Recap of a math workshop: Math in a PLC at Work

This is a recap of my observations and notes at a mathematics workshop in Pasadena, CA. This was by far the best math workshop/conference that I have ever attended. One of the primary reasons I felt this workshop was elite was the way it made me feel and act as a professional educator. The main catalyst of the presentations that I attended was Juli Dixon (@thestrokeofluck) who is a dynamic speaker and thought provoker. The information received mainly revolved around how to develop a strong math PLC at work.

  • When team building sign-up for a duty that compliments your
  • Be aware of sellout stories when building strong learning communities. Stay away from phrases such as ‘nothing I can do,’ ‘it’s not my fault’ and ‘it’s all your fault.’
  • Here are what high leverage teams should be saying: What do we want students to know, how will we know they know it, how will we respond?
  • Checking for understanding without meaningful feedback for the student is diagnostic not formative
  • Students need to take action on feedback so there is growth and learning
  • If you give homework, make it formative so students get feedback that goes beyond diagnosis
  • Focus on strategies for struggling students in math. Fluency takes a back seat for the moment & will support all learning over time
  • Model the mathematics by mathematizing the lesson. This means use math language
  • Time to come back to the math practices and use them during instruction
  • We have an understanding that word problems make math more difficult when in fact it makes it more believable & supportive
  • To make sense of a student explanation and check for understanding, ask students “what did he/she say.”
  • If you dont hear what you need to hear in a discussion, guide the conversation w/ “I heard…” Even if you did not hear it from them at least the students have a buy in
  • You have to ask students questions when students are right, not just when they are wrong
  • Scaffold questions to students, don’t bail them out too quickly
  • Create enough imbalance that a student gets back to equilibrium w/o turning the student off
  • When creating math tasks, make sure that you keep common errors in mind to treat the misconception.
  • During every math lesson choose only one or two math practices to focus on. Others will be there, but keep the focus!
  • Dont teach students to use key words in math. Allow them to think abstractly & quantitatively

In Summary, create high level cognitive demand questions balanced with lower level cognitive demand questions that grade level teams agree on. Introduce more word problems as tasks to teach math strategies. Finally, support place value, fact strategies, addition and subtraction with re-grouping and fractions as a basis for math fluency.