Data Rich with Diagnostics

Data Rich with Diagnostics

Date: June 28, 2022

I love a good story, more so, a data rich story. We live in a world of data…but do we always use it and use it effectively? As educators, data informs our practice but we are often plagued with the task of how to manage it, review it, and break it down. Leaving us to ask how does diagnostic data support us?

Presenters: Kat Hendry

Recommended Grade Level: K-12

Hosted by: Rana Arshed Hafiz

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Data-Rich-with-Diagnostics

The Status Quo in High School Math is Unacceptable

The Status Quo in High School Math is Unaceeptable

Date: June 14, 2022

Today, it seems as if nearly everyone agrees that high school mathematics needs to change. For far too long, math has not worked for far too many students. Math has not changed substantially in my lifetime, nor has it changed substantially for most students, teachers & schools. It is clearly an issue – and it is time to discuss and make serious changes.

Presenters: Eric Milou

Recommended Grade Level: 9-12

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/The-Status-Quo-in-High-School-Math-is-Unacceptable

GMD Newsletter June 14, 2022

Curated By Nate Goza @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight at 9:00 PM EST

The Status Quo in High School Math is Unacceptable

Presented by Eric Milou

Today, it seems as if nearly everyone agrees that high school mathematics needs to change. For far too long, math has not worked for far too many students. Math has not changed substantially in my lifetime, nor has it changed substantially for most students, teachers & schools. It is clearly an issue – and it is time to discuss and make serious changes.

Click here to register for this webinar!

Coming Up on 6/28

Data Rich with Diagnostics

Presented by Kat Hendry

I love a good story, more so, a data rich story. We live in a world of data…but do we always use it and use it effectively? As educators, data informs our practice but we are often plagued with the task of how to manage it, review it, and break it down. Leaving us to ask how does diagnostic data support us?

Click here to register for this webinar!

#GMDWrites

Resting and Reflecting: An Invitation to a GMD Community Conversation

By: Sara Rezvi and Janaki Nagarajan
Dear Global Math Department Community,
We begin with acknowledging that this school year has been intense for many math educators in the United States. Some highlights: Florida rejecting math textbooks under the guise of anti ‘critical race theory’, anti-SEL sentiments, and anti-trans legislation bills sweeping states throughout the country with ~ 240 bills being put forth as of March 2022, the tragedy and massacre of 4th grade Latinx children and two educators in Uvalde, TX by an 18 year old man armed with an assault rifle, and the subsequent increased calls for teachers to be armed. While this list is by no means comprehensive, it points to the sheer heaviness teachers in the last year have faced. Teachers (and math teachers in particular) are not a monolith, nor can and should be treated as a universal, homogenized group of people with the same perspectives and politics; however, the structural realities impacting the teaching profession have us reflecting on the culmination of this year.

We wrote this short piece as an invitation to reflect as a community rather than solely centering our own thoughts about our specific educational roles. For context, Janaki is an elementary school teacher in the Seattle area and has been teaching for 3 years. Sara is a former high school math teacher, current program director of the Math Circles of Chicago and a doctoral candidate in math ed.

The end of this tumultuous and heartbreaking year has left us with questions, complicated feelings, tensions, and numbness for the both of us. It has also given us pause to reflect on the subtle moments of joy, serenity, and hope that comes with working with children.

We invite the GMD community to engage in the questions and resources we have included here and to offer additions as well if you so choose as an attempt to reflect beyond this piece and with(in) the community so many of us might need to process this year. We also invite readers to engage in a slowchat using the hashtag  #GMDReflects (and tag us @/arsinoepi and @/janaki_aleena) with A# as a response to the questions below [Example: A3: #GMDReflects and tag us]. We hope to engage with you all as we take stock of the realities of this year as a community. We ask folks to communicate in good faith as we intend to do the same.

As an overarching question, we ask folks to consider this as a framework for the remaining questions below, which is, how do we intentionally reflect on our math teaching practice without falling into the trap of white (and white adjacent) saviorism and complicity? How are we intentionally choosing to be ‘key makers and not gatekeepers’ (Marian Dingle, @/DingleTeach) (especially in a field like math that has and continues to be mired in exclusivity?) See: Lorena Escoto German’s “Textured Teaching: A Framework for Culturally Sustaining Practices

Q1: As writers and educators, what is our role in sharing the stories of others (i.e. when and how should we share, and when shouldn’t we?), knowing the stories will be filtered through our own lenses and biases as the writer, and filtered again through the lenses and biases of the readers?

Q2: Consider the nuanced practice of boundaries in professional-emotional-caretaking settings. How do we establish where I end and you begin? With colleagues? With families? With self? What are the complexities that must be attended to in the emotional labor that is so often required amongst those who have been racialized and gendered into caretaker roles (such as teaching) without losing ourselves in the process? What intentional and productive boundaries do you intend on setting next year? Similarly, how do we recognize and mitigate the impact of emotional labor of marginalized students navigating math classroom spaces?  See: Racialized and Gendered Labor in Students’ Responses to Precalculus and Calculus Instruction, Battey, et al, 2022)

Q3: How do we seek to grow, reflect and push ourselves professionally while respecting our own well-being? What role do privileged teachers and students have in centering the well-being of historically marginalized teachers and students? What are some examples or actionable steps your organization or individuals within it took this year towards making this happen? See: Tony Sun’s Thread on Supporting Trans Children (@/poetpedagogue)

Q4: What is the difference between a responsibility and an obligation? How does that show up in mathematics educational spaces in the United States? Is there a difference? What is our responsibility towards the communities and children we have chosen to serve and truly engage in the ‘deep practice of listening’ (paraphrased from Thich Nhat Hanh “From Mindfulness to Heartfulness, p. 49)? This question inspired by Christina Torres Cawdery (@/bibliophile)’s tweet screenshotted with permission below.


Q5: In light of the ongoing alt-right attacks on LGBTQIA+, Black, Indigenous, Asian, and Latinx children, as educators how do we show up to affirm the humanities of the most vulnerable in mathematical spaces? See: Alex Shevrin Venet’s “Equity-Centered Trauma-Informed Education” or Dr. Brandie Waid’s website thequeermathematicsteacher.com.

Q6: Related to the tweet screenshotted with permission from Annie Tan @/AnnieTangent below – How do we teach in ways that center student knowledge and expertise in the midst of standardized curriculum and assessment systems, that prioritize certain types of knowledge and expertise that are born from white supremacy culture? (Tema Okun, Dismantling Racism Works)


Q7:  Related to Janaki’s tweet screenshotted below, our final question is where (or to whom) have you looked to for hope and inspiration this year? What helped you grow? Reflect? Expand? (with respect to your math teaching practice). Do you have any book recommendations, podcasts, readings, artwork, music, or any other sources that have kept you afloat this school year? How did it help you?


We hope that in the midst of all the heaviness this year, you are able to find a bit of peace and healing this summer. If these questions resonate with you please chat with us on Twitter using #GMDReflects per the instructions above.

We close this piece with a few lyrics from an old Nirvana song and ask you to come as you are.
As a friend.
As a friend.

Take care and rest well this summer,

Janaki and Sara

Next Year We Want Your Voices!

We’d love to share this space with teachers and their students who feel compelled to share with our community!

Please reach out on Twitter or send an email to globalmathdepartment@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved or contribute an article (or articles).

Check Out the Webinar Archives

Click here for the archives, get the webinars in podcast form, or visit our YouTube Channel to find videos of past sessions and related content.

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On a Thinking Classroom – Reflections after 8 years of Implementation

On a Thinking Classroom – Reflections after 8 years of Implementation

Date: May 31, 2022

After spiraling courses for 5 years, I was lucky enough to hear Peter Liljedahl speak about Building Thinking Classrooms. With the energy of a young teenager I immediately implemented his ideas and never looked back. During this hour we will share the best of the practices in a thinking classroom and reflect on next steps.

Presenters: Alexander Overwijk

Recommended Grade Level: K-12

Hosted by: Rana Arshed Hafiz

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/On-a-Thinking-Classroom-Reflections-after-8-years-of-Implementation

Rethinking the Traditional Warm Up

Rethinking the Traditional Warm Up

Date: May 17, 2022

Typical warm up problems in math class often take longer than expected. How do you invite students to join classroom thinking without taking a significant amount of class time? This presentation will show some ways to invite students to find patterns, activate prior learning, and join classroom thinking.

Presenters: Juan Gómez

Recommended Grade Level: 9-12

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Rethinking-the-Traditional-Warm-Up

What is Experience First, Formalize Later (EFFL)?

What is Experience First, Formailze Later (EFFL)?

Date: May 3, 2022

In this presentation, we will present a few lessons that have been developed for a student-centered classroom. In these lessons, students work in small groups to experience the learning before the teacher formalizes the learning with definitions and formulas. Using this learning structure, students engagement and retention increases, leading to better conceptual understanding over rote memorization.

Presenters: Lindsey Gallas, Sarah Stecher and Luke Wilcox

Recommended Grade Level: 9-12

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/What-is-Experience-First-Formalize-Later-EFFL

GMD Newsletter – May 3, 2022

Curated By Nate Goza @thegozaway
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight at 9:00 PM EST

What is Experience First, Formalize Later (EFFL)?

Presented by Luke WilcoxLindsey Gallas, and Sarah Stecher

In this presentation, we will present a few lessons that have been developed for a student-centered classroom. In these lessons, students work in small groups to experience the learning before the teacher formalizes the learning with definitions and formulas. Using this learning structure, students engagement and retention increases, leading to better conceptual understanding over rote memorization.

Click here to register for this webinar!

Coming Up on 5/17

Rethinking the Traditional Warm Up

Presented by Juan Gómez

Typical warm up problems in math class often take longer than expected. How do you invite students to join classroom thinking without taking a significant amount of class time? This presentation will show some ways to invite students to find patterns, activate prior learning, and join classroom thinking.

Click here to register for this webinar!

#GMDWrites: Sara’s Story

Sara’s Story

Written by Sara Rezvi for Sines of Disability (sinesofdisability.com)

Content Warning: Includes references to hard topics including abuse, harm, and PTSD.


In the Islamic faith, knowledge is considered sacred. According to tradition, the first Quranic word revealed to the Prophet (peace be upon him) was ‘iqra’, which quite simply means to read. My parents, and particularly my father, encouraged the learning of mathematics as one avenue of beautiful study. A lifelong journey that began with dollar store fridge magnets and a Chicago Public Library card led to majoring in mathematics, where I was exposed to both profound intellectual insights and systemic harm. From there, I went on to obtain a Masters in teaching, and had the honor of teaching children about a discipline that has captivated me for so long as a middle and high school math teacher. After teaching for close to a decade in a variety of different settings (public, private, and charter) along with different school districts (New York City, Chicago, and Mexico City), I left my career to pursue a doctoral degree in mathematics curriculum and instruction, with a concentration in gender and sexuality and to work at a non-profit organization. As program director of the Math Circles of Chicago, I work within a wide range of communities to support the joyful exploration of mathematics with teachers, families, and students from underrepresented and marginalized backgrounds. While I have outlined in brief my connection and journeying with mathematics here, such sketches need to be filled in with greater and more painstaking detail. In my case, those details revolve around abuse, trauma, suicidal ideation, self-harm, financial precarity, and the slow but steady unwinding of deep intergenerational pain as a first generation, Pakistani/American, disabled, queer woman.

What role have disability and ableism played in your mathematical journey?

The immediate reaction to responding to this question is one that words cannot describe, a slow movement of air and lungs struggling to make sense of this fragmentation. It remains perpetually trapped in my throat – a keening, shaking ache.

According to the DSM-5 Diagnostic Criteria for PTSD, I meet the following symptoms:

  1. Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence
  2. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).
  3. Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous,” “My whole nervous system is permanently ruined”).
  4. Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings).
  5. Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred
    1. Reckless or self-destructive behavior.
    2. Hypervigilance.
    3. Problems with concentration.
    4. Sleep disturbance

Complex PTSD includes these criteria but also has the additional factor of the trauma being continuous, ongoing, and intertwined – in short, there is no moving on because the trauma never ceases to fully end. I was diagnosed with C-PTSD a few years ago, though I have been struggling with the realities of the condition for most of my adult life. While the DSM criteria above are helpful to a certain extent, they do not quite capture the fullness of what it has meant to go through this experience. After intensive therapy these past few years, I am recognizing that this diagnosis requires accepting two interrelated conditions. I must carefully attend to the nebulous terrain of my mental health as a lifelong endeavor but also do my best to live in joyful, intentional, and conscientious praxis. Self-awareness, movement, intention, mutual reciprocity, access to resources, gentleness and acceptance with(in) community have allowed me to start internalizing these hard-won insights. And so, I am finally able to write these words here, in the hopes that they may serve others as well.

Trauma does not occur in a vacuum. For me, it is a direct consequence of interlocking systems of oppression (Combahee River Collective, 1977) working in concert with one another to produce outcomes to benefit the few at the expense of the many. In a previous publication, I, along with my sister-scholars, have attempted to map how systemic oppression undergirded by white supremacy, racism, patriarchy, capitalism, and xenophobia have been reified in our respective attempts at entering the STEM fields (Madden et al, 2020). My attempt to locate these interlocking systems of oppression were constructed below in Figure 4.3. At the time of the original publication, I was not yet ready to admit to nor accept my neurodivergence and C-PTSD symptoms as necessarily interconnected within my identity map. This is why it does not appear in the figure below though I hope to rectify my reluctance to name the impact of ableism in my mathematical journey in this piece.

I focus my initial excavation on my childhood and its role in my C-PTSD diagnosis. South Asian patriarchy as experienced in my close-knit Pakistani community ensured that the spiritual, emotional, and sometimes physical abuse the female members of my family endured by my father was ongoing and continuous up until his death in 2020. This was generally accepted as a personal problem to be resolved in the home and thus upheld by community withdrawal and negligence. While I was more or less groomed to fit certain cultural expectations both within and external to community parameters such as ‘loving mother’, ‘dutiful and self-sacrificial eldest daughter’, ‘docile caretaker’, and ‘devout woman’, I refused to fully entertain these demands. My refusal to partake in my own oppression resulted in erasure, shaming, abandonment, disavowal, and further entrenchment of ongoing harm.

As first-generation, Muslim immigrants to the United States, my parents hoped to preserve a way of life that was increasingly threatening to disappear due to white supremacist conscriptions of assimilationism and allegiance to adopting anti-Black, Asian model minority myths – a straddling of amorphous and fluid boundaries, and a negotiation of self, identity, and social location – what bell hooks describes as being within ‘the margin…as part of the whole but outside the main body’ (1989, p. 20).

As someone raised within notions of community and caretaking, I respect and honor their sacrifice, dedication, and willingness to leave everything they knew in Pakistan to create a different life in the United States. However, I am aware of the liminality of time and history, how we carry it with us and through us – our skin, blood and bone contain both the resilience and beauty of our ancestors and the deep wounds they were unable to heal from due to British occupation, colonization and the violent 1947 partition of India and Pakistan as separate and sovereign nation-states (Dalrymple, 2015; Khan, 2008). Interspersed in my family’s history is the unnamed but acute awareness of mental health issues that continued to trespass upon each generation. South Asian taboos prevented these conversations from fully being addressed or known, despite whispered longstanding familial histories of suicide, sexual assault, depression, and abuse.

When we speak about intergenerational trauma, we must also speak about the reproduction and reification of untreated mental health issues that refract through immigrant South Asian families and communities attempting to survive in an increasingly violent xenophobic society that operates on federal, state, local, and individual levels to ensure white hegemonic control (Hilal, 2021; Lughod, 2011; Kishi, 2015). Statistically, the highest rate of suicide deaths (CDC, 2008) can be attributed to young female Asian Americans and Pacific-Islanders (15-24 years old), a social location I occupied for many years as a formerly suicidal person.

Ableism & History

A working definition of ableism developed in community by Talila Lewis and disabled Black/negatively racialized folks is defined as follows:

“Ableism: a system of assigning value to people’s bodies and minds based on societally constructed ideas of normalcy, productivity, desirability, intelligence, excellence, and fitness. These constructed ideas are deeply rooted in eugenics, anti-Blackness, misogyny, colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. This systemic oppression that leads to people and society determining people’s value based on their culture, age, language, appearance, religion, birth or living place, “health/wellness”, and/or their ability to satisfactorily re/produce, “excel” and “behave”. You do not have to be disabled to experience ableism.” (Lewis, et al, 2022)

One cannot emerge from childhood abuse without feeling the humming heaviness ever present in one’s veins. In 2002, I began the study of mathematics as a bruised and empty shell socially conditioned to overachieve, hyper aware of the belief in my own imagined shortcomings, and trained to fawn and people-please to my own detriment. In retrospect, it is not exactly surprising that entering the teaching workforce (and later, academia) built on interconnected ableist mechanisms of gendered and racialized exploitation further exacerbated the trauma I had already endured. In the next few sections of this piece, I connect how my past experiences of childhood abuse endured and expanded under the systemic conditions I found myself navigating in both academic and professional mathematics spaces.

Intersectionality is a framework and lens that can help uncover how ableism is woven into the racialized and gendered treatment of women of color in STEM. Black women scholars such as Kimberle Crenshaw (1991), Sojourner Truth (1863), bell hooks (1984; 2000), and Patricia Hills-Collins (1990) along with the 1977 Combahee River Collective statement have been at the pioneering forefront of theorizing how differential systems of hierarchy and oppression interact and reify one another. Adopting an intersectional framework towards understanding how disability, race, gender, class, ability and sexuality are in constellation is critically important in contextualizing how mathematics is experienced within institutions and can be extended to the diverse but interconnected realities of Asian, Latinx, and Indigenous women as is evidenced by the work of feminist scholars such as Sarah Ahmed (2014; 2015), Haunani Kay-Trask (2005), Cherrie Morraga (1986), and Gloria Anzaldua (2007).

Analyzing interlocking systemic oppression is dynamic and at times, contradictory – one of the reasons why it is so incredibly difficult to name these processes is because of the need to carefully and thoughtfully attend to contextual realities. For this reason, I am focusing particularly on how intersectionality can provide a lens through which we can interrogate how neurodivergence is entangled with my lived experiences as an immigrant, South Asian, queer woman in STEM.

Ableism, CPTSD, and Mathematics

In the following table, I attempt to outline the intersection of ableism and its interaction with C-PTSD in mathematics learning spaces as a gendered and racialized person. I will preface this by stating that this is by no means comprehensive, but is an attempt at naming what I have kept silent for too long. I recognize that in this act of naming, of illuminating, and of heaving into existence is one action that I can engage in to repair and confront, and to recover and heal.

As I made my way through my undergraduate mathematics journey, my experience with childhood abuse and ongoing trauma was further exacerbated by my inability to address it in any meaningful capacity, a dark road carved out by multiple suicide attempts and the many razors slicing my body to dull the pain of daily existence.

Upon graduating and entering the teaching workforce as a twenty-something year old, I did my best to utilize the health insurance that I finally felt safe in accessing only to find that teaching full-time leaves no capacity to do anything but work a minimum of 9-12 hours per day including weekends, especially as an untried teacher in new settings. Now, at the age of 37, I am finally confronting the ongoing harm I’ve continuously experienced all these years at the intersections of mathematics, ableism, and racialized and gendered oppression along with my own complicity in unconsciously reproducing these circumstances.

The same violence that cannot be critiqued, that remains coercively unspoken, must never be held accountable. I have noticed that as soon as an attempt by an oppressed person is made to correct wrongs, the punishment for daring the attempt increases multifold. The oppressed person, thus, learns to be quiet, to be still, to freeze, to please, and to navigate a carefully cultivated fragile ‘calm’ in order to survive another day. As Arundhati Roy incisively observes – ‘there’s really no such as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.’

I think about this quote often and how my mental health waivers daily – an oscillation that feels less like a sine wave and more akin to a jagged piece-wise function. I am always already a knife’s edge away from falling into an anxious and panic-inducing void, an unmaking of my own making.  A strict combination of therapy, diet, and physical movement is slowly but intentionally allowing me to find a place where I feel stable, healthy, and able to handle the daily ups and downs. In that time, I have still managed to submit assignments on time, teach full course-loads as an adjunct instructor and teaching assistant, submit an IRB and successfully navigate qualifying exams, work multiple jobs, and prepare for an upcoming dissertation proposal defense.

And yet, we live under late-stage capitalism. We wade through the never-ending pressure to produce & to perform under the collusion of white supremacy, patriarchy, heteronormativity, and ableism. As a disabled queer Muslim woman of color, I maintain defensive energy shields in my interactions unless I am absolutely certain that it is safe to lower them in predominantly white, cis-gendered, heteronormative, male, mathematical institutional spaces.

One might ask, how do I know that mathematics is an example of a white institutional space?

Simple.

I look at the walls.

They speak in their silence. The portraits and the photographs whisper to me, white man after white man, university hall after university hall, all wondering puzzlingly what on earth I am doing here.

Foucault (2012) theorizes that one goal of disciplinary societies built on surveillance is for individuals to internalize it. This manifests for me in the hypervigilance required to interact with the world at large and in mathematics communities in particular. A world that feels fragmented under the combined impacts of a failed government response to a global pandemic, the existential threat of climate change, and the mandate to produce and perform in spite of the overwhelming need to be human, to grieve as human, to cherish as human, and to reclaim as human.

I am not necessarily aware when I am practicing hypervigilance in mathematics spaces. It is a permanent anxiety, a nested surveillance of self and others. What can I say? How will it be transmuted into something not meant but presumed nevertheless? A critique described as an accusation. An unmet need rendered into a problem (Ahmed, 2014), in which I become the problem.  It was my therapist who noticed that when I spoke about the emotional and sometimes physical abuse that I’ve endured over the years, I frequently held my right hand to my throat. It’s as if my body unconsciously is trying to move me from silence to speech. I do so here in these words, on this paper, reflected in the swirling emotions I am dissociatively observing flow through me as they are rendered into existence on this document.

We have all been coerced into retelling the entrenched myth that racial hierarchies which privilege whiteness and capitalism as intertwined constructs will be our collective salvation. Ableism is embedded into these logics, where the demands of attending to academic hyperproductivity has been further enhanced under the pandemic. Our allegiance to maintaining this myth is destroying us insofar as we attempt to maintain it in academic institutions and beyond. We are like the ouroboros, a snake eating its own tail. We remain deeply unaware of what we are consuming because we have been conditioned to avoid confronting it structurally. A telling example of this is to simply look at who has been able to actively pursue research interests, attend virtual or in-person conferences, publish in journals, and continue enhancing their careers and who simply has not been able to keep up with ableist, racist and gendered expectations; in short, who has been kept safe from the mass disabling event of the global pandemic and who has been actively forced to endure its impact directly (Myers et al, 2020; Guarino & Borden, 2016).

Elsewhere, mathematics education research has increasingly focused on the lived experiences of women of color in STEM fields. Some findings include: (1) heightened microaggressions (gendered and/or racialized) (Brown, 2008; Kachchaf et al, 2015) through both covert and overt remarks towards women of color in STEM; (2) being subject to ‘hypervisibility’, which Ryland (2013) defines as ‘scrutiny based on perceived difference, which is usually (mis)interpreted as deviance, p. 2222’; and (3) the overreliance of student and privileged faculty alike to ‘perceive and expect female professors to be more nurturing than male professors are’ (Alayli, et al, 2018). How are these experiences potentially trauma-inducing events? How do we protect the most vulnerable from ongoing and continuous harm? When do we confront this reality and collectively wake up to the ongoing harm reproduced in academic communities to this day?  How do we ensure that disabled STEM scholars (and particularly non-binary and transgendered people and cis women of color) are treated with respect, grace, and reciprocity? For those that are granted institutional power and authority, how might these privileges be leveraged for a more radically aware and explicitly transformative mathematical community and ethic of care? Is that even possible?

I leave these as questions to the reader to explore and interrogate. I believe that this work can be meaningfully attended to and one that must be concretely addressed with leadership, vision, and hope centering the intersectional realities of disabled, gendered, sexualized, classed, and racialized people in STEM. In my retelling of the interstitial spaces of hurt and healing, I hope that these words inspire a more thoughtful reflection and institutional awareness of the work yet to be done and the radical yearning of claiming what must be done.

Thank you for reading and affirming – please know it comes directly from my heart to yours.
For a list of references please visit Sara’s page at the Sines of Disability website.

We Want Your Voices!

We’d love to share this space with teachers and their students who feel compelled to share with our community!

Please reach out on Twitter or send an email to globalmathdepartment@gmail.com if you’d like to get involved or contribute an article (or articles).

Check Out the Webinar Archives

Click here for the archives, get the webinars in podcast form, or visit our YouTube Channel to find videos of past sessions and related content.

Powerful Moments in Math Class: Why Certain Experiences Stand Out for Students and How to Create More of Them

Powerful Moments in Math Class: Why Certain Experiences Stand Out for Students and How to Create More of Them

Date: April 26, 2022

As teachers, we want our lessons to leave a long-lasting impression on students. When we understand the psychology behind our memories, we can use that knowledge to design powerful moments for our students. According to Heath and Heath (2018) memorable positive experiences contain one or more of the following elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. We will learn how to leverage each of these elements in math class to create meaningful and memorable experiences for all students.

Presenter: Mike Flynn

Recommended Grade Level: General Audience

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Powerful-Moments-in-Math-Class-Why-Certain-Experience-Stand-Out-for-Students-and-How-to-Create-More-of-Them

Reigniting our passion: Ten tips to thrive post-pandemic (are we there yet…?)

Reigniting our passion: Ten tips to thrive post-pandemic (are we there yet…?)

Date: April 5, 2022

Here we are, still perpetually caught in a purgatory none of us saw coming. Let’s talk about what really happens in classrooms, help each other to re-center our efforts, and explore actionable steps to embrace math, value every student, and advocate for your classroom while staying true to and rediscovering your passion for mathematics in a (hopefully soon) post-pandemic era. We will discuss 10 strategies and mindsets no one has told you – but they should have! Whether it is your 1st or 41st year of teaching, come learn how to embrace your passion for teaching. Topics include knowing your why, thriving with any colleague or administrator, and advocating for students via voice and choice. Leave with actionable steps to help take care of yourself, your colleagues, and your students while using your personal stories to learn how to do and be better together.

Presenter: Sean Nank

Recommended Grade Level: K – 12

Hosted by: Leigh Nataro

Watch the full presentation at: https://www.bigmarker.com/GlobalMathDept/Reigniting-our-passion-Ten-tips-to-thrive-post-pandemic-are-we-there-yet

GMD Newsletter – April 5, 2022

Curated By Nate Goza @thegozaway
View this email in your browser
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Online Professional Development Sessions

Tonight at 9:00 PM EST

Reigniting our passion: Ten tips to thrive post-pandemic (are we there yet…?)

Presented by Sean Nank

Here we are, still perpetually caught in a purgatory none of us saw coming. Let’s talk about what really happens in classrooms, help each other to re-center our efforts, and explore actionable steps to embrace math, value every student, and advocate for your classroom while staying true to and rediscovering your passion for mathematics in a (hopefully soon) post-pandemic era. We will discuss 10 strategies and mindsets no one has told you – but they should have! Whether it is your 1st or 41st year of teaching, come learn how to embrace your passion for teaching. Topics include knowing your why, thriving with any colleague or administrator, and advocating for students via voice and choice. Leave with actionable steps to help take care of yourself, your colleagues, and your students while using your personal stories to learn how to do and be better together.

Click here to register for this webinar!

Coming Up on 4/19

Powerful Moments in Math Class: Why Certain Experience Stand Out for Students and How to Create More of Them

Presented by Mike Flynn

As teachers, we want our lessons to leave a long-lasting impression on students. When we understand the psychology behind our memories, we can use that knowledge to design powerful moments for our students. According to Heath and Heath (2018) memorable positive experiences contain one or more of the following elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. We will learn how to leverage each of these elements in math class to create meaningful and memorable experiences for all students.

#GMDWrites

#GMDReflects Part 4: Resisting Inertia 

This is the fourth and final part of the year-long #GMDReflects series. Before I jump into today’s reflection, here is a brief summary of what we’ve discussed so far.

  • Part 1 (linked here) introduced the practice of Self Study as a tool to help guide our actions as math educators to better reflect our values as human beings.
  • Part 2 (linked here) summarized some details about my personal findings and linked to research on how socioeconomic class affects our behaviour in academic classrooms.
  • Part 3 (linked here) presented the idea of looking outside of ourselves — to artifacts of our work to trusted colleagues — in order to learn things about ourselves that we might not be able to see through introspection and observation.
  • From the beginning I extended the invitation for you all to join in a Self Study project of your own and share your reflection on Twitter with the hashtag #GMDReflects.

My journey in self-study began when I read a research paper on Ontario classrooms (like my own) which found that (1) teachers talk to boys more than girls, (2) teachers discipline Black boys most often, and (3) White, middle-class boys get more positive contact with a teacher than any other group. I wanted to see if the same dynamic existed in my classrooms, and sadly some version of it did. Even as I received positive feedback from girls and from Black, brown, and immigrant students and their families, I was dismayed that boys (often white, often affluent) and students from affluent backgrounds were claiming a disproportionate amount of my time in the classroom.

This realization led me to the most important lesson that I have learned through studying myself: when we join a system, the inertia of the system implicates us all. If inequity is built into a system then we, as agents of that system, will be the agents of inequity. It is not enough to have good intentions, the right values, or even belong to marginalized groups.  Nor is it enough to make cosmetic changes – when inequity is systemic and baked into the culture of an institution, change only happens when we are intentional. We will be agents of inequity unless and until we intentionally and actively push back.

What I have shared in this series is not a guide to systemic change, it is just a tool to begin to see ourselves within a system. How and where are our actions fortifying inequities? How are we perpetuating larger trends that lead to marginalization and pushout? Where can we individually make changes to radically disrupt the power and resource imbalances in our classrooms?

There is lots of learning to be done about how to teach in more just, equitable, and less oppressive ways; ongoing introspection and honest self-evaluation are a critical part of that learning. Books and webinars will not change us unless we want to change, learning about injustice will not change us unless we believe that we need to change.

Above all else, if you have been following the series I hope that you take this message with you: systemic issues live within us and changing a system starts with changing ourselves.

Wishing you strength and fortitude in your journey – Idil (@idil_a_)

Grading Policies that Work for Kids
Last summer our district was challenged to read the book “Grading From the Inside Out” (GFIO) written by Tom Schimmer. It was a comprehensive look at how standards-based grading can “establish a new mindset, followed by new practices that will alter the grading and reporting realities within any classroom.”  Archaic practices are explored with updated and relevant practices explained. My biggest take away from this book is the notion that we should be “using assessment in service of learning rather than exclusively for evaluation.”

As with many districts, our grading policies are very clearly defined so that all stakeholders can understand what is expected:

  • Grades should reflect a student‘s relative mastery of the curriculum and should provide feedback on student progress. Students will be able to receive credit for evidence of increased mastery for major grades 84 and below for a maximum score of an 85.  Students scoring an 85 or above on the original major grade will not have an opportunity to reassess for a higher grade.  
  • Students will have a window of five school days after the grade is returned to re-assess.  (Remediation and reassessment must be completed by the end of the five-day window.)
  • Reassessment may be targeted to areas not mastered on the original assessment.
  • Requirements to reassess, such as attending tutoring sessions and/or completing remedial assignments, will be determined by campus guidelines.
  • Minor/Major Grades that are completed on time, but students didn’t demonstrate mastery:
  • Minor grades can be reassessed/corrected up to a 70%.  
  • For minor grades, students should have at least two or more opportunities to show mastery (up to a 70%).
  • Major grades can be reassessed/corrected up to an 85%.  
  • For major grades, students should have at least one more opportunity after the original assessment to show mastery (up to an 85%).

Does this look familiar? So deeply rooted in policy. I posit: Shouldn’t our grading policies be deeply rooted in student SEL, future ready skills, and a general desire to teach students to love the learning processes?

Changing grading policies is not a task designed to be tackled quickly nor without deep consideration of student needs. I dug into the process a little this year and am excited to share what I have discovered.

The first discovery I made when I moved past the 5 day required time limit and allowed students to set the time for their retesting was that students took more ownership of their learning. Not all students, but a majority. This came with heavy modeling and explanations at the onset. Our team developed a tutorial tile on Canvas (our LMS). On this link were videos, practice websites, worksheets, as well as our classroom resources that students could access at any time to review, rehearse, reconsider. Putting the responsibility back on the student to access the materials, practice, develop their own questions for the teacher, and arrange a tutorial time for follow up led to a more meaningful learning process. Let’s be honest, chasing down students and demanding they learn on MY time just doesn’t work for any of the parties involved and is a vibe kill to a positive learning environment. But when students come prepared with questions and ideas to share developed on their own, the learning process becomes a celebration and takes on a new frame of mind.  In these tutorial and reassessment sessions I had students explain to me how their learning had grown and what their thoughts were about what hadn’t worked the first time around. The metacognition piece has helped my students grow in their learning capacity this year and their trust in themselves.

Allowing students the time to take responsibility for their own learning is a necessary part of SEL as well as many of our core character traits (grit, perseverance, attitude…). My students have adapted to a growth mindset this year thanks to my adapted grading policy of retesting until they show mastery. They know that one test grade does not dictate the end product. They have learned to think through what they understand and what they don’t. They’ve learned to seek out activities on the tutorial site that will further their learning on concepts they don’t have mastered yet. The retest until mastery concept allows students to focus on their specific needs. This is a brilliant concept that I love using in my classroom. It’s taken the pressure off of students to perform on demand. A challenge I have faced is the mindset that we are not preparing students for the real world. I truly get that, but my 6th graders are not at all ready for the real world, nor should they be. These small steps I’m taking are developing their future ready skills and when adult life comes I know they will be prepared to tackle the challenges.

Beth Collins, a science coordinator in my district put it this way: If one student learns to ride a bike and one student takes a couple more weeks to get it down, didn’t they both learn to ride a bike? So why does one student get the mastery score, and the other receives a reduced score only because their learning was delayed? Archaic thinking. But I understand why this mindset exists:

  • Students won’t learn to study and do it right the first time. 
  • We are giving students a free pass to be mediocre.
  • I have to create so many different assessments.
  • How do I keep track of who mastered what and when?

There’s lot of barriers that prevent teachers from jumping in with both feet to this concept. The archaic grading policies are still posted, and it’s been a challenge to change minds on my team. I hope to be a leader for change in my district to see the principles in GFIO become our norm. I encourage you to check out “Grading From the Inside Out” and see how it can guide you to making your grading practices more meaningful for students, yourself, and all stakeholders. I love teaching students to love the learning process and I’d love to share more if you’re interested in learning together. You can find me on Twitter.

Written by Casey Gordon (@mscaseygordon)

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