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

February 13, 2024 48 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, our hosts share conversation with Rebecka Peterson, the 2023 National Teacher of the Year (NTOY). Rebecka is a high school math teacher at Union High School in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on leave for the 2023-24 school year to fulfill her NTOY responsibilities. She views the NTOY not as an award, but rather a job, that of spokesperson and ambassador for the teaching profession.

In this conversation, we learn a...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie consider ways to uncover how students are actually thinking about the mathematics they are learning. Using a real-life, recent incident between Curtis and his sixth grade son, our hosts consider the challenging fact that many students think that success in math class means figuring out what answer the teacher (or the computer program/app, or the back of the book) is looking for. 

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In this episode of Room to Grow, special guests Sandra Lightman and John Staley help Joanie and Curtis understand the Math Milestones. These one-page resources include 12-14 math tasks that provide a visualization of and engagement with the math standards of each grade. The Math Milestones tasks present grade level math, not as a list of standards or learning outcomes, but as a groups of math tasks, a language understood by teacher...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie continue their conversation with Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta. In follow-up to our previous episode, this conversation shifts to a focus on teachers and how the Reason Routines help them to be more effective with more students. 

We begin by talking about what makes teaching hard – including the fact that teachers make a million decisions every day in response to the stu...

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October 16, 2023 40 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta join Curtis and Joanie to talk about how routines can provide the “opportunity and support for each and every student develop mathematical thinking and reasoning.” Although routines are used by most educators for a variety of reasons, Grace and Amy focus on “Routines for Reasoning,” which are specifically designed and structured to surface the ways that students are t...

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September 12, 2023 32 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis host special guest Dr. Katey Arrington to discuss the importance of teacher content knowledge. 

Dr. Arrington is the Associate Director of the UTeach Institute at the University of Texas at Austin. She is also serving in the Presidential line for NCSM: Leadership in Mathematics Education from 2022-2026. Previously, she led the K-12 system services work at the Charles A. Da...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis talk about an important role of math education: preparing students for the life they want to pursue after high school. Whether it’s college, trade school, the military, or directly into the work force, a student’s goals and desires should drive their learning experiences throughout their PK-12 years, and the course offerings, counseling and advising, and school system overall shoul...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis explore ideas around the emotional side of learning and how it impacts students in their academic growth. Because we and our students are humans - and humans have emotions - it is impossible to learn without a connection to our emotions, whether those emotions are positive or negative. As educators reflect over the summer and begin to plan for the upcoming school year, we hope you’...

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June 12, 2023 31 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis talk about teaching strategies for remembering in mathematics, such as mnemonic devices, tricks, and gimmicks. 

They challenge the notion that teaching with tricks is inherently bad, and discuss how to determine when a strategy intended to help students learn might actually work against their understanding of the underlying mathematics. For instance, “FOIL” and “SOH-CAH-TO...

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May 19, 2023 22 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis share a friendly debate about which math topic is the most important for students to learn.

There are many math topics that could be argued as the most important, and we’d love to hear your hot take, too!

Take a listen to Curtis explaining why the meaning of the equals sign is crucial and Joanie arguing that proportional relationships are especially important. T...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis talk with Rachel Lambert, known for her research on teaching mathematics to students with disabilities. 

Rachel’s passion and enthusiasm is matched by her knowledge, and the combination makes for a powerful conversation full of great resources, ideas, and suggestions for classroom teachers. If you haven’t heard Rachel speak before, you are in for a treat!

We encourage you t...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis discuss and asset-based approach to teaching and learning mathematics.

They emphasize that all students bring strengths to learning mathematics, whether it be from a cultural, language, or ways of thinking lens, and that by assuming that all students have and bring strengths, math educators invite even more learners to be successful. As usual, our hosts share their person...

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In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis share a powerful conversation with Dr. Julia Aguirre, co-author of the book The Impact of Identity on K-8 Mathematics: Rethinking Equity-Based Practices.

This publication, and additional work led by Julia at the University of Washington, Tacoma, has influenced countless math educators across the country who want to ensure that all students have the opportunities, support,...

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January 17, 2023 31 mins

In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis take some time to have fun with math. We share some of the puns, memes, and GIFs about math that make us laugh, make us think, and have been or would be great to share with students.

We all appreciate the chance to laugh, and although puns and memes are often silly and sometimes groan-worthy, sharing the lighter side of ourselves and of math with students is a great way to build rel...

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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, pa...

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October 13, 2022 35 mins

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 mins

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 hi...

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July 18, 2022 35 mins

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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