This Week at the Global Math Department



Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
View this email in your browser

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!

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
Visit our Website
Copyright © 2018 Global Math Department, All rights reserved.

Email us at:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *