Category Archives: Professional Development Plans

Deep Practice: Building Conceptual Understanding in the Middle Grades

2017 NCSM Annual Conference
Deep Practice: Building Conceptual Understanding
in the Middle Grades
Jill Gough, Jennifer Wilson

How might we attend to comprehension, accuracy, flexibility, and then efficiency? What if we leverage technology to enhance our learners’ visual literacy and make connections between words, pictures, and numbers? We will look at new ways of using technology to help learners visualize, think about, connect and discuss mathematics. Let’s explore how we might help young learners productively struggle instead of thrashing around blindly.

Deep practice is built on a paradox: struggling in certain targeted ways — operating at the edges of your ability, where you make mistakes — makes you smarter. Or to put it a slightly different way, experiences where you’re forced to slow down, make errors, and correct them —as you would if you were walking up an ice-covered hill, slipping and stumbling as you go— end up making you swift and graceful without your realizing it. (Coyle, 18 pag.)

The second reason deep practice is a strange concept is that it takes events that we normally strive to avoid —namely, mistakes— and turns them into skills. (Coyle, 20 pag.)

This term productive struggle captures both elements we’re after: we want students challenged and learning. As long as learners are engaged in productive struggle, even if they are headed toward a dead end, we need to bite our tongues and let students figure it out. Otherwise, we rob them of their well-deserved, satisfying, wonderful feelings of accomplishment when they make sense of problems and persevere. (Zager, 128 pag.)


Coyle, Daniel. The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How. (p. 18-20). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Zager, Tracy. Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had: Ideas and Strategies from Vibrant Classrooms. Portland, ME.: Stenhouse Publishers, 2017. (pp. 128-129) Print.

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age
2017 NCSM Annual Conference
Pre-Conference Sessions
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How can leaders effectively lead mathematics education in the era of the digital age?  

There are many ways to contribute in our community and the global community, but we have to be willing to offer our voices. How might we take advantage of instructional tools to purposefully ensure that all students and teachers have voice: voice to share what we know and what we don’t know yet; voice to wonder what if and why; voice to lead and to question.

PD Planning: #Mathematizing Read Alouds part 2

Time. We need more of it.

How might we gain time without adding minutes to our schedule?

What if we mathematize our read-aloud books to use them in math as well as reading and writing workshop? Could it be that we gain minutes of reading if we use children’s literature to offer context for the mathematics we are learning? Could we add minutes of math if we pause and ask mathematical questions during our literacy block?

Becky Holden and I planned the following professional learning session to build common understanding and language as we expand our knowledge of teaching numeracy through literature.  Every Kindergarten, 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, and 3rd Grade math teacher participated in 3.5-hours of professional learning over the course of two days.

Have you read How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin? by Margaret McNamara, G. Brian Karas?

Learning Targets:

Mathematical Practice:

  • I can make sense of tasks and persevere in solving them.

2nd Grade

  • I can work with equal groups of objects to gain foundations for multiplication.
  • I can skip-count by 2s, 5, 10s, and 100s within 1000 to strengthen my understanding of place value.

3rd Grade

  • I can represent and solve problems involving multiplication and division.
  • I can use place value understanding and properties of operations to perform multi-digit arithmetic.

Learning Progressions:

I can apply mathematical flexibility.
#ShowYourWork Algebra

Here’s what it looked like:

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Here’s some of what the teacher-learners said:

I learned to look at books with a new critical eye for both literacy and mathematical lessons. I learned that I can read the same book more than once to delve deeper into different skills. This is what we are learning in Workshop as well. Using a mentor text for different skills is such a great way to integrate learning.

I learned how to better integrate math with other subjects as well as push pass the on answer and look for more than one way to answer the question as well as show in more than one way how I got that answer and to take that to the classroom for my students.

I learned how to integrate literacy practice and math practice at once. In addition, I also learned how to deepen learning and ask higher thinking questions, as well as how to let students answer their own questions and have productive struggle.

I learned that there are many different ways to notice mathematical concepts throughout books. It took a second read through for me to see the richness in the math concepts that could be taught.

I learned that there are many children’s literature that writes about multiple mathematical skills and in a very interesting way!

How might we notice and note opportunities to pause, wonder, and question? What is to be gained by blending learning?

Goal Work: design and implement a differentiated action plan

As an Academic Leadership Team, Maryellen BerryRhonda MitchellMarsha Harris, and I continue to work on our common goal.

By the end of this year, all teachers should be able to say We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our grade to meet all learners where they are.

To highlight our commitment to empowering learners to act as agents of their own learning, we continue to share the following progression as a pathway for teams to learn and stretch.

You can see our previous plans here and here. For today’s Wednesday Workshop, we only had about 45 minutes to work and learn together.  As the Academic Leadership Team, we asked ourselves how we might make time for faculty to learn in targeted ways?  We challenged ourselves to model what we want to see from our faculty. So today’s goal is

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our divisions to meet all teacher-learners where they are.

Here is the big picture for our plan.Here are the details from the Pre-K – 6th literacy PD:

Here are the details for Early Leaners PD: Here are the details for Math PD:

Teachers of Specials and Learning Team also had different learning plans to differentiate for our readers and the social-emotional and character building work.

We hope our faculty can see that we strive to serve as their teacher team and that we embrace the norm be together, not the same.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our grade to meet all learners where they are.

We can design and implement a differentiated action plan across our divisions to meet all learners where they are.

Sneak peek: Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age

Leading Mathematics Education in the Digital Age
2017 NCSM Annual Conference
Pre-Conference Session
Sunday, April 2, 2017 from 1:00-5:00 p.m.
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How can leaders effectively lead mathematics education in the era of the digital age? There are many ways to contribute in our community and the global community, but we have to be willing to offer our voices. How might we take advantage of instructional tools to purposefully ensure that all students and teachers have voice: voice to share what we know and what we don’t know yet; voice to wonder what if and why; voice to lead and to question?

Sneak peek for our session includes:

How might we strengthen our flexibility to make sense and persevere? What if we deepen understanding to show what we know more than one way?

Interested? Here’s a sneak peek at a subset of our slides as they exist today. Disclaimer: Since this is a draft, the slides may change before we see you in San Antonio.

I wonder what Jennifer’s sneak peek looks like? Do you?

Read, apply, learn

Read, apply, learn
`2017 T³™ International Conference
Saturday, March 11, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
Columbus H, East Tower, Ballroom Level
Jennifer Wilson
Jill Gough

How might we take action on current best practices and research in learning and assessment? What if we make sense of new ideas and learn how to apply them in our own practice? Let’s learn together; deepen our understanding of formative assessment; make our thinking visible; push ourselves to be more flexible; and more. We will explore some of the actions taken while tinkering with ideas from Tim Kanold, Dylan Wiliam, Jo Boaler and others, and we will discuss and share their impact on learning.

[Cross posted at Easing The Hurry Syndrome]

Deep practice: building conceptual understanding in the middle grades

Deep practice:
building conceptual understanding in the middle grades
2017 T³™ International Conference
Friday, March 10, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Dusable, West Tower, Third Floor
Jill Gough
Jennifer Wilson

How might we attend to comprehension, accuracy, flexibility and then efficiency? What if we leverage technology to enhance our learners’ visual literacy and make connections between words, pictures and numbers? We will look at new ways of using technology to help learners visualize, think about, connect and discuss mathematics. Let’s explore how we might help young learners productively struggle instead of thrashing around blindly.

[Cross posted at Easing The Hurry Syndrome]