This Week: Moving Forward and Responding to “I’m Bad at Math”

This Week: Moving Forward and Responding to "I'm Bad at Math"

Edited By Sahar Khatri @khatrimath

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Online Professional Development Sessions

Still enjoying the sun…for just a bit longer

It’s still summer vacation in most time zones so it’s the same for webinars at Global Math. We’ll be back in August.  If you really miss us (and we know you do!) check out the recordings of prior webinars here!

Great Blogging Action

We’re ALL Valuable Mathematicians

I’ve really started paying attention to getting my students to identify themselves as mathematicians in the last few years and I’ve seen some great progress.  I definitely needed a mindset change myself to think of them in this way, but once I did it really opened up my students and I have seen awesome things happen as a result.

But I just realized something:  I have held onto an unproductive disposition about something Megan Schmidt called me out on in her latest post.  I am guilty playing the blame game against the system and wishing that elementary/middle school math teachers had a specialty in math.  But they are working hard and are mathematicians regardless and I need to remember that!  Plus, pointing the finger at anybody really doesn’t do any good.

Megan makes some good points:

  • We lament in high school about kids lacking number sense, but how do our classroom routines support and build on the number sense kids have created through the primary grades?

  • the ideas need to connect from counting to arithmetic to algebra to calculus and all the places in between.


Instead of pointing fingers or over-idealizing, we need to take active steps to become a part of the mathematics community beyond our areas.  We must aim for proper pedagogy and learn more about what we teach together, which Megan links to Tracy Zager’s TMC Keynote.  Growth and forward progress will happen via communication and collaboration as a coherent group.  

Basically, we need to listen to each other and realize that we are in this together

So I ask:  How am I becoming involved with elementary or middle school teachers around me?  What about university professors?  Do professors think the same things about me as a secondary math teacher and, if so, how can I work with them to convince them otherwise?  Thanks, Megan, for bringing me back to reality and prompting me to become part of the change I wish to see!

~ by Matthew Engle (@pickpocketbme)

“Extraordinary things can happen when we do math and talk about teaching together, preK-16+”  
Tracy Zager

Hi, I’m Not Good at Math

As the beginning of the school year rapidly approaches (or some have already started), I can’t help but be reminded of meeting students for the first time who say something like,

I’m not good at math.

Or eventually, I’ll meet parents of my students and hear comments like,

Billy was good at math until last year.


Susie has always struggled at math.

My worst response was something like, “I’m sorry to hear that.”

My best response was maybe something like, “Tell me more about that.”

If you’re anything like me and have the tendency to lock up at these situations, I believe it is in everyone’s best interest to read (and follow the links at) Christopher Danielson’s recent post titled, On Helping Children to Love Math

I look at it as a chance for us to reflect on our beliefs and rehearse some responses to positively message the importance of mathematical thinking and education. Don’t skip his Hot Chocolate conversation and the simple example we can give parents to practice with their children.

~by Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)

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