My First Interview About My New Book: The Imperfect and Unfinished Math Teacher

Natalie Conway (@AOENatalie) interviewed me on her amazing podcast Adventures in Online Education by @syspresents. A huge thank you to Natalie for supporting my work and for having the courage to be my first interviewer. I encourage you to follow her podcast. Even if you are in the classroom full-time and don’t teach online, her …

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The Traveling Stoop

“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell To go further, you must let go. And if, after letting go, you want to go further still, then you must continue the practice of letting go—again and again and …

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Us and Math: Using Play to Heal a Broken Relationship

“I am not a math person.”

As we all know, there’s a certain social hazard that comes with our occupation in math education. Folks often feel compelled to tell us their math stories, often declaring (with some amalgam of shame, pride, anger, and resentment): “I am not a math person.” And when they do, we’re left with a choice to make.

Do we defend math? Do we unpack their story more, offer condolences, comfort, or a hug? Do we try to change their mind and convince them that they are a math person? Ignore the comment and shift the conversation? Stare awkwardly into the distance until they walk away? Flee?

The trouble with any of these approaches is that they inevitably lead into (or actively avoid) a conversation about math identities with one side declaring “I am not a math person” and the other side trying to change their mind. And changing someone’s mind about their identity is a terrible context for productive social conversation.

So I’ve started to use this simple and earnest reply: “I am not a math person either.”

The shift has had some profound impacts on how the conversation moves forward, and I want to share more about my approach with you. 

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Us and Math: How Play and Creativity Can Heal a Broken Relationship

Welcome! If you saw my “Us and Math” talk at the Creative Edge conference at West LA College, you’ll find several resources I mention in my talk below. Feel free to scroll ahead to the “Resources” section.

To my regular readers: This post is a little different than my usual posts, but there’s still something in it for you! I gave a 12-minute talk at a creativity conference to a non-math-educator audience that was very different from our usual audiences at math conferences. The premise of the talk was about why and how we need to move the conversation of our math identities beyond the simple polarity of “I am a math person” and “I am not a math person.” (Spoiler Alert: I am not a math person.)

I invite you to watch a screencast of my talk. I’d love to hear what thinking it sparks for you and how we can build the message together.

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3 Tips for Becoming the Math Parent You Want to Be

I had the opportunity to talk about math on a recent episode of “Rad Parenting” hosted by author and self-esteem expert Anea Bogue and comedian and record label owner Joe Sib.

Anea asked me to speak about math in the Common Core era and how parents can best support the mathematical development of their children. You can find the episode here.

In our conversation, I referenced three tips to guide parents in their math conversations with their children. I also mention several resources parents can use to support and guide their efforts. This post recaps those three tips and shares links to resources.

I hope it also starts a math conversation with parents. If you’re a parent and have questions about how best to support your child’s mathematical development, please submit them in the comments on this post. Anea and I hope to have a follow-up conversation on the podcast to answer questions from parents.

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