Using an Educational Assistant to the Fullest

I am in my secondish year of teaching, and I really have no idea how to actually utilize an Educational Assistant (EA) in a way that benefits all the students and myself. I have had different EAs assigned to classes I teach while subbing I sometimes get subs. Every time I get a sub, the instructions are very similar, they work with student A or they know what to do. I think EAs are a teacher’s very own superhero. But when I come in as a new teacher, I still don’t know how to use them in a way that helps the students AND helps me.

I’ve had EAs that say a lot of the time they take care of the photocopying, scanning, all the extra prep that there never seems to be enough time for, and this is always very appreciated by teachers because it is one less thing on the endless to-do list.

When I was finishing my internship, I had a principal that I recognized from another school division say the best way to make full use of is to have them help the majority of students and for the classroom teacher work with those that need additional supports. At the time, this made no sense. How was I supposed to teach, monitor, and support ALL students if I only spent my time focusing on a few that need additional supports? Especially since my understanding has always been that EAs are assigned to support certain students. I brought this idea up to other teachers that I know, and they often have the same understanding as me. EAs are there to provide support, not to teach the content.

Today (January 25th, 2019), after almost 2 years of teaching, it has finally clicked. I was subbing in a classroom that has vast degrees of ability. Multiple students need direct support, but there are also quite a few that understand quickly and need to be challenged, mixed in with this is students in between. The whole class had the same spelling assignment, but different words depending on ability. So I explained the assignment, and the students who needed additional support worked with the EA at a separate table. I spent the class period circulating the class, helping students think of ideas for the assignment, answering questions that I had already explained but were missed. After about 5 minutes of this, it was like a lightbulb going off. Wouldn’t it be better if I spent this time with those students who needed extra support so that the additional teaching that gets naturally integrated into the one-on-one or small group teachings, is done by someone with the training to enhance the students learning?

This is NOT me saying that EAs are not extremely important, because in so many ways they’re the glue that holds teachers together. Educational Assistants are truly superheroes, but they have a specific set of skills that allow them to work with all students and provide help. Teachers are trained to help all students progress and learn. If we work with those who need the additional supports and allow the EAs to provide assistance as needed to the rest of the class, maybe our efforts would be more productive.

While this is not something I can change while I am subbing, and let’s be honest, EAs are the ones that know what is actually going on in the classroom compared to a daily sub so they should probably be the ones that work with students who need extra support in these situations. When I do get my next classroom and am planning the best way to utilize EAs, this is something I will keep in mind.


I am a Feminist…you might be to.

I had a student try to walk out of my class about three weeks ago when he found out I consider myself a feminist. He came back simply for the fact that he knew it would not go well for him. I was mad at first, I only started teaching at this school recently, and he knew very little about me, but after I thought about it for a bit, I realized I knew nothing about him. What did he consider the definition of feminism, why did the term upset him so much, does he know anyone else that associates with the term?

After a while I started to think about why his outburst upset me so much. I am used to students having differing opinions than me, I actually encourage students to form their own opinions, even if I do not agree with them, as long as they can back up why they think that way, I accept it.

So why did this reaction upset me so much? It is too common for people to associate feminism with a negative concept. My mom has always been one of the most amazing people I know (I don’t tell her this enough), but at no point would anyone think she is not able to do something one of her brothers could do. I have seen her beat up each one of her brothers at some point. My mom has always been someone who works, either owning her own business or working two jobs to make sure my siblings and I had everything we wanted. She could never teach me how to braid my hair, or walk in heels, or how to put on make-up. She has no patience to paint nails, and cannot stand gossip. My mom is amazing, she made me understand that having a career does not mean you cannot have a family. My mom is an inspiration and my rock, but she is not the reason I consider myself a feminist.

I grew up in a family where the women are independent. My great-grandma used to refer to the women in our family a strong-willed, because the men in our family have always outnumbered us so we have to be twice as loud, rough, and crazy to fit in. I have a huge extended family, and not a single one of them have ever said that I (or any female in my family) is not equally capable of doing something that they can do. But very few of them would consider themselves feminists. My family pushes me everyday, they make me proud of who I am. Even so, they are not the reason I consider myself a feminist.

My sister, who is a daily testament that women only get stronger every time they are pushed down, is one of the most important people in my life. When we were younger we hated each other, we couldn’t even talk to each other without fighting. As we got older, we became closer (it is easier to like someone when they live two provinces away and no longer steal your clothes, socks, movies, etc.). I have seen her struggle, and I have seen her get back up and try over, and over again until she was happy with the results. My sister does not accept the minimum, she only accepts the best. This includes people in her life, if they won’t give her 100%, she will leave them. She knows she deserves the best, and nothing will stop in her way. Her passion will make a difference, and it will lead her in place that others would be scared of. She moves fast because she knows those who matter will be there when she finally slows down. Her life will take her on adventures that will push boundaries; personal, family, gender, and career boundaries. I am scared for the people who stand in her way, cause she will blow past them before they realize it. My sister is incredible, but she is not what makes me consider myself to be a feminist.

I have female friends who one day will change the world, like actually change it. They will fight everyday until it is a better world. They inspire me as a teacher to make sure the students I am teaching will leave my classroom with the goal to also make the world a better place. My friends don’t always realize how great they are, how amazing they can be, and how inspirational they are to those that know them. Even though I love my friends, and they are part of my identity, they are not what makes me a feminist.

I have female mentors and role models who are amazing women. Women who have educated, guided, and inspire me. Women who I can talk to when I feel like I am not doing enough, who I can be weak around, and who celebrate my strengths. They encourage me to be a better me, and accept me when I am a mess (let’s be honest, since most of these women met me during university they have all seen me at my worst). These women, many of which do consider themselves feminists, are not what makes me consider myself a feminist.

So if it is not the females in my life that inspire me to consider myself to be a feminist then who is it?

My dad, since as young as I can remember has always believed in me. He also has never thought that my mom, my sister, or myself have ever needed to be protected. He believes that we can be whatever we want to be, and if that means sitting through hours of dance competition (really, really horrible dance competitions), learning how to help us with our hair, learning how to tie figure skates, teaching us to drive (both my sister and I may actually be worse than our mom when it comes to driving…don’t let us drive), and to this day is still my favorite person to go shopping with. He watch my sister and I fail hundreds of times. Not once did he feel like he needed to pick us up, protect us, or defend us. He knew that we could do this on our own. My dad makes me a feminist because I know that a dad can make just as an amazing parent as a mom can, and no matter how many times he was the only dad in the area, or the fact that he was often the one listening to my friends and I sing while he drove us around the city shopping he never wanted my siblings and I to feel like mom working was a disadvantage to us.

The males in my family are some of my biggest supporters. They do not support because they think I need their help, or because they think I cannot do it without them. They do it because they believe I am great, that I will do great things. They are able to be strong males who have de-tangled necklaces, played dress-up, played Barbies, and have spent countless nights reading me bedtime stories. My uncles, many of who have daughters never think of the females in my family as anything less than amazing (if you ever meet my uncles, you would know it takes amazingly strong women to be associated with them in public). The men in my family do the cooking, cleaning, and child raising as much as the females do. I am a feminist because I believe young girls should be able to look up to their uncles and see how males in their lives can be just as much roles models as the females.

My brother will one day make some girl very happy. Having two older sisters has resulted in him becoming very comfortable with his feminine side, understanding that masculinity and femininity are connected. He as no concerns about painting his nails, and will scream from the roof tops that his favorite colour is pink. He can cook and clean (when he wants to, he is also the youngest and is lazy at times), and he is not ashamed to show is emotions. He is also strong, and will stand up for anyone who needs him. He is a loyal friend to a fault, and is someone who can truly be just friends with a girl, and does not care what others think of him. My brother is a rockstar, and will one day accomplish some great things. I am a feminist because my brother shows me how important it is not not let others define you and that gender stereotypes go both ways.

I have some beautiful male friends. They give me strength when I think I have nothing left, push me when I believe I have hit my limits and never think of me as weak even when I see myself as weak. I have friends who stand behind women rather than stand up for them, because they know women can stand up for themselves and that being supportive carries more weight than doing it for them. I have friends who I can take shopping, because sometimes I need their advice, or because sometimes I just miss them. I have friends who don’t bother lying to me, or trying to protect me, or are worried about how I dress because at the end of the day I know I can be friends with a guy and it means nothing but friendship. The males friends I have allow others to see their own vulnerabilities and weaknesses because they understand being male does not mean they are emotionless. I consider myself a feminist because I can have male friends who are just as great as my females ones and no one thinks it is weird.

I have male mentors and role models who give me perspectives and insights like no one else. They celebrate successes and failures, encourage when needed. It is too common for males to be considered emotionless, to be considered all logic and no heart, and to be considered the listener not the talker. The male mentors and role models remind me that I need to be open-minded, that I need to listen, that I need to take time to enjoy life. They support, consider, and demonstrate passion. These are educators, a career that commonly is thought of as being female based, these are men who I have seen cry as they watch their former students succeed in life. Men who understand that life is not always fair, and while feminism is about women getting equal rights, it is just as much about men being equally accepted. These are men who never aim to overshadow their female counterparts, and instead take a backseat to listen the ideas that they have. I am a feminist because I believe that the male educators should have just as much pride in their students, mentees, and colleagues as a female does, and should be able to show this in the same way.

I am a feminist because I believe in my lifetime women and men will be treated equally. This does not mean that women are just equal to the males, but that the males are equal to the women. That there should be no surprise when a dad is taking his daughter to a dance competition, or that a mom is the breadwinner of the family. That males can openly cry, and women can make their own decisions about their bodies. That dads can make just as great parents as moms, and moms can have a career while still doing an awesome parenting job. That people will be hired/promoted based on scholar and ability, not on their gender, and that no one will ever say “they only got the position because they are male/female, but know they got the position because they worked hard and earned it. That a chance of a women getting/not getting a promotion is not based on the fact that she is un/likelihood of taking a maternity leave in the future. That men will be fully accepted for taking time off work to raise a family. That great uncles can be role models to their nieces and nephews, just as much as great aunts can be. That grandpa’s playing dress-up with their grandkids is the norm because grandma is relaxing with family. That all people grow up knowing that they can do whatever they want in the future because it is possible to be anything regardless of gender. That both people in a relationship have equal say in child raising, housework, finances, careers, and they are able to make decisions based on their wants and not their gender norms. That gender norms will be forgotten and people will all have a voice, a vote, an education, and equal rights.

I am a feminist because I never want my children to say #metoo, to fight for their rights, to feel like they are defined by their gender, or to feel like their are not normal because they believe in true equality.

I am a feminist because the strong women in my life taught me it is possible, and the men in my life are strong enough to let me be.

I am a feminist….

and I am proud of it.

To the students that hate school

As a student growing up, I loved school. Not every class, and definitely not everyday. There were days when I would rather be anywhere else, and thanks to a mom who understood that not everything is about school there were a few days where I played hooky and went shopping instead. However, I was generally a good student, very involved, and for the most part really enjoyed my classes. I have great memories of me being in school, so when students say things like “I hate school”, or “I hate being here”. I find it a little frustrating. There has to be something that you like about school, and lunch does not count.

In my internship I made a huge effort to make sure even the students who said they hated school could say one thing at the end of the week that they enjoyed about school. In my first contract some of that effort faded. It didn’t just fade overnight, but it was slow and gradual because no matter how much effort I put into lessons, no matter how creative I was trying to be, no matter how much I connected the lessons to the students personal lives, I was met with bored faces and comments about how they hated school. Eventually I just stopped trying, I developed an understanding that there was nothing I could do, the group of students that I had just hated school. This never changed, and when I go back to sub at the school, I find the same attitude.

This brings me to this past week. Recently my boyfriends, a few friends, and I decided to go on a skiing/snowboarding trip in Big White, B.C.. Fun fact: I don’t ski. As a child I never learned, and the majority of the people I am with have been snowboarding or skiing since they were little and are very good. My first time down the mountain resulted in a whole lot of falling, frustration, tears, anger, and eventually I gave up and walked back down. It may be a coincidence that I hate skiing and that I am not good at skiing, but I have a strong belief that the two things are connected. It was about my eighteenth fall (this time it involved a tree, and another skier who was not paying attention), when I realized that my hatred for skiing, is probably what some students feel towards school.

However, just because I am a bad skier does not mean I have given up. I have taken additional lessons, and am slowly improving. However, my hatred of skiing has not ruined the trip. I have challenged myself in other ways. Those that know me, know that I hate heights, like absolutely petrified of them. So when I decided that I wanted to go ice climbing, I shocked pretty much everyone. Yet, I did it. Did I make it to the top, not even close, but I made it about three meters up, which for me was impressive. What is even more shocking is that I would go again.

Yes, I may hate skiing; just like some students hate school. But I am making the best of my experience because I know that the only way I can hate the whole time I am here is if I let the parts I don’t like ruin my overall experience. There are lots of parts of the trip I am super enjoying, and I will continue taking lessons until I become a more confident. Not every student is going to enjoy every lesson, topic, or subject but there is only so much teachers can do before it becomes the students responsibility to make some effort to make the most of their learning experience.

I now have a understanding for what it means to hate doing something, but I also know that just because I hate something that I am not good at does not mean over time I will learn to enjoy it as I improve my abilities. As students progress their abilities, they may also gain a new joy for school. Start with one thing that you can find enjoyment in, allow it to expand.

You can only fall so many time, before you finally stay upright down the hill. You can only fail at an understanding something so many times, before it is finally taught to you in a way that makes sense. Keep trying, because even if it doesn’t make sense, and does not seem easy it will be worth it in the end.


Reflections of Treaty Ed Camp 3.0

On Saturday October 24th 2017, I got up super early, came to the University of Regina where I joined 400 other educators, university students, and professors to learn about the importance of Treaty Education and integrating it into our teachings. I had two roles throughout the day; the first was as a session leader, and the second was as a learner.

I came to the day, as I have for the past two years prepared to take notes, fill my twitter feed, and discuss. As I look back at my notes, I cannot help but notice that I have only a few lines written down, and none of them are exactly inventive or outstanding; but yet I feel as if I took away more this year as I have in past years. At some point I stopped recording what was being said, and just started to listen and internally reflect on what was being said.

Charlene Bearhead was the keynote speaker, and she did a fantastic job. Not only did she demonstrate her understanding of why Treaty Education in Saskatchewan is so important but she also gave a viewpoint of how the rest of Canada sees Saskatchewan in connection to Treaty Education. Saskatchewan is viewed as being a leader in teaching Treaty Education, I would have never thought this until is was stated by Charlene Bearhead, I will elaborate on this later from a rural Saskatchewan point of view. Other things that Charlene made a point of mentioning was how using the Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Report to aid in our teaching, as well as to work with the whole community when teaching Treaty Education.

Since I have spent the past 6 years being a student at the University of Regina, I have a good understanding of how much emphasis there is on the importance of Treaty Education. I have also gotten to collaborate, and network with many fantastic and devoted teachers within the city of Regina who work hard to integrate Treaty Education into their teaching. However, I have spent my own primary and secondary education in rural Saskatchewan, as well as my internship and first teaching contract. In 2007, the Government of Saskatchewan mandated that Treaty Education be taught in all classes, to all grades. I was in Grade 6 when this was introduced, and yet it was not until my first year of university did I know that I lived on Treaty 4 land, I had no idea Residential Schools were a thing, and knew nothing about colonialism. It has been six years since I finished high school, yet the school I graduated from still has teachers who do not teach, or teach a limited amount of treaty education. The school I interned at did not have a large focus on treaty education. The thing is that this is not solely on the teachers, yes it is the teachers responsibility to teach treaty education, but where is the recognition of it being taught. There is no spot for Treaty ed on report cards, school divisions do not commonly have a treaty ed consulted like they do for literacy, math, other core subjects. I am sure there are many rural teachers who do teach treaty ed, who bring in Indigenous content, who focus on reconciliation, and I want to hear from them, to meet them, to collaborate with them. I am sure there are school divisions (for example Northern Lights School Division)  has a variety of great resources for Treaty education, but how many teachers use them, is there ownership of where schools and teachers are integrating treaty education? I know there is more work to be done with Treaty ed, and I am excited to see where we will be in five or ten years with it, but I am also aware that change will not happen without the push from government, school divisions, and fellow teachers.

After the Keynote speaker completed her presentation, it was time for our first session. It was in the first session that I was scheduled to lead. When I was first approached about leading a session, I actually did not feel like I was the right person to be teaching others. I am not currently under a contract, and did not teach a lot of treaty education in my first contract. However, I did use a lot of it in internship. I turned my own experiences, of dealing with resistance in rural communities into my topic. I expected to have maybe five people attend, especially considering there were so many great presenters and topics; I was shocked when I had a full room of like forty people. I was even more shocked when I realized people did not come to the room by mistake, or leave because they were bored. I have no idea if it was the fact that I am a young teacher, or because so many others are also struggling with resistance. The feedback I got back made me realize that while the university has a solid understanding of treaty education, not all their students do. My focus was on community resistance, but I also included personal resistance and I think that resonated with more students as many of them did not get taught treaty education during their schooling experience. By teachers choosing to not teach treaty education, it adds to the generations on confusion and secrecy surrounding the treaties and treatment of Indigenous people.

The discussions I had with many educators and students allowed me to find some comfort in knowing that there is a pedagogical change occurring. Teachers want to aid in the reconciliation of the country/province but they need to have access to support from administration, provincial/federal governments, as well as colleagues.

Charlene Bearhead stated that the rest of Canada looks to Saskatchewan and Manitoba for leadership with Treaty education; this is a responsibility we need to take seriously. It is well known that a single teacher can change a child’s life, that a single teacher can make a difference. Responding to the TRC calls to action, encouraging others to respond, and fighting for equality/equity and fairness is one of the many responsibilities of the teaching profession.

At the end of the day, we were asked to reflect on how we were going to contribute to reconciliation. The truth is I do not have an answer, there are hundreds of things that need to be done, things that I can do, and things that I cannot do. But to achieve the difficult, I have to start with something manageable. I have to pay attention to how I react to the treatment of Treaty 4 land. I have to learn to be uncomfortable in my teachings, to challenge my beliefs, and to allow my future students to experience their learning journey at their own pace, with guidance, not force. I hope that the thousands of educators in Saskatchewan join me in this journey.


Understanding Culturally Responsive Pedagogy in Mathematics-Finale post

At the start of the course I defined Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (CRP) as using teaching strategies that reflect the needs of students in a classroom. It would be easy to think of CRP meaning that you have a couple of questions related to the content of your students cultures, examples based on the “real world” and many a fluff assignment that has the students researching mathematics in their cultures based on the unit, toss in a bit of Indigenous content, dazzle it with a few pieces of language, and have a 30-second blip about historical content, mix all these together and BAM! you have a culturally responsive lesson. Right?! I mean what else can you be missing…well you might be missing authentic pieces of culture but its math a numbers are just numbers. You could also be missing out on traditional knowledge, respect of ways of knowing, and the importance of language, but none of this should matter because mathematics is the same regardless of where you learn it, 2+2 will always equal 4.

There are people who believe they use CRP, but they may be going about it in the wrong way. CRP is not something that is done without learning how to meet the needs of your students in an authentic, and purposeful way. During the past three weeks I have grown in three areas; authentic integration of culture, understanding global and historical perspectives of mathematics, and Indigenous education.

Authentic integration of culture come in two parts; recognizing tokenism and planning for deeper, meaningful lessons. Shana did an activity with us the second day, where we analyzed questions in math textbooks, providing evidence on the lack of culturally diverse views. When designing your lessons to have CRP, you need to think about the culture you are responding to, using ethnomathematics you can respond to different groups of students using activities, examples, and assessments that reflect cultures, interests, and hobbies.

Mathematics is taught all over the world and has been around since the beginning of time. But the mathematics taught around the world is not the same, in chapter one of “Culturally Responsive Mathematics Education” by Swetz (2009). Mathematics allows a variety of understandings to connect together to explain something or to solve a problem. Understand the history and historical connection behind mathematics provides students with a why, which gives meaning to the math they are learning.

Indigenous education was a big focus for me throughout the class. Two big pieces of Indigenous education are place-based learning and the use of stories in the classroom. While these two strategies are both thought of as Indigenous ways of knowing, they are beneficial and inclusive of all students learning styles.

CRP is when you respond to the needs of your students by understanding their culture and looking outside the traditional understanding of what mathematics is, pushing the boundaries of the box, and challenging your own ways of learning to push your students.

Swetz, F.J.,  (2009). In B. Greer et al., Culturally responsive mathematics education. (pp. 22) New York: Routledge.


Connections found between social justice and ethnomathematics in culturally responsive mathematics-to be marked

Culturally responsive education can be considered as five focal dimensions; Social Justice, Ethnomathematics, Indigenous education, Equity, and Linguistically Diverse Learners. Each one of the dimensions on its own is has unique place in a classroom, but they are very interconnected. The connections that I developed an understanding from on Monday’s class were the interrelatedness of social justice and ethnomathematics.

Using social justice in mathematics allows students to analyze, interpret, and acknowledge that there are injustices in the world. Some of these injustices directly impact your students, and others will have a limited idea or understanding what injustices are. Educating students on the injustices, and working together to arrive at possible solutions is how social justice is part of culturally responsive mathematics.

Social justice links to ethnomathematics by specifying your teaching towards a group of people, for example if you have a class of all Indigenous students, it would be best to design your lesson to the needs of your students, this can also be said for a group of students who are involved in farming with their families. This allows students to relate to mathematics in the themes and questions that relate to their lives, whether that is specifically dealing with personal struggles, ideals, and difficulties or dealing with injustices that are imposed on them by society.  Seeing the connections between social justice mathematics and ethnomathematics widens the understanding of what culturally responsive mathematics means.

In class we often discuss the overlap between the dimensions of culturally responsive mathematics,  but developing the understanding of each dimension will allow for a full understanding of the concept of culturally responsive mathematics. This can be the pedagogies with use, the lessons we teach, the examples that are used, the themes of our discussions, everything we do can be connected designed with ethnomathematics and social justice in mind.

How has looking at math differently helped me? -To be marked

In our Skype conversation this morning, Swapna stated that culturally responsive education is about “reclaiming the knowledge that has been suppressed, negated, and/or ignored”. Discuss this statement in relation to something you have learned/read so far in this class.

The first chapter of the textbook “Culturally Responsive Mathematics” gave me insight into so many different cultural and historical understanding of mathematics. On page 22, Swetz (2009) discussed different cultures explaining directions. North America Indigenous people use four dimensions of direction, North, South, West, East; these descriptions are recognized everywhere. China however has a fifth additional description which is here.

During grade 7 I hated, like to the point I would cry whenever translations were mentioned. I could never do them, they were always a mess, lucky they disappear in grade 10 and are never mentioned again. During internship I got the happy news that I would be teaching them to a group of students. Panic set in, anxiety attack happened, and I seriously thought about running out the door and never coming back. I then did the only sensible thing someone on internship could do, I started Googling tricks. After about three hours of stress, I had a unit planned out. The only thing I understood was that if I knew the starting coordinates, I should be able to mathematically solve me ending coordinates. This also meant that I should be able to visually know where my translation was going as long as I knew where it started. Not once when I was learning it did I understand to determine my starting point, I was always focused on my ending. In order to teach the math, I needed to relearn it in a way that I understood it. The knowledge was always there, but it was not given to me.

The class as a whole has given me a new meaning to what is “math”. Concepts from the textbook chapter readings, our class discussions, and additional readings have made me think about what math is, and what it can be. CRP is not about news math, but about redefining math in different contexts that relate to the students.

Swetz, F.J.,  (2009). In B. Greer et al., Culturally responsive mathematics education. (pp. 22) New York: Routledge.

The Culture of Mathematics- To be marked

How do we share with others (colleagues and students) that mathematics is actually not value- and culture-free? What are your thoughts on (and response to) this question?

When asked why I loved my in grade 12, I responded with “because no matter who you are, where you live, or the differences in your life, math is always the same, 1+1 will always equal 2”. Looking back I cannot believe how wrong I was, but I looking forward I can also not believe how much I have learned and how much learning I have left in my future.

Quinn gave us names and faces to the objections that come from colleagues and in some cases students. We will have people who say numbers are just numbers, that math has no culture, that nothing changes from country to country; all of these arguments can be heard across Canada and worldwide.

Part of advocating for social justice and ethnomathematics is understanding that there are people who will never agree with you. There are people who without hesitation will have the same teaching beliefs, and than there are people who can be convinced with evidence, readings, and logic. These people are the ones that you start with, these are the ones that you can influence to becoming culturally responsive in their pedagogy.

In order to convince people starting with the student who does not understand math, the student who will say “when am I going to use this”, “why does this matter”, “how is this going to help me in the real world”; using ethnomathematics and social justice gives meaning to the math.

Math is culture-free, this is will be true every time you ask the question, until you remove the box that surrounds the concept of math. Math shows progress, it shows growth, and it shows different concepts that are beneficial to students lives. Lindsay gave many examples to how many can be used for social justice, such as analyzing neighborhoods, using it to determine budgets, and understand injustices. Math can push the boundaries, but only if you are willing to think about the culture that guides, influences, and connects the math to life situations.

Math is a link between cultures, it is the link to inspiring those who is put down by societal norms and standards. Teachers who embrace the culture of math, are able to push learning in way beyond students meeting expectations.

Lesson Analysis Tool: Helping to create culturally responsive lessons-To be marked

I found that the lesson analysis tool to be quite insightful about what it means to have a culturally responsive lesson plan. There are aspect of a lesson plan I would not think to consider, simply because during my three years of creating lesson plans it was never suggested. The first one is asking the question “How does my lesson help students connect mathematics with relevant/authentic situations in their lives?” (Aguirre & Zavala, 2009). I may think about what outcome I am teaching, I usually do an activity showing real-life connection to introduce the topic to the class, but never think about how the topic connects to the students’ lives and communities. Even asking myself that question about some of the lessons that I have taught, I can see where I have gaps and what is needed for meeting the goal of having a culturally responsive classroom.

I think that before I start planning future units, I will first look at who my students are, then look at what resources/knowledge I have in my community. Finally, I will look at the outcomes/indicators of the unit to ensure I have met the requirements of the curriculum as well as the needs of my students.

One of the questions brought up in the class discussion today was how often the table and rubric would be used to evaluate lessons. I would love to say that I will use these strategies on all of my future lessons, but it took us almost an hour to get through one lesson, no teacher has time to spend an hour per lesson going over a rubric. I did like the suggestion as using the rubric to work on a Professional Growth Plan that includes culturally responsive pedagogy. This would allow cooperation with administration, colleagues, and in some cases students. While it may be difficult to use the rubric in full for every lesson I plan, I think it is fully possible to refer to the questions when planning lessons, every answering “Yes” or “No” for a sense of accomplishing the culturally responsive aspects of a lesson. Using the rubric and guiding questions will allow for teachers to become more fluent in creating culturally responsive lesson plans.

Aguirre, J. M., & Zavala, M. D. (2013). Making culturally responsive mathematics teaching explicit: a lesson analysis tool. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 8(2), 163-190. doi:10.1080/1554480x.2013.768518

Why do we teach Mathematics? -To be marked

The foreword of the book provides the readers with a focus of “analysis of the political dimension of the call for a cultural perspective on mathematics education” (D’Ambrosio, 2009, vii)). Right from the start, the writers indicate that a problem with mathematics education is to politics behind it. Curriculum is designed by a group of politicians and teachers, textbooks are supported by government, tests are designed by government, the way a classroom is operated has a lot to do with the expectations of the government. Capitalism is when a private group profits from a country’s trade and industry. I do not know what is more valuable than the development of a country’s youth. The companies who design the textbooks, the teaching materials and the resources available to the teachers are able to have a monopoly on students who have developed exactly as required for the businesses that need workers. There is a mindset that one must add one to one in order to get two, but no one thinks about what needs to be done in order to add one to one and get three. Math is viewed as essential, but people only need to be literate enough to make a society work (D’ Ambrosio, 2009, ix), how literate is “enough” has been determined by corporations who want workers not visionaries.  Mathematics is essential to society, however ensuring that students are getting teachings and knowledge that further their understanding and allow for creative thinking about the problems presented may result in essential members of society rather than followers of corporations. Teachers have two responsibilities, the first is teaching the mandated curriculum, and the second is providing students with a chance to become critical thinkers about the importance of the curriculum. This can only be done by educators who are willing to challenge what they believe as well as what the students believe.


D’Ambrosio, U., (2009). In B. Greer et al., Culturally responsive mathematics education. (pp.vii-xii) New York: Routledge.