Series: Racial Justice

Fostering Racial Justice and Deep Mathematical Thinking in Chicago PreK

Fostering Racial Justice and Deep Mathematical Thinking in Chicago PreK

RJEM at Work highlights the everyday efforts of caregivers, community organizations, teachers, researchers, and educational institutions to promote racial justice in the mathematical experiences of children. For the RJEM Local Planning Committee, there are multiple ways to foster racial justice in early mathematics. As such, RJEM at Work aims to showcase a diverse set of practices. By doing so, we hope not only to share interesting work but also to inspire action at different levels and points of entry in the area of early mathematics education.

This video features the work of teachers Kristin Roberts and Anne Kellogg and their students in a Blended PreK Classroom in the Chicago Public Schools.

Inspired by the work of Dr. Margaret Burroughs – a Black Chicago artist, teacher and institution builder – students engaged in detailed observations of the city and their neighborhood and discussed issues of city occupation, labor, and history.

Aligned with the goal of developing children’s deep mathematical thinking, Ms. Roberts and Ms. Kellog emphasized respect to the many ways children of different racial and ethnic backgrounds engage with the city as well as created spaces in which their ways of knowing were accounted for and celebrated.

This project, presented at the 2022 Promising Math Conference, exemplifies a robust understanding of racial justice in early math that goes beyond focusing on content alone. Here, racial justice is centered in lesson planning and classroom structure.

We welcome suggestions of practices to be featured in the RJEM at Work series. Please reach out to us at [email protected] to share your work and/or other recommendations.