10 episodes

Room to Grow is the math podcast that brings you discussions on trending topics in math education in short segments. We’re not here to talk at people. We’re here to think and learn with others — because when it comes to mathematics there’s always room to grow!

We’re former educators and we make it no secret how much we love math. Tune in for our conversations centered on all the ways that make it possible to enrich the entire learning experience for both teachers and students, ranging from specific topics like mathematical modeling to general ideas about student engagement. Every episode of this math ed podcast offers something new.

When we come together to talk through our ideas and the different teaching methods being used today — whether in the classroom or at home — it gives everyone a chance to expand their knowledge. We invite you to listen in with colleagues and friends so you can keep the conversations going, and keep on learning.

Meet your hosts: Curtis Brown and Joanie Funderburk
Curtis Brown leads numerous content development projects including the Families of Functions video series from Texas Instruments. Curtis also taught mathematics and Statistics for years, and he served as Statistics Specialist at the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and Mathematics Coordinator at LTF. There’s a joy in exploring all the patterns and logic that can be found in mathematics, and Curtis is eager to jump into each podcast episode with new, interesting takes on the day’s topics.

Joanie Funderburk serves as Texas Instruments’ Strategic Alliance Director, advocating for high-quality STEM education and elevating the voice of educators in state- and national-level policy decisions. Joanie’s previous experiences, from teaching math for nearly 20 years to her roles as the Director of Facilitators at Illustrative Mathematics, and Manager of Professional Learning at Student Achievement Partners, have allowed her to learn from teachers across the country. Joanie pours her enthusiasm for math into this podcast with a belief that continuous learning benefits everyone.

Room to Grow - a Math Podcast Room to Grow Math

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires macOS 11.4 or higher

Room to Grow is the math podcast that brings you discussions on trending topics in math education in short segments. We’re not here to talk at people. We’re here to think and learn with others — because when it comes to mathematics there’s always room to grow!

We’re former educators and we make it no secret how much we love math. Tune in for our conversations centered on all the ways that make it possible to enrich the entire learning experience for both teachers and students, ranging from specific topics like mathematical modeling to general ideas about student engagement. Every episode of this math ed podcast offers something new.

When we come together to talk through our ideas and the different teaching methods being used today — whether in the classroom or at home — it gives everyone a chance to expand their knowledge. We invite you to listen in with colleagues and friends so you can keep the conversations going, and keep on learning.

Meet your hosts: Curtis Brown and Joanie Funderburk
Curtis Brown leads numerous content development projects including the Families of Functions video series from Texas Instruments. Curtis also taught mathematics and Statistics for years, and he served as Statistics Specialist at the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) and Mathematics Coordinator at LTF. There’s a joy in exploring all the patterns and logic that can be found in mathematics, and Curtis is eager to jump into each podcast episode with new, interesting takes on the day’s topics.

Joanie Funderburk serves as Texas Instruments’ Strategic Alliance Director, advocating for high-quality STEM education and elevating the voice of educators in state- and national-level policy decisions. Joanie’s previous experiences, from teaching math for nearly 20 years to her roles as the Director of Facilitators at Illustrative Mathematics, and Manager of Professional Learning at Student Achievement Partners, have allowed her to learn from teachers across the country. Joanie pours her enthusiasm for math into this podcast with a belief that continuous learning benefits everyone.

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires macOS 11.4 or higher

    Addressing Math Anxiety with Robert Ahdoot - Part 2

    Addressing Math Anxiety with Robert Ahdoot - Part 2

    In this episode, Joanie and Curtis continue their conversation with Robert Ahdoot, founder of Yay! Math. We continue the conversation from Episode 9, digging into how teachers can address students’ math anxiety. We discuss the idea that teaching could be considered a service profession, and how that perspective can support teachers in building trust with their students. Robert shares a powerful story of a discipline issue in his classroom, and how approaching the situation with the humanness we share with students supported a positive outcome. Although Robert’s creative, outgoing, and exuberant personality are part of who he is as a teacher, he reminds us that any personality type can be a profoundly impactful educator by working to connect with and understand students. After all, Robert suggests, students just want to know that we have their backs.
    Listeners are encouraged to consider these additional resources mentioned in the episode:
    Robert Ahdoot’s website, https://www.yaymath.org/  where you can find videos, courses, Robert’s blog and more to help inspire the students in your care;Robert’s Algebra 1 lesson on ratios and proportions for Texas Instruments’ “Smart Space” video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5itAHkH0YH4&list=PLQa_6aWmaC6AebhOVkKXC8Vags6D1TVaz ;Jo Boaler’s research article on timed tests: https://bhi61nm2cr3mkdgk1dtaov18-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/nctm-timed-tests.pdf More about our guest, Robert Ahdoot: Robert Ahdoot is a math teacher and founder of YayMath.org, a free online collection of math video lessons filmed live in his classroom, in the studio, and even as street performance art, using iconic costumes and characters. Robert has given TEDx talks and travels to schools and conferences promoting his message of achieving positive learning through meaningful human connections. He is the author of One-on-One 101: The Art of Inspired and Effective Individualized Instruction, and the creator of online Algebra and Geometry math courses.
    Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 32 min
    Addressing Math Anxiety with Robert Ahdoot - Part 1

    Addressing Math Anxiety with Robert Ahdoot - Part 1

    Joanie and Curtis host their first guest on this episode of Room to Grow. Robert Ahdoot taught high school math and found his strength in connecting with and engaging students, leveraging his enthusiasm and creativity to build strong relationships with students. He found that his humor, compassion, and excitement for mathematics content helped students overcome their anxiety about and struggles with learning math. 

    Robert brings a contemplative and self-reflective spirit to our conversation, bringing in knowledge about the physiology of stress and the workings of our brains alongside his passion for human connection and relationships, making this a conversation unlike any other. 

    We tackle issues that almost every math teacher has dealt with: supporting students who struggle, who are unengaged, and who experience math anxiety, causing them to underperform. Robert gives practical and actionable tips, and reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously along the way. You’ll leave wanting more, and you’ll get it! This episode is the first of two conversations with Robert. You won’t want to miss a minute of this conversation!
    Listeners are encouraged to consider these additional resources mentioned in the episode:
    Robert Ahdoot’s website, https://www.yaymath.org/  where you can find videos, courses, Robert’s blog and more to help inspire the students in your care;Robert’s Algebra 1 lesson on ratios and proportions for Texas Instruments’ “Smart Space” video series: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5itAHkH0YH4&list=PLQa_6aWmaC6AebhOVkKXC8Vags6D1TVaz ;YouCubed video on the importance of struggle: https://www.youcubed.org/resources/the-importance-of-struggle/ One of Robert’s favorite riddles: You have 9 marbles. One is slightly heavier than each of the other 8. Using a balance scale only twice, how can you determine which is the heavier marble? The answer is elegant and without "out of the box" thinking, which is generally welcomed of course, but no need here. No weighing marbles with your hands, dropping them, using water somehow, etc. You can determine which is the heavier marble using the balance scale twice.More about our guest, Robert Ahdoot: Robert Ahdoot is a math teacher and founder of YayMath.org, a free online collection of math video lessons filmed live in his classroom, in the studio, and even as street performance art, using iconic costumes and characters. Robert has given TEDx talks and travels to schools and conferences promoting his message of achieving positive learning through meaningful human connections. He is the author of One-on-One 101: The Art of Inspired and Effective Individualized Instruction, and the creator of online Algebra and Geometry math courses.
    Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 36 min
    Reframing Learning Loss

    Reframing Learning Loss

    In this episode of Room to Grow, Joanie and Curtis discuss the challenge of pandemic “learning loss” and provide ideas for math teachers to reframe this concept. They speak about the potential negative impacts of deficit language as students return to classrooms across the country, and emphasize the importance of creating a positive classroom culture for learning, grounded in beliefs that all students can and will be successful. Acknowledging that educators are facing significant pandemic-related challenges, our hosts also talk about the power of collaboration and how it is even more important for the success of teachers and students in the 2021-22 school year.
    Listeners are encouraged to consider these additional resources for managing learning in the new school year:
    Continuing the Journey: Mathematics Learning 2021 and Beyond – joint publication from the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM) and the Association for State Supervisors of Mathematics (ASSM).
    Learning Acceleration for All: Planning for the Next Three to Five Years – TNTP’s resource for educators responding to Covid-19’s impact on learning
    These blog posts on The False Construct of Readiness in Mathematics and A Process to Address Unfinished Learning in Middle School Math (which has ideas applicable to all grade levels). 
    Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 30 min
    Creating a Classroom Environment Fertile for Learning

    Creating a Classroom Environment Fertile for Learning

    The article referred to in the podcast for building back better can be found here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/lindadarlinghammond/2021/04/05/accelerating-learning-as-we-build-back-better/?sh=33b314156722&fbclid=IwAR2QaW5oCyel5PxBECCziT9c6bKr3osAUSTj81ZP5gdi09cyvIJQN8JmT7U 
    Restart and Reinvent report: https://restart-reinvent.learningpolicyinstitute.org/
    Effortful Thinking: https://www.edsurge.com/news/2021-06-28-better-questions-in-the-classroom-lead-students-to-think-harder-and-learn-deeper

    Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 29 min
    How Beliefs Impact Achievement

    How Beliefs Impact Achievement

    How does what we believe as teachers impact our students and their learning? What about their beliefs about themselves as learners and doers of mathematics? In this episode of Room to Grow, Curtis and Joanie explore these ideas and more from the perspective of continuous improvement and growing awareness as educators. They share stories from their own experiences where naming a fundamental belief about teaching and learning mathematics provides a powerful reminder of habits, actions, or decisions that work against our fundamental beliefs. 
    As former classroom teachers, Joanie and Curtis know how challenging it is to meet the needs of a full class of students, and working to be a better teacher from day to day and year to year. They talk about shifting the thinking from doing something more to doing something different when a teacher wants to make a change in their classroom to better align their practice with their beliefs.
    And of course, students’ beliefs are part of the mathematics achievement equation, too, so our hosts share some ideas about how teachers can help bolster students’ beliefs in themselves and in their abilities to learn mathematics.
    Learn more about students' mathematical identities in this book: https://www.nctm.org/Store/Products/The-Impact-of-Identity-in-K-8-Mathematics--Rethinking--Equity-Based-Practices/Learn about supporting equitable outcomes in your math classroom in this book: https://www.amazon.com/Choosing-See-Framework-Equity-Classroom/dp/1951600800Joanie mentions this book where she explored ideas of developing students’ social and academic capital: https://www.amazon.com/Heterogenius-Classrooms-Detracking-Science-Groupwork/dp/0807752460 Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 34 min
    Helping Students Struggle Productively

    Helping Students Struggle Productively

    Productive Struggle is a key component of students’ mathematical learning. But struggle can shift from “productive” to “unproductive” at different rates and for different reasons for different students (and teachers!). Ensuring that students engage in productive struggle is complex, nuanced, and dependent on a healthy classroom culture and strong teacher-student relationships. 
    In this episode, Curtis and Joanie explore what productive struggle looks like and how to recognize when a student’s struggle is heading for an unproductive state. They consider the characteristics of tasks and activities that lend themselves to supporting productive struggle, including the “just right” level of difficulty, and that students have enough familiarity with the topic that they believe they can be successful with the task.
    Next, our hosts unpack the idea of the “Learning Pit” from James Nottingham, and how effective and well-timed questions from the teacher can help students who are stuck in the pit to find the proverbial rope they can use to pull themselves out and find success. 
    Finally, Joanie shares a challenging geometric puzzle and the conversation she had with Curtis where he supported her productive struggle in finding the solution, tying together the ideas from this episode into an authentic situation from the hosts’ own lives.
    Explore more about the Learning Pit and other ideas from the Challenging Learning Group here: https://www.challenginglearning.com/learning-pit/  
    Consider extending your learning about productive struggle with these resources from NCTM (membership required for access):
    Productive Struggle in Action (access at www.nctm.org/mtlt11305g3).By way of introduction: Productive Struggle (Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, Vol. 23, No. 4, January/February 2018).Share your feedback, comments, and suggestions for future episode topics by emailing roomtogrowmath@gmail.com. Be sure to connect with your hosts on Twitter and Instagram: @JoanieFun and @cbmathguy. 

    • 45 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

math_count ,

Reflective and Inspiring

I love listening to the thought processes and experiences of Curtis and Joanie. The topics are timely and relatable to the classroom.

alison_pruett ,

Great for math educators

I love listening to Curtis and Joanie! They feel like my friends/colleagues just having a discussion about math education.

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