Twitter Tasting Menu – November 2019

Each month I share a selection of articles, blog posts, and/or videos that I came across over the past month. If a resource resonates with you, all I ask is that you share it with at least one other colleague. Help spread the learning!

Using Instructional Routines to Inspire Deep Thinking

In this blog post from my colleague Jenna Laib, she brings us into a 5th grade classroom engaging in the Which One Doesn’t Belong? routine to demonstrate the power of instructional routines to help students go deeper in their thinking.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Instructional routines provide an opportunity for all students to engage in, and contribute to, mathematical conversations. The predictable routine for the interactions between teachers and students allows each student in the classroom to focus on the mathematics rather than the actions that need to be taken. And the more experience students have with the routine gives them greater ability to focus on the mathematical content.”

This year I have been challenging teachers in my district to do the same with one of our anchor routines for numeracy.

How can we foster a robust sense of number using these routines?

How Might You Launch a Lesson?

In this latest blog post from Desmos, my colleagues Christopher Danielson and Michael Fenton share three different ways you could launch the exact same lesson. Then they pose and address the critical question, “Why does it matter how we launch a lesson?”

One potential launch for this picture – What is the first question that comes to your mind?

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“Our answer is that teaching and learning is not a formal, logical, economic exchange of time spent for knowledge gained. Instead, teaching and learning are human activities with a foundation in relationships. In the case of math class, the important relationships are between students and teachers, between students, and between students and mathematics.”

“Why are there so much 1s in these numbers?”

In this blog post from Megan Murray, she shares a vignette from a Kindergarten classroom where a student shares an observation and the teacher masterfully picks it up and brings it to the entire class to consider and elaborate on.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“8 students shared an idea over the course of 5 minutes, with almost no interruption from the teacher. She didn’t speak after each child or rephrase and amplify the idea she was hoping to hear. What she did do was point kids to a tool where they could see the ideas being discussed, and restate Alexa’s big idea as something to be thinking and wondering about. It is clear that, in this classroom, there is time and space for students to linger on important ideas over time, and that students are eager to do so.”

The Quiet Revolution of the “Math Gals” T-Shirt

In this blog post, Ben Orlin interviews my colleague Chrissy Newell about the #MathGals t-shirts she designed with her daughter to highlight female mathematicians from the past and present.

Watch Chrissy Newell share about the #MathGals t-shirts in her ShadowCon talk at the NCTM 2019 Annual Meeting.

My daughter rocking her #MathGals shirt at a birthday party.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

Why first names only? To me, it creates a different kind of spotlight – less like lionizing or canonizing, and more like a birthday party.

That was actually really important to us. Many of the #MathGals had to learn, research, and publish under male pseudonyms. (Sophie Germain was a pen pal of Gauss for two years before he knew her real identity!) For some, it was illegal to study mathematics, or they weren’t allowed to earn advanced degrees or teach at the university level. We wanted to honor these women with their first names right up front.”

The Story of Fibonacci, and the Math Ethnic Studies Framework

In another blog post from my colleague Jenna Laib, she shares the Math Ethnic Studies Framework recently released by Seattle Public Schools as well as her first attempts at using the framework in a lesson with a 3rd grade class. I applaud and appreciate Jenna’s transparency and honesty as she shares her efforts in this important work.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“I wish I had done that research before today — before I went and taught a third class about Fibonacci. Our goal with this lesson was to disrupt the third grader’s ideas of who does math. We wanted to showcase the importance of mathematicians in non-Western, non-white parts of the world. (Thank you, 12th century Algerian merchants! We could still be using Abacuses right now!) Even though the articulation of the lesson has its faults, I am proud that the classroom teacher and I were able to swiftly take action and start this work.”

Math is Life. Life is a story. So why aren’t we telling stories in math class?

One of the authors of the new Seattle Public Schools Math Ethnic Studies Framework, Shraddha Shirude has started blogging to support and respond to the new framework.

From Shraddha’s post: This is an incredible book to help you tell some stories about math history!”

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

This is why I believe math and ethnic studies fit together so well. Both are parts of daily human life, every single day. When I hear reluctance with incorporating ethnic studies into mathematics, it is often from teachers and others who would like to focus on teaching methods over meaning. While there is a time and place for methods in a math classroom, I believe centering ourselves in meaning and stories gives life to what is seemingly (historically would be a better word, if it weren’t still the case today) a lifeless topic.”

Incorporating Diverse Voices and Representations in Mathematics Teaching and Learning

Robert Berry, President of NCTM, took note of the new Seattle Public Schools Math Ethnic Studies Framework in his latest blog post as he emphasized the importance of teaching mathematics in ways that incorporate the voices and communities that often aren’t represented in mathematics.

Robert Berry links to several valuable resources in his blog post, including this joint position statement from NCSM and TODOS.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“The student population in our schools and classrooms is increasingly diverse, with students of color making up the majority of those attending public schools. Many schools and classrooms include children who live in communities whose voices have been historically marginalized. I believe that in a democratic society, all voices deserve to be heard, and as educators, we must create the space and opportunities so that more voices are heard and more communities have access to high-quality mathematics teaching and learning.”

Why It’s Important to Think Like a Mathematician

PISA is a mathematics assessment given to children across the world. In order to adapt to a changing society, they have updated the mathematics framework guiding the design of the assessment to better reflect the kinds of mathematics knowledge our students will need in their lives and careers.

Check out this interactive site detailing the components of the PISA 2021 Mathematics Framework

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“If you don’t know how to calculate a logarithm, don’t worry, you won’t need to. But a deep understanding of mathematical ideas and principles, and our capacity to think like mathematicians, are becoming more important. Because without that capacity, we will be unable to navigate the data, numbers, graphs or diagrams around us.”

Many Kids Don’t Like to Talk in Class. Here Are New Ways To Engage Them.

In this article from the School Library Journal, Carly Berwich shares an important point – many students may be talking in a classroom, but not all may be participating. She goes on to share the work of several researchers to address this problem and create more equitable forms of discussion in the classroom.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“[Rachel ]Lambert has focused her work in math education on improving experiences for students on the margins—particularly those with disabilities—by focusing on equitable talking time. ‘We have lots of evidence that the more you participate, the better you do, particularly in math,’ she says…‘Participation could be the most effective lever to increasing achievement, particularly for students with disabilities…’”

Preparing pre-service mathematics teachers for STEM education: an analysis of lesson proposals

In this research paper, Christer Bergsten and Peter Frejd analyze STEM activities designed by pre-service teachers. How easy is it to design interdisciplinary lessons that not only involve math but do so in a way that doesn’t turn math into a servant subject?

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

However, there seems to be a dilemma here for mathematics teachers; on the one hand, a pedagogy for developing students’ twenty-first century skills through STEM education would include an integration of up to four specific disciplines into a scientific inquiry or project; on the other hand, it is vital to make mathematics itself visible and not just let it serve the other subjects (English 2016).”

That’s it for this month’s tasting menu. Come back in December to taste from a brand new selection of resources.

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