Tag Archives: Daniel Pink

Focus on Learning: Establish Mathematics Goals to Focus Learning

Worry in her beautiful, tired, sad eyes communicates so much. Strain across her face makes my heart ache. As we sit down for coffee with our children playing nearby, she blurts, “I don’t know how to make myself clearer, Jill. They just don’t, won’t, can’t – I don’t know – get it!” I sigh into my coffee which causes steam to fog up my glasses, and she laughs through her tears.  

Knowing that I am an evidence-interested educator, she pulls out her unit plans for me to see and offer feedback. “You were in our class yesterday. What I can I do better…? How do I help them learn?” Love and concern for her students is evident in her thoughtfulness, craftsmanship, and design.

I was in this class yesterday and had been for many days of the unit. I go again and again, because I am learning from her and with her students. This strong, organized, empathetic teacher is, in fact, a very good teacher.  

“What if we take your teaching up a level to a stronger focus on learning? Let’s look at the output that is causing you this worry and stress. Together, can we look at their work and identify what they, in your words, ‘just don’t, won’t, can’t’ do?’ And then, what if we establish mathematics goals to focus learning for you and your students?”

Sitting there on the bank of the Chattahoochee, occasionally interrupted, joyfully, by a toddler that needed to show us a valuable rock or other important discovery, we combed through student work. Outpouring concern and frustration, she talked about each learner, their strengths, and what surprised her about what they did not understand. I listened in awe of what she knew about her students in granular detail, and what she thought they knew but didn’t really. My notes highlighted every success she saw and the joy and pride she felt with every success.

How might we shift her work to increase the amount of success for her and her students? How might we empower learners to take action, self-assess, and ask questions early and often to improve their understanding and communication? What if we take what we just learned about her class and level it out to make her expectations and her thinking visible?

We found four categories or groupings:

  1. As soon I as finish explaining the task, they are all over me, Jill. They have no idea what to do or are too scared to get started. They want me to hold their hand. They are not empowered or safe enough to try.” They are splashing around in the shallow end, maybe even thrashing.
  2. They started, but cannot think flexibly when their first attempt gets them nowhere. They will not hear feedback or collaborate to think differently. They just shut down.
  3. “They are happily working along and find success.” They are willing to work in the pool, but need support build around them to know this is a safe, brave space to draft and redraft to think and learn. Mistakes are opportunities to learn; they do not define you.
  4. “They are first and fast and successful. They want and need more. I want to deepen and connect their learning, not broaden it.” They are willing to dive into the deep end confidently to explore new connections and representations.

This hard, important work helped us gain clarity about what is essential to learn in her classroom. Articulating frustration points as well as success points during her analysis of learning in her classroom revealed and organized a path for communication of learning intentions.

How might we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask by improving the ways we communicate and assess?

What if we make our thinking visible to our learners? What if we display learning progressions in our learning space to show a pathway for learners?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves.  They provide just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

We want every learner in our care to be able to say

I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.  (CCSS.MATH.PRACTICE.MP1)

But, as a learner…What if I think I can’t? What if I’m stuck? What if I feel lost, confused, or discouraged? How might we offer a pathway for success? What if we provide cues to guide learners and inspire interrogative self-talk?

NCTM’s recent publication, Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All, calls us to support productive struggle in learning mathematics. How do we encourage our students to keep struggling when they encounter a challenging task? They are accustomed to giving up when they can’t solve a problem immediately and quickly. How do we change the practice of how our students learn mathematics?

How might we coach our learners in to asking more questions? Not just any questions – targeted questions. What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to pursue a goal.” As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations. Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within.” (Pink, 103 pag.)

Our coffee is cold and our children have lost interest in playing together. As we wrap up our reflection, feedback, and planning session, we agree to experiment the next week with her students. How might the work and learning change if we make a pathway for self-assessment and self-talk visible to the learners?

We plan to post #LL2LU SMP-1:  I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them in the classroom and on the tables for easy reference.  Our immediate learning goal for the students is to make sense and persevere, to ask clarifying questions and try again, to show thinking for clarity and questioning, and to find multiple ways to solutions and find connections.

Excellent teachers think hard about when they will present the learning intention. They don’t just set the learning intentions early in the lesson and then forget about them. They refer to these intentions throughout instruction, keeping students focused on what it is they’re supposed to learn. (Hattie, 55-56 pag.)


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

Leinwand, Steve. Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. Reston, VA.: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2014. (p. 21) Print.

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

 

#NCSM14 Art of Questioning: Leading Learners to Level Up #LL2LU

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask by improving the way we communicate and assess?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

On Monday, April 7, 2014, Jennifer Wilson (@jwilson828) and Jill Gough (@jgough) presented at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics Conference in New Orleans.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 3.23.13 PM

Jill started with a personal story (you’re letting her shoot…) about actionable feedback and then gave the quick 4-minute Ignite talk on the foundational ideas supporting the Leading Learners to Level Up  philosophy.

Our hope was that many of our 130 participants would help us ideate to craft leveled learning progressions for implementing the Common Core State Standards Mathematical Practices.  Jennifer prompted participants to consider how we might building understanding and confidence with I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. After giving time for each participant to think, she prompted them to collaborate to describe how to coach learners to reach this target.  Jennifer shared our idea of how we might help learners grow in this practice.

Level 4:
I can find a second or third solution and describe how the pathways to these solutions relate.

Level 3:
I can make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.

Level 2:
I can ask questions to clarify the problem, and I can keep working when things aren’t going well and try again.

Level 1:
I can show at least one attempt to investigate or solve the task.

 Participants then went right to work writing an essential learning – Level 3 – I can… statement and the learning progression around this essential learning. Artifacts of this work are captured on the #LL2LU Flickr page.

Here are the additional resources we shared:

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to pursue a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

[Cross-posted on Easing the Hurry Syndrome]

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

#LL2LU Formative Assessment that Builds Confidence and Skill – #NspiredatT3

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask by improving the way we communicate and assess?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Our final session at T³ International Conference was, of course, my favorite of the sessions we offered.  Screen Shot 2014-03-09 at 4.11.06 PM

Here’s the original plan:

.

I started with a personal story about actionable feedback and then gave the quick 4-minute Ignite talk on the foundational ideas supporting the Leading Learners to Level Up  philosophy.

We then went right to work.  Here’s what it looked like:

Responding to questions from participants, I shared the following additional resources:

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to purse a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Positivity ratio – productivity, motivation, flourish

Even the smallest shots of positivity can give someone a serious competitive edge. (Achor, 48 pag.)

Tis the season…Either exams were just completed or the prep for them is beginning. I wonder how we might employ the positivity ratio in our feedback, comments, and marks as exams are scored and returned to learners. Usually exams are considered summative assessment, but at the end of first semester, could they be also be used as informing assessment?

Once positive emotions outnumbered negative emotions by 3 to 1— that is, for every three instances of feeling gratitude, interest, or contentment, they experienced only one instance of anger, guilt, or embarrassment— people generally flourished.  (Pink, 107 pag.)

As we have seen, even the smallest moments of positivity in the workplace can enhance efficiency, motivation, creativity, and productivity. (Achor, 58 pag.)

What if we experiment with influence of the positivity ratio? What if every learner found a note attached to the scored exam that identified details of strengths exhibited on the exam as well as areas for growth in a 3:1 ratio?  How might we enhance motivation and productivity? How might we impact opportunities to flourish?

_________________________

Achor, Shawn (2010-09-14). The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Pink, Daniel H. (2012-12-31). To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others. Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Assessment PD: #LL2LU Learning Progressions – a.k.a. Falconry

How might we coach our learners into asking more questions? Not just any question – targeted questions.  What if we coach and develop the skill of questioning self-talk?

Interrogative self-talk, the researchers say, “may inspire thoughts about autonomous or intrinsically motivated reasons to purse a goal.”  As ample research has demonstrated, people are more likely to act, and to perform well, when the motivations come from intrinsic choices rather than from extrinsic pressures.  Declarative self-talk risks bypassing one’s motivations.  Questioning self-talk elicits the reasons for doing something and reminds people that many of those reasons come from within. (Pink, 103 pag.)

For this Wednesday’s work on assessment, we will focus on writing leveled learning progressions.  Here’s the agenda:

.

What if we indicate the target level of learning? How might we shift the language and learning in our classrooms by making it easier to ask specific questions?

The seventeenth-century British statesman, scientist, and philosopher, Francis Bacon, who advanced the idea of the scientific method, said “Who questions much, shall learn much, and retain much.” [emphasis added]  Centuries later, one of the students quoted in this chapter made pretty much the same argument: ”You can’t learn unless you ask questions[emphasis added]  Unless you ask questions, nobody knows what you are thinking or what you want to know.”

If we have asked a question about a subject or concern, we are much better attuned to the information coming back to us.  We are, therefore, more likely to retain it.  (Rothstein and Santana, 135 pag.)

What if we empower and embolden our learners to ask the questions they need to ask?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry) – feedback

Identifying problems as a way to move others takes two long-standing skills and turns them upside down. First, in the past, the best [learners] were adept at accessing information. Today, they must be skilled at curating it— sorting through the massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces. Second, in the past, the best [learners] were skilled at answering questions (in part because they had information their prospects lacked). Today, they must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

When we improve and grow in our art of questioning, we serve our learners. We must be fearless about uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems  before it’s too late – before the gap between what I know and what I need to know gets too big.

We met yesterday to continue our learning on assessment.  Our stated purpose for yesterday’s learning:

  • I can describe the difference between formative and summative assessment.
  • I can identify types of formative assessment that are employed by my team and share student work.

Additional purposes we are working toward include:

  • I can analyze student work to plan for formative assessment next steps.
  • I can contribute to the questions and formative assessment strategies of others to move learning forward.

We started with the mini-lesson on summative and formative assessment.  I wanted to begin to connect dots. The summer reading on the Art of Questioning connects to Greg Bamford’s work with us on growth mindset which connects to assessment.  Little did I know how important these connections would be during this hour of professional development.

The mini-lesson started with a quote from Make just one change: Teach students to ask their own questions.

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

Formative assessment and actionable feedback empowers teacher-learners and student-learners to ask questions, make new connections, and understand in new and different ways.

Asking the right question enough questions is key.  Persistence is required. We must stick with it until we uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems.

The mini-lesson reviewed formative assessment – assessment for learning – and summative assessment – assessment of learning.  Today we wanted to focus on actionable feedback. Do we offer learners feedback that helps them grow and learn? Do we give feedback that spurs action? How might we?

In groups of three, teachers shared an assessment with student data used to assess learning.  The conversations centered around the following questions.

    • What was this assessing?
    • What information did you learn about this student-learner?
    • What action(s) did you take based on what you learned?
    • What action(s) did the learner take based on this learning?
    • Is this formative assessment, summative assessment, or both?

Feedback in the form of What if…, I like…, and I wonder… served to deepen the understanding of action steps and strategies to forward learning.

In each sharing session we heard strategies and actions taken to uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems. This is a purpose of formative assessment.  When we uncover possibilities, surface latent issues, and find unexpected problems what actions do we take on behalf of the learner, and what actions do we coach the learner to take? Worth repeating:

Today, [educators] must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

It is the art of questioning.

I wonder if my faculty understands that the feedback they give me about these sessions is an opportunity for formative assessment and actionable feedback. It is important to me that I serve a purpose and make a contribution in our community.  Their feedback helps me plan for the next learning experience, become better at differentiation, and learn more about our community.  I read and reread every written comment.  I am grateful for both the warm and cool feedback.  I hope they know that they can use I like…, I wish…, I wonder…, and what if… to offer constructive feedback.

While every sentence of feedback is important to me, here is a sampling of feedback comments that I appreciate.

I can make sure I’m encouraging each child along the way. We will not assume the action taken, instead we will help them figure out how they are thinking. We are learning while they are learning. With my example I can take videos of the child and show them how they are working at each task and goal that they want to reach. Once I show them they can plan the next step for them to succeed.

Being more aware of your assessments benefit the child in the learning process. Learning about what other teams have done and what they are currently doing has sparked some new ideas.

How do we include the students in the action that needs to happen after a formative assessment? I’d love to hear ways in which other teachers have done this successfully.

I think talking about an example of an assessment between each other definitely helped us understand how we can assess our kids better. It takes all of us talking together to really understand and learn how to help these kids along the way. We feed off each other when we give examples.

I would have loved to had more of a working session with others to add, amend, and create new assessment ideas. It was nice to talk about ONE assessment from another grade level, but I think a greater jigsaw, among grade levels that are similar (K, 1,2 and 3,4 or 4,5,6) might be more beneficial to those seeking new or different assessment.

Feeding up, feeding back, and feeding forward – how do I know that I am doing these?

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Are we getting far enough down the path? Are we providing enough insight? Are we  interested in stepping to the next higher level? Are we asking the right questions?

I aspire to be a Falconer.

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

PD: Assessment (a.k.a Falconry)

Grant’s quote highlights the importance of formative assessment.

Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level.  Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Formative assessment compels action – action on the part of the teacher and the learner.

    • Action (teacher): Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path…
    • Action (learner): … we can challenge for ourselves.
    • Action (teacher): They provide us just enough insight
    • Action (learner): …we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world,
    • Action (learner): makes me want to step to the next higher level.
    • Action (teacher and learner):  ask the questions that they want us to answer…
    • Action (teacher and learner): overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome.

Continuing our work on assessment from the September 11 workshop, we will meet today to share assessment practices and to discuss how our assessments are opportunities to learn.

Today’s learning plan, shown below, was collaboratively designed with Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), Kathy Bruyn (@KathyEE96), and Pam Lauer (@PamLauer1). We used the feedback from our last session and our purpose intentions to inform our design.  The purpose of our work today

  • I can describe the difference between formative and summative assessment.
  • I can identify types of formative assessment that are employed by my team and share student work.
  • I can analyze student work to plan for formative assessment next steps.
  • I can contribute to the questions and formative assessment strategies of others to move learning forward.

The mini-lesson uses quotes from our summer reading on the Art of Questioning.

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

Identifying problems as a way to move others takes two long-standing skills and turns them upside down. First, in the past, the best [learners] were adept at accessing information. Today, they must be skilled at curating it— sorting through the massive troves of data and presenting to others the most relevant and clarifying pieces. Second, in the past, the best [learners] were skilled at answering questions (in part because they had information their prospects lacked). Today, they must be good at asking questions— uncovering possibilities, surfacing latent issues, and finding unexpected problems. (Pink, 132 pag.)

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Teacher-learners have been asked to bring an assessment with student work to show-share-reflect.  In small triangles of feedback, we will share an assessment and discuss the following questions.

    • What was this assessing?
    • What information did you learn about this student-learner?
    • What action(s) did you take based on what you learned?
    • What action(s) did the learner take based on this learning?
    • Is this formative assessment, summative assessment, or both?

My artifact for today’s discussion along with my reflection answering the questions above can be seen in the post Learning from Leveling, Self-Assessment, and Formative Assessment.

I like that the learning plan is interactive. In his keynote talks, Dr. Tim Kanold (@TKanold) challenges us to guarantee that in any lesson at least 65% of the time is spent is small group discourse.  I like that the learning plan has us discussing actual student work.  Let’s focus on the products of our teaching – what the children learned – rather than what we did.

I wonder if we will see assessments that lead learner down a path and offer learners insights to empower and inspire challenges to step to the next higher level.

I wish (and hope) that we will gain new ideas and techniques for assessing learning as well as receive feedback on an assessment.  Will we share practices, add to the learning of others, and gain new insights ourselves?  Will we work toward additional solutions to step to the next level in our ability to design assessment experiences that support, motivate, and lead learning?

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Pink, Daniel H. To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth about Moving Others. New York: Riverhead, 2012. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.