Hi, I'm Kendra.
Founder of Mathematizing 24.7
I am a mathematician!
I love to explore how learners mathematize their worlds, thus changing their relationships with mathematics. I am deeply passionate about reducing math anxiety in both educators and children alike, bringing joy to mathematics. Yes, that's right- JOY and MATH in the SAME sentence!
I have had a variety of roles in elementary classrooms including, classroom teacher, learning assistance and resource teacher and district consultant. Currently, I am a classroom support teacher in an elementary school and adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia Okanagan, facilitating Teaching Children Numeracy to pre-service teachers, Numeracy for Diverse Learners and Developing a Mathematical Growth Mindset through Number Sense. I enjoy inspiring educators through presenting at conferences, casual math conversations at coffee shops and photocopiers, and am excited continue to share my experiences and ideas through @mathematizing247
Math mindset – it matters!
How my move from avoiding to embracing math helped transform my personal math identity.
I failed grade 11 math. Don’t ask me how or why. Perhaps it was the content. Perhaps my relationship, or lack thereof, with my Math teacher. I’m not really sure, but it’s safe to say I did not always think of myself as a 'math person'. Growing up, my family played a lot of games and we were given many critical thinking tasks, BUT I never connected this to my math identity. That was mainly influenced by the understanding that I was not quick during mad minutes in school. In fact, I still have not memorized many of my times tables and often compute them in the moment!
When I began my teaching career, I decided I wanted to teach the littles… grade 1 or kindergarten, mostly because I was AFRAID OF THE MATH! Yet, somehow, I found my first contract as a grade 5-8 classroom support teacher, with just a little math on my schedule and the rest literacy. I then transitioned to teaching a grade 6 class where I taught literacy and socials and my teaching partner tackled science and math. Perfect, I thought!
Then, the day came. A new school, a new contract and I was teaching grade 3. ALL subjects! I left that interview…excited and terrified with the realization that I now had to teach math. MATH! How would I ever hide my own lack of confidence in this subject in front of 22 eager learners?!? That year, I changed my relationship with math. I reached out to consultants and dove in head first. I was determined to make math a positive experience.
I began learning by connecting with other educators. The best ‘tip’ I got was ‘just listen to the children’s thinking. Then you will know their (and your) next steps.’ Seeing some model lessons in action, combined with a fascination of hearing HOW the children were thinking about math, I began to realize the creativity and joy that is possible in math. Some of my favourite resources I dove into to start are:
- Catherine Fosnot Contexts for Learning and Problem Strings as Mini-Lessons
- Jessica Shumway’s Number Sense Routines book
- 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematical Discussions
I soon discovered that I was more of a ‘math person’ than I thought- thank you mom and dad, for the endless puzzles, problem solving opportunities and critical thinking you fostered in our household!
Fast forward a few years, and I found myself so curious about math, I was the math curricular lead in our local elementary school and was applying for my Masters in Education to explore math instruction. I was hooked! Before I knew it, I was being asked to share some of my learning and experiences to wider audiences. My math teaching journey had officially started.
This story is unique and surprising to many. Those who know me now, often assume I have always been a ‘math person’. I think this anecdote emphasizes our ability to change our own relationships and identity with math. I’ve been there. I HAD to change my mindset around math, for the benefit of the children in my class.
I understand your struggle and the possible hesitation in your own math mindset. BUT - I also believe YOU can do it! YOU can create a creative, inquisitive and passionate math environment WITH the children in your class.
You can change your own relationship with math and I want to help you! I’d love to hear your Math story! Please share any thoughts you might have about any of the questions below!
Reflections to Ponder:
- How does your own personal math story show up in your teaching?
- What was your relationship to math growing up? What experiences have shaped that relationship?
- How did your family shape your math identity? How did your teachers shape your math identity?
- What actions might you take in your classroom to positively influence the identity and mindset of your learners, as mathematicians?
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