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Episode 21: Mathematizing Mindsets - An Interview with Janet, Mariana, and Kirsta

Updated: Jul 30, 2021

Desiree Harrison 0:00

Know of a teacher, teacher educator, or parent that is keeping the conversation about math active and positive? Then nominate them for the KMT Spotlight where we highlight additional voices in the math community and celebrate all of the amazing things happening. Email me at or connect with me on Twitter to nominate someone, or yourself, today.

There’s been amazing feedback from the past few episodes, especially episode 20 talking about Everything You Never Learned about Fractions Part 1. Thank you to all of the Kids Math Talk listeners. I appreciate your support of the show so much and thank you for your donations that help to keep the show running - thank you also for sharing the episodes so that more people can learn along with us and for keeping the conversation going through Twitter and email.

And Yes! I am planning future episodes to continue to explore fractions understanding. Today though we’re talking about Mathematizing Your School where we will learn what that term mathematize means, and about actionable items that can promote excitement, and a positive mindset towards math in the classroom, school, and district, no matter what math concept is being emphasized at the moment.

Desiree Harrison 2:02

Today, we have a trio of math enthusiasts from the Pasadena Independent School District in Pasadena, Texas here to help us learn how to mathematize our learning spaces. Please welcome, instructional specialists Janet Nuzzie, and math coaches Mariana Breaux, and Kirsta Jenne.

I hear about this word mathematize a lot, and when I think about the amount of ELA resources, meaning reading and writing, the amount of attention that those subject areas get in comparison to math in terms of the classroom in just wall space for anchor charts, or various resources, and it's not even at all. The attention is definitely skewed toward that reading and writing, unless the teacher is truly passionate about mathematics. And if we extend that definition of learning space into- to include that of the entire school or the entire district, reading and writing oftentimes still wins out - they receive more attention and more funding for initiatives like month long events for reading and special events for families, and even with people acknowledging how crucial it is to have math for a child's full development, many school and district cultures still have this unspoken norm that it's okay for math to be de-emphasized.

And from what I gather, that's no longer the case in your school district.

And in order to change the culture, you have to change the conversation, and this mathematize seems to be that way. So, tell us what does it really mean to mathematize a school, and how did you all go about this in setting up the structures and the system.