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Possibilities in Practice

Social Justice Teaching in the Disciplines

Edited By Summer Melody Pennell, Ashley S. Boyd, Hillary Parkhouse and Alison LaGarry

This edited collection illustrates different possibilities for social justice practice in various grade levels, disciplines, and interdisciplinary spaces in P–12 education. Chapters in this unique volume demonstrate teaching with a critical lens, helping students develop critical dispositions, encouraging civic action with students, and teaching about topics inclusive of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Based on empirical research, each contribution is rooted in a critical theoretical framework and characterizes findings from sustained study of pedagogic practice, spanning subject matter from social studies, English Language Arts, music, mathematics, and science. Through this work, both pre- and in-service teachers as well as teacher educators will be inspired to practice social justice in their own classrooms.

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Chapter Eight: Reading the Math on Marriage Equality: Social Justice Lessons in Middle School 5th–7th Grade (Summer Melody Pennell / Bryan Fede)


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Reading THE Math ON Marriage Equality

Social Justice Lessons in Middle School

5th–7th Grade


Summer: If anyone had asked me a few years ago what school subject was least likely to be a factor in my research, math would have been my top answer. I am a former high school English teacher and previously claimed to be afraid of math. Luckily for me, my research path took an unexpected turn out of my comfort zone. As graduate students, Bryan and I started talking about our shared interest in social justice and how his interests in critical math could combine with mine on queer pedagogy. What started as jokes about gay math problems led to a much larger project that changed the way I saw not only math but English Language Arts.

Bryan: “What is gay math”? This is a question I have been asked several times since I embarked on this project with Summer. I have to admit that I asked that question of myself five years ago as Summer and I mused about what a collaboration between the two of us might look like. As Summer began to gather and share literature on queer pedagogy, I began to realize that, far from a fringe theory, queer pedagogy provided a powerful lens for me to think about and enact the sorts of rich mathematical...

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