Virtual Conference on Humanizing Mathematics
August 1st through August 29, 2019
For this virtual conference, we want to see and hear how you, as math teachers, bring out the humanity in mathematics — in small or large ways! So we have a two-fold prompt. Feel free to address one or both!
How do you highlight that the doing of mathematics is a human endeavor?
How do you express your identity as a doer of mathematics to, and share your “why” for doing mathematics with, kids?
To read the extended prompt and learn how to contribute to the conference, go to our CALL FOR PRESENTERS/HOW TO CONTRIBUTE page. If you might be hesitant or think “what do I have to offer to others?” click on the CALL FOR PRESENTERS/HOW TO SUBMIT page anyway. You might realize from reading that we all do things, large and small, that bring humanity into our classrooms, and sharing isn’t as scary as it may seem.
In addition to the two large prompts, we will be providing mini-questions each week (published on this page below and tweeted out by @HKhodai) to give you something more bite-sized to chew on related to the conference’s theme. If you feel more comfortable responding to the mini-question instead of the large prompts, feel free. You have the entire month to respond to the large prompts listed above, but the mini-questions will change each week (so you don’t have as much time to respond to them). Read more about how to submit your responses to the large prompts and the mini-questions here at the CALL FOR PRESENTERS/HOW TO SUBMIT page.
Keep checking back to see this program filled out with the presentations! Each week the keynote speakers presentations will go live, and additional presenters who submit their presentations will be added!
On the very last day of the conference, August 29th, we will share a “closing conference keynote” penned by Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez.
August 30: Closing Day of the Conference
Rochelle Gutiérrez – Keynote Speaker (@RG1gal)
The Closing Keynote Blogpost in a guest post on The Mathematical Musings and Adventures of Hema
Bio: “I’m a Chicanx professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where, for the past 23 years, I’ve been working with and preparing high school mathematics teachers to advocate for their students and use creative insubordination. I’m deeply invested in rehumanizing mathematics in k-12 and university spaces, as well as in industry and society at large. My role models are Dolores Huerta, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and my mother.”
Excerpt to whet your appetite: “So, I am hopeful about where we are as a field in being willing to acknowledge the violence that is regularly perpetuated (knowingly and unknowingly) against students, teachers, faculty, and members of society through mathematical practices, policies, and structures. That concept of ‘truth telling’ is important if we are going to have any chance at repairing our relationship between humans, mathematics, and the planet.”
August 22: Week 4
Each week we have a pair of keynote speakers and contributors. Contributors either wrote on the given prompts or a weekly mini-question. The mini-question for the second week is “We invite you to view this powerful interview with Dr. Rochelle Gutiérrez and share your reflections to it. What new learning(s) will you implement in your practice?” If a contributor wrote on the mini-question, they have three asterisks (***) next to their name.
Ilana Horn – Keynote Speaker (@ilana_horn)
Title of Talk: Let Them Laugh: Using Humor in Math Class in Teaching/Math/Culture
Bio: “Ilana (“Lani”) Horn is a mathematics education researcher focusing on secondary teachers’ learning, working at Vanderbilt University. Her goal is to help people see the mathematics in humans and the humans in mathematics classrooms.”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “During my student teaching, I accompanied a group of seventh graders on a field trip to the courthouse to observe a trial. Our guide welcomed us to the courthouse and looked at the docket to see what case we would be viewing.
‘Oh, good. It’s a nice, clean trial,’ she said.
‘Dang!’ said one student, leading me to snicker audibly.”
Usha Shanmugathasan – Keynote Speaker (@MathStudio_Usha)
Title of Talk: Who is in the Room? The Intersection of Race, Class and Mathematics in a guest post on The Mathematical Musings and Adventures of Hema
Bio: “Usha is a graduate of the University of Toronto where she received an Honours Bachelor of Arts with High Distinction in the areas of Women’s Studies and Equity Studies and and from OISE/UofT where she received her Bachelor of Education. She is passionate about the early years with a focus on early years mathematics, S.T.E.A.M and coding. She strongly believes in innovation, research and capacity building in education. She was a former K-12 Learning Coach for the Toronto District School Board, and is currently pursuing her Masters of Education at OISE/UT in Educational Leadership and Policy with a focus on the Impact of Microaggressions.”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “As I began writing this keynote, I thought it would be the story of how and why early mathematics while vital to mathematics education is often overlooked and undervalued, but as I kept writing, it was another story that emerged, one more personal, political and entwined by identity that wanted to be told.”
Rachel Eng – Twitter Contributor (@rengsn)
A tweet thread addressing the conference’s formal prompt on humanizing mathematics. Since this is a tweet thread, you can click on the tweet to see the entire thread.
Leila Chakravarty – Blogpost Contributor
Title of Talk: Mistakes in a guest post on misscalcul8
Author’s summary: I teach math because I have made every single mistake it’s possible to make and I know that making mistakes can make you feel like you don’t belong. I majored in history because the message I got loud and clear in adolescence was that math was not for me. I don’t plan to let that happen to another student on my watch.
Ben Blum-Smith – Blogpost Contributor (@benblumsmith)
Title of Talk: Math, Democracy, Equality, and Classroom Culture in Research In Practice
Author’s summary: Building mathematical knowledge is like democratic decision-making. To my surprise, teaching this idea gave me a new move in handling a delicate classroom culture moment.
Jenna Laib – Blogpost Contributor (@jennalaib)
Title of Talk: Listening to Early Understandings of Division: “12 ÷ 5 is either -3 or 0” in Embrace the Challenge
Author’s summary: A vignette from a third grade classroom: students wrestle with the meaning of division, and the classroom teacher and I wrestle with how to set students up for sensemaking. Excerpt from post: “I love, love listening to early understandings of an idea: students worm their way through a concept, pushing forward and circling back. It’s a time of electric vulnerability. Allowing students space to mess around with the mathematical ideas is what helps build agency and identity. It’s what ‘humanizes’ the mathematics classroom.”
***Carl Oliver – Blogpost Contributor (@carloliwitter)
Title of Talk: Waiting for Things to Clear Up in Embrace the Challenge
Excerpt to whet your appetite: But there are murky grey areas where quick, clear decisions can’t be made or should receive special care. A kid is late on the day the project was due, does it count? A teacher designed a class to be more interactive classes, but it still looks traditional on day 7. Parents suspects kids are selling weed in the parking lot of school. All of these situations need immediate answers, but have lots of room for subjective judgement so it makes rushing to judgment risky.
Idil Abdulkadir – Blogpost Contributor (@Idil_A_)
Title of Talk: Are There Any Other People of Colour? in Classrooms and Communities
Author’s summary: A story about a student who asked me an unexpected question and how I tried to make the most of this teachable moment.
***Barb Everhart – Blogpost Contributor (@berealcoach)
Title of Talk: What Gift Do I Bring? in Be Real Coach
Excerpt to whet your appetite: So much of our interactions in the world engage in/stem from fear, hate, discomfort and misinformation. Through the many teachings of all the humans with whom I have engaged, including and most prominently my children and the children I have taught, safe space is the gift I want to bring to and share with others.
Brooke Powers – Blogpost Contributor (@LBrookePowers)
Title of Talk: Mathematics as a GateKeeper – My Story in powersfulmath
Excerpt to whet your appetite: 7th Grade was when our school began sorting us very clearly into the haves and the have nots of math and lucky me straddling the gate between the two. I remember being determined to make it into Advanced Pre-Algebra as a 7th grader. If I didn’t it would be just one more way that I was different than the “cool kids.”
Dan Meyer – Blogpost Contributor (@ddmeyer)
Title of Talk: Humanizing Math Class Means Teaching Math Like The Humanities in dy/dan
Excerpt to whet your appetite: I hope they’ll resist the idea that only the humanities deal in subjectivity, argumentation, and personal interpretation, while math represents objective, inarguable, abstract truth.
August 15: Week 3
Each week we have a pair of keynote speakers and contributors. Contributors either wrote on the given prompts or a weekly mini-question. The mini-question for the third week is “You mention at a dinner party that you’re participating in a conference on humanizing mathematics. Someone seated next to you says ‘Humanizing mathematics?!? Mathematics is as far away from the humanities as can be. It’s rational, objective, neutral, apolitical, free from all culture! That’s what makes it a universal language and so powerful!’ How do you respond?” If a contributor wrote on the mini-question, they have three asterisks (***) next to their name.
Chrissy Newell – Keynote Speaker (@MrsNewell22)
Title of Talk: Humanizing Math with #MathGals in Adventures in Math
Bio: “I’m Chrissy, co-founder of the #MathGals t-shirt shop (& more coming soon!), mom to 3 little mathematicians, & a county office math specialist in California. I teach (& am always learning from) pre-service teachers, teachers & students in TK-8th grades. I love math & the work I get to do!”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “It turns out that getting girls interested in math & science is the easy part. Committing to treating them as if they belong, it turns out, is the hardest but most important part.”
Howie Hua – Keynote Speaker (@Howie_Hua)
Title of Talk: What Do We Owe To Each Other? in Math Reflections with Howie Hua
Bio: “Howie Hua teaches math to future elementary school teachers at Fresno State. He is always on the lookout for ways to humanize the math classroom. His goal each semester is to show every student that they are, and always have been, mathematicians.”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “A recurring theme from the TV show The Good Place is the question “What do we owe to each other?” I have reflected on this question ever since it came up and have applied it to my life: What do I owe to my parents? My friends? My students? Strangers? Of course, there is no one right answer to this question, but I believe it is important to ponder this question to search for our own answers. Whatever our answers are, I believe they shape our values and our purpose in whatever we do, whether it is in our relationships or in our classroom. So when thinking of the question “What do I owe to my students?” I would like to share with you four ideas that came to mind.”
***Mary Dooms – Blogpost Contributor (@mary_dooms)
Title of Talk: Learning from the humanities to humanize mathematics in Striving Learners
Author’s summary: Can math essential questions and enduring understandings be written more globally to bring us one step closer to humanizing mathematics? How can we shape thought provoking and enduring EUs and EQs for content specific topics?
Ella Rakovac Bekeš – Video Contributor (@Ella_R_B)
Title of Talk: Math Problems
Ella Rakovac Bekeš – Twitter Contributor (@Ella_R_B)
A tweet which links to a fictional story called “Lost Memorabilia”
***Barb Everhart – Blogpost Contributor (@berealcoach)
Title of Talk: At dinner last night, … in Be Real Coach
Author’s summary: I have been having these conversations [about whether math can be humanized or whether it is objective] with others in the past few weeks and in the past. Here are some of my responses.
***Becky Bob-Waksberg – Blogpost Contributor (@beckynftp)
Title of Talk: On Tools Humans Wield in Notes From The Patriarchy
Author’s summary: “Math is an incredible tool for understanding and analyzing the world. It is of course completely subjective and biased by how humans choose to use it, just like every other tool humans create and apply.”
August 8: Week 2
Each week we have a pair of keynote speakers and contributors. Contributors either wrote on the given prompts or a weekly mini-question. The mini-question for the second week is “Ilana Horn, in her book Motivated, writes: “When I observe in math classrooms, I can usually gauge students’ general sense of belongingness” (p. 30) and then describes actions that she’s observed. What are specific kinds of things that you see and hear that show “belongingness” in classrooms (whether it be your own or others)?” If a contributor wrote on the mini-question, they have three asterisks (***) next to their name.
Makeda Brome – Keynote Speaker (@TheBromenator)
Title of Talk: How I Became a “Doer” of Math in Teaching With Math
Bio: “Makeda Brome is a newly appointed assistant principal at Fort Pierce Westwood Academy in Fort Pierce, Florida. She is entering her tenth year as an educator and was recently named the St. Lucie Public Schools Teacher of the Year for the 2019-2020 school year. Her passions lie in culturally relevant pedagogy, equity for all students, and promoting a love for mathematics in all students.”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “Just know I am a mathematician. I am a doer of mathematics. It is my calling. It is my safe space. It is the tool that I use AND show students how to use so they can think critically, problem solve, and challenge the status quo. It is the vehicle through which I navigate life and all its ups and downs. Mathematics is why I chose to lead from a different role this year. I want to help teachers in finding their why for doing mathematics so they can do the same for their students.”
Benjamin Dickman – Blogpost Contributor (@benjamindickman)
Title of Talk: Noticing Humans & Noticing Wonders in the WikiLetter Project
Author’s summary: Noticing Humans refers to the importance of students being aware that they are seen by others – including, but not limited to, their math teachers – and that we, as teachers, would do well to interrogate how our external perspectives match or don’t match students’ internal perspectives. Noticing Wonders refers to a specific in-class activity related to Paul Lockhart’s essay, “A Mathematician’s Lament,” that I designed – based on suggestions from my Middle School English teaching colleagues – to gain insight into how my students were thinking about mathematics. This blogpost is a collaboration with the Maths4Maryams WikiLetter project, which endeavors to connect with Iranian Math Educators; so, there is also a translation of the post into Farsi: https://maths4maryams.org/mathed/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Dickman-WikiNevesht-8.pdf
David Wees – Blogpost Contributor (@davidwees)
Title of Talk: Humanizing The Mathematics Classroom in The Reflective Educator
Author’s summary: If efforts to humanize the mathematics classroom by surfacing the thinking of students do not include deliberate strategies to support the engagement of ALL students, then for some students this experience can be just as dehumanizing as many other math classrooms. If you do not feel included in the math classroom, then it cannot be a humanizing experience for you.
Michael Pershan – Blogpost Contributor (@mpershan)
Title of Talk: Q&A on Humanizing Mathematics in Rough Drafts
Author’s summary: What does it mean to see mathematics as a “human endeavor”? And is it a good idea to talk about math in this way? I explain why I don’t think it is.
***Cathy Dickson – Video Contributor (@mathreflective)
Title of Talk: Belongingness in the Math Classroom
***Elissa Miller – Blogpost Contributor (@misscalcul8)
Title of Talk: Belongingness in misscalcul8
Author’s summary: To me, the key to students feeling like they belong is making them feel connected to you. They need to feel noticed. And every day has hundreds of little moments to connect. Those repeated moments build all year into a beam of support that each student can add to their network. And each beam takes them a little closer to who they are supposed to be and what they are supposed to do.
Jimmy Pai – Twitter Contributor (@PaiMath)
A twitter thread with the author’s musings on Week 1 of the Virtual Conference on Humanizing Mathematics. Since this is a tweet thread, you can click on the tweet to see the entire thread.
***Barb Everhart – Blogpost Contributor (@berealcoach)
Title of Talk: Belonging in Math Ed Spaces in Be Real Coach
Author’s summary: A lengthy Blog Post for #VConHR, including an extended response from last week’s blog and in response to @PaiMath, and furthering the discussion with @ddmeyer around belonging. I am responding to the Week 2 mini prompt: What are specific kinds of things that you see and hear that show “belongingness” in classrooms (whether it be your own or others)?” I share how I create a sense of belonging in PD sessions and name specific ideas for classroom teachers.
Lee Melvin Peralta – Blogpost Contributor (@melvinmperalta)
Title of Talk: Humanizing Mathematics in Drafts
Author’s summary: Thanks to people like Rochelle Gutiérrez and conversations on Twitter, at Math for America, and through MTBoS, I’ve spent the past several years as a middle school math teacher wrapping my head around this idea of mathematics as both a humanizing and dehumanizing endeavor. In this post, I share some assignments I’ve given to encourage my students to think about these issues and, more importantly, I share some of their responses.
Lybrya L Kebreab – Blogpost Contributor (@LybryaKebreab)
Title of Talk: Humanizing While Studying in Lybrya’s Log of Learning
Author’s summary: How do we convince students that they belong in our Mathematics classrooms and in the Mathematics community in their full intersectionality? I hope to keep learning about how to get better at showing, rather than telling, students that they belong in here, no matter their interests, culture backgrounds because mathematics belongs everywhere, too.
Sophie Carr – Video Contributor (@sophiebays)
Title of Talk: Views on how maths is a human endeavor
August 1: Week 1
Each week we have a pair of keynote speakers and contributors. Contributors either wrote on the given prompts or a weekly mini-question. The mini-question for the first week is “Though this virtual conference is focused on humanizing mathematics, it sometimes helps to think about the opposite. De-humanizing mathematics. Please share a time when doing mathematics was a dehumanizing experience for you.” If a contributor wrote on the mini-question, they have three asterisks (***) next to their name.
Hema Khodai and Marian Dingle – Keynote Bloggers (@HKhodai and @DingleTeach)
Title of Joint Talk (published on both keynoter’s blogs): It takes Community in The Mathematical Musings and Adventures of Hema; It takes Community in Marian Dingle
Bio: “My name is Marian Dingle and I teach fourth graders in Atlanta, Georgia. It saddens me that after 20 years of teaching, students who look like me are consistently at the bottom of every educational performance metric, including mathematics. My passion is contributing toward changing that reality, through pushing all of us to envision anew.”
Bio: “My name is Hema Khodai and I have been teaching high school math for fourteen years. I am unlearning traditional math pedagogy and relearning that educational institutions are oppressive spaces so I can learn to disrupt harmful practices and truly serve my students.”
Excerpt chosen by editors to whet your appetite: “We can’t remember how we first “met” and we certainly didn’t take the time to get to know one another. From the very start, we dove heart-first, with little preamble, into intense conversations about mathematics, the human experience, and the lack of humanity in mathematics education. ”
Janaki Nagarajan – Blogpost Contributor (@janaki_aleena)
Title of Talk: Learning New Ways to Play Games in How to Math
Author’s summary: Students in my class explored the mathematically rich strategy games mancala and nim. These games were student-led, and allowed teachers to step back and observe how students interact with each other, to help understand the social aspects of mathematics. These games are also transcultural and can be used to push back on the many ways we center White, Western culture in math class.
***Sara Rezvi – Blogpost Contributor (@arsinoepi)
Title of Talk: Unrequited Math Love: A Pakistani Woman’s Numerical Autobiography in Scout & Birdie
I am so close to freedom.
I can taste it.
like sea-salt and victory
like hot chutney and rage
like lychees and oxygen.
***Cathy Dickson – Video Contributor (@mathreflective)
Title of Talk: My Dehumanizing Experience in Math
Cathy Dickson – Video Contributor (@mathreflective)
Title of Talk: Mathematics is a Human Endeavor
Jimmy Pai – Blogpost Contributor (@PaiMath)
Title of Talk: Turning Pages in The Pai Intersect
Author’s summary: In this first submission, I walk into the question of ‘How do I highlight that the doing of mathematics is a human endeavor.’ As I reflect and mumble, I begin with the broad idea of humanizing mathematics. I also wade through some student survey responses, partly as a way to allowing myself to turn to a new page at a new school, as well as to help me recall the little things that I’ve tried to do in my classes in order to humanize the classroom experience.
Allison Krasnow – Blogpost Contributor (@allison_krasnow)
Title of Talk: Where does Chocolate Milk Come From? in Pi Crust
Author’s summary: How can we help our students take delight in each other’s thinking and trust that in doing so, everyone will gain a deeper understanding of the mathematics being taught? AKA how my 5-year-old son is impacting my 8th grade students.
Chris Luzniak – Blogpost Contributor (@cluzniak)
Title of Talk: Making Math Emotional in Clopen Mathdebater
Author’s summary: Math can be a bland subject for many students…but think of how emotional students can get about a novel or piece of music. Why can’t the same be true in math?!
Barb Everhart – Twitter Contributor (@beRealcoach)
A tweet addressing the prompt “How do you highlight that the doing of mathematics is a human endeavor?”
Barb Everhart – Twitter Contributor (@beRealcoach)
A tweet addressing the prompt “How do you express your identity as a doer of mathematics to, and share your “why” for doing mathematics with, kids?”
***Monica Tienda – Twitter Contribuer (@matienda)
A tweet thread addressing the weekly mini-question “Please share a time when doing mathematics was a dehumanizing experience for you.” Since this is a tweet thread, you can click on the tweet to see the entire thread.