from re-enacting mathematical procedures.

Finally, the topic of moving beyond algorithms reminds me of @Veganmathbeagle’s tweet questioning the hyper-focus that factoring quadratics receives in the traditional mathematics curriculum.

I think far too often we teach content because it’s “just the way it’s been”. Why do we teach the content we do and is there a better alternative? I’m sure this is a question that math teachers all around the world ask themselves from time to time, if not regularly. But we as educators are also aware of the responsibilities we have toward our students in light of existing curricula. How do we strike that balance? Who currently benefits under the existing curricular regime and whose education pays the price?

On that note, have a great and reflective Thanksgiving season.

Written by Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)

An Axiomatic Approach To Teaching and Learning

I wrote this book because I needed my own thoughts on mathematics teaching and learning to be “in the world”. And now I have these 30,000 words, stating that which I believe. I say this not because I think you should read it – you can read it if you like, or not. I mention the book because I decided to examine what I believe about mathematics teaching and learning, right down to the core, through a personal set of axioms about teaching and learning.

I do a lot of “fanboying” about Dr. Eugenia Cheng, and her books. Her new book, on logic, is terrific. I recommend it to readers, for your holidays. It teaches us how to construct better arguments. We are not all capable of pure logic, and emotion always plays into human arguments. It is best to just admit that. She deftly examines a number of social justice issues to show where false equivalences occur. Her section on privilege dazzles. It is remarkable to me that she is using her obscure field, category theory, to make these points. Category theory is the “math of math”, and is really about arrows pointing between categories. Sounds simple, but it is really not so – she is elaborating really complex relationships between “things”, and in the case of pure category theory, relationships between sets, mathematical objects, and even different branches of mathematics.

A point Dr. Cheng makes is that axioms, even in mathematics, come from somewhere. We have to start with something – some assumptions, some starting point. A lot of arguments about teaching and learning come down to not going all the way back to the beginning, to examining our unshakeable core beliefs.

You probably proceed from different axioms than your classroom neighbour. But what are they? Take a few minutes to write down a few. Many are deeply woven into the fabric of who you are. Some could change, given new information, for example, research about teaching and learning.

As Parker Posey said, “we teach who we are”. So who are you between those 4 walls?

The answer is axiomatic – you might just not know it yet.

Written by Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge)

Giving thanks for MTBOS

As I restfully work … ¿work while resting? … regretfully place my (now reading) child in front of on the so I can study the next few chapters of   and prepare for the next bit of the school year I am

.

In no particular order; things on MTBoS this week I am thankful for:

  • @TeachMrReed for his positive, motivational messages of love.
  • @dyong for reminding us the necessity of giving thanks in this difficult time.

Written by Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

GMD is Looking for Presenters!

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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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The Global Math Department is Back for 2018-19







The Global Math Department is Back for 2018-19






Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway

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TMC18 – My Favorites
Presented by A Host TMCers

Recaps from Twitter Math Camp, 2018 Edition! Speakers will share some of their favorite moments from TMC2018.

To join this meeting when it starts at 9:00 PM (or register ahead of time) click here.

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

Welcome Back to the Global Math Newsletter!

Back to School with #ObserveMe
 

It’s that time when some teachers are counting down the single-digit days when students darken the door of the school building once again, I have been thinking about my own back-to-school ideas and traditions.  As an instructional coach, my start of school looks much different now-a-days.  This is the time of year when I plan my pitch to convince both new and returning teachers to let me come into their classrooms to observe, model, or co-teach a lesson. I am fully aware how uncomfortable this makes some teachers. I also know that not every school is fortunate to have some version of a math instructional coach.  That is why I was so excited when I saw this tweet from Matt Vaudrey:


 

Matt was responding to Jennifer Gonzalez’s tweet of this article that she wrote in 2013 called “Open Your Door: Why We Need to See Each Other Teach.”  Great post if you have not read it yet or if it’s been a while. Well this reminded Matt of an idea Robert Kaplinsky had written about here in 2016.  This whole idea started as a call to action where he challenged teachers to post a sign inviting other teachers into his/her classroom to observe certain things that he/she would want actionable feedback regarding. Then he/she would take a picture of the sign and post it to twitter using the hashtag #ObserveMe.  Well, if you search that hashtag you will quickly see how it has exploded into a fantastic movement.  And it’s not perfect. Some teachers were finding that other teachers were too nice or weren’t giving specific feedback. Others found that no one would even come observe. So Robert wrote this follow-up post about troubleshooting #ObserveMe.
 
So how about you? Do you have someone who can come into your classroom and give you non-evaluative feedback on your practice? Have you tried #ObserveMe?  Find me on twitter (@cutefoundbutton) to voice ideas, concerns, comments, or questions about being observed informally.

Written by Amber Thienel (@cutefoundbutton)

First Day Problems
 

Here are some things you could do on the first day of class:

  • Set up rules and regulations
  • Review number facts
  • Hand our rulers and calculators 

Or:

Begin to set up that amazing culture of math talk, of problem-solving, of collaboration, and most of all, of thinking.
 
I used to do “rules and regulations”, and then I realized I could do “first day problems”. There’s no going back. Begin “in media res” with mathematics, and reap the benefits.

Do you have a classic problem you use on the very first day of class to inspire thinking, reasoning, wondering, and play in mathematics?  Let’s get a collection going!
 
Respond on Twitter with your ideas for #FirstDayProblems and/or come see what others are sharing!
 

Written by Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge)

First Day, First Week / Old and New
 

I’ll be transitioning, after twelve years, from teaching middle to high school.  The words of advice I have received from the MTBoS are: keep my cool, remember they are still kids, keep the same high expectations (nothing magical happens during the summer between 8th and 9th grade {usually}).  Therefore I have been keen on reading posts to remind me of norms and values.  You may have seen Sara VanDerWerf’s post last year about first day / week activities.  I had the pleasure of meeting Sara at a #PCMIWeekend this past February and she assured me it was okay to present her ideas (even with her in the audience!).  The idea that resonated with me the most is NAME TENTS.  

My students were so engaged with this as their exit ticket, they continued to ask when they could do it again… I soon realized NOT to use this activity with all courses simultaneously, but to stagger them so I could keep my response rate up and then continued using them throughout the year.  Essentially, students can write about mathematics or otherwise, and you *the teacher* respond to each individual student.  This activity changed my classroom from an authoritarian environment to one of community. 
 
If the above is old news, this is even older!  Celebrating 30 years is the game 24! Invented in 1988, each double sided card has four single digit numbers, students are encouraged to use basic operations and all four of the numbers once to get the answer 24.  Not too old to have a twitter feed, the folks at 24 helped Chris Bolognese (aka @EulersNephew) clear up how cards are classified into their three tiers of difficulty with this possible 20 minute card:

Chris used this card as an opener to an @MathTeachCircle, I use 24 cards whenever a lesson goes unexpectedly short.  I ask students to think individually how to make 24 then they go to the white board to show their solutions.  Before showing the next card I always ask, “Does any one have a different way?”  This elicits many conversations/reviews of mathematical properties.
 

Enjoy your first weeks back!  Remember to enjoy the journey and have mathematical “fun.”
 

Written by Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

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This Week at Global Math




Edited By Nate Goza @thegozaway

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Framing Mathematics Instruction with the TQE Process
Thomasenia Lott Adams and S. Leigh Nataro

Attendees will be introduced to the TQE process and how it can be used to frame mathematics instruction with (1) TASKS that promote thinking, prompt discourse, and reveal misconceptions, (2) QUESTIONS that advance understanding and uncover errors, and (3) EVIDENCE that inform formative assessment. The session will be supported by a shared image of mathematics instruction.

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

Last week at Global Math Kristin Umland talked about the Illustrative Math OER Curriculum.  Click here to check it out!  Also, if Podcasts are your thing, click here to check out former GMD Presentations in Podcast form!

Back in Full Swing the #MTBoS

Mathematicians Ask for Help

One of the blogs that I try to read regularly is Michael Pershan’s “Teaching With Problems.”
Michael, who is the quintessential reflective teacher in my mind, wrote a lovely blog post this week titled “Mathematicians Ask for Help.”

In that blog post, Michael starts with a reflection about his own experience as a mathematics student. I love “hearing” teachers talk about their lives as students—and Michael explained that when he was in high school and also when he started college, he was not the type of student to ask questions in math class (nor was he encouraged to be).

Later, he realized how important it is for students who are struggling to ask questions. And he took this realization and incorporated it in his teaching practice. He describes a 9th grader he taught some years ago, and how he handled getting this student to do just that.
 
Here’s what I did for my 9th Grader: I told the entire class, “I want you all to ask me questions. Lots of questions. When you’re feeling stuck: ask me for help.”
 
And, then, when my 9th Grader didn’t ask me questions I walked over to him: “I really want you to ask me some questions if you’re stuck.”
 
When that didn’t work (“I’m doing fine Mr. P”) I went back to him and I said: “You’re going to start having an easier time with these problems when you start asking me some questions.”
 
And, finally, when he asked me a question, I answered it as best I could and said, “This was great — please keep asking questions.”

 
He finishes that section with the following:
 
“…I beg kids to ask me questions. It’s how you grow.”
 
I love Michael’s persistence, and his expression to students about how much he cares about their learning.
 
It’s really a wonderful blog post, and I encourage you to go over to his blog, have a read, read the thoughtful comments below the post, and add your own thoughts.
 
–Written by Steven Gnagni (@Steve_Gnagni)
 

Exploding Dots and Global Math Week 10/10/17
 

Not to be confused with the Global Math Department, The Global Math Project (@GlobalMathProj) “aims to connect millions of students around the world through a shared experience of mathematics.” Global Math Week launches on 10/10/2017. If you have not yet seen Exploding Dots from @jamestanton (also from The International Maths Salute fame), you will be in for a treat! It’s mind blowing!! I was lucky enough to learn about this from Global Math Project ambassadors at a workshop this summer, and the participants could not believe that “exploding dots” could be used to teach everything from different bases to even polynomial long division! Click here to get a taste.

Register here and you will get all of the info below.

Prepare for October 10-17!

  1. Discover exploding dots
  1. Invite your colleagues! Tweet!

During the Global Math Week

  1. Conduct an introductory lesson on Exploding Dots with your students
  • Full technology: Start by sharing the following link with your students: (Available soon at www.explodingdots.org!)  Have fun collecting kapows! as students play with the lessons!
  • Low technology: Show and discuss James Tanton’s videos
  • Play, pause and repeat at your own pace!
  • No technology: Follow the teacher guides to use nothing but a chalkboard, just as James always does!
  1. Share something about your experience on social media. Join the global conversation on Twitter (#gmw2017 or #explodingdots) and on the GMP Facebook page.

                 

Click here for the teaching guides, and enjoy exploding some dots with your students of all levels!
 
Written by Lisa Winer (@Lisaqt314)
 

New Ideas

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time as a never-ending stream of new ideas stream across Twitter and my blog roll. Here are three resources that particularly caught my eye for various reasons…
 
1. Generalizing Student Thinking
 
For the past few week BerkeleyEverett has been sharing some amazing visual tools that help generalize students thinking. He finally got around to it and is now hosting and sharing his ideas over at Math Visuals.  He’s also asked for ideas on things to include so be sure to let him know.

2. Video and Resource Package for Difficult Standards
The Georgia Department of Education recently identified 5 difficult standards in each grade level K-12. They assembled a team of teachers from across the state to unpack and capture that standard being taught in a class using a video.  They plan to keep adding to the library over the next year.  The videos and resource package can be found on their webpage.

3. Same and Different
Brian Bushart shared a post during last week’s #elemmathchat.


The result of that tweet left Brian and I sharing dots, animals, Rekenreks, toast, and ten-frames over the weekend. Just another awesome routine to help our youngest of mathematicians.

Written by Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

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Edited By Brian Bushart @bstockus

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Part Art, Part Engineering, Part Brute Force: The IM OER Curriculum
Presented by Kristin Umland

After writing or curating 2,000 K-12 tasks and course blueprints, Illustrative Mathematics decided to try writing a fully formed curriculum. What were our guiding principles? How did we translate those lofty ideals into concrete lesson plans? What did we learn from the craziest year and a half of our lives? And how can this all be illustrated through the example of a number talk? Join us for these musings.

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

Did you miss last week’s session? Never fear! Click here to listen to Audrey Mendivil’s session on creating professional learning for change.

The #MTBOS Never Sleeps

Math, Social Justice, and the Algorithms We Use

In my last post for this newsletter, I wrote about Grace Chen’s (@graceachen) speech at Twitter Math Camp during which she asked us to ponder the intersection between politics, social justice, and our work as math educators. (If you missed her talk, you can find part one here and part two here.) She has continued the conversation with more blog posts that you can read about here. Her most recent post unpacks and analyzes the concept of diversity and how it is framed in our work and has sparked some insightful comments. What would you add to the discussion?

It seems that there is a resurgence of the math and social justice movement in the MTBoS world and I wanted to curate some of the work that is being conducted. I hope that you find these resources useful in furthering your own exploration about math education, social justice, equality, fairness, and politics. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Please share the resources I missed with me on Twitter (@mathgeek76) and I’ll add them in my next post for the newsletter.

In the math and social justice “world,” there are a few opinions and approaches. Some educators believe that students in underserved communities must learn “traditional” mathematics because math fluency is a key that grants students access to better colleges, better jobs, and more freedom. Math literacy is a ticket that leads to socio-economic advancement. There are others who think math should be a tool for students to develop their critical awareness of social inequalities and injustices in this world. There are still others that strive to question the fairness and justice of the sorting algorithms we use in math education such as grading, tracking, course placement, instruction, and assessments. I won’t sort the following resources into these categories (nor will I weigh the pros and cons of each approach), but I offer you these categories as a way to structure your own professional learning.

Cathy O’Neil’s (@mathbabedotorg) powerful TED talk about the roles that algorithms and big data play in how society is structured is a great starting point. You can read her blog here. She also has a book out called Weapons of Math Destruction that you should check out. Annie Perkins (@Anniekperkins) is starting a book study for teachers on this book as well as Black Stats by Monique Morris. You can read more about Annie’s book club on her blog.

Paolo Freire’s book Pedagogy of the Oppressed was published in 1968 which doesn’t make it standard #MTBoS material, but should be mentioned. It’s rich with social theory and takes a zoomed out view on how education can be a liberating force for social equality or an oppressive force that seeks to reproduce socio-economic inequalities. It’s a long read, but worth the effort. It may change your life. You can find a PDF version of the text here.

Bob Moses’s Radical Equations is also an excellent book about how math education can be a force for social justice. You can read more about his Algebra Project initiative here.

If you’re looking for a book that you can use to structure some lessons, Rico Gutsteins Rethinking Mathematics is a good start. Political cartoons by the artist Polyp can also be a source for rich and engaging discussions about global socio-economic inequality. Charles Seife’s (@cgseife) book Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception can also be a valuable resource to have high school students engage with statistics. Jonathan Osler started a website called Radical Math that contains a library of lessons that you can sort by grade level or topic. (The site does not appear to have been updated recently.)

Here are a few others in the MTBoS community that are writing about the politics and education that you may find worth following. The names are hyperlinked to their websites. Please Tweet me (@mathgeek76) the names of others I should add to this list.

Lastly, “Creating Balance in an Unjust World” is an annual conference that focuses on math education and social justice. You’ll find resources on their website and more information about the conference for 2018 on their website.

Written by Chase Orton (@mathgeek76)

Image result for welcome to math class

As we begin a new school year, many of us are thinking about classroom culture and activities with which to start establishing relationships and classroom norms. A recent Sunday Funday blogging challenge on this topic prompted a number of blog posts in which teachers shared their start of year plans and go-to activities. Some of the common themes in these plans were:

  • Jumping into actively doing math from day 1
  • Being intentional with tasks so that they emphasize key classroom norms, like cooperation, justification, or valuing of multiple perspectives
  • Building relationships with students

Some resources for math tasks that would make for good starting activities included:

Teachers also discussed ways to get to know their students and to have their students get to know them.

  • @saravdwerf shared the low-key way that she has students use name tents to respond to a daily prompt, which starts a written dialogue between teacher and student
  • @ddmeyer has shared the popular Who I Am and Find Someone activities, which allow students and teachers to share information about themselves with each other
  • @luvbcd shared an oldie, but a goodie: a Post-It activity from a few years ago to gather and display responses from each student on their hopes and goals for the class

Image result for twitter chat

Finally, as you prepare for a great year ahead, keep in mind that subject chats are starting up and are a great place to connect with Math teachers who teach some of the same content as you. Search Twitter for #alg1chat, #geomchat, #statschat, #precalcchat, #msmathchat, and #elemmathchat to see which topics have been discussed recently. The chats that have been already scheduled are as follows:

  • #statschat is on the last Thursday of the month at 8 pm EST
    • The next scheduled chat will be on September 28th
    • The first chat of the year has been storified here
  • #precalcchat is every other Thursday at 9 pm EST, starting on August 31st
  • #msmathchat is Mondays at 9 pm EST
  • #elemmathchat is Thursdays at 9 pm EST; the most recent chat has been storified here

If you have never participated in a Twitter chat, a good introduction to how they work and how to participate can be found here.

This spreadsheet of Twitter users and bloggers is also a great resource to connect with other teachers of the same course or age group. Each tab corresponds to a course or subset of math teaching. You may find it helpful to follow the teachers in your tab on Twitter, add their blogs to your blogroll, and tag them in specific questions.

Written by Anna Blinstein (@borschtwithanna)

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This Week at Global Math







This Week at Global Math




Edited By Casey McCormick @cmmteach

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Creating Professional Learning for Change
Presented by Audrey Mendivil (@audrey_mendivil)

How can we use best practices in teaching to inform our professional development design? What elements form effective professional development, and how do they relate to lesson planning, formative assessment, and human nature? Join us as we learn together and leave with a plan of action for your future professional development design. 

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

Did you miss last week’s Global Math Department? Click here to listen to Dr. Monica Neagoy talk about Unpacking Fractions: Moving from Senseless Rote to Sense Making & Joy.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Making the Most of Technology and Tools

Jennifer Wilson is always so purposeful in her blogging. Her classroom will be 1:1 with technology this year and she starts the year by asking a wonderful question:

What place does pencil and paper have in my students’ learning and understanding of mathematics?

Her descriptive and thorough blog post, Blending Technology with Paper and Pencil, will demonstrate how descriptive, informative, and thorough Jennifer is when it comes to meaningful learning of mathematics in her classrooms. She shares evidence of student work not only through technology, paper and pencil, but with strategies like “Notice and Note” to use “words, pictures, and numbers to write and sketch what they saw.” This blog post is jam packed with great ideas, strategies, and curiosities all with the intention to help our students remember the math they learn. “Notice and Note” aims to do that.

Jennifer ends by saying:

I am convinced that we need to pay attention to when we are asking, encouraging, and requiring students to use pencil and paper to create a record of what they are learning…so that students…have a better chance of remembering it later.

If you’re interested in learning more about making math stick, I highly recommend the book Make It Stick.
Written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

Starting the Year with Engaging Math Tasks

There have been some great suggestions recently regarding favourite math tasks and activities for getting class started on the right foot. Many teachers and students have already started the 2017-18 school year but there are many more that have yet to commence. Most public schools in Canada will have their first day of school during the first week in September. Check out the hashtags #mtbosfd (short for MTBoS First Day) and #myfavoritemathtaskis for ideas on how to start out the year.

Matthew Oldridge wrote a blog post titled First Day of September Problems in your Math Classroom with some suggestions for problems as well as why you might use them.  He asks, “Do you start with building class community, work on class norms or rules, or do you start with a good problem?” He suggests that starting with a rich mathematical problem signals to kids, “this is a problem-solving community” and “we think in this classroom.”

Whatever task you might use, I believe it should arouse your students’ curiosity, be accessible to all of your students, and generate discussion about different solving strategies. A favourite problem of mine that I believe meets these criteria is called The Four Coins Problem. “You’re creating a new coin system for your country. You must use only four coin values and you must be able to create the values 1 through 10 using one coin at a minimum and two coins maximum.” This problem is simple to state but has lots of opportunities for extension and discussion.

euro-1130696_1280.jpg

I hope you all have an amazing start back to school, refreshed and inspired for a great year ahead. A special welcome as well to teachers starting their very first year in the classroom with all the excitement and anxiety that this entails.

Written by Erick Lee (@TheErickLee)

More Talking = More Learning!

Sara VanDerWerf is at it again bringing us gems for starting up a new school year.  Her recent post, entitled STAND & TALKS. The Best Thing I Ever Did to Get Students Talking to One Another, is very thorough and includes a description of the routine, a sample scenario, and tons of examples of how she uses the routine as well as other routines she incorporates together with a Stand & Talk (S&T).

An example of a Stand & Talk used to introduce students to new vocabulary

Essentially, an S&T is a lot like Think, Pair, Share or Turn & Talk, but with the add-in that students stand and find a partner in another area of the room to discuss with before the task is given.  Sara says this gets nearly all students talking every time she uses it, and has the added bonus of a possible energy-injector in a stale classroom.

Three big goals Sara has in her classroom are accomplished by using this routine:

  1. Getting students moving every class period

  2. Getting students to notice the math first, before she says anything

  3. De-fronting the classroom

Whatever your goals this upcoming school year, this routine seems to be one that will really go far to get students processing the mathematics as well as owning their learning.

Another must-read is an oldie but a goodie from Geoff Krall, found here.  Entitled Seven (Sneaky) Activities to Get Your Students Talking Mathematically, Geoff highlights some amazing activities that are sure to get discourse going in your classroom.

Happy Math!

Written by Matt Engle (@pickpocketsbme)

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