This Week at Global Math – 1/7/2020


Edited By Chase Orton  @mathgeek76

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Online Professional Development Sessions


Proportional Reasoning Using a Double Number Line

Presented by Christine Lenghaus

To think proportionally or not to think proportionally is that the question? Is everything relative? How can we scaffold proportional thinking beyond ratio tables or ‘cross multiply’ by using a double number line? In this session I will share my journey with moving students from multiplicative thinking to proportional reasoning.

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

Next Week!

Up for Debate! Exploring Math Through Arguments

Presented by Chris Luzniak

Imagine: Debate, often a humanities staple, as an integral part of your math classes. Debate activities have been proven to increase student achievement and understanding. So let’s explore ways to incorporate debates into everyday math lessons, from warm-ups to projects! In this webinar, we will develop short activities and routines for building a classroom culture where students are empowered to discuss and debate mathematics–tomorrow!

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


Standards-Based Teaching and Teacher Burnout

I haven’t written for the last couple of months because I faced symptoms of burnout last semester. While I did not feel an urgent need to quit teaching, I felt tension: in my workplace, in my lessons, and with my students. It felt as though I wasn’t able to bring my best self to any person, task, or space. As a person committed to doing the exact opposite, I felt like a hypocrite most days and I am still unsure how to proceed in my writing for the Global Math Department, my professional relationships, and my career.

Although the third year of teaching is when many educators of color burnout and leave the profession, I understand the causes of my potential burnout within the context of my school, subject, politics, experiences, and even through the lens of my family’s history.

My great grandmother was a teacher in Mexico, who started volunteering at 14, eventually had children of her own, and was still able to make such a positive impact on her students that many of her students attended her funeral when she passed a few years ago. I used to think of her circumstances and success to invalidate whatever I was going through and get back to work, but recently, thinking of my great grandmother has helped me reimagine my experiences as a teacher of a different generation, particularly with respect to standards. How would I teach math if I wasn’t obligated to teach to the standards? How would this affect my style, expectations, and lessons? How would these changes affect my students, how they see themselves as individuals, members of their respective communities, and as mathematicians?

In struggling schools serving students who come from communities that have historically been marginalized, the pressure to utilize standards for teaching is immense, and there’s great shame placed on teachers tied to the low percentages of students meeting the standards. José Luis Vilson (@TheJLV) recently pointed out via an #EduColor chat that these metrics were not created to ensure that every student is being served in the first place.

Still, I thought, “How dare I completely omit the standards?” Lauren Baucom (@LBmathemagician) wrote about this tension in the following thread


Figuring out how to play the game and play it well can lead to burnout if there’s a lot at stake, a surplus of coaches and scarcity of players, plays that are constantly changing, and rules that continually evolve. At this point, I’m wondering if I want to play the game. What do I get if I win? What do we get if we win?

It’s not been an easy choice to stay; the pressure of not fulfilling a statistic and being a consistent adult in the lives of my students directly contradicts the need to preserve myself as a radical act in a capitalistic society and to set an example for my students of healthy work boundaries. 

Luckily, I started reading for leisure as a result of Noname’s Book Club (@NonameBooks), which has exposed me to texts such as Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown (@adriennemaree), who pushes readers to think about intentionally involving pleasure in every aspect of their lives. adrienne maree brown has moved me from avoiding standards to asking the question, what does pleasure look like in a math classroom? I hadn’t realized it until writing this, but brande (@OtisBrande) had already planted this seed weeks before, with the following tweet.


What does a math classroom function like and feel like when students find peace, joy and balance that aren’t tied to accomplishments or rewards? This shift from struggling through the work to creating and finding joy in the work I do with students has reenergized me for the coming semester, and I hope ya’ll can share with me if anything in particular comes to mind.

By Christelle Rocha (@Maestra_Rocha)

???2020 Across the Globe ???


The world is very big. To start off 2020, I would like to suggest that (mathematics) educators become more familiar with two places, if they are not already, which are all too often portrayed negatively in much of “Western” medias: Iran and China. At the same time, I think it is important that we avoid complacency and that we continue to understand the places and spaces that we are moving through locally. In this latter direction, there has been some great work done around Chicago [in anticipation for the @NCTM Annual in Chicago] by, in particular: @dingleteach, @teachnext_tmb, and @mochamomma; sometimes under the hashtags #PlaceValue or #GhostsInTheSchoolyard, which is the book [“Ghosts in the Schoolyard: Racism and School Closings on Chicago’s South Side”] written by @eveewing.

One recent example around Baltimore [written by @CMattern21 and shared by @sheathescholar]:

Iran ??

One tweet that has been shared quite a bit is from @ddmeyer; you can find quote-retweets here [organized by newest]. Three examples I’d like to point to:

From @melvinmperalta:

From @arsinoepi [see up-thread, too]:

There are many resources being shared around Iran and its history. I’d like to point to one project, named after the late Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, that aims to connect Iranian math educators with others in the world. You can find a number of essays written by math educators that have been translated from English to Farsi; you can also find a collection of Iranian math/education textbooks in the latter link. Maybe this is a group with whom you would like to get in contact.

China ??

ICME 14 [the 14th International Congress on Mathematical Education] will be in Shanghai in July of 2020. China has been in the US news for a variety of reasons, and I encourage readers to learn more about recent happenings. I linked to some of these in a previous GMD Newsletter, but have threaded my own correspondence here:

The thread above includes lots of acronyms that I did not previously know; besides ICME, there are: ICMI, ISC, IMU, and CFRS. The most recent correspondence at the time of this writing came from ISC President Reddy on January 2:

I know that there are many concerns around matters in China and, for example, its northwest region; everthemore, I think it relevant to point to a tweet from @MBarany about the United States:

Final “Global” comment: There are Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching that are available to K-12 educators in the United States. I have participated in a Fulbright program before [to China, in fact] but not this particular program; I hope there are teachers who will consider applying. I put together some more info in this tweet.

Besides Fulbright DA fellowships and ICME, there are other opportunities for (math) education engagement this summer; in the US, in particular, there are possibilities such as: PCMI, Desmos Fellowships, and PROMYS for Teachers. None of these programs’ deadlines has already passed for the coming summer.

We can do better as a (math) teaching/learning community around ensuring that opportunities (many of which are funded or potentially funded!) are shared more widely. Let us not find ourselves operating from scarcity mindsets, and, instead, look to making 2020 a year in which we lift up others and support them in their growth.

As always: Please let me know through whatever channels [email, @’ing, DM, carrier pigeon, etc] about happenings in/around the world of math education that you believe should be highlighted or amplified.

By Benjamin Dickman [@benjamindickman]

After Break

As we head back to work after the winter break, it’s important to remember that everyone’s winter break was different. I appreciate the thread by Alex Shevrin Venet (@AlexSVenet) with some useful reminders.

She also reminds us that not everyone celebrated Christmas over break and that this new year is the perfect time to revisit those beginning of year norms and routines. This is when new students are enrolling and those returning students need a fresh start.

There is also a related article by Kirsten Perry (@KPerry9777) on PBS NewsHour called “Don’t Assume that Every Student Had a Fun or Warm Holiday Break.” What are your favorite activities to do with the students when coming back from winter break? 


By Amber Thienel (@amberthienel)

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