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 Bringing 'Wonder and Joy' to Mathematics Learning

The beliefs educators hold about mathematics can strongly influence the ways in which it is taught.

Instead of worksheets, stress, and memorization, a new learning opportunity by the San Diego County Office of Education focuses on bringing creativity, curiosity, wonder, and joy to mathematics.

A Productive Struggle for All is a one-day learning opportunity focused on building and strengthening a teaching culture for students with disabilities that presumes competence in mathematics and activates learning for all students. 

"There has long been a gap in how mathematicians and students describe mathematics," said Audrey Mendivil, director of curriculum and instruction at SDCOE. "For students with disabilities, this gap has widened."

Current practices can limit the opportunities students with disabilities have to engage in authentic mathematics. By examining beliefs about mathematics, the way in which mathematics lessons are designed, and the goals in a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP), educators can make changes that impact student outcomes.

The Productive Struggle for All workshop on March 14 will help participants leverage connections between Universal Design for Learning and the Standards for Mathematical Practice, and discover ways to activate learning and improve math goals in IEPs.

"We want every child in San Diego County to graduate high school with options, and this professional learning opportunity hits at the core of equity in our schools," said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold.

The learning is based on current research in the fields of mathematics education and students with disabilities, including research from Rachel Lambert and Paolo Tan.

Event attendees will engage in collaborative conversations, examine a variety of tools and problems, and design a next step for their specific context and environment.

Participants will also receive a copy of Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had by Tracy Johnston Zager.