This Week at the Global Math Department

Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Making Fluency Meaningful

Presented by Anne Agostinelli

Have you heard about Math or Number Talks but wonder how to make them meaningful? Let’s explore what makes them effective: the protocol, talk moves, and the many resources from our #MTBoS community, along with ideas for making it all fit into your math classes.

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

Next week will be our final webinar (and Newsletter) of this school year!  Join usas Megan Holmstrom and Ryan Grady lead a discussion on how our beliefs impact our identity as math educators.

You can always check out past and upcoming Global Math Department webinars. Click here for the archives or get the webinars in podcast form!

Another School Year Comes to an End…

Ends and New Beginnings

Since this is our team’s last newsletter of the year, I wanted to share two resources that represent a typical teacher end and a typical teacher beginning.

In the End…

There is usually a test. At least, that’s how it is in NYC public schools. My 7th graders – yes, SEVENTH GRADERS – are currently stressed about an end-of-year math exam called the Regents. It’s not a great way to end an otherwise great year of relationship building, inside jokes, and shared tribulations, but it is what it is.

In the spirit of thinking about math exams, please read @howiehua’s piece in Edutopia on A Strategy for Reducing Math Test Anxiety. In sum, it’s based on giving students a chance to have a brief pre-test conversation with the test in hand. He shares an anecdote where one student talks about having pre-test jitters, and the pre-test conversations help calm their insecurities. He also notes that since he and his co-teacher encourage discussion and collaboration in class, it only makes sense to test the way they teach. I can say from personal experience that if you ever implement this strategy in your class, it will be some of the most intense five minutes of mathematical discussion you’ll see.

In the Beginning…

Teachers do new stuff to their classrooms. This year, I put up many of @MrCoreyMath’s mathematician posters in my room. It’s a thoughtful and extensive selection of mathematicians from diverse backgrounds, which I used this year as a first step in a larger campaign to broaden my students’ conceptions of who does mathematics.

In addition, @jocedage recently tweeted a link to STEM role model posters, which were released for International Women’s Day and which are now available in multiple languages. They look amazing!

In Summary…

Thank you to everyone who read our newsletter this year and, of course, to our amazing editor, @thegozaway. I’ve learned so much participating in the GMD this year and look forward to learning even more!

Melvin Peralta (@melvinmperalta)


It was September of last year when Marian Dingle (@DingleTeach) first brought the Global Math Department Newsletter to my attention and being the exceptional educator she is, she sparked an idea and waited patiently for it to ignite my passion. It wasn’t until seven months later she highlighted my first blog post on my experience as a first-time attendee at NCTM 2019 in San Diego and I started to contribute to the GMD Newsletter.

This is my last post for the school year and I must thank Matthew Oldridge (@MatthewOldridge) for passing the baton and sharing this opportunity with me. I appreciate Nate Goza (@thegozaway) for connecting with me and inviting my thoughts and reflections into this new virtual space.

This week, I am highlighting the #ClearTheAir and #BreakRank chat that Christie Nold (@ChristieNold) and Scott Bayer (@Lyricalswordz) hosted on Wednesday, June 5, 2019 in which they discussed “Racism, whiteness, and burnout in antiracism movements: How white racial justice activists elevate burnout in racial justice activists of color in the United States” by Paul Gorski (@PGorski) and Noura Erakat (@4Noura).

Specifically, I draw your attention to a few sub-threads within this chat and invite you to review them with a focus on how crucial these conversations are to the intentional design of mathematical learning spaces.

Let us start with a sub-thread featuring JoyAnn Boudreau (@MrsBoudreau) in which participants discuss setting norms in professional learning spaces with fellow mathematics educators as well as co-constructing them in mathematics classes with our students. The prevailing topics are presuming positive intention, tone policing, a right way to do things, and individual personality traits that hinder our work.

Alice Jane Grimm (@Alice_J_Grimm) beautifully articulated a brief sub-thread about mandatory gender pronoun introductions that I have bookmarked so I may return to it again when next I plan professional learning for colleagues or classroom introductions for students.

Alecia Ford (@AleciaHiggFord) shared a brain break game she has used successfully with her students that creates space to talk openly about race and identity while developing fluency with fractions.

Some of us are settling into summer break routines and slowly shedding layers of this school year’s experiences and others of us are preparing to wrap up the school year with a final perseverance. Let our reflections and forward planning include how we intentionally establish psychological safety for students and colleagues to be and learn in mathematical spaces. Let the goal be to thrive not just survive. (Shout out to Bettina Love.)

As Val Brown (@ValeriaBrownEdu) stated at a Teaching Tolerance workshop in February,  “This is your homework. For the rest of your life.”

Thank you for reading and engaging,

Hema Khodai (@HKhodai)

Summer Time!

This can be a time of joy for teachers to take a much needed break, to rejuvenate, and gather new ideas for next year.  For our students, it can be stressful without the routine of seeing friends, having a safe space with caring adults on the daily. Therefore I offer you a nationwide resource to share with students and families (Thank you @edcampOSjr for sharing)

As we reflect on what worked throughout the year, I plan to be more intentional about building and maintaining relationships with and among my students; I was drawn to the thread started by @EmilyAnderle about morning meetings.  This is a strategy often used in my own child’s 1st grade classroom; I am certain with intentional use in a secondary classroom could be a positive change.

Finally, as we set to start the cycle again (not literally an infinite loop) I was pleased to learn some mathematical content knowledge started on this thread:

Hopefully, we all get a chance to relax (for those still in the classroom I wish you the best).  It has been a pleasure sharing my twitter treasure hunts with the Global Math Department audience.  I have met many virtual and IRL friends.  Thanks @thegozaway for inviting me into this space.

Diana McClean (@teachMcClean)

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