Room to Grow - a Math Podcast

Room to Grow - a Math Podcast

Room to Grow is the math podcast that brings you discussions on trending topics in math education in short segments. We’re not here to talk at people. We’re here to think and learn with others — because when it comes to mathematics there’s always room to grow!

Episodes

November 4, 2022 32 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis build the conversation from NCTM's description of access, described as "ensuring that all students routinely have opportunities to experience high-quality mathematics instruction, learn challenging mathematics content, and receive the support necessary to be successful."

Our hosts tackle this challenging topic by considering some important high-leverage components, parti...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie dig into a conversation about data science. They start by trying to define what data science is, describing it as the intersection of content, statistics, computer science, problem solving. It is complex, and allows people to interact with information that content, statistics, or computer science couldn’t do alone. In our current technology and data rich world, this topic is timely...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie welcome Kevin Dykema, new President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). As a practicing classroom teacher, Kevin brings practical knowledge to his NCTM leadership. He reflects on they ways that most school systems have historically addressed students who are struggling in math class, to give them more-of-the-same, or a slower-and-louder approach, and how thes...

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August 15, 2022 31 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie welcome Juliana Tapper, Math Intervention Specialist and Founder of CollaboratEd Consulting.

We start by apologizing for mispronouncing Juliana’s last name when she is introduced at the start of the podcast! Please note that her last name is Tapper, rather than Trapper. We are so sorry, Juliana!

Juliana brings her experience teaching and supporting middle and high school math teach...

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July 18, 2022 35 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie tackle ideas around rigor in mathematics. We start by defining what we mean by rigor, acknowledging that it’s a frequently used term that invokes different ideas and meanings! We believe that it means something different than just “difficult,” but frames a way of describing deep, robust, and applicable understanding of mathematical ideas, and we share a couple of visual images that...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie consider assumptions that we make during math instruction and how these have the potential to interfere with students’ understanding of the mathematics. Teachers know more math than their students, and as a teacher, it can sometimes be a challenge to remember what it was like before we knew and understood a math concept. This can lead us to inadvertently assuming that students are ...

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As we approach the end of the school year, this episode of Room to Grow addresses using self-reflection to celebrate the learning of the year. Our hosts use this definition: “Self-Reflection is the evaluation or judgement of one’s performance and the identification of one’s strengths and weaknesses with a view to improving one’s learning outcomes (Damore, 2017),” and start with unpacking this quote from John Dewey: “We don’t learn ...

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April 11, 2022 32 min

In this episode, we discuss considerations for providing meaningful feedback to our students. We think this is a great follow-up to our last episode on grading! In preparing for our discussion, we learned about the research supporting effective feedback for learning, which includes suggestions around the type of feedback to give, when to give it, and how meaningful feedback is separate from grading. 

Our research articles suggest th...

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March 14, 2022 30 min

In this episode, we discuss grades in mathematics courses. Although we don’t claim to have a recommendation or even an opinion about what might be the right way to handle grades, we hope to bring up considerations for our listeners to talk about and think through as they reflect on their own grading practices.

We wonder if many grading practices are in place are just legacy practices, handed down and sustained by teacher teams and d...

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February 15, 2022 33 min

In this episode, we build on our previous conversation about fostering curiosity in our students by focusing on the role of math teachers in encouraging students to be curious and creative in math class. With full awareness that we are teaching and influencing students who will leave our classrooms and schools to go contribute to the world, and that we are preparing our students for jobs that don't exist now, we acknowledge how...

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In the first episode of Season 2, Curtis and Joanie discuss one of Curtis' favorite ideas - fostering curiosity and exploration in the math classroom. It's a common idea that math teachers can support students in "exploring the world through math," but in this episode we think about turning that phrase on its head and wondering how we can "explore mathematics through the world?" With this goal in mind, educa...

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In this episode, Joanie and Curtis consider the balance between conceptual understanding and procedural fluency in mathematics teaching and learning. Acknowledging that this idea is like a pendulum that has swung back and forth over several decades, they unpack the meanings of these terms and discuss the impact and implications on student learning.

They use the 2001 publication Adding It Up to describe how conceptual understanding a...

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In this episode, Joanie and Curtis continue their conversation with Robert Ahdoot, founder of Yay! Math. We continue the conversation from Episode 9, digging into how teachers can address students’ math anxiety. We discuss the idea that teaching could be considered a service profession, and how that perspective can support teachers in building trust with their students. Robert shares a powerful story of a discipline issue in his cl...

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Joanie and Curtis host their first guest on this episode of Room to Grow. Robert Ahdoot taught high school math and found his strength in connecting with and engaging students, leveraging his enthusiasm and creativity to build strong relationships with students. He found that his humor, compassion, and excitement for mathematics content helped students overcome their anxiety about and struggles with learning math. 

Robert brings a c...

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September 20, 2021 30 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis discuss the challenge of pandemic “learning loss” and provide ideas for math teachers to reframe this concept. They speak about the potential negative impacts of deficit language as students return to classrooms across the country, and emphasize the importance of creating a positive classroom culture for learning, grounded in beliefs that all students can and will be successful. Ac...

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July 27, 2021 34 min

How does what we believe as teachers impact our students and their learning? What about their beliefs about themselves as learners and doers of mathematics? In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie explore these ideas and more from the perspective of continuous improvement and growing awareness as educators. They share stories from their own experiences where naming a fundamental belief about teaching and learning mathema...

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Productive Struggle is a key component of students’ mathematical learning. But struggle can shift from “productive” to “unproductive” at different rates and for different reasons for different students (and teachers!). Ensuring that students engage in productive struggle is complex, nuanced, and dependent on a healthy classroom culture and strong teacher-student relationships. 

In this episode, Curtis and Joanie explore what product...

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June 14, 2021 34 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, our hosts discuss the importance of mathematical representations for students' deep learning of mathematics. The five representations described in NCTM's Principles to Actions include Physical, Visual, Symbolic, Verbal, and Contextual. Research shows that attending to and making connections between these multiple representations. National Research Council (2001), "Because of the abstract...

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May 24, 2021 27 min

In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie dive into ideas around exploration and play in mathematics. Although this may seem frivolous and not a priority for time-constrained math educators, our hosts discuss the positive implications on student learning, mindsets, and engagement in the mathematics. By framing an activity as “exploration,” the stress many students carry around learning math can dissipate, opening their min...

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