This Week at the Global Math Department

This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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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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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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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

This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Chase Orton @mathgeek76
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STEM Content Knowledge and Affect in the K-16 Classroom
Presented by Evelyn Laffey
National discourse on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) urges educators to attend to the growing demand for a STEM-literate populace. But, what is “STEM-literacy,” and how do we, as educators, cultivate opportunities for students to enhance their STEM-literacy, as well as their STEM content knowledge and affect? In this session, I will share action research (conducted at the university and high school levels) that aims to understand the impact of engineering modules on students’ cognition and affect. I will share the framework for STEM-literacy and affect, as well as the data collection tools and analysis methods that can be adapted for use in your classroom.

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 “Activating Curiosity & Creativity in the Modern Mathematics Classroom.”

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Hello all,

My name is Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha), I’m a 7th and 8th grade math teacher in Los Angeles, California and Desmos Fellow, Cohort 3. I’m excited to join the Global Math Department and want to introduce myself by sharing my top five, all-time favorite pieces.


In Strategies versus Models: Why This is Important, Pamela Harris (@pwharris) challenges me to rethink my views of math and math instruction.

Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach) and Jose Vilson (@TheJLV) speak on my “why” for teaching math. While Marian’s powerful thread shows the individual, day-to-day impact of math education, Jose speaks on the broader implications of our work in Math as a Social Justice Lever.

As fulfilling and vital as teaching can be, Is the first-year teacher in your life crying in the car? Here are five things you should know by Roxanna Elden (@RoxannaElden) and Teaching Saves My Life Every Single Day by Christina Torres (@biblio_phile) remind me teaching is exhausting for everyone, which means self-advocacy and self-preservation are essential to continue doing the work I love.

Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

Podcasts for Educators

Perhaps you are like me and you have a semi-long commute to and from school everyday. Or perhaps you’re like me and you run long distances at a time. Either way I have found out that these are both perfect conditions to listen to podcasts. The podcasts about true crime or the life of Americans (see what I did there?) are the ones I usually like to fill my time. But I saw this tweet from Mike Mohammad (@Mo_physics) and realized there is an entire subculture of podcasts that focus on educators.

He pulled all the recommendations and created a blog post that you can find here. There are some great recommendations of people like Jennifer Gonzales (@cultofpedagogy) who’s blog I have been reading for years. In search of some more math specific podcasts, I found this article with recommendations like “My Favourite Theorem” (@myfavethm) which hosted Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen) on a recent episode.

What education-based podcasts am I missing out on that I really need to give a listen? Which one from these suggestions are you ready to try?

By Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

[Editor’s Note: I love Drew Perkin’s TeachThought podcast. Check it out! Here’s an episode when he interviews Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer). Um, it gets a little heated. Well worth the listen.]

Rethinking Math Modeling
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about math modeling and facilitating some workshops with teachers. We’ve been using math modeling as an anchor through some lesson study work and it’s been fantastic.

Robert Kaplinsky has three webinars about math modeling, one each for elementary, middle, and high school teachers. They are well worth the watch and useful for workshops. Give them a watch and let him know what you think.

Dan Meyer spoke on a panel about math modeling. He said it got a bit awkward. Read his blog post to find out more. He’ll leave you thinking.

I sent out this Tweet to see what the #MTBoS community had to share about math modeling, what it looks like, and how we can teach it better in our classrooms. Click on the Tweet to find the thread.

Chase Orton
@mathgeek76

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.

Follow us on Twitter
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Copyright © 2019 Global Math Department, All rights reserved.
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This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Casey McCormick @cmmteach
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Activating Curiosity and Creativity in the Modern Mathematics Classroom

Presented by Gerald Aungst

Students enter school bursting with curiosity about the world. To create confident problem solvers, teachers in the modern mathematics classroom must learn to activate and nurture that curiosity, going beyond mere development of skills and rote methods. In this webinar, we will connect the 5 Principles of Conjecture, Communication, Collaboration, Chaos, and Celebration to an understanding of how curiosity works to design a classroom environment that promotes innovation and mathematical thinking.

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 Spring Break. Don’t forget – recordings for all previously held webinars can be found here.

The #MTBoS Never Sleeps

Maths Venns (#MathsVenns)

This week, I was reminded by Rachel Fruin about Math Venn Diagrams. This is a flexible practice structure that allows students to create their own equations which satisfy the regions in a Venn diagram. Rachel wrote a blog post, Maths Venn, in which she writes about using Maths Venns with teachers and students. She writes, “Out of all of the types of math problems out there, I’ve found that math Venns generate the loudest conversations among students and adults.”

Below is an example of a Maths Venn from Craig Barton’s free website https://mathsvenns.com/ where he shares numerous problems he has created.

I’ve used these several times with students and I’ve found them to be a good example of a self-differentiated practice routine. Some students create very simple and straightforward equations while others might challenge themselves to find more complicated functions. I was first introduced this this type of problem by a RISP, or “Rich Starting Points” problem, shared by Jonny Griffiths. The problem, RISP 10, gave examples of Venn diagrams for  practicing both linear and a quadratic equations. You could also use a variation of this task, as shown by Don Steward on his blog post Linear Equations and Mr. Venn, by giving students a list of functions and asking them to place the functions in the correct section.

Written by Erick Lee (@TheErickLee)

What Makes a Pattern?

You might be familiar with Christopher Danielson’s work through his visually stimulating books Which One Doesn’t Belong? and How Many? If you’re not familiar with his work, no worries. Now you have links to explore his work and have enjoyable conversations with others about attributes and quantities.

In his recent blog post, What Makes a Pattern?, Danielson teases us with some of his thinking and his promise to use his blog to test out some “relevant ideas” for an upcoming book. He will be focusing on two main tasks:

  1. Make my pattern in a new medium

  1. Make the smallest possible version of my pattern

Head over to his blog and enjoy!

Written by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

Math Conferences and Equity

There is no shortage of conferences and gatherings in the mathematics space. Next week, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) will hold its annual meeting in San Diego. Speakers were recently notified of proposal acceptances for NCTM Regional conferences this fall. Many NCTM state affiliates hold their gatherings throughout the year. Although Twitter Math  Camp (TMC) will not hold a gathering this year, other smaller events have taken and will take place this summer, including TMCNYC in New York and the Southeast Math Summit in North Carolina.

Due to a series of recent events, many are questioning their own values regarding equity within conferences, i.e. diversity among speakers and attendees, and equity strand vs. an equity focus. Some are having conversations for the first time.

As much as these conversations are needed, there is a real danger in continuing with business as usual if the conversations continue to happen in private, and within racial groups. There are people who are taking steps to have those conversations in public.

The SE Math Summit, envisioned by a group of people including Jennifer WhiteRachel Lawrence, and Alli George, is set to take place in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in July. In their call for proposals, they include a question about equity similar to that of NCTM. Knowing that this is an area of concern, Rachel wrote a blog post entitled The Who, What, Why, and How of Equity describing her own thinking. It is a long but important read because she admits to her imperfection and also shows us her growth in this area.

Additionally, Naomi Jessup and Barb Everhart are hosting a diversity and inclusion chat on Tuesday, March 26. See this link for homework and meeting information.

Lastly, some in the literacy space have gathered to create a pledge about their commitment to ensure equity in education conferences going forward. There is much that the math community can learn from them by following the #EducatorEquity hashtag.

They have also created a letter for potential speakers to use in articulating their thoughts.

Many have been working behind-the-scenes for a long time on creating equity in education. Hopefully, math education can join in the effort in a public way.

Written by Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach)

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Meeting Students’ Mathematical and Learning Needs (Part 2)

Meeting Students’ Mathematical and Learning Needs (Part 2)

Note: This is part 1 of the podcast for this episode.

Presented by: Andrew Rodriguez

All students deserve a classroom where their learning needs do not hinder their access to the mathematics. Come learn about strategies that you can use to support your students while not sacrificing rigor. I will also discuss issues related to special education — accommodations vs. modifications in IEPs, co-teaching vs. self-contained classes, etc. — and how they intersect with the mathematics classroom.

Hosted by: Jessica Bogie

Note: Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Meeting-Students-Mathematical-and-Learning-Needs

Sign up for the Global Math Department Newsletter at http://globalmathdepartment.org

Presented on March 12, 2019

Meeting Students’ Mathematical and Learning Needs (Part 1)

Meeting Students’ Mathematical and Learning Needs (Part 1)

Note: This is part 1 of the podcast for this episode.

Presented by: Andrew Rodriguez

All students deserve a classroom where their learning needs do not hinder their access to the mathematics. Come learn about strategies that you can use to support your students while not sacrificing rigor. I will also discuss issues related to special education — accommodations vs. modifications in IEPs, co-teaching vs. self-contained classes, etc. — and how they intersect with the mathematics classroom.

Hosted by: Jessica Bogie

Note: Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Meeting-Students-Mathematical-and-Learning-Needs

Sign up for the Global Math Department Newsletter at http://globalmathdepartment.org

Presented on March 12, 2019

Changing the Whole: Exploring Number Relationships Through Shapes

Changing the Whole: Exploring Number Relationships Through Shapes

Presented by: Molly Rawding

Students benefit from hands-on tasks exploring number, area, and fractional relationships when the value of the whole changes. We’ll explore different ways to provide opportunities for students to make connections and develop number sense.

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Note: Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Changing-the-Whole-Exploring-Number-Relationships-Through-Shapes

Sign up for the Global Math Department Newsletter at http://globalmathdepartment.org

Presented on March 5, 2019