Category Archives: Connecting Ideas

PD Planning: Number Talks and Number Strings

As we begin the second part of our school year and as the calendar changes from 2016 to 2017, we review our goals.

The leaders of our math committee set the following goals for this school year.

Goals:

  • Continue our work on vertical alignment.
  • Expand our knowledge of best practices and their role in our current program.
  • Share work with grade level teams to grow our whole community as teachers of math.
  • Raise the level of teacher confidence in math.
  • Deepen, differentiate, and extend learning for the students in our classrooms.

Our latest action step works on scaling these goals in our community. The following shows our plan to build common understanding and language as we expand our knowledge of numeracy.  Over the course of two days, each math teacher (1st-6th grade) participated in 3-hours of professional learning.

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Sample timestamp from PD sessions.

Our intentions and purpose:

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We started with a number talk and a number string from Kristin Gray‘s NCTM Philadelphia presentation. We challenged ourselves to anticipate the ways our learners answer the following.

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We also referred to Making Number Talks Matter to find Humphreys and Parker’s four strategies for multiplication.  We pressed ourselves to anticipate more than one way for each multiplication strategy to align with Smith and Stein’s 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.23.12 PM.pngFrom our earlier work with Lisa Eickholdt, we know that our ability to talk about a strategy directly impacts our ability to teach the strategy.  What can be learned if we show what we know more than one way? How might we learn from each other if we make our thinking visible?

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 8.46.22 PM.pngAfter working through Humphreys and Parker’s strategies (and learning new strategies), we transitioned to the number string from Kristin‘s presentation.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 7.41.14 PM.pngThe goal for the next part of the learning session offered teaching teams the opportunity to select a number string from one of the Minilessons books shown below.  Each team selected a number string and worked to anticipate according to Smith and Stein’s 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions.

To practice, each team practiced their number string and the other grade-level teams served as learners.  When we share and learn together, we strengthen our understanding of how to differentiate and learn deeply.

Deep learning focuses on recognizing relationships among ideas. During deep learning, students engage more actively and deliberately with information in order to discover and understand the underlying mathematical structure.
—John Hattie, Doug Fisher, Nancy Frey

As we begin the second part of our school year and as the calendar changes from 2016 to 2017, what action steps are needed to reach our goals?


Hattie, John A. (Allan); Fisher, Douglas B.; Frey, Nancy; Gojak, Linda M.; Moore, Sara Delano; Mellman, William L. (2016-09-16). Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning (Corwin Mathematics Series) (p. 136). SAGE Publications. Kindle Edition.

Humphreys, Cathy; Parker, Ruth (2015-04-21). Making Number Talks Matter (Kindle Locations 1265-1266). Stenhouse Publishers. Kindle Edition.

Norris, Kit; Schuhl, Sarah (2016-02-16). Engage in the Mathematical Practices: Strategies to Build Numeracy and Literacy With K-5 Learners (Kindle Locations 4113-4115). Solution Tree Press. Kindle Edition.

Smith, Margaret Schwan., and Mary Kay. Stein. 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions. Reston, VA: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2011. Print.

#GISAConference 2016: notes and quick reflection

2016 GISA Annual Conference
Monday, November 7, 2016

Wendy Mogel (@DrWendyMogel) encourages us to raise wildflowers instead of bonsai trees.  She challenges our community to help our children through the journey to independence instead of hoping to skip over the struggles that come with the journey.

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Justin Cahill (@justybubPE), Brian Balocki (@BrianBalocki), and John Turner were serious about Keeping Kids in Motion. While originally scheduled into a traditional classroom, they encouraged everyone to check in and join them outside of experiential lessons to implement in PE and in base classrooms.  They taught the why, the how, and the what of keeping kids (of any age) in motion. Best GISA session EVER!

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Mary Cantwell (@scitechyEDU) facilitated a conversation around design, STEM, STEAM, and Design Thinking.  My big, lingering take-aways are the following questions.

How might we impact our learners and their approach to solving problems every day?

and

If the users of our assessments are our learners, how might we design with them in mind and design using an empathetic lens?

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Rich Wormeli (@RickWormeli2) sent the message that students will only be creative, courageous, and persistent if they have teachers willing to be creative, courageous, and persistent. Sense-making is a worthy goal, but don’t stop there; strive for meaning-making. Relationships first.  Use assessment to reveal the story of learning.gisa2016-wormeli

#TLC2016 Day 2 Notes

Sharing my day two notes from the Teaching Learning Coaching conference:

Partnering for Impact: Realizing Our Best Potential 

How might we learn the art and the science of receiving feedback? Sheila Heen asks

Will you take the easy path or the more difficult one?

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Reflect and share your “guide to working with me” to help our teams learn to help each other learn.

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You cannot lead if you are not learning. ~ Michael Fullan

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Presentations that make an impact have 7 principles of partnerships. Know your core beliefs.

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I am grateful that Marsha Harris (@marshamac74) shared her notes from Sheila Heen’s keynote, Michael Fullan’s keynote, and Jim Knight and Kristin Anderson’s breakout session.  Her notes add context, commentary, and detail to my sketches.

#TLC2016 Day 1 notes

Sharing my day one notes from the Teaching Learning Coaching conference:

Partnering for Impact: Realizing Our Best Potential 

Every student deserves a great teacher not by chance, but by design. ~Doug Fisher

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Never place a strategy or assessment tool higher than student learning. ~Doug Fisher

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Jim Knight – #ItStartsWithUs – Listen. Have courage. Find common ground.  Have empathy. Love one another.

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Kristin Anderson – Build trust. Without trust, influence diminishes..kristinandersontlc2016


I am grateful that Marsha Harris (@marshamac74) shared her notes for Doug Fisher’s keynote session and Jim Knight’s keynote.  Her notes add context, commentary, and detail to my sketches.

#NCTMRegionals Day 1 notes

Sharing my day one notes from the NCTM Regional Conference in Philadelphia:

Peg Cagle: Teacher Leadership – Advocating for ourselves, our students, our profession.

“The difference between listening and pretending to listen, I discovered, is enormous. One is fluid, the other is rigid. One is alive, the other is stuffed. Eventually, I found a radical way of thinking about listening. Real listening is a willingness to let the other person change you. When I’m willing to let them change me, something happens between us that’s more interesting than a pair of dueling monologues.” – Alan Alda

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Becky Holden: Building Understanding – Meeting Students Where They Are

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Kristin Gray: Lesson Planning That Begins with Student Thinking
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#NCTMRegionals Inspire, Innovate, IGNITE! sketchnote

I had the opportunity to attend, live tweet, and sketch the 2016 Regional Conference & Exposition in Philadelphia opening session Inspire, Innovate, IGNITE! delivered by Chike Akua, Jimmie L. Davis, Matthew Larson, Sara Moore, Tom Reardon, Michael Steele, and Rose Mary Zbiek.

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I am grateful to Bob Lochel for sharing an artifact of evidence of my work.

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If interested, you can check out the presenters’ slide decks to add context to my notes at NCTM’s blog.

#ObserveMe – the other side – invitation and purpose

Observation by invitation and with purpose.

For context, stop and read Robert Kaplinsky’s
(@robertkaplinsky) #ObserveMe challenge if you haven’t.

How might we serve one another? What if we have questions about our practice? In a community of confident, competent risk-takers, it is safe to declare what we’d like to learn, our goals, and hoped for feedback.

Today, I served as observer-learner for two such teacher-learners.

Julia Kuipers (@J_kuipers3) 6th Grade Spanish:

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Since Julia was seeking feedback on how much time they spoke in the target language, I tried to incorporate a timestamp in my sketch.

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I could share my sketch in real-time prior to leaving the classroom for immediate feedback.  Later in the day, I could reflect on Julia’s class and use my sketch, I could offer additional feedback in her feedback collection form.

Her feedback form:

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I liked that I could write about what I noticed and what I wonder.  I made sure that I commented on what I saw that could be used as evidence of time in the target language, students empowered to level up and stretch themselves, and students serving as resources for each other.  I wondered about extending formative assessment to include performance as well as efficacy.


Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) Physics:

First, it is important to note that we are not at the same school, though this is still observation by invitation and with purpose.

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While my sketch chronicled my observation, I noticed and noted when Megan provided levels of challenge within an activity and when students were set up for success when working independently.

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Since it was at the end of the day, I had the opportunity to debrief and offer direct feedback in conversation with Megan.


I am thankful for the learning experiences today.  I am grateful for the invitations. I appreciate knowing what to observe so that I can learn and serve.

Observation by invitation and with purpose.

Everyone learns.

Wow!


Addendum: Megan’s reflection of this #ObserveMe experience