1. What are you reading right now?
Sheena Lights: I am reading Rethinking Mathematics: Teaching Social Justice by the Numbers, which focuses on math instruction as a tool for social justice. I am also reading the “TNTP Opportunity Myth” data report for more perspective about equity in schools. Finally, I am reading WestEd’s “Understanding Proficiency” performance tasks to frame how students who require additional access to academic language show proficiency on math concepts on the Smarter Balance Assessment performance tasks without necessarily showing proficiency in English.
2. What is a lesson you learned from this book/journal/blog?
SL: Rethinking Mathematics has taught me to think of math as a necessary tool for students in promoting social justice. Students use their math skills to solve problems that affect them in their lives. This makes math personal, but also supports them in building the skills necessary to effect change in their communities. TNTP’s “Opportunity Myth” report has many sobering data points that show the urgency for us as stakeholders in this work to push for equitable practices in schools. “Understanding Proficiency” has helped to frame my thinking around how students show proficiency in math when they are still building proficiency in English.
3. What book do you return to for inspiration?
SL: I return to Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematics Success for All almost daily. This text, specifically the “Access and Equity” chapter, has helped me to think about my own practice as an educator and to reflect on how I am either contributing to or pushing back against inequities in math education.
4. What books are on your nightstand or at the top of your e-book app?
SL: I am also listening to Stamped from the Beginning on Audible to learn the history of racist ideas around the world–very sobering listening, but foundational in my understanding of how race has been used throughout history to oppress people of color.
5. How do you prioritize reading amidst all your other duties?
SL: I prioritize reading by setting aside time each week to read/listen to books and articles that directly impact my work. It helps that my work is aligned to my interests so I’m able to read things that I find super interesting and impactful to my work at UnboundEd.
About Sheena Lights
Sheena Lights is the lead content designer for math content at the Standards Institutes. She designs professional learning experiences with a focus on higher standards and equitable instructional practices for all students.