This Week at Global Math – 2/25/20







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Edited By Casey McCormick  @cmmteach

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Rightfully Positioning Mathematics in Integrated STE(A)M Instruction

Presented by Sarah Bush

Each and every student should have access to meaningful and authentic mathematics-rich integrated STE(A)M learning opportunities. Explore how to inspire students through transformative learning experiences that rightfully positions mathematics as an essential component to solving problems to make sense of and improve their world. Leave with concrete ways to plan next steps in your classroom, school, or district!

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

Next Week 



Next week’s presentation will be brought to you by

NCTM president-elect, Trena Wilkerson



Check back on the Global Math Department home page for more information.

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

That’s MY President! 

This week, Dr. Robert Berry (@robertqberry)  wrote one of his final Presidential messages as the NCTM President. The article, titled How do we help teachers teach math to Black kids?” My Response, addressed the continual centering of mathematical practices, curriculum, and instructional strategies on the needs of White students. If you haven’t read his letter yet, please stop now and go do so. It is important for each person in the math education community to make sense of and grapple with the truths that were addressed. 



In his letter, Dr. Berry provided an example through the lens of the Standard of Mathematical Practice 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others. Dr. Berry leveraged the fact that the ability to argue with anyone is a privilege that is not equally distributed to students who have been historically marginalized. Specifically in the United States, Black students, particularly Black males, are often threatened and severely punished by local authorities should they choose to construct a viable argument in the presence of the police. 

How can we leverage the Standards of Mathematical Practices to assist math teachers in seeing the need for addressing social change within and outside of our math classrooms? I’ll expand on Dr. Berry’s work here with three other SMPs that, when viewed differently, provide us with a depth that we sometimes cannot see on our own. 



SMP #1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. 



In a math class where math is seen as objective, SMP 1 can be completed within one 90-minute class period. For many of us, rich tasks that require critical thinking (e.g. Open Middle or 3-Act Tasks) make us feel as though we can be sure we have attended to this SMP in our classrooms. But, what of the problems that are occurring outside of our classrooms? 



As a Black Math Teacher, the first time I read this, I thought of the problem of racism. I want students, no matter their race, to make sense of the problem of racism, and persevere in solving that problem together. This is by no means to say racism is solvable. No; racism was/is a part of the foundation of the United States. It’s been baked in to the make-up of many countries, into the systems (including education), the policies, and the structures, designed to assure that some groups of people would find success routinely, while others would consistently be stripped of access. 



I also want to distinguish the use of this SMP as preface to the work we expect students to take on upon leaving high school. I don’t want to build students’ strength for problem-solving perseverance in my math class with problems dislike those they will experience when they leave my class. No; I want my students to grapple with the problems of the world in math class and know that together, we must persevere to do the hard work of bringing justice to those who have been oppressed. That the problems that are worth solving are far more complex than parametric equations, and deserve the time to be explored during the block of math class. 

SMP #7:  Look for and make use of structure



Rochelle Gutierrez (@RG1gal) (2013) discusses how as math teachers of students who have been marginalized, we must teach them how to “play the game to change the game.” When I read SMP #7, I hear that my students need to be taught how systems have been created, often to keep certain groups of people in a cycle of poverty and chaos, despite their efforts to succeed. As a high school teacher, this went far beyond trying to assist kids in making it to graduation, a local structure. This attended to the global structures of economy, education, government, and policy, because no matter how much “grit” you have, you cannot compete against others who have generational wealth, whether that wealth be financial- or knowledge-based. For me, teaching my students about these structures was teaching them how to “play the game to change the game,” helping them with successful navigation through these structures in life so they can even begin to compete with those who have been handed a significant advantage from birth. 



SMP #8: Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning



Look, friends. We’re mathematicians. We study patterns. For many people of color, we have specific insight into the different ways that structures are used to continually oppress people because they are patterns that we have been looking at our entire lives. I’ll give you an example Here are three quotes from the Report to the United Nations about Racial Disparities in the U.S. Criminal Justice System: 

“In 2016, [B]lack Americans comprised 27% of all individuals arrested in the United States—double their share of the total population.”

“African-American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites and Hispanics are 3.1 times as likely.”



“More than one in four people arrested for drug law violations in 2015 was [B]lack, although drug use rates do not differ substantially by race and ethnicity and drug users generally purchase drugs from people of the same race or ethnicity.”

 

What do you notice? What do you wonder? 



Many Black children can express the regularity in their repeated reasoning based on their experiences with law enforcement. For them, it looks like learning that policies and authorities have regularly been written to increase their chances of incarceration (for more information, see Stop & Frisk), and the repeated reasoning that falls out of this is a distrust for local authorities. There is no question of its regularity. These are not coincidental. These are patterns. 

If we look within our systems and structures, we are able to see these patterns with more clarity, and then express this regularity with repeated reasoning.  The repeated reasoning is not to say, “Well, it didn’t happen to me, so it doesn’t matter,” or “I’m just one person, what can I do to help?” and definitely not, “Well, they’ll learn that in Civics or Social Studies class.” We are mathematicians. We are the ones that must assist children in learning about these patterns so that change may occur. We are also the ones that must believe students when they say that a pattern exists, even if it does not exist for me.



I am THANKFUL that NCTM has had a President that used his wisdom  to encourage the mathematics education community to critically consider how the instructional practices, strategies, and curriculums look different when viewed through the lens of another. 



May we each use our own lens to strengthen the experiences of the next generation, that together we may be free. 

 

Written by Lauren Baucom

@LBMathemagician

Arrivederci, Global Math Department.

Over the past six months, I’ve been trying my best to give back a small fraction of what the #MTBoS community has given me throughout my teaching career. Getting an opportunity to write in the GMD newsletter is an opportunity I did not want to say no to, so I didn’t. In typical teacher fashion, my willpower made the decision for me and I bit off more than I can chew. I haven’t been able to put nearly as much love into the GMD articles that they deserve. It’s not really how I like to operate and I know I’m not giving it my all. So, this one will be the last time you hear from me in a while. In this article, I really want to draw out the things I love the most about the MTBoS community and the explicit things it’s given me as a teacher.

 

 

Ears. So. Many. Ears.

For every talking mouth, there are two listening ears. I don’t think that could be any more true with the Twitter math teachers. Rarely do cries for help go unheard or unanswered, almost like it’s just one big helpdesk for teachers in need. It’s really special. Teaching is hard. We need support, advice and friends. Sometimes, we don’t need those things and just need to be heard. Some teachers even feel comfortable sharing their personal struggles and reach out for help for things unrelated to teaching. It’s no surprise that those cries are not just heard but respected. I wish it was the norm in all schools, but having an online proxy is a pretty good second best.

 

Ideas

To know that at any point in time, you can jump online to see what others are sharing out in hope that it might make the life of another teacher a little bit easier or their lesson a little more enriched is simply a luxury that hasn’t existed before. Sometimes, I admit that I am left wondering where some people find the time to do what they do! If you’re like me and just submit to the fact that some people will sink more time and passion into developing their skills to an extraordinary level, Twitter can be like a gallery of incredible teacher talent. Whether it’s some incredible GeoGebra interactives, Desmos art, or even a really neat solution to a problem someone else has put out earlier, I love that people are willing to share it with the world. I know, you know, we all know that the MTBoS community is not a place where things are posted in a vain or showboaty nature, but just an amazing group of teachers helping teachers.

 

 

Awareness

The core purpose of a teacher’s role is learning. As teachers, we are our best when we practice what we preach – when we see ourselves as learners. We encourage our students to take an activist approach as we support their preparation for the (often referred to) real world. The #ClearTheAir group is a deliberate move to do just that – clear the air. We spend a lot of time with our future adults, mothers, fathers, voters and maybe even teachers. We have an incredible opportunity and a responsibility to educate our students on social injustice and inequality. This can’t happen, of course, without first learning ourselves, which is what this incredible group of teachers are continuing to do.

I’ve loved the opportunity to share what I see and love each month with you all and hope that something has come from the time you have spent reading it. I know how precious our time and attention is and respect it deeply. 



Until next time, I’ll see you online.



Written by John Rowe

@MrJohnRowe

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This Week at Global Math – 2/18/20







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Edited By Chase Orton  @mathgeek76

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Online Professional Development Sessions

No Webinar Tonight!

Instead, take a moment and check out a past webinar you might have missed. You can find them all by clicking here.

Next Week!

Rightfully Positioning Mathematics in Integrated STE(A)M Instruction

Presented by Sarah Bush

Each and every student should have access to meaningful and authentic mathematics-rich integrated STE(A)M learning opportunities. Explore how to inspire students through transformative learning experiences that rightfully positions mathematics as an essential component to solving problems to make sense of and improve their world. Leave with concrete ways to plan next steps in your classroom, school, or district!

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

Guide to Coded Language in Education
 

Subversive Thread, a group of artists and educators, shared Volume I of their Guide to Coded Language in Education in a series of images on instagram. In the post caption, they write:

Academia has an aversion to language that precisely names oppression. Maybe it’s because it is largely controlled by wealthy, conservative white men (84 percent of full-time college professors are white and 60 percent of those are men). The stats for elementary and high school #teachers isn’t better ― 80 percent white.   

Where white people don’t dominate totally, #academia is still full of liberals who too often trade accurately naming oppression for institutional clout. In this Eurocentric, male, and capitalist education system, radical BI&POC are left in a constant cycle of #learning “new” language to describe problems we’ve lived through and named for generation.   

But we think it is important to push back against the palatable renaming of our oppression. So today, we wanted to cut through the bullshit. In the traditions of Black, Brown, and Indigenous radical thought, we will say aloud the names of our oppression when we see it or experience it: We will say this is white supremacy; this is anti-Blackness; this is cishetero patriarchy; this is ableism; this is empire.   

We start with Vol. I of our “Guide to Coded Language in Education.” This series is meant to sift through some of the jargon we hear in education spaces. It is a work in progress. If any of these slides feel unclear, if you would like to see more writing on a topic, please post below and tell us. There is only so much we can convey in a single slide on Instragram and we welcome the need to bring more nuance to this discussion.       

We also invite you to share below some words or phrases that you’ve experienced which decenter naming how a system of oppression shows up in education.     

As always, thank you for reading. Love and power.”

Similarly, as I caption the images below, I invite you to consider how these words might be coded for our comfort in working within oppressive systems, and how to instead name these systems.

In the image above: “Grit” is a coded term for saying a child survived the conditions of white supremacy, anti-blackness & capitalism without having to name those systems of oppression directly— or their correlative effects of young people of color. “Black, brown [& indigenous] [students] don’t need to learn grit, they need schools to stop being racist.” -Andre Perry.

In the image above: “Under-Represented Minority” BI&POC are not minorities—we are the world’s global majority, we are only “minorities” within the borders of europe’s colonial projects, and we are only under-represented to the extent that those projects must continue legacies of genocde, slavery, theft & empire to maintain control of their borders. White settlers must ask themselves who would they be without their borders? 

In the image above: “Academic Rigor” rigor itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing—but when combined with grading it becomes a tool to create classroom meritocracy. In this way rigor is wielded as an extension of the carceral state, to punish struggling students by creating failure where growth might otherwise exist. This cycle of stratifying students into successes and failures is necessary to maintain classist and racist institutions like the school to prison pipeline.

 

In the image above: “College Ready” The Bar for “college readiness” centers white students’ educational experiences because it requires access to institutional support that most majority BI&POC districts have been systematically cut off from (racist zoning laws, redistricting, & education policy that ties school funding to property taxes). Here “college readiness” becomes a means to trap predominantly poor BI&POC students into remediation and exhaust their financial aid before they can graduate.

In the image above: “Achievement Gap” There is no “achievement gap.” There is a predictable dispartiy in learning outcomes between well and poorly resourced communities. Calling it an achievement gap obfuscates the generational wealth and access afforded to white students, creating an equitable education system means decentering racist outcomes like test scores & grades and shifting resources to meet historically exploited communities’ material and socio-emotional needs.

In the image above: “Under Resourced” is a way of describing the historical exploitation of BI&POC communities as happenstance rather than as coordinated campaigns of disenfranchisement, marginalization, and terror. It also positions the current distribution of resources and access as something that can be fixed with some simple policy realignment in an otherwise well-intentioned system. It does not name the intentions of white supremacy, capitalism, or empire.

In the image above: “Growth Mindset” If educators teaching “growth mindset” do not take young people’s environment into account, particularly, youth experiencing white supremacy, anti-blackness poverty, patriarchy, and ableism, then they are engaged in glorified victim blaming. Educators should remember that BI&POC experience systemic oppression and are more likely to develop a “fixed mindset” because they are far more likely to be punished for their mistakes.

In the image above: “Perfect Attendance” is the normalized pressure for students to operate as machines rather than human beings who get sick, who navigate trauma, who experience fear, loss and precarity, or who require support navigating access needs like nutrition and transportation. Perfect attendance is how schools begin to coerce students into internalized ableism and model capitalist work ethic.

In the image above: “Adversity Score” The “Adversity Score” was College Board’s attempt to account for inequity in students’ educational experiences without having seriously question the efficacy of its test, the SAT—or how the SAT itself perpetuates racial inequity. But attempts to quantify BI&POC students’ experiences with systemic oppression into a single, numerical value is utilitarian, positivist, and the institutionalization of oppression olympics. 

By Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

John Berray

The loss of John Berray [@johnberray] has rippled across – among other areas – the online math education community. You can find a number of tweets/posts in remembrance by searching his handle and organizing by recent; or just click here.

I’d like to highlight three of these tweets:

The first is from Tiffany Jokerst and re-asks that relevant stories be sent to the email address in the image tweeted below (along with a request for amplification):

 

The second is from Mary Bourassa, which contains a link to Berray’s blog post, Bottle of Dreams:

The third is a link to Berray’s Ignite Talk from @CAMathCouncil:  

By Benjamin Dickman [@benjamindickman]

All Names Matter

Desmos (@Desmos) teaching faculty Faith Moynihan (@_faithmoynihan) wrote a blog post and Christopher Danielson (@trianglemancsd) brought it to my attention with this tweet:

In the article Faith talks about how Desmos’ process of selecting names for their problems became more intentional as they realized the set of names they were originally using was unintentionally biased. So they established guiding principles which has them including names that are culturally and gender inclusive and names that are not distracting from learning.

Reading this post reminded me in some ways of tweets I had seen previously about the importance of the pronunciation of a person’s name. I first thought of this tweet from Bobson Wong (@bobsonwong). If you get a chance to watch the video he is retweeting from Hasan Minhaj (@hasanminhaj), you most definitely should. It is worth the 3 ½ minutes.

Other great resources for the importance of pronunciation of a person’s name include the following: 

By Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

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Building Human Themes into your Teaching of Math – 2/11/20

Building Human Themes into your Teaching of Math

 Presented by: Francis Su

Presented on: February 11, 2020

Doing mathematical work sometimes feels like drudgery, and that’s often because we’ve taken ‘real math’ out of math homework. Mathematics isn’t memorization or calculation (though those can be helpful to do doing math)… rather, math is exploration, and that’s a deep human desire we all have. Students will be more motivated to learn mathematics if you appeal to their basic human desires, such as: for exploration, for play, for beauty, for truth, for struggle, for community. We’ll explore practical ways to build human themes into the teaching of mathematics. Bring one example of a lesson or a homework that you’d like to modify.

Recommended Grade Level: 6-12

Hosted by: Amanda Riske

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Building-Human-Themes-into-your-Teaching-of-Math

 

Meeting the Need of Introverts in the Collaborative Classroom – 2/4/20

Meeting the Need of Introverts in the Collaborative Classroom

Presented by: Megan Dubee

Presented on: February 4, 2020

The rise of classroom collaboration turned rows into pods, lecture into cooperative learning, and individuals into teams. Despite the many benefits of collaborative classrooms, some students’ needs are not being met. Motivated by Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, we will explore strategies to increase classroom inclusivity by creating a space where students feel empowered to participate in ways aligned with their personalities and challenged to take risks in their learning.

Recommended Grade Level: 5-12

Hosted by: Marissa Grayson

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Meeting-the-Need-of-Introverts-in-the-Collaborative-Classroom

This Week at Global Math – 2/11/20







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Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Building Human Themes into your Teaching of Math

Presented by Francis Su

Doing mathematical work sometimes feels like drudgery, and that’s often because we’ve taken ‘real math’ out of math homework. Mathematics isn’t memorization or calculation (though those can be helpful to do doing math)… rather, math is exploration, and that’s a deep human desire we all have. Students will be more motivated to learn mathematics if you appeal to their basic human desires, such as: for exploration, for play, for beauty, for truth, for struggle, for community. We’ll explore practical ways to build human themes into the teaching of mathematics. Bring one example of a lesson or a homework that you’d like to modify.

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

Global Math Department webinars would not be possible without the hardworking crew behind the scenes.  Let’s give a cheer for the following volunteers!!

Our Global Math Department Volunteers are amazing and do so much. 
We’d love to get more folks involved!
 
Do you have a math teaching idea to share with the community? 
Consider being a Presenter or nominating a Presenter.
 
Can you introduce a speaker and help the speaker to navigate webinar technology? 
Consider becoming a Host. (Training is provided!)
 
Do you have the tech skills to convert an MP4 file to an audio file? 
We could use you as a Podcast Creator.  (Training is provided!)
 
To express your interest, send an email to globalmathdepartment@gmail.com.
 

From the World of Math Ed

In Memory of Dr. Karen King

The mathematics education community has lost a giant in the field. Dr. Karen King was a program director at the National Science Foundation and was a former research director at NCTM. Her research focused on, among other things, urban mathematics reform, the mathematics preparation of teachers, and mathematics teacher professional development. I had the pleasure to work with Dr. King on several occasions, and her commitment to equity and justice in mathematics education shone through her passion and insight. The Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators (AMTE) recently announced an advocacy award in honor of Dr. Karen King and posted a link for anyone to share reflections on what they have learned from Dr. King

 

Association of Mathematics Teacher Educators Conference
 

This past weekend was the annual AMTE conference, which took place in Phoenix AZ. I was not able to attend, but based on posts on Twitter, there appeared to be a strong showing of presentations centering work on equity and social justice in mathematics education:

Whiteness in Mathematics

It’s amazing to see so many researchers, reformers, and teachers focused on the work of equity and social justice in mathematics education. It’s imperative that we continue to push this work forward through critical self-reflection and identity work and that we strive toward explicitness, clarification, providing examples, and giving critiques when it comes to the work already being done. For instance, what exactly do we mean when we use the terms “equity” and “social justice”? 
 
One approach to this question would be to highlight the ways by which mathematics operates as whiteness. This is precisely what Dr. Laurie Rubel (@LaurieRubel), among others, has sought to do in her research. As Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) explains, Dr. Rubel has been caught up in an alt-right firestorm for explaining how meritocracy is a tool for whiteness. The controversy is centered around a 2017 paper entitled Equity-Directed Instructional Practices: Beyond the Dominant Perspective. Links to the original publisher’s website do not appear to be working, so I’ll post this one here. Dr. Rubel was featured on a podcast in which she explains the paper in greater detail.

 
Anti-Racist Mathematics

On the American Mathematical Society’s inclusion/exclusion blog, Dr. Tian An Wong poses the question: can mathematics be anti-racist? He describes a class he’s developed called Inequalities: Numbers and Justice, where he and the class explore notions of fairness and equality from the point of view of mathematics and economics. Topics covered include gerrymandering, racial capitalism, and climate change. 
 
Dr. Chanda Prescott-Weinstein (@IBJIYONGI) points out an improper citation in the blog post connected with her own work (which poses the same question) and highlighted the work of Black women who have been talking about anti-racist approaches to mathematics and mathematics education for a long time. References can be found in Dr. Prescott-Weinstein’s Twitter thread as well as in an editor’s note at the end of Dr. Wong’s blog post.

 
@melvinmperalta

(Teachers and) SWBAT: Thrive
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the connection between student learning and teacher learning, and students’ sense of thriving and teachers’ sense of thriving…
 
A couple of years ago, I found myself going down a research rabbit hole on the construct of thriving. Thriving, as it is defined in psychological literature, is related to personal growth and has dual dimensions of vitality (affect) and learning (cognitive). While the construct of thriving has not made it into my own research, I keep coming back to it like an itch that I can’t quite scratch. I think what fascinates me about this seemingly simple construct is that it is so hard to find working adults –– especially in the teaching profession –– who would describe themselves as thriving. 
 
Teaching, as most of you know, is a very high stakes profession: Teachers have the futures of not only individual young people but our entire nation and world in their hands. Teachers today might feel this more acutely than ever before thanks to standardized testing that (albeit problematically) quantifies how successful they are at their jobs and how successful their students will be going forward in their lives. Unsurprisingly, this can make the vitality dimension of thriving something that many teachers find lacking in their professional lives.
 
Beyond this, opportunities for purposeful, teacher-driven learning can also be fairly scarce in teaching. Not only is there a cultural expectation that teachers are supposed to “already know everything” (afterall, they already went to high school, and anyone who was successful in school can teach!), but they are often isolated inside of their own classroom, with little to no opportunity to receive feedback, observe others, or have adequate time to collaborate. 
 
So, if thriving is hindered by high stakes and the sense of imminent failure, accompanied by little opportunity for purposeful and personally meaningful learning (as I have described for teachers), then aren’t students experiencing the same crisis as teachers?  Where do students have opportunities for purposeful, personally-driven learning in math class?
 
I think my obsession with the construct of thriving is rooted in the idea that teacher thriving and student thriving are inextricably connected, and that until we address issues of teacher vitality and learning, we might be somewhat chasing our tails with all of our focus on student learning (of course, we cannot stop worrying about student learning and JUST focus on teachers!). 
 
I wonder about how to consistently open up vitality-giving (i.e., enjoyable, rejuvenating) learning opportunities for teachers. Here are a few ideas:  
 
What about virtual coaching, where teachers record their classrooms and have coaches or peers watch and give them feedback through digital conferencing? New technologies (e.g., Swivl) exist to make this process streamlined, and researchers (the SIGMa group at Vanderbilt, the Project SyncOn at the University of Rochester) have been exploring this as a viable means to support teachers in learning how to grow their teaching in ways that matter to them. This is also being explored in the field by people who do the work of teaching and coaching everyday (e.g., CPM’s coaches are beginning to explore virtual coaching with Swivl technologies in order to reach rural teachers).
 
What about supporting teachers to develop and/or use rubrics to assess their students instead of assigning mastery grades to many required projects/assignments, so that the stakes are lowered and interest and learning might be raised for both students and teachers. How can we help teachers easily navigate the tension between assessing in ways that support their own and their students’ sense of thriving (without diminishing rigor) and creating grades that are required by the system? 
 
What about approaching remediation as a task of re-invigorating student curiosity through rich tasks that invite exploration rather than going back-to-the basics? This last one might sound very pie-in-the-sky, but there are math programs (such as CPM for 8th grade and Carnegie Pathways for post-secondary) that are trying out such ideas, creating entire curriculums for math intervention courses that centralize exploring the big ideas of mathematics and start with sparking student curiosity. 
 
When do you feel a sense of thriving in your teaching? Does the connection between teacher and student thriving resonate with you? What ideas do you have to support both teachers and students to experience both a sense of personal growth along dimensions of both vitality and learning in their daily rounds in the school house? 
 
Written by Lara Jasien

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This Week at Global Math – 2/4/20







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Edited By Casey McCormick  @cmmteach

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Meeting the Need of Introverts in the Collaborative Classroom

Presented by Megan Dubee

The rise of classroom collaboration turned rows into pods, lecture into cooperative learning, and individuals into teams. Despite the many benefits of collaborative classrooms, some students’ needs are not being met. Motivated by Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, we will explore strategies to increase classroom inclusivity by creating a space where students feel empowered to participate in ways aligned with their personalities and challenged to take risks in their learning.

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

Next Week 


Building Human Themes into your Teaching of Math

Presented by Francis Su

Doing mathematical work sometimes feels like drudgery, and that’s often because we’ve taken ‘real math’ out of math homework. Mathematics isn’t memorization or calculation (though those can be helpful to do doing math)… rather, math is exploration, and that’s a deep human desire we all have. Students will be more motivated to learn mathematics if you appeal to their basic human desires, such as: for exploration, for play, for beauty, for truth, for struggle, for community. We’ll explore practical ways to build human themes into the teaching of mathematics. Bring one example of a lesson or a homework that you’d like to modify.

Register ahead of time by clicking 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

Chewy Problems

I received a direct message from a friend this week who was feeling uneasy about the new curriculum approach his school had taken on. He sent me a link to the homepage of the company and it read something like this:

  • Improved test scores

  • Improved grades

  • Improved teacher morale

Do I want all of those things? Absolutely. What bothered me wasn’t what was there, but what was missing. The specific company zeroes in on a pedagogical model that emphasizes the dispersion of knowledge from the teacher to the students with some worrying infographics to support the teacher-centric nature of it (I say “worrying” because of the easy, click-and-fit vision of teaching it is promoting). He asked me if I had anything I could send him, something to read, which might help discredit the notion that there is a one-size fits all approach to teaching, where teachers will tell and students will listen and learn. I sent him two recommendations, not necessarily to discredit, but rather tap into what I felt was missing, what the approach leaves out, and the subsequent “benefits” it omits. The two readings were:

Both are not new or unknown by many in the field, but both promote a model that is varied and unfixed, adaptable and flexible, and connected to the genuine curiosity that students and teachers bring to the classroom. Lockhart captures the passion many teachers have for mathematics but don’t feel empowered to instill into their students, restrained by imposed structures and rigid frameworks. Lampert presents a case for instruction that makes room for students (and teachers) to zig-zag between ideas, make connections between the known and unknown, and grow to understand the notion of “cross-country” mathematics.

They both include what I call, “chewy problems.” Chewy problems always have a little bit more to find out about, the type of problems that become even more interesting when you consider it from another angle or approach it in a different way. They require significant chewing. These come in a few forms, many of which you wouldn’t expect to see from a curriculum provider for some understandable reasons; they depend on teacher expertise, they are often best done on paper (or scraps of paper), students tend to take their own path and sometimes end up tackling a completely different problem, and (here’s the real kicker) students might not even “solve” them at all. These problems are, however, just opportunities for students to experience mathematics in the ways described by Lampert and Lockhart. They require students to make sense of the problem, form and refute conjectures, or even completely walk away from it for an idea to surface from their subconscious. I’ve picked out three different ones that popped up on my feed over the past week or so, which I believe get better the more you chew. 

 

Eddie Woo (@misterwootube) came right out of the gates with the more interesting question of “well, yes – we know it can be solved but how many solutions exist?



AMSI Schools (@AMSIschools and @cass_lowry) presented this problem which invites students’ imagination when you look at it at a different angle 😉

 

Tierney Kennedy (@kennedy_tierney) has been on fire with the problems she’s been sharing in the Twitter-sphere. She just needs to remember the hashtag #MTBOz, of course!

 

Lastly, here’s a problem. A BIG problem, which shows the power of mathematical models for presenting real-world problems and might leave students with more questions than answers, but maybe the questions worth asking.



Written by John Rowe, @MrJohnRowe

Black History Month

 

Black History Month initially started as Negro History Week in 1926 by Carter G. Woodson. Mr. Woodson wanted to raise the awareness of Black’s contributions to civilization. He felt it was important to raise the awareness of Black’s contributions that had been excluded from historical records and school curriculums. The month of February was selected because of the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week long celebration was expanded to a month. As mathematics educators it is imperative that this celebration is a part of our classroom instruction. Thus, for the month of February Dr. Kristopher J. Childs (@DrKChilds) has created Black Mathematician Month Slides that can be used on a daily basis to celebrate Black Mathematicians. Here is the link http://kristopherchilds.com/black-mathematician-month feel free to download, share with your students, and colleagues.



Also check out https://mathematicallygiftedandblack.com/, as shared by Annie Perkins (@anniek_p).



Special thanks to Dr. Childs for acting as a special guest contributor this week!

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Using Desmos’ Snapshots Tool to Deepen Equitable Classroom Discourse – 1/28/20

Using Desmos’ Snapshots Tool to Deepen Equitable Classroom Discourse

 Presented by: Allison Krasnow

Presented on: January 28, 2020

This workshop will explore how to integrate Desmos’ Snapshots tool with any curriculum to deepen discourse, differentiation and formative assessment. We’ll examine how to amplify every student’s voice in a classroom to create more equitable participation. The 5 practices for productive mathematical discussion include: anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, and connecting. Using Desmos’ Snapshots tool, you can develop a more robust understanding of how to infuse these 5 practices into any lesson.

Recommended Grade Level: 6-12

Hosted by: Sheila Orr

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Using-Desmos-Snapshots-Tool-to-Deepen-Equitable-Classroom-Discourse

This Week at Global Math – 1/28/20







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Edited By Chase Orton  @mathgeek76

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Using Desmos’ Snapshots Tool to Deepen Equitable Classroom Discourse

Presented by Allison Krasnow

This workshop will explore how to integrate Desmos’ Snapshots tool with any curriculum to deepen discourse, differentiation and formative assessment. We’ll examine how to amplify every student’s voice in a classroom to create more equitable participation. The 5 practices for productive mathematical discussion include: anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, and connecting. Using Desmos’ Snapshots tool, you can develop a more robust understanding of how to infuse these 5 practices into any lesson.

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

Next Week!

Meeting the Need of Introverts in the Collaborative Classroom

Presented by Megan Dubee

Writing computer programs is an artistic way to bring geometry standards to life! Although it can seem daunting to teachers who don’t have experience in computer science, we will teach you the basics and you will leave with ready to use lessons that we have implemented in our math classrooms. So join us and bring this career-ready literacy to your students using Scratch and Beetleblocks. Lessons: Playful Polygons, Code-necting the Dots,The Math Behind Coordinate Animation, Solids of Extrusion, Solids of Revolution

To register early for this workshop, click 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

Number Strings
 
Lately, I have been digging into a variety of math language routines. So when I saw Robert Kaplinsky’s (@robertkaplinsky) tweet about Number Strings I got excited to explore this resource.

You might be asking yourself, “what is a number string?” According to the numberstrings.com website, “A number string is a set of related math problems, crafted to support students to construct big ideas about mathematics and build their own strategies (Fosnot & Dolk 2002).” Dig into this valuable resource more if you are interested!

If you are interested in more routines, check out the website Fostering Math Practices. It supports the book Routines for Reasoning by Kelemanik, Lucenta & Creighton. Both are great resources for supporting all learners with instructional routines. The hashtag #fosteringMPs on Twitter is a good resource as well.

Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

Math is a Web

Last week, Tim Hébert (@mr_a_quared) shared that the San Francisco Unified School District Math Department is based on the premise that “Math is a web. (Not a ladder.)” in the following tweet.

I agree that teachers (including myself) tend to concern themselves with prerequisite skills, and shifting this concern towards connections between ideas would have a profound impact on students, so I was happy to retweet in agreement. 

Then I thought about the resources I utilize to inform my instruction. That is, which webs have I used, or even seen? The two resources closest to webs I could think of are provided by the Achieve the Core website: Where to Focus K-8 Grades Mathematics and the Coherence Map.
Where to Focus Grades K-8 Mathematics shows the progression of specific math topics across all grade levels from kindergarten to eighth grade in a linear fashion.

It is clear from the graphic above that learning math is a process of continual building focused largely on algebra.

In the Coherence Map, taking a look at 7.RP.2, recognize and represent proportional relationships between quantities, there are many connections across grade levels, but the connections between the ideas within grade levels are not as frequent. 

While I love and often use these resources, I see them as a strong start to helping educators shift their mindset from mathematics being a ladder to a web.
 
Last, in searching for what Tim was referring to, I found the SFUSD website (www.sfusdmath.org) and it is the math education website of my dreams. It has brief and well-organized resources for students, educators, instructional leaders, and my favorite, communities and families. I highly recommend it and I am very interested in understanding others’ experiences with webs and standards and math, so please share your thoughts!

Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

 

January & February & Past & Present & Future

Starting in the future: @achambertloir tweeted a link to a talk from Kevin Buzzard [@XenaProject] called “The future of mathematics?” that may be of interest [slides PDF; follow up tweet and retweet]:

Moving to the past and further past, and in other presentation-news: the Joint Mathematics Meetings aka JMM were punctuated throughout by tweets that used the hashtag #DisruptJMM [check it out!]. As JMM finished up, attendees and participants from afar converged to a different hashtag: #DisruptMath [check it out!].
You can find all sorts of information through these hashtags; in general, I strongly support the use of hashtags in organizing/locating information [shout out to #MTBoS, #iTeachMath, #tmwyk, #noticewonder, etc].

A historical note about this particular hashtag: the main tweeters who have organically moved from #DisruptJMM to #DisruptMath are folks working in Higher Ed [i.e., professors of mathematics]. Mathematician Piper H had an AMS Inclusion/Exclusion blog post about this in April 2019; excerpt [underline added]:

Unrelated to JMM, and not being a professor or working in a post-secondary institution, I presented on the elsewhere-suggested hashtag of #DisruptMath, although I advocated for #DisruptMaths, back in August 2019. I hadn’t mentioned it since, but quote-retweeted my presentation [slides] as the hashtag [re]emerged among professors:

I’m not sure whether those who have used #DisruptJMM or #DisruptMath are generally familiar with the group whose work predates all of this, which comes from outside of math and math education, and who uses the hashtag #DisruptTexts.
My own presentation last summer gave an incomplete history [a screenshot of when this hashtag was first used by a #DisruptTexts founder; a link to the tweets containing the hashtag] and did not do justice to a full account [proper attribution for all four of the founders; a link to their website]. I’ve since updated the History slides thanks to feedback at my linked tweet above.
So: Irrespective of whether you plan to use #DisruptJMM or #DisruptMath or #DisruptMaths or none of these hashtags, let us all ensure we are aware of where #Disrupt[X] originated. For recent examples, check out the KQED Mind/Shift article, How the #DisruptTexts Movement Can Help English Teachers Be More Inclusive, or the founders’ own site’s link to a #DisruptTexts Column Call for Submissions.
Semi-finally: Looking ahead to February = Black History Month, I tweeted out some American Mathematical Society [AMS] February issues from 2018, 2019, and 2020:

The mentions above of an AMS blog post and the three consecutive years’ monthly issues may seem at odds with some of the other happenings at AMS: see, e.g., @lpachter’s tweeted blog post about signatories of the various letters around Diversity Statements and the faulty statistical analyses that Pachter identifies [there are a lot of ill-thought-out recent happenings in math education; see also @samjshah2’s tweet about the Museum of Mathematics’ awful(!) idea to “celebrate” MLK Day].
And finally: If you have already gone through the AMS kerfuffle and/or don’t have the bandwidth to engage with faulty analogies followed by statistical analyses of faulty statistical analyses, then here is a tweet to @AlexandraBerke’s new Coloring Book About Math [online link]:

Happy Spring Festival / Lunar New Year!

Benjamin Dickman [@benjamindickman]

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Breathing Life Into Geometry with Coding – 1/21/20

Breathing Life Into Geometry with Coding

 Presented by: Mike Larson and Ashley Goetz

Presented on: January 21, 2020

Writing computer programs is an artistic way to bring geometry standards to life! Although it can seem daunting to teachers who don’t have experience in computer science, we will teach you the basics and you will leave with ready to use lessons that we have implemented in our math classrooms. So join us and bring this career-ready literacy to your students using Scratch and Beetleblocks. Lessons: Playful Polygons, Code-necting the Dots,The Math Behind Coordinate Animation, Solids of Extrusion, Solids of Revolution

Recommended Grade Level: 6-12

Note: The size of the audio file required the audio to be split into two files.

Hosted by: Jessica Bogie

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Breathing-Life-into-Geometry-with-Coding

Breathing Life into Geometry with Coding Part 1
Breathing Life into Geometry with Coding Part 2

This Week at Global Math – 1/21/20







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Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway

View this email in your browser

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight!

Breathing Life into Geometry with Coding

Presented by Mike Larson and Ashley Goetz

Writing computer programs is an artistic way to bring geometry standards to life! Although it can seem daunting to teachers who don’t have experience in computer science, we will teach you the basics and you will leave with ready to use lessons that we have implemented in our math classrooms. So join us and bring this career-ready literacy to your students using Scratch and Beetleblocks. Lessons: Playful Polygons, Code-necting the Dots,The Math Behind Coordinate Animation, Solids of Extrusion, Solids of Revolution

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

Next Week::

Using Desmos’ Snapshots Tool to Deepen Equitable Classroom Discourse

Presented by Allison Krasnow

This workshop will explore how to integrate Desmos’ Snapshots tool with any curriculum to deepen discourse, differentiation and formative assessment. We’ll examine how to amplify every student’s voice in a classroom to create more equitable participation. The 5 practices for productive mathematical discussion include: anticipating, monitoring, selecting, sequencing, and connecting. Using Desmos’ Snapshots tool, you can develop a more robust understanding of how to infuse these 5 practices into any lesson.

Register ahead of time by clicking 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

What do we mean when we talk about perseverance in math classrooms?
 
There are many conversations circulating about perseverance in the math education community: in the Common Core standards, at conferences, in email invitations for PDs, and in teacher meetings. Certainly, we all desire for our students to see mathematics as worthwhile and worth their time and effort to work through difficult and challenging problems. In our research with secondary math teachers, we saw teachers explicitly setting the goal of having their students persevere. This prompted us, and made us curious to think about perseverance more clearly and more critically. We started asking questions such as what exactly do we mean when we say perseverance? When can conversations around perseverance be harmful for some students? And what kind of resource, or framework, can we produce that will support teachers and teacher educators in thinking about perseverance in rich and productive ways?

We are conscious of the fact that terms like productive struggle, grit, and growth mind-set are typically used to frame what is lacking in Black and Brown communities. We caution against reinstating this framing here as well in which students of color are yet again depicted as deficient and low-performing. Instead, we believe that as teachers, we can create the conditions for more perseverance to occur in our classrooms as a result of facilitating their discovery of appropriate strategies at a more conscious and explicit level.  
 

In this post, we offer the following sacrificial graphic to show how we came to understand the teacher’s role and agency in helping students work hard at making sense, not just working hard. While we often conflate persistence and perseverance, we came to understand that perseverance entails making sense of problems. In our experience, when students are confronted with a difficult mathematical challenge, those that are successful are able to rely on familiar strategies that help them (even if only temporarily) make sense of the problem at hand. As they chip away at understanding parts of the challenge, they are then motivated to continue working through or persist in solving the problem. This then becomes a fruitful cycle of making sense of mathematics through heuristics motivating one to persist. For this reason, we believe we should pay more attention to ways in which we help make explicit for students the kinds of strategies at their disposal so that they are more likely to handle challenging problems in the future and persevere through them. We offer the cycle below, as our current thinking around how these 3 dimensions of perseverance (persistence, heuristics, and sense-making) work together.

 
We are interested in math teachers’ experiences with perseverance in their classroom. Let us know what thoughts and reflections you have about our proposed definition of perseverance as consisting of the connections between persistence, problem-solving strategies, and sense-making. 
 
 

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