This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

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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