Category Archives: Sketch Notes

Instructional Core practice #WordsMatter How will we show we CARE?

As part of our school’s Pre-Planning, I facilitated a faculty-teams workshop to continue our work and learning in the Instructional Core.

Here are my notes from the session.

The agenda, shared ahead of the meeting, looked like this:

The slide deck that accompanies this plan looks like this:

We watched 4:05 minutes of Practice is Everything to renew and review our norms around teaming.

How we practice, how we team, makes a difference. The words we choose and use when offering feedback contribute to how our learners author their identity.  As we work to calibrate our expectations, we can also hone and enhance our ability to offer high-quality, positive, actionable feedback that empower learners to reach for their next independent level.

As seen in the slides, I used video timers to pace the teamwork time. What I learned is that the timers held me accountable for the work time promised to teachers.  I was forced to wait, to be patient, and to not rush. So helpful to hold the time for our teachers.

When we focus on learning,
we hold time for learners.

And, just as we carefully plan and hold time for learning, we carefully choose what we notice and note. Words matter; the story you tell impacts how a learner is thought of and seen.

Amanda Thomas (@TrinityMrsT) found and shared the video below. I used it in our session to illustrate the power of story.

As we begin a new school year with new learners, how will we seek a balanced story, describe what we want to see next, and balance our feedback to highlight success?

What story will we notice and note?
What feedback will we offer?
What will we contribute to how  learners author their identity?

How will we show we C.A.R.E.?



Lesson Study: different teachers, common lesson plan, guaranteed and viable curriculum

What if we share common mission and vision? How might we express our style, individuality, and personality while holding true to a plan and the essentials to learn?

My team, the Academic Leadership Team, includes the Head of School, both Division Heads, the Director of Curriculum, the Director of Technology, and me. We strategically plan using our agreed upon essential learnings.

Today, I had the honor and privilege of observing members of my team launch learning based on our goals and plans.  Can you see our connectedness, themes, and common language?

All School Meeting
with Joe Marshall, Head of SchoolJoeMarshallAug8-17

Early Elementary Division Meeting
with Rhonda Mitchell, Division Head

Upper Elementary Division Meeting
with Maryellen Berry, Division Head

How might we team to meet the needs of our diverse learners? What if teaching teams plan common lessons based on guaranteed and viable curriculum? And, what can we learn when we observe each other?


Sketch notes from #TMC17 (a.k.a. Twitter Math Camp)

Becky Holden (@bholden86) and I attended Twitter Math Camp (#TMC17) at Holy Innocents Episcopal School in Atlanta, GA from Thursday, July 27 to Sunday, July 30.

This conference is by teachers, for teachers. The structure of TMC contains the following lengths of presentations:

  • Morning sessions (One session that meets Thursday, Friday and Saturday mornings for 2 hours each morning)
  • Afternoon sessions (Individual 1/2 hour sessions on Thursday)
  • Afternoon sessions (Individual 1 hour sessions Thursday, Friday and Saturday)

To honor Carl Oliver‘s (@carloliwitter) #PushSend request/challenge, here are my sketch notes from the sessions I attended.

Differentiating CCSS Algebra 1
— from drab to fab using Exeter Math 1 & Exploratory Talk
Elizabeth Statmore (@cheesemonkeysf)

The Politics(?) of Mathematics Teaching
Grace Chen (@graceachen)

What does it mean to say that mathematics teaching is political, and what does that mean for our moral and ethical responsibility as mathematics teachers?

Bridging elementary skills & concepts to high school & beyond
Glenn Waddell, Jr. (@gwaddellnvhs)

Micro-decisions in Questioning
David Petersen (@calcdave)

All I Really Need To Know I Learned From The MTBoS
…Not Really, But Close
Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy)

Hitting The Darn ‘Send’ Button
Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter)

Practical Ideas on the Kind of Coaching
We Need to Provide and Demand
Steve Leinwand (@steve_leinwand)

What is not captured in my notes is play: game night, trivia, crocheting, and tons of fun.

How might we grow, learn, and play in community when together and when apart?

Sketch notes from #TMC17 @Desmos pre-conference #descon17

I attended the TMC Desmos pre-conference at Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Atlanta on July 26.

Below are my sketch notes from the session I attended.

Desmos and Assessment
Julie Reulbach (@jreulbach)

Principles for Building Activities
Michael Fenton (@mjfenton)

Annie Fetter (@MFAnnie)

Calculus for All
Chase Orton (mathgeek76)

The Science of Early Learning and Adversity: Daily Leadership to Promote Development and Buffer Stress Day 2

Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach) and I are attending The Science of Early Learning and Adversity: Daily Leadership to Promote Development and Buffer Stress at The Saul Zaentz Professional Learning Academy.

How can early education leaders support the design and implementation of strong early learning environments—those that buffer stress, reduce challenging behaviors, and promote development?

Day 2 Agenda (with my notes)

Classroom Strategies to Decrease
and Respond to Disruptive Behaviors
Amanda Williford
Research Associate Professor, University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL)

Reflection and Application
Amanda Williford and the Zaentz Team

Strategic Planning Session
Nonie Lesaux and Robin Kane

Universal Design for Equity and Strong Early Learning
Thomas Hehir
Silvana and Christopher Pascucci Professor of Practice in Learning Differences, Harvard Graduate School of Education

My list to think about, reflect on, and grapple with from today includes:

  • How might we meet the needs of diverse learners?
  • How might we develop and strengthen strong positive bonds and relationships?
  • How can we shift the dialog to “what does this learner need from me?” How can we embrace the power of positivity to make change?
  • Can we grow into a  5:1 ratio to make change and leverage the power of positivity?
  • Can we strength our norm of no labels so that we describe what a learner can do and the next step?
  • Can we embrace the Theory of Change to gain clarity?
    structures vs. processes; outputs vs. outcomes, etc.
  • How might we improve learning for all and deepen our understanding of differentiation?

#LessonClose with @TracyZager at #MtHolyokeMath

I’m taking X.MTHED-404: Effective Practices for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics (K-12).

Here are my notes from Session 8, Lesson Close with Tracy Zager.

Tracy’s session connects, for me, to a practitioner’s corner in David Sousa’s How the Brain Learns.  He writes

Closure describes the covert process whereby the learner’s working memory summarizes for itself its perception of what has been learned.  It is during closure that a student often completes the rehearsal process and attaches sense and meaning to the new learning, thereby increasing the probability that it will be retained in long-term storage. (p. 69)

How might we take up Tracy’s challenge to “never skip the close?” What new habits must we gain in order to make sure the close is useful to the learner?

Sousa continues

Closure is different from review. In review, the teacher does most of the work, repeating key concepts made during the lesson and rechecking student understanding.  In closure, the student does most of the work by mentally rehearsing and summarizing those concepts and deciding whether they make sense and have meaning. (p. 69)

What new habits must we gain in order to make sure the close is helps them reflect on learning, make connections, and/or ask new questions? In other words, do we plan intention time for learners to make sense of the task?

Closure is an investment than can pay off dramatically in increased retention of learning. (Sousa, p. 69)

Sousa, David A. How the Brain Learns. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin, a Sage, 2006. Print.

Building and Sustaining the Culture of Problem Solving in our Classroom with @FawnPNguyen #MtHolyokeMath

I’m taking X.MTHED-404: Effective Practices for Advancing the Teaching and Learning of Mathematics (K-12).

Here are my notes from Session 7, Building and Sustaining the Culture of Problem Solving in our Classroom, with Fawn Nguyen

I am struck by Fawn’s initial purpose. Building and sustaining a culture of problem solving in our classrooms demands vision with plans and commitment with continual growth through feedback.

How to we make use of structure in our planning to narrow our resources to build and sustain coherence and connectedness? Wen we plan, are we intentionally connecting to standards and intentionally stepping away from them to promote problem solving, visual learning, and deepening understanding?

What tasks do we select? How much time do we spend? And, most importantly, how do we show faith in our learners to promote productive, creative struggle?

Notes from previous sessions: