Category Archives: Professional Development Feedback

Enhancing Growth Mindset in Math – Learning together

We asked:

How might we, as a community of learners, grow in our knowledge and understanding to enhance the growth mindset of each of our young learners?

As a team, we have completed Jo Boaler’s How to Learn Math: For Students and have shared our thinking, understanding, and learning.

Blending online and face-to-face learning, we worked through the Stanford units outside of school so that we could explore and learn more when together.

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Here are some of the reflections shared by our team.

As a teacher my goal is to help children approach math and all subject areas with a growth mindset. It is of utmost importance that my students truly know that I believe in them and their ability to succeed!

Everyone my age should know that you should never equate being good at math with speed. Just because someone is a slower problem solver does not mean that they are a weak math student. Rather, sometimes the slower math thinkers are the strongest math thinkers because they are thinking about the problem on a deeper level. Being good at math is about being able to think deeply about the problem and making connections with it.

When talking to yourself about your work and learning new things, reminding yourself that you can try harder and improve is critical to potential success.  People are more willing to persevere through difficult tasks (and moments in life) when they engage in positive self talk.  

Mistakes and struggling, in life and in math, are the keys to learning, brain growth, and success.

Thinking slowly and deeply about math and new ideas is good and advantageous to your learning and growth.

Taking the time to think deeply about math problems is much more important than solving problems quickly.  The best mathematicians are the ones who embrace challenges and maintain a determined attitude when they do not arrive at quick and easy solutions.  

Number flexibility is so powerful for [students]. I love discussing how different students can arrive at the same answer but with multiple strategies. 

Working with others, hearing different strategies, and working strategically through problems with a group helps to look at problems in many different ways.

“I am giving you this feedback because I believe in you.”  As teachers, we always try to convey implicitly that we believe in our students, and that they are valued and loved in our class.  However, that explicit message is extraordinary.  It changes the entire perception of corrections or modifications to an essay–from “This is wrong, you need to make it right” to “I want to help you make this the best it can be,” a message we always intended to convey, but may not have been perceived.  

Good math thinkers think deeply and ask questions rather than speeding through for an answer.

Math is a topic that is filled with connections between big ideas.  Numbers are meant to be manipulated, and answers can be obtained through numerous pathways.  People who practice reasoning, discuss ideas with others, have a growth-mindset, and use positive mathematical strategies (as opposed to memorization) are the most successful.

We learn and share.

#ILoveMySchool

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:

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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]

 

Deep Dive into Standards of Mathematical Practice

As a team, we commit to make learning pathways visible. We are working on both horizontal and vertical alignment.  We seek to calibrate our practices with national standards.

On Friday afternoon, we met to take a deep dive into the Standards of Mathematical Practice. Jennifer Wilson joined us to coach, facilitate, and learn. We are grateful for her collaboration, inspiration, and guidance.

The pitch:

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The plan:

Goals:

  • I can anticipate Standards for Mathematical Practice that learners will employ during this lesson.
  • I can begin to design lessons incorporating national standards, a learning progression, and a formative assessment plan.

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.

Resources:

Learning Plan:

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The learning progressions:

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The slide deck:

As a community of learners, we

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#ILoveMySchool

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.

#ILoveMySchool

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

Yesterday’s session on assessment causes me to wonder…Are we afraid of cool feedback? I wonder if we so closely connect feedback to being evaluated that we miss opportunities to learn and grow.  What if we embed feedback loops in our routine? What if we make feedback a habit? Are we in such a hurry to “get ‘it’ done” that we miss opportunities to make “it” better?

What if we use peer feedback to improve our work and gain new perspectives?

I liked working in a small group and getting feedback from all other groups.

[I liked] More practice building levels and considering exactly what I want for our students to be able to do. Also, the collaboration was helpful–this time. I enjoyed working solo at first–I felt more comfortable thinking together with a colleague this time.

I like the challenge.  It’s difficult to look at your progression and try to make it make sense to your team and students.  The feedback opened our eyes to some, now obvious, flaws in our levels.

We can take the feedback that we received and use it to better our lessons and ways to level the lessons to benefit the variety of learners in the classroom.

If we find peer feedback useful and constructive, will we offer the same opportunities to our young learners by intentionally incorporating feedback loops into our lesson plans?

What if we indicate the target level of learning? (Can we?) How might we shift the language and learning in our classrooms?

This session really got us thinking about considering different perspectives when determining our students’ skill expectations.  It made us think about how to make assessment clear to learners and to those who will interpret the assessment information.

I loved breaking down the goals we have for our children into levels.  It makes it clearer to me how I can teach students of various knowledge levels.

When doing the exercise today, I realized I need to slow down and put myself in a Pre-Kers perspective and not an adult or parents perspective.

It was interesting to find out how others see our assessment levels, and it gave me incentive to speed up or slow down expectations for students at my grade level.

Students all have different ability levels and only rarely will you find a whole group at the same “level.”  We also need to help kids realize what they do know and where they need help.

I think that it was important to see the progression of learning and expectations written down on paper. Actually thinking about where we want our kids to be, how they’re going to get there, and what comes next is so helpful.

Through experiential learning, are we finding connections?

It was helpful in thinking about we plan our lessons and units and leveling up.  It was also helpful practice in writing I can statements…

Especially following conferences and progress reports, we are very aware of the necessity of clear expectations and plans of actions for parents and students.

[This] helps us collaborate on ways to differentiate the instruction.

I liked learning about leveling up and it helps me understand how to calibrate horizontally.

This session really got us thinking about considering different perspectives when determining our students’ skill expectations.  It made us think about how to make assessment clear to learners and to those who will interpret the assessment information.

How might we continue to find connections and experience growth-oriented feedback? What if we intentionally experiment with these ideas in our classrooms with learners?

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PD in Action: 4th Grade Math fluency and communication

More results from PD that causes action…It makes me wonder about learning design.  Are we designing PD experiences for teacher-learners and lessons for student-learners that cause action and gain traction? Do we see products of our PD learning being translated into classrooms? Do we see products of our classroom learning being translated into action?

Last week I wrote about mathematical communication at an early age after co-teaching 4th grade math. In the comments, Kato helped me refine a learning progression for showing work so that it was more student-friendly for 4th graders. Kato commented:

I would love to experiment with these levels in Fourth Grade. I like the levels about showing your work, and that they never say “show your work.” I find that that phrase overwhelms Fourth Graders (of all abilities) because they don’t really know what it means. Level 3 and 4 are good. I wonder if they are too wordy or have too many action steps to follow.

I’ve revised the learning progression as follows.

Level 4
I can show more than one way to find a solution to the problem.
Level 3
I can describe or illustrate how I arrived at a solution in a way that the reader understands without talking to me.
Level 2
I can find a correct solution to the problem.
Level 1
I can ask questions to help me work toward a solution to the problem.

Arleen invited me back to 4th grade math this week. As I arrived, the children were working on a Math Message. On the page with today’s Math Message, Arleen included the learning progression that she designed with Kato during the #LL2LU Faculty Forum PD session last week.

I was thinking about Kato’s comment I find that [the] phrase [show your work] overwhelms Fourth Graders (of all abilities) because they don’t really know what it means. How do we communicate how to show your work when the phrase show your work is confusing or unclear?

Arleen’s outcome for the children was about computational fluency.  My target for the children was about mathematical communication.  As we worked – Arleen presented questions and I modeled math communication – we observed the written work and coached.

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Look at the children’s work.  Do we know that we are clearly communicating both learning targets? Can we see evidence of learning in the work? I know I said (over and over) how to organize work and show what you know? Did they receive the coaching? Did our work cause action and learning?

Are the targets clear? Do we do enough in-the-moment formative assessment and coaching? Do we offer feedback that causes action and learning? What if we collect evidence and analyze the products of our work? What if we use artifacts of learners’ work to formatively self-assess?

PD in Action: #LL2LU Faculty Forum Oct. 30

PD causes action.  On Wednesday, October 30, we offered a session of Leading Learners to Level Up.  The next day, Kato Nims (@KatoNims129) sent us a message that her 4th graders are asking for levels? We are creating feedback monsters! Awesome.

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While Kato and Arleen Honick wrote a math learning progression during Wednesday’s workshop, they quickly transferred their learning to a brainstorm for the 4th Grade Book Club evaluation. After calibrating the learning progression with the rest of the 4th grade team, Kato sent me an update to their E. B. White Book Club evaluation.

Today, Kathy Bruyn (@KathyEE96) sent the following action feedback about her learning from last Wednesday as well.  Notice that the children love challenging themselves and their questions were focused.  

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I love that Kathy and Kato know and embrace that they are experimenting.  They are prototyping learning progressions, formative assessment, and communication strategies.  How often do our young learners see and hear their teachers learning? Kato and Kathy are discussing and showing our children what they are working to learn.  They model lifelong learning.

How might we improve the quality of communication in our classes? What if we take the time to write learning progressions that offer learners language to ask targeted, specific questions? What if we focus on growth – how to level up? How might we learn and grow together?

How might we impact confidence, advocacy, and success?