Tag Archives: PD planning

Summer PD: Day 1 Make Sense; Persevere

Summer Literacy and Mathematics Professional Learning
June 5-9, 2017
Day 1 – Make Sense and Persevere
Jill Gough and Becky Holden

Today’s focus and essential learning:

We want all mathematicians to be able to say:

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

(but… what if I can’t?)

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.)

… designed to help students slow down and really think about problems rather than jumping right into solving them. In making this a routine approach to solving problems, she provided students with a lot of practice and helped them develop a habit of mind for reading and solving problems.  (Flynn, 19 pag.)

Screen Shot 2017-06-06 at 7.53.02 AM.png

Agenda and Tasks:

Slide deck:


Lesson and Assessment Design – #T3Learns

What are we intentional about in our planning, process, and implementation?

  • Are the learning targets clear and explicit?
  • What are important check points and questions to guide the community to know if learning is occurring?
  • Is there a plan for actions needed when we learn we must pivot?

On Saturday, a small cadre of T3 Instructors gathered to learn together, to explore learning progressions, and to dive deeper in understanding of the Standards for Mathematical Practice.

The pitch:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 11.59.57 AM

Jennifer and I fleshed out the essential learning in more detail:

  • I can design lessons anchored in CCSS or NGSS.
    • I can design a lesson incorporating national standards, an interactive TI-Nspire document, a learning progression, and a formative assessment plan.
    • I can anticipate Standards for Mathematical Practice that learners will employ during this lesson.
  • I can design a learning progression for a skill, competency, or process.
    • I can use student-friendly language when writing “I can…” statements.
    • I can design a leveled assessment for students based on a learning progression.
  • I can collaborate with colleagues to design and refine lessons and assessments.
    • I can calibrate learning progressions with CCSS and/or NGSS.
    • I can calibrate learning progressions with colleagues by giving and receiving growth mindset oriented feedback, i.e. I can offer actionable feedback to colleagues using I like… I wonder… what if…
    • I can refine my learning progressions and assessments using feedback from colleagues.

The first morning session offered our friends and colleagues an opportunity to experience a low-floor-high-ceiling task from Jo Boaler combined with a SMP learning progression.  After the break, we transitioned to explore the Standards for Mathematical Practice in community. The afternoon session’s challenge was to redesign a lesson to incorporate the design components experienced in the morning session.

Don’t miss the tweets from this session.

Here are snippets of the feedback:

I came expecting…

  • To learn about good pedagogy and experience in real time examples of the same. To improve my own skills with lesson design and good pedagogy.
  • Actually, I came expecting a great workshop. I was not disappointed. I came expecting that there would be more focus using the TI-Nspire technology (directly). However, the structure and design was like none other…challenging at first…but then stimulating!
  • to learn how to be more deliberate in creating lessons. Both for the students I mentor and for T3 workshops.
  • I came expecting to deepen my knowledge of lesson design and assessment and to be challenged to incorporate more of this type of teaching into my classes.

I have gotten…

  • so much more than I anticipated. I learned how to begin writing clear “I can” statements. I also have been enriched by those around me. Picking the brains of others has always been a win!
  • More than I bargained. The PD was more of an institute. It seemed to have break-out sessions where I could learn through collaboration, participation, and then challenging direct instruction, … and more!
  • a clear mind map of the process involved in designing lessons. A clarification of what learning progressions are. Modeling skills for when I present trainings. Strengthening my understanding of the 8 math practices.
  • a better idea of a learning progression within a single goal. I think I had not really thought about progressions within a single lesson before. Thanks for opening my eyes to applying it to individual lesson goals.

I still need (or want)…

  • To keep practicing to gain a higher level of expertise and comfort with good lesson design. Seeing how seamlessly these high quality practices can be integrated into lessons inspires me to delve into the resources provided and learn more about them. I appreciate the opportunity to stay connected as I continue to learn.
  • days like this where I can collaborate and get feedback on activities that will improve my teaching and delivery of professional development
  • I want to get better at writing the “I can” statements that are specific to a lesson.
  • I want to keep learning about the use of the five practices and formative assessment.

We want to see more collaborative productive struggle, pathways for success, opportunities for self- and formative assessment, productive conversation to learn, and more.

As Jennifer always says … and so the journey continues…

[Cross-posted at Easing the Hurry Syndrome]


Math, Mindset, and Learning Progressions – #LL2LU w/@katonims129

One of the hallmarks of learning at Trinity School is Faculty/Staff Forum, our peer-to-peer professional development. Today, Kato Nims and I facilitated as session on math, mindset, and learning progressions.

The pitch:

Title: Math, Mindset, & Learning Progressions

Facilitators: Kato Nims and Jill Gough

Description: Does a learning progression empower and embolden the learn to locate where they are and ask target questions to make progress: Come collaborate with others to tackle a task or two using a learning progression as a self- and formative assessment tool to experience a student’s point of view.

Prerequisites: None. Bring a pencil or colored pen, your growth mindset, and a partner.

The plan:

Our norms:

    • Safe space
      • I can talk about what I know, and I can talk about what I don’t know.
      • I can be brave, vulnerable, kind, and considerate to myself and others while learning.
    • Celebrate opportunities to learn
      • I can learn from mistakes, and I can celebrate what I thought before and now know.

The slide-deck:

Sample feedback and reflections:

This activity helped me see solutions from multiple lenses. Even though the learning progressions were math-based, I can see the potential for using them in science…with some tweaking. When I present STEM challenges to my students I encourage them to use trial and error and to redesign and improve their work. I need to make learning progressions for the next challenge I present!

Connect – I know children need the language to more clearly express their needs in math. They also need to know what they can do instead of saying “I can’t” because they can do something!  Extend – I came away with a better idea of how to quickly assess my students’ levels at the end of a lesson and that allowing time to work with a partner or in a group is very important to extending my students’ learning.  Challenge – to continue to do the work of getting our learning progressions written and finding the time to collaborate as a team.

Connect: Kids need to know what their goals are, as do their teachers. Kids should be able to solve problems in multiple ways. Extend: Kids can have more than one learning progression that they’re working on at once.
Challenge: Allowing the class to explain what progression they are on with me jumping in to help them. 🙂 Becoming comfortable adding these into the classroom daily. It’s been hard for me going from saying state standards for 10 years going to this, but I think this is actually more beneficial!

While I don’t teach math on a daily basis, I found this session beneficial because I had an opportunity to practice using learning progressions.

It was very valuable to actually experience a student’s perspective while going through a learning progression.


Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team: Feedback and Reflection

Well, there was a shift in Wednesday Professional Development meetings.  So, the Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team session scheduled for February 20, 2013, actually took place on April 3, 2013.

This Vertical Coordination Workshop had 3 tasks:

  • Group 1:  Is our Social Studies Curriculum ready to go online?
  • Group 2:  Are our geography skills vertically aligned and documented correctly?
  • Group 3:  How do we identify when a student has reached the target level for our developing “I can…” statements?

Faculty were divided into groups to tackle these important questions.

Here’s a summary of what happened or was accomplished:

Group 1 facilitated by Kathy Bruyn at 12:30 and 3:30.  From Kathy:

3’s and Pre-K enjoyed the time together to vertically collaborate.  Both grades are fairly complete on the SS document, but may need more time to work on editing “I can…” statements with their grade levels.

Group 1 12-30

This is the image from the ELD/ULD meeting.  I started with drawing the image from the VELD first and then we just continued it… We had some great discussions!  Everyone felt very encouraged to see the “big picture” after spending so much time with the SS google doc.
K through 6th have noted where they need to add to the SS document and are fairly complete as well!
Group 1 3-30
In the ELD/ULD meeting, we also had a discussion about the 10 standards that the National Council for Social Studies offers and how we might use this language or some of this language in our curriculum maps.
Group 1 I cans
Overall, I think that the work that needed to be done in a vertical environment is complete.  Each grade level needs to work on their section of the document during team meetings in order to edit and finalize some of the work.


Group 2 facilitated by Amanda Thomas at 3:30.  From Amanda:

During our discussion on Wednesday, we had two main objectives.
The first one was to define as a group what the four categories
(exposure, emerging, introduction, and mastery) meant to us.  We created a large sticky note of general phrases that we assigned to each of the four categories (which is currently located in my room).  As a group, we decided that the terms were very confusing and ambiguous.  One of the
conclusions drawn was exposure is a teacher-driven term and emerging is a student-driven term, introductory is a teacher-driven term and mastery is a student-driven term.  What we mean by this is exposing the kids to a new idea or concept is done by the teacher.  Emerging with the information is done by the student (with guidance from the teacher).
So, before we began looking at the chart, we decided to use only three letters on the chart.
  • E = exposure/emerging (the children were exposed informally to an idea or concept)
  • I = introduction  (a formal lesson was used)
  • M = mastery (a formal assessment was given)
Our second objective was to fill out our own grade level as we teach it.  We did not use the current curriculum guide as a reference; we completed the chart using the knowledge that we have of what was actually taught. If the grade level thought there was additional information needed for clarification, they made notes at the bottom of the document.
Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.30.27 PM


Group 3 facilitated by Jill Gough and Rhonda Mitchell at 12:30 and 3:30.  

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.41.48 PM_________________________

Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.51.31 PM


Screen Shot 2013-04-06 at 5.55.14 PM

Whew! Lots of work for one hour.  Some of my favorite quotes from the feedback follow.

“We worked on I Can statements collaboratively, which was awesome at our grade level, but also wonderful to hear grades above and below share common themes and curriculum connections.”

“It is always beneficial to hear what is going on in other grades. Looking at our strands throughout (the visual Kathy made was AWESOME) was very helpful. I think we realized that we are not completely vertically aligned and still have some work to do.”

“It will be helpful for someone to look at our grid and see where the holes are. What are we supposed to be teaching that we’re not? What are our 5th graders supposed to know before they get to us, and what do we do if they don’t? What does 6th grade want us to introduce?”

“Our instruction is so individualized that this seems to be an exercise in futility.  I need to have a much better understanding of what we’re doing and why.  I have a terrible time with goals and mission statements and this seems to fit in the same category.”

“What was helpful today was sitting down and identifying the major sections of our science curriculum: process skills, physical science, ecosystems, and health/wellness. Further discussion and elaboration on these main sections will allow us to develop more targeted learning goals and statements.”

“I am now able to ensure that we are exposing our Kindergartners to the areas that will be introduced in 1st Grade.  I look forward to the next conversation when we can discuss in detail whether or not we are aligned with 1st grade appropriately and if there is something we need to change.”


Here is a copy of all feedback given for this session.

In an email to the faculty, I shared all feedback and the following message.

I thank you for taking the time to offer detailed feedback.  While the Strong Agree to Strongly Disagree Likert Scale ratings are easy to process and visualize, your comments are incredibly helpful and clarifying.  I read and reread your comments; they are rich with details on how to grow.  I am learning. You are teaching me so much!

Vertical Coordination PD: Divide and conquer – as a team

When planning shifts in curriculum, do we all have to work on the same thing? Might we get further faster if we divide and conquer?

This Vertical Coordination Workshop will have 3 tasks:

  • Group 1:  Is our Social Studies Curriculum ready to go online?
  • Group 2:  Are our geography skills vertically aligned and documented correctly?
  • Group 3:  How do we identify when a student has reached the target level for our developing “I can…” statements?

This Wednesday’s professional development time is dedicated to vertical coordination of curriculum.  I want to write “vertical coordination of our Social Studies curriculum,” but that seems to narrow.  As a community, we are focused on Social Studies, but we are continuing to grow, refine, and reflect on, well, everything.

Based on a quick chat with our Faculty Staff Leadership Team (FSLT) curriculum co-chairs, Kathy Bruyn and Caroline Peevy, I drafted the following plan for the hour of vertical coordination planning using a Google doc.

I continue to be struck by the power of collaboration. Kathy, Caroline, and I met to review the plan.  We discovered that we need a 4th facilitator, so we naturally turned to Rhonda Mitchell, Trinity’s Personalized Learning Specialist.  Look at how much the plan improved as Kathy, Caroline, and Rhonda contributed thinking and planning.

Their brilliant thinking and contributions customized the plan to community needs and individualized learning opportunities.  Graphic organizers were developed to organize and share work.  Additional resources were linked for user reference. In my next post, I’ll share the feedback and reflections from this hour of faculty learning.

What if we crowd-sourced more lesson plans and agendas? What if we offered more opportunities for learners to participate in the “plan and structure” for learning episodes? How might we learn and grow through the process of co-designing and co-learning?