*A reflection on what we can do every
day to build a better, more equitable classroom and world*

* *

As this school year begins, I feel a more profound sense of
responsibility and humility as an educator than I have felt in many years. We begin this year facing, in some sense, a
different world than we faced at the start of last year – but perhaps the world
is not as different as our new awareness of its complexity may be. Perhaps our *collective* awareness is what has been most changed during the last
several months, because teachers deal with extremely complex issues every day
of the year.

More than ever, we must acknowledge our opportunity – and
obligation – as educators to provide a safe, respect-filled, thoughtful learning
environment for EVERY student. **We must
demonstrate unequivocally that we equally value the thinking and potential of
every student, through our words, actions, practices, and policies.**

How can we do so in a mathematics classroom? **Are you
committed to equity, and are you ready to show it?**

- We can
**stop – right now – using the language “high” and “low”**to describe students. (Achievement on a given assessment may be high or low, but these terms should__not__apply to students. What do we really mean when we say “high” or “low”??) - We can promote all students’ equal participation
in class by using
**random name drawing**on a frequent and consistent basis. - We can promote collaboration and respect among
students by
**asking them to listen to each other**and to**respond to (or re-explain)**what others have said. - We can
**listen – really listen – to students’ thinking and questions**,**not just listen for right answers**and then move on. - We can
**stop encouraging fast thinking and fast answers**– slow down, and allow all students to think – really think – about a given question or idea. - We can
**celebrate mistakes**, because brain science actually shows that**our brains grow when we make mistakes**– more so than if we do not make mistakes. - We can
**ask questions rather than telling**– see the article “Never say anything a kid can say”. - We can
**stop using the word “math” when we mean “computation”**and acknowledge that mathematics is what the Standards for Mathematical Practice describe – a dynamic, multi-faceted, open discipline in which every learner has equal opportunity to learn and grow.

*Resources
to help you initiate equity in the classroom:*

- Standards for Mathematical Practice signs, gr. 2-12 (student-friendly, easy to read across the room)
- Standards for Mathematical Practice signs, gr. K-1 (student-friendly, easy to read across the room)
- Jo Boaler’s 7 Positive Norms to Encourage in Math Class