2012 Conference

2012 Conference Program (PDF)

The 2012 conference at Mission High School in San Francisco was a huge success! The conference kicked off with a keynote address from Lisa D. Delpit, author of Other People’s Children and Multiplication is for white people. Over 300 educators, youth and community members attended the 2012 conference and over 50 participants engaged in school visits.

The newest addition to the conference was the Complex Instruction strand, where more than 20 participants observed teachers, attended CI workshops and planned together to implement ideas in their classrooms. Thirty one workshops and 50 workshop facilitators engaged participants in discussions of equity, justice pedagogy and practices. Featured panelists included Greg Peters, Rico Gutstein, Angela Torres, Carolee Koehn, Taica Hsu and Carlos Cabana.

Intended Audience Guide
Each workshop description is followed by short codes that denote the recommended audience(s) for each session.  A key is provided below:

E                     Elementary School Teachers
                    Middle School Teachers
                   High School Teachers
                  Undergraduate Students
                   Graduate Students
            Workshop audience may include youth
Community   Workshop audience includes community members and activists


A social justice-oriented approach to mathematics for preservice K-8 teachers
Ksenija Simic-Muller, José Maria Menéndez
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA
The workshop seeks to bring together teacher educators, teachers, and community members who believe that mathematics courses for preservice teachers should have a social justice and equity focus, and begin a conversation about developing such courses. Facilitators will share social-justice-oriented lessons and assignments they use in their mathematics content courses for preservice K-8 teachers, share samples of student work, and describe some of the successes, setbacks, and tensions they have encountered in their work.  Participants will generate ideas for future social-justice-oriented lessons
potentially relevant to preservice teachers. 
Equitable Practices in Mathematics for English Language Learners
Luz Chung, Cheryl Forbes, Caren Holtzman
University of California, San Diego
La Jolla, CA
In this interactive workshop participants will experience lessons and strategies for modifying math instruction to meet the needs of English learners. Participants will learn about the challenges that English learners face in math class. Participants will increase their awareness of the importance of talk in math class, add to their knowledge of academic language, understand how levels of English proficiency affect students’ ability to participate in math lessons, and learn strategies to help ELs at all proficiency levels successfully engage in mathematics. 
E, M, UG, GS, PF
Culturally Responsive Math Education: Engaging All Students in Meaningful Learning
Bernd Ferner
Portland State University
Portland, OR
Students from diverse backgrounds encounter culture and language related challenges. Research presentations, discussions and activities mix in this workshop to demonstrate methods that are sensitive to cultural identity and support community building in order to enhance math learning in upper elementary / middle schools classrooms. Participants will be engaged in authentic classroom activities that help students to bring their culture into the classroom and to connect with the content. Drawing on personal experience as a 5th grade teacher as well as a researcher, I propose that the activities presented are useful classroom tools. Participants will receive an activity guide. 
E, M, GS, PF
YPP’s Quad City Project: Youth-Led Math Literacy Outreach Work in the Afterschool Environment
Chad Milner, Leide Cabral
Young People’s Project (YPP)
Cambridge, MA
Fractal Geometry is the study of mathematical fractals, geometric shapes or images that can be split into parts that are each reduced copies of the entire image. The Young People’s Project”Quad City” Module explores the mathematics behind fractals using the coordinate plane and geometric images. The mathematical concepts covered throughout the module include addition, subtraction, multiplication, fractions, understanding length and width, Coordinate Plane transformations (Translations, Reflections, and Scaling), infinity, and can even extend to probability and the idea of randomness. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Talking Back to the Statistics: Mathematics as a tool for inquiry into the issue of gun violence
Jessica Hopson
Portland Youth Builders
Portland, OR
In this interactive workshop, I will share a unit I designed and taught, which explores the impact of gun violence on teens and children. Participants will engage in critical thinking as they work through key
lessons within the unit. Through questioning, inquiring, and relating personal experiences, participants will “talk back” to the statistics in order to gain greater understanding of the meaning and implications of each number. Finally, participants will offer their critique, specifically discussing how they would expand and deepen the unit in order to encourage students to take action against gun violence. 
Social Justice Mathematics for Re-engagement
Vivian Lim, Naomi Leapheart
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA
This session presents the collaboration between a teacher and a doctoral student in implementing social justice mathematics lessons in a re-engagement center for out-of-school and formerly adjudicated youth. Our goal is that through lessons that engage youth in mathematics to explore issues in their lives and community, youth will learn the mathematics required to pass the GED examination and more
importantly grow as critical and empowered members of society. In this session, we present an activity that we have designed and also facilitate a discussion about the particular possibilities and challenges of using social justice mathematics in alternative educational settings. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Reconceptualizing the Mathematics in a Social Justice Mathematics Classroom
Marty Romero
University of California, Los Angeles
This workshop will present a working definition of mathematics that can be used to help educators implement social justice in their classroom while at the same time ensuring that the mathematics maintains its rigor. Additionally, participants will see how partnering this definition with the new Common Core Standards gives standing for math educators to redefine what the mathematics content and instruction looks like in their classrooms. Sample activities, projects, and instructional strategies will be shared. This workshop is intended for classroom teachers and faculty advisors of pre-service teachers. 
Too Pretty to Do Math: Gender as a Gatekeeper to Math Literacy
Lacy Asbill, Elana Metz
Girls Moving Forward
Emeryville, CA
As educators, we can do our best to hone our craft and continually improve our instruction. But how to we co-teach alongside harmful messages that consistently tell girls that what our society values in them is not their intelligence, but their appearance? In this interactive session, we will explore data around gender and math literacy, share effective lesson plans and teaching strategies, and discuss ways to address the cultural, social, and emotional gatekeepers that influence middle and high school girls’ choice to opt out of higher-level math achievement.
E, M, HS, PS, Youth
Engaging Middle School Students in the Real World
Marna Herrity
Brooklyn Friends School
Brooklyn, NY
Participants will learn about activities and projects in which students use mathematics to examine the world around them with a critical lens. The math concepts of statistical analysis, number sense, and correlation, will be explored through the following social justice issues: gender (in)balance, the cost of war, and economic (in)equity. Student work will be shared. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to contribute ideas and relevant work from their curriculum, if they so desire. 
Et tu, mathematics? Identifying the hidden curricula of mathematics education
Anita Bright, Erin Sylves
Portland State University
Portland, OR
Is mathematics neutral? What other lessons, aside from math, are embedded in the materials we provide to students? What values are implied and transmitted by the problems we choose and the texts we share? We’ll analyze textbooks, trade books, and standardized tests and discuss whether these match the values we espouse. Detailed electronic handout provided. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Mathematics Teachers’ Assessment Practice in Diverse Classrooms: equity in assessment in mathematics classrooms
Gabriela Groza, Anne-Marie Marshall
University of Illinois at Chicago
Facilitators will share insights and experiences from working with teachers in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. We will engage participants in a discussion about the intersection of student diversity and assessment practice. We will examine current literature to guide the discussion and participants will work together to generate ideas about assessment practice that goes beyond acknowledging diversity in mathematics classrooms. The goal of the session is to identify and share assessment strategies that best serve diverse students.
E, M, HS, GS, PF, Community
Gender-Complex Mathematics Education: Transcending the Gender Binary in the Math Classroom
Kat Rands
Elon University
Chapel Hill, NC

Gender equity has long been a goal in mathematics education. However, most discussions of gender equity in mathematics education have focused on differences between girls and boys and have overlooked the complex nature of gender. Recent developments in gender theory open up new possibilities for examining gender in mathematics in more complex ways that take into consideration transgender people. In this interactive workshop, participants will explore possibilities for teaching mathematics in more gender-complex ways. Educators, researchers, parents, activists, and students are invited to participate. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
MathAction: Young People Blend the Precision of Math with the Ambiguities of Complex Social Problems
Tamar Posner, Sara Collina
Math Action
Oakland, CA
This presentation provides an overview of MathAction, an innovative math program for grades 7-10 that blends mathematics, economics, geography and social studies. MathAction sparks students’ intellectual curiosity by connecting mathematics to key social issues of our time, from resource distribution to human rights to environmental justice. Emphasis is placed on how the program blends the precision of mathematics with the inevitable ambiguities of complex social problems. After an overview of MathAction (which includes exhibits of student work), students will facilitate a debate on wealth distribution based on a thought experiment conducted in their own MathAction class. 
M, HS, GS, PF, Community
Organizing for Success:  The Link between Organizing and the Math Classroom
Sarah Arvey
Catherine and Count Basie MS 72
Queens, NY

This workshop will be a model of a restorative circle, which can be used as a method of classroom organizing. In a classroom based on social justice and restorative practices, it is important for all voices to be heard. The circle practice is derived from indigenous teachings and practices and has been used around the world as a method for non-hierarchical discussion and non-punitive consequences. The goals
of circles are to address the needs of the community, which can be social, emotional, and/or academic in nature. In the classroom circles can be used for get-to-know you activities, leadership/team building practices, direct instruction, games, review, group learning, intervention, and much more. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
A Social Justice Data Fair: Active Inquiry as Critical Pedagogy
Michelle Munk
City View Alternative Senior School
Toronto, Canada
Beth Alexander
The Linden School
Toronto, Canada
E, M, H
Students become critical mathematicians when they are actively engaged in the production of mathematical knowledge in the classroom. This workshop, aimed at teachers of all levels, will explore social justice math pedagogy through our experiences with our school’s Social Justice Data Fairs. We will examine some pedagogical styles that support social justice curriculum in the math classroom to empower student learning. Using examples of student work, we will illustrate how students from Grades 1 to 12 used data management skills to better understand issues of social justice in our Data Fair. Workshop participants will complete several hands-on activities that illustrate the importance of using an inquiry-based approach in the classroom. Participants will receive materials to support the implementation of a Social Justice Data Fair in their own schools. 
 “Math is a powerful tool”: Transformative Resistance through Youth Participatory Action Research in the Math Classroom
Mary Candace Full
Humanities Academy of Art and Technology
Los Angeles, CA
Audre Lorde said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” This presentation explores the possibilities and challenges of engaging students in Youth Participatory Action Research – using YPAR as a classroom pedagogy, while challenging the oppressive nature of our school system. Facilitated by a teacher at a progressive pilot school in East Los Angeles, Mary Candace will share about a student-led project on food justice in an Algebra 1 class, and we will together discuss student voice and empowerment in the math.
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Finance my Life
Beth Wehner, Tina Lee, Lisa Parziale
El Puente Academy for Peace and Justice
Brooklyn, NY
Participants will experience several activities from the “Finance My Life” curriculum which is El Puente Academy’s 9th grade introductory math unit. The unit was created to give students a basic understanding of financial topics such as budgeting, loans, taxes, savings etc. while remediating basic math skills. Participants will engage in discussion regarding the importance of financial literacy for self-determination and have an opportunity to create further activities for integration in their curriculum. Participants who bring a flash drive can leave with a digital copy of the entire curriculum. 
Equity for Underserved Students: Using Place-Based Mathematics in the Classroom
Katie Hendrickson
Athens Middle School, Ohio University
Albany, OH
Place-based education, which connects issues of local relevance to educational goals, can engage and inspire students of mathematics. However, examples of curricula are not widely distributed and are difficult to find. In this interactive session, several examples of place-based mathematics lessons will be presented, along with a description of the development process for each. Participants are encouraged to bring their own examples and ideas for developing new lessons for their local community. A Google Group will be established for participants to post lessons, ideas, and resources, and to collaborate in developing more place-based lessons.
E, M, HS, GS, PF
Integrating multicultural and social justice mathematics across the K-12 curriculum: a hands-on workshop.
Helen Kress, R. Gamble, C. Lalonde, C. March , P. Piotrowski
D’Youville College
Buffalo, NY
Opportunities abound for integrating mathematics and equity into content area learning. This workshop will demonstrate how social justice and multicultural mathematical activities can be integrated across the K-12 curricula. Facilitators will engage participants in meaningful activities to enhance mathematical literacy. Following a brief orientation, participants will rotate among four stations that illustrate social justice in mathematics throughout the grades and across the curricula. They will also experience a variety of creative lessons that offer practical mathematical applications for the lives of their students. A pamphlet with additional resources for implementation will be available from each of the four groups. 
E, M, HS, PS, Youth, Community
Classroom experiments: Action research towards teaching mathematics for social justice
Indigo Esmonde, Beth Alexander, Krissy Budny, Lisa Cantor, Emily Clair, Matthew DeClerico, Michelle Munk, Kaya Tache-Green
University of Toronto, Radical Math Study Group
Toronto, Canada
This session is presented by the Radical Math Study Group. We worked together to plan and implement action research projects to teach mathematics more equitably. In this presentation, we will share five projects, some of which are related to introducing social justice issues in mathematics classrooms, and some of which are related to more effective pedagogy for abstract mathematics and problem-solving. Materials and data collection tools from the projects will be shared. Following the presentations, participants will be invited to generate their own action research questions, network, and form an online community. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF
All Kids Are Smart: Addressing Status Issues in the Math Classroom
Breedeen Murray
Live Oak School
San Francisco, CA
Geetha Lakshminarayanan
Summit Preparatory Charter High School
Redwood City, CA
When we ask students to work together, issues of status will arise. Some students will be labeled “smart”, others as “not smart”. Teachers can learn to notice and to interrupt this practice, ensuring that each student’s perspective is heard and valued, that all students have equitable access to materials, and that questions are asked without fear or shame. Participants will explore the role that attitudes towards learning and teacher moves play in changing students’ status. We will analyze, practice, and refine methods to introduce and facilitate group work that challenge labels and raise the status of students. 
How do I Teach Preservice Elementary Teachers to Teach Mathematics Using Social Justice Contexts When Both They and Their Students are Privileged?
Joan Kwako
University of Minnesota Duluth
Duluth, MN
It is one thing to use social justice contexts when those contexts are real to the preservice teachers you are teaching, not to mention to the elementary students they are teaching. It is quite another when 92% of your preservice teachers and their students are white, middle/upper class, and have rarely, if ever, experienced any type of discrimination due to their race, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. This presentation will document ways in which one can work to overcome the challenges of trying to enlighten preservice teachers of the importance of teaching using contexts that are outside of their own reality.

Together We Can: How engaging a community partnership helped develop student and teacher support programs, providing early access to Algebra I
Laurie Speranzo, Christine Hall
MathPOWER and the Boston Public Schools Secondary Math Department
Boston, MA
Boston Public Schools partnered with MathPOWER, an educational nonprofit, to create a strong support system for teachers and students, providing greater foundational skills for Algebra I in the 8th grade. We provided deep professional development and support for teachers. To improve student success in advanced mathematics, we created a hands-on, motivating curriculum to help close the achievement gap. This workshop will show how using experience-based outside-of-school-time programs for both teachers and students can help level the playing field. Specific lesson plans (including ones based on ethnic diversity) and opportunities to discuss and develop ideas with participants will be provided. 
M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Community
Teaching mathematics to English language learners using Robert Moses’ Five-Step Approach in a pre-service teacher learning community
Kristin Tamayo, Paula Catbagan, Mario Lopez, Ji Yeong I, Ruth Ahn, and Pamela Walker
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and University of Missouri, Columbia
Presenters will discuss Robert Moses’ Five-Step Approach as a framework to teach abstract mathematical concepts to English Learners in a pre-service teacher learning community called the Teachers Radically Enhancing Education (T.R.E.E.) Project. The pre-service teachers use hands-on, multi-sensory methods of learning (Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Tactical) to provide meaningful learning experiences to students. Conference participants will be divided into groups, rotating through three stations and experiencing how the Five-Step Approach can be applied in mathematics teaching. At the end, student presenters will share what they learned from working with English Learners and how this experience transformed the presenters’ thinking about teaching. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Math Circles as Equitable Engagement in Rich Mathematics:  Experience of building a Math Circle in an inner city public high school
Sage Moore
Skyline High School
Oakland, CA
While Math Circles are offered throughout the Bay Area, they are still not accessible for most under-resourced students. So if the kids cannot make it to there, let’s bring it to them. When the constraints that prevent students from participating are removed, students showed! At Skyline High School, we structured a Math Circles to meet the needs of underperforming kids and courted these students to attend. Not only did students voluntarily engage in math rich and challenging work outside
of class time, the experience help this math teacher withstand the caustic school environment. A diverse group of mostly under-performing math students participated and helped create a supportive environment to explore deep mathematics. In this workshop, we will share our experience of creating and running the Skyline Math Circle. We will lead you through a short Math Circle activity and share the strategies we used to make our Math Circle a success. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Supporting Teachers Work on Equity
Diane Resek, Judy Kysh, Katherine Ramage
San Francisco State University
Berkeley, CA
In the REAL project we worked with teachers to support their efforts to make algebra accessible to more students. We stressed richer problems and strategies to make math more engaging, and we raised issues of how culture affects the classroom. We had mixed results at changing classrooms. In all the schools that changed, teachers worked on math problems together to build a “mathematical trust.” That trust seems to have created an atmosphere where discussion of sensitive issues became more productive. In this session, participants will work on a rich problem and an activity that shows the relation of structure to engagement. Our work on cultural issues will be discussed. 
Enjoyable Ways to Learn Math Facts via Magic, Puzzles, Games, & Activities
Nancy Blachman
Math Delights, Nueva School, Princeton Day School
Burlingame, CA
Foster delight, develop children’s basic math skills, and engage them in higher-level thinking with magic tricks and puzzles. 
E, M, PS, Youth
Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice: Getting Started and Continuing to Grow
Rico Gutstein
University of Illinois at Chicago, Teachers for Social Justice (Chicago)
Learning to teach mathematics for social justice is challenging. Teachers have to navigate school and district mandates while simultaneously trying to develop innovative curriculum that ties into students’ cultures, language, knowledge, and experiences—and make sure students learn both math and about their world. In this workshop, I will use video and student voice to share some of my development over 15 years of developing and teaching mathematics for social justice in Chicago public schools. In particular, I will talk about how teachers can “get started,” and just as important—how they can continue to grow over the long term. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Mathematical Models: Bringing Social and Environmental Justice into the Mathematics Classroom
Angela Gallegos, Lily Khadjavi, Emek Kose, Frank Lynch
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA
This is an interactive session designed to develop specific mathematical models and analyze data, integrating social justice issues with the mathematics. For example, LAPD traffic stop data allow us
to study the issue of racial profiling. Oceanographic imagery and oil spread models counter BP’s claims for the Gulf Spill. Models of asthma near freeways inform discussions on fair housing policies.
Optimal harvesting models relate to sustainability of resources. Breakout groups will discuss these contexts and the high school or college mathematics needed. Participants are encouraged to bring references/questions/ideas and will leave with lesson plans, examples and new partners for consultation. 
HS, UG, GS, PF, Community
What is the Algebra Project? How can it empower teachers to rethink curriculum?
Evan Rushton, Jose Antonio Orozco, Susan Malgarejo, Marcus Hung
Franklin High School in LAUSD, Academia Avance Charter in LA, Thurgood Marshall Academic High School in SFUSD
Los Angeles, CA
This interactive workshop will help participants explore the pedagogy of the Algebra Project and help teachers think about how they can get in on the ground level of creating meaningful curriculum. Experienced high school Algebra Project teachers will facilitate the workshop that will incorporate the Algebra Project’s 5-step curricular process: A vehicle for empowering students as they discover they have a mathematical voice. 
E, M, HS, UG, GS, PF, PS, Youth, Community
Drawing Upon the Core Components of a Problem-Based Curriculum to build a Mathematics Lesson for Social Justice
Brian R. Lawler, Sherry Fraser
California State University, San Marcos
Examine and define the core components of a problem-based curriculum and an associated pedagogy that brings forth both powerful mathematical learning and equitable relationships within the classroom. Having identified these, workshop participants will consider how to draw upon these components to develop meaningful lessons that are generated by the students in response to local issues of social justice. Small groups will develop draft units and share the framework with other attendees. This session will be oriented toward upper grades (7-12) mathematics teachers. 
Opening the Algebra Gate: A Pre-Statistics Path to Transfer-Level Math
Hal Huntsman, Lily Lum
City College of San Francisco
Tue Rust
Los Medanos College
Pittsburg, CA
For community college students with majors in behavioral and social science (and many others), who have statistics in their transfer path, algebra is a huge barrier. This session introduces participants to a new course, Preparation for Statistics, that prepares students for transferlevel statistics, but is not the traditional algebra sequence that so many students take—and too often fail. Using a problem-centered pedagogy, the course engages with questions meaningful to students and their communities and promotes discussion of social inequity. The session will include an interactive exercise similar to those used in the course, as well as preliminary results from the Fall 2011 pilot at City College of San Francisco.