All Things Being Equal: Why Math is the Key to a Better World
The Stats: 304 Pages, published January 2020
Who Should Read It: New and veteran teachers to math and anyone wanting to be inspired and/or rethink their relationship with math!
My Rating (out of 5 ♥): ♥♥♥♥
My Thoughts: All Things Being Equal is part social justice manifesto, part growth mindset companion reader, and part practical guidebook. Author and founder of the Jump Math program, John Mighton, is a self-described late-bloomer in math and has himself grown from math-queasy to a mathemetician in his 30s. Mighton has an approachable tone and brings you along easily into some of the math “traps” students and teachers can fall into. For instance, Mighton is a true believer that anyone can learn math and that it’s often just taught in ways that are inaccessible or relies heavily memorization without the fundamentals (which make the most sense). Mighton spoke to me especially in his beliefs of not creating “low floor, high ceiling” problems, but rather, aiming to get the entire class to succeed. He advocates for this by breaking down math problems into their simplest, easiest to understand forms- something he notes few teachers generally take the time to do, favouring what seems like a more efficient route, but leaving many students behind in the process. Indeed, Mighton convinced me that students who already know the steps won’t be bored in this process either, as they have time to practice and apply, or the opportunity to mentor students along the way. Further, Mighton’s approach also includes myriad reasons why math is imporant. While I didn’t need convincing, his passion for math as a subject in and of itself, and the success with which students can realize within math pedagody in particular, is an admirable one (check it) and further reinforced my belief in strong, inclusive math programs. The book makes the most sense within the context of the Jump Math program, founded by Mighton himself. I recommend this book without reservation for your 2020 reading list, however, to get the most out of it, make sure to carve out time to investigate the Jump Math website, resources, and/or webinars.
Who Should Read It: Teachers, anyone in need of a heartwarming yet raw look at the challenges of children’s responses to trauma
My Rating (out of 5 ♥): ♥♥♥♥
My Thoughts:I fully admit that what drew me into this book was the gorgeous cover, spotted on the ferry from Vancouver to Vancouver Island. When I started paging through the book, I was drawn by the playful dialogue of the endearing, brave, mischieveious, and improbable protagonist, Frankie, a nervous and presumably traumatized 6-year-old who seeks to reconcile his mother’s sudden death by sneaking aboard an English cruise ship bound for France. Naturally! Told from Frankie’s innocent yet all-seeing eyes, I found myself smiling at some of Frankie’s adventures (such as scoring buffet cheese and sleeping amongst the pool chair mats), as well as an ache in my heart for some of his more raw reflections (his panic attack tantrums, his heartbreaking lonliness and fear during the cruise ship’s turbulence, and the misunderstanding he frequently encounters with his teacher at school).
I read this book purely for pleasure and an escape; I was surprisingly and melodiously whisked away into the mind of a child. An endearing story and a good reminder to us all about how poignant, powerful, and significant the world is (for better and worse) for children.