Sunday, September 17, 2017

Math and Mindfulness

This past weekend, up in Roseville, California, an innovative and exciting new conference launched: The Math and Mindfulness Summit 2017. The whole gig was the brainchild of Carole Pryor and Marie Criste. For years these two Roseville Joint Union High School District all-stars have wanted to collaborate on a blend of their two passions: Carole is an #EduHero in the Math world and Marie is known far and wide for organizing the most engaging and well planned Professional Development shows in town.

The modern math scene has recently been set ablaze by the work of Jo Boaler and Carol Dweck. These two are revolutionizing the way we all see the math classroom, most notably, due to these two educational researchers, we are all hearing the call for a growth mindset in the classroom and marching to the mantra of, "banishing math anxiety and giving students a roadmap to success," as described in Boaler's book, Mathematical Mindsets. This work is clearly a piece of the catalyst that launched this conference.

Now, for a bit of brilliant pageantry, we introduce a sprinkle of flexible seating and 360 Math, as can only be described by the event's keynote speaker, Ed Campos. You can imagine how this whole thing came together. Upon the foundation of Jo Boaler's work, brought to life by amazing practitioners from across the region and kicked off by keynote speaker Ed Campos: it was like a mathematician's perfect storm.

So, there's the stage, it's set. After this last year of leading powerful PD around equity and access for RJUHSD, the dream team of Pyror and Criste launch the Math and Mindfulness Summit: a blend of that which creates anxiety, coupled with the antidote to anxiety - all in one setting.

Ed Campos started the day with an inspired and heartfelt keynote that had the entire room eating from the palm of his hand. We all broke out to sessions, each was an incredibly balanced blend of Math and Mindful practices that encouraged growth mindsets, self regulation, and intrinsically motivating students. I don't know that I have ever seen or experienced anything quite like it.

I was honored to be asked to close the day with a short closing keynote. My job was simply to inspire the crowd to take action on what they had learned during the day.

Here is a bootleg video of my 12 minute closing keynote. It opens by me saying that I was blown away by this conference, but I truly have to take just a moment and reiterate what an inspirational conference this was. My sincerest congratulations and thank you goes out to Carole and Marie for their vision and their offer to include me in this unique opportunity. If you see this conference come around again, I highly recommend it to anyone interested in experiencing a tribe of people envisioning how the modern math classroom could exist.

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