This Week at Global Math – 8/11/20


Edited By Nate Goza  @thegozaway

View this email in your browser


Online Professional Development Sessions


Talk Less, Discuss More: Crafting and Implementing Open Ended Questions

Presented by Scott Miller and David Sladkey

Are you looking for ways to enhance questioning in your classroom? Do you wonder how to include open-ended tasks on a daily basis in online, blended, and in-person learning models? Experience a variety of types of questions that promote student thinking and learn how to create questions that facilitate student discussion.

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

The Newsletter Returns

The GMD Newsletter Returns for 2020

We are happy to announce that all the contributors to the GMD Newsletter are returning this school year with an increased focus on antiracist mathematics education.
Our team of writers and curators is committed to produce content that is reflective of our Statement of Solidarity and with the goal of moving these words into action.
With this in mind we are also calling for new volunteers to expand our perspectives and raise our collective voices to move this publication forward. If you are interested in becoming a regular contributor or would like the opportunity to contribute as a guest writer, please fill out this form.

Rest as Self Care

By: Hema Khodai (@HKhodai)

I constantly and continually fail at disrupting grind culture. It is a new practice to me, who glorified it not too long ago, measured my worth by it, and judged others by their inability to excel within it. Some label it as ascribing to the model minority myth, the desire to mitigate racial violence by leaning into whiteness. Some identify it as an immigrant mindset, an inheritance from those who traveled over distant lands and seas for a chance at survival. Some name it as a remnant of indentured servitude, memory that lives in bloodlines of survival inextricably linked to productivity. Some say I exemplify grit and resilience and have overcome so much adversity in my personal life. These romanticized notions of self-liberation through determination and hard work enmesh us deeper in capitalism, they lack a precision of language I attend to: grind culture is rooted in white supremacy.


Here are some ways complicity in grind culture appears in our lives with prompts to disrupt them:

  • Upholding individual disruptors as paragons of antiracism and/or mathematics education.
    • Grassroots movements grow to a tipping point at which they become profitable. 
      • How might we show our appreciation and support in non-monetary ways or ways that sustain improvements in the living and working conditions for the communities we live and work in?
    • We are the sum of all of our interactions with the planet and its inhabitants. 
      • How do we meaningfully honour the communities and collectives that these individuals learned from?
      • How do we meaningfully honour the collective work of folx without coopting or profiting off their support and brilliance?
    • Classrooms (be they virtual or physical) are microcosms of larger society. 
      • Who do you uphold as a mathematician in your classes? Who remains invisible?
    • Indigenous, Black, and racialized folx often are not compensated for their labour in racial justice work. 
      • How might we measure our worth outside of capitalism?
  • Uncritical consumption of self-directed learning. 
    • FOMO is real. 
      • How do we disengage from compulsive engagement with social media? How do we disrupt our performance of wokeness?
    • Greed is real. 
      • How do we selectively and collectively learn without signing up for every webinar? How do we share opportunities for coalition building?
    • Gatekeeping is real. 
      • Who do you invite to greater learning in your mathematics classes? Who remains barred at the gates?
  • Constant striving to amass antiracist knowledge. 
    • Book Club Hopping is trendy. 
      • How do we intentionally plan time to develop our understanding of new knowledge and transfer it into our daily living?
    • Cultivating Genius is trendy. 
      • How do you uphold students and their lived realities as funds of knowledge over the mathematical canon?
  • Lack of intentionality in the ways we move and live. 
    • Overscheduling is a thing. 
      • How do we hold healthy boundaries that promote collective well-being?
    • Controlling kids is a thing. 
      • How do you hold time and space for students to learn mathematics and identify as doers of mathematics?
  • Endorsing the supremacy of mathematics.
    • Math is not neutral. 
      • How does your district use/misuse/abuse data to justify the back to school plan?
    • Math is not objective. 
      • How do you promote criticality in mathematical thinking over efficiency and accuracy?
What is the Plan?


What is your plan to start or continue discussions to illuminate for our families, friends, and colleagues the ways Black and Brown lives are regulated, directed, misinterpreted, and controlled and taken?
As we prepare for and start the new school year, knowing that in many districts Brown and Black lives continue to be placed at risk, considered to be expendable as we “hope for the best”, what is your plan for return to school?
What is your plan to contribute your labour and energy to the collective efforts of educators to abolish carceral pedagogy and imagine humanizing ways to teach and learn mathematics?
What is your plan to support the self-care efforts of Indigenous educators, Black educators, and racialized educators?
What is your plan to promote rest as self-care for yourself and your students? 
What is your plan to be a part of a collective that strives for liberation?

I humbly cite and uplift the work of Tricia Hersey (The Nap Ministry) and Awo Okaikor Aryee-Price (The Edu-Sage’s Companion) whose words and wisdom I learn from.

Back to School
The sequel begins. Schools are ‘reopening’ in one form or another, and teachers at all levels of education are preparing to get back to teaching. Remote teaching will appear to be the dominant modus operandi, at least for now.
José Vilson (@TheJLV) provides a poignant reminder that school reopening plans raise the critical question of who we are listening to for guidance and advice.
Sam Shah (@samjshah2) has started a thread on math ed tech resources for remote teaching in the fall. Howie Hua (@howie_hua) has a thread on shouting out educators on Twitter and sharing any strategies and ideas they use. Desmos has shared a getting to know you activity through their newly redesigned activity builder. Dawn Kasal Finley (@kasal_finley) prepared an infographic of some baseline tips for online teaching. 
Remote learning has created a wave of demand for new teaching methods and techniques. Patrick (@PresidentPat) and Ken Shelton (@k_shelton) have helpfully pointed out certain methods and techniques that teachers ought to avoid or at least approach with extreme caution: 

But while thinking about what methods and techniques to adopt for this upcoming school year for my own preservice teachers, I keep coming back to Lilia Bartolomé’s piece Beyond the Methods Fetish: Toward a Humanizing Pedagogy in which she argues:
[I]t is not the particular lesson or set of activities that prepares the student; rather, it is the teacher’s politically clear educational philosophy that underlies the varied methods and lessons/activities she or he employs that make the difference.
Rather than wondering how we can ‘keep the politics out of the classroom’, Bartolomé invites us to consider the many ways politics already shapes how even a subject like math, which is widely assumed to be politically neutral, is taught in the first place. In this case, politics does not necessarily refer to partisan politics or systems of governance. Rather, politics means culture and power and the dynamics that inevitably arise when humans seek to work together, share resources, and influence one another’s beliefs.
To that end, we must ask ourselves: How do our political beliefs and ideologies shape the techniques we choose to implement in our classrooms, our gut reactions toward and about our students, and the particular teaching books we reach for in our shelves? How honest are we about the extent to which the in-the-moment judgment calls we make as teachers are impacted by the politics with which we enter (or in 2020, log into) our classrooms? As Hema asked above, what is our plan for enacting a more humanizing vision of mathematics education? And how will we care for ourselves and others, particularly our Black, Indigenous, and racialized educator colleagues, in the process? 

Math is Political

That’s it. That’s the article.
Sometimes, when people see the statement ‘math is political’ they either scratch their heads or run for the hills. What on earth does 2+2=4 have to do with politics?
Well, it turns out a lot. As an ongoing Twitter debacle about 2+2=4 makes evident, math has a lot to do with politics. I won’t link any threads or articles about the 2+2=4 issue because many of them appear to miss a significant point: a widespread philosophical argument about mathematical foundations and objective truth has been built on a foundation of harassment aimed at educators of color, many who are women. 
Prominent articles and Twitter threads, while helping people become more receptive to a more “playful mathematics” and understand mathematics’ cultural dimensions, are also contributing to an erasure of women of color by prioritizing mathematics over them and the ideas they are actually trying to promote. These ideas include promoting critical mathematics education, anti-racism, ethnomathematics, rehumanizing mathematics, ethnic studies, and social justice math, among many others. Here’s a collection of things to look out for or look more deeply into:

  • Today (August 11) is the TODOS live session with Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez where participants will reflect on ways to rehumanize mathematics. The live session will take place at 4pm PST / 7pm EST. Registration can be found through this tweet from TODOS.

If you want to support these efforts and the people who stand behind them, consider deeply engaging with the scholarship on critical math education, anti-racism, and ethnomathematics, encouraging others to do the same, and supporting school teachers who want to apply these ideas in the classroom. Recent events have taught me an important lesson, one that I have recently felt a visceral level: silence is complicity. Math educators are part of the same community, and while we may not necessarily agree on everything (which I believe actually makes us stronger), it is important that we step in and speak up for one another.
What’s one thing that the coronavirus and racism, homophobia, patriarchy, ableism, and postcolonialism have in common? Too many people still think they don’t exist. How will we as educators of math–the supposed last bastion of ‘rationality’ and ‘truth’–respond?


Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter

Visit our Website Visit our Website

Copyright © *|CURRENT_YEAR|* *|LIST:COMPANY|*, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:

Email us at:

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 


Comments are closed.