Episode 143: How To Capture Observations & Conversations in Math Class
On the podcast today we speak with Lana Steiner about all things assessment! Lana is from the Horizon School Division in Saskatchewan and she’s been working with teachers to deepen their assessment strategies to learn how to capture and rely on observations and conversations in the math classroom.
Stick with us and you learn How teachers can rely on their professional judgement to assess students; why Steven Leinwand says “4 Is The Magic Number” When Assessing; why starting with assessment will shift your teaching strategies! Why using analytical rubrics can shift your assessment and teaching practices.
- How teachers can rely on their professional judgement to assess students.
- Why Steven Leinwand says “4 Is The Magic Number” When Assessing.
- Why starting with assessment will shift your teaching strategies!
- Why using analytical rubrics can shift your assessment and teaching practices.
- How starting your planning process with assessment first can help you teach for deeper. conceptual understanding.
Lana Steiner: When you're asking kids to explain, pen and paper is the best, right? You want to have a conversation with them? One of the other benefits of having a conversation too, is if I give kids a test and I take it home and I'm marking it in the evening and they have a partial answer there, what's on the papers is what's on the paper. But if I'm having a conversation with a child and I need more, I'll just say, "Can you tell me more?".
Kyle Pearce: Hey, Hey, Math Moment makers. On the podcast today, we speak with Lana Steiner about all things assessment. Lana is from the Horizon School Division in Saskatchewan. That's in Canada for those who are unaware. Yeah, right. They're wheat kings, I don't know if that's too much of a tragically HIPAA sort of insider information. She's been working with teachers to deepen their assessment strategies, to learn how to capture and rely on observations and conversations in the math classroom. Yeah, stick with us and you'll learn how teachers can rely on their professional judgment to assess students, why Steven Limone says four is the magic number when assessing, why starting your assessments will shift your teaching strategies, and finally here, why using analytical rubrics can shift your assessment and teaching practices. All right, my friends let's get into it. Here we go.
Welcome to the Math Moments That Matter podcast. I'm Kyle Pearce.
Jon Orr: And I'm Jon Orr. We are from makemathmoments.com and together-
Kyle Pearce: With you the community of Math Moment Makers worldwide, we want to build and deliver problem-based math lessons that spark curiosity-
Jon Orr: Fuel sense-making-
Kyle Pearce: And ignite those teacher moves. My friends we are so excited to bring in one of our fellow Canadian educator friends, except not from anywhere really close to Jon or I. She's from the Prairies out in Saskatchewan, beautiful province. And we're going to be diving into assessment.
Jon Orr: This topic is something that we get asked about a lot when we talk about problem-based lessons on like, "How do I capture observations? How do I capture conversations?". These are things that we've been embedding in our practice for years now, but we want to talk about how are we doing this. There's a lot of talk about capturing actual pieces of a product and what do we do with that. So we're going to chat all things like that. So stick with us. Here we go, let's chat right now with Lana.
Kyle Pearce: Hey there Lana. Thanks for joining us here on the Making Math Moments that Matter podcast. We are given this video podcast thing another go, so thanks for being so brave and experimenting with us. How are going in the Midwest of Canada?
Lana Steiner: They're going pretty good, as good as things can be going right now in the education world.
Jon Orr: I definitely understand what you're saying there for sure. As we were chatting before we hit record, about this time of the recording where almost in our third wave of COVID is amping back up and everyone's getting a little bit more anxious and totally understandable that everyone's kind of like, "We thought we'd be done by now, but it's still here". So we are definitely understanding all the educators who are in the classrooms, working through this difficult times, but totally understand where you're coming from to say, "Hey, we're just doing the best we can".
Kyle Pearce: Lana, tell us a little bit about yourself? We said Midwest, I think we know where you're coming from, but let our listeners know a little bit about that. Where are you coming from? What's your role in education and maybe give us a little backstory on that?
Lana Steiner: Okay. So I'm currently with Horizon School Division, which is about an hour east of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and I'm working as a math coach here. I just came here this school year. And prior to that, I was working in Good Spirit School Division and the last few years there, I held the dual role as a classroom teacher and a coach. And then prior to that, I was a classroom teacher. At the end of 2019, I finished up a master's program out of Western University in London, Ontario, and it was all about math education. And I really truly valued that program and just having the opportunity to be in the classroom at the same time as taking that and working on that, that was an amazing experience.
Kyle Pearce: Fantastic. We're big fans of the University of Western Ontario. It's just up the road from us. John is that where you went for your faculty or did you also go to Waterloo for your faculty experience as well?
Jon Orr: No, I went to Queen's for my faculty.
Kyle Pearce: Okay, back home. Awesome. Awesome stuff. Well Lana, we ask everyone who comes on the show, this is one of our favorite questions we love asking adults both in education, out of education. Sometimes when we actually are out in conferences and we're in an Uber or we're in a taxi, sometimes we even asked the driver to tell us about a math moment that they remember from their math learning experience. So I'm curious, what pops into your mind when we say, what is your math moment from your learning experience?
Lana Steiner: I actually have a very interesting story because I loved math up until about grade 10-ish. I had a teacher that would always assign in junior high the even questions one day and the odd questions the other, and I would just do them all.
And I just really, really loved math until about grade 10. Then in grade 11, 12, I was in a small community. So I had the same teacher a couple of years in a row and it just really impacted me in a negative way. And I thought, "Okay, I love reading". And so I ended up going to university to be a high school English teacher, because I just did not think that... Because of that experience, it just changed how I saw myself as a learner of math. And now I have come full circle, but I think that it's important to have experiences like that. That was a profound experience for me. And it makes me really mindful of how I impact kids and how I shape how they perceive themselves as learners and as learners of math. So I try to be very cognizant of that when I'm working with kids.
Jon Orr: I'm so glad you kind of extended on that because we always like to ask a followup question of like, "How do you think your math moments that you remember has influences you as an educator?". I'm wondering if you would elaborate a little bit more on that. Go down that path for us a little bit about the items that you just discussed and how that related to your math moments.
Lana Steiner: I just really feel knowing how much that one individual impacted me in a negative way, I work really hard for kids to be able to see themselves as capable when they're doing math and that they have enough understanding within them. It's just drawing it out and me working with that understanding. And I think when you affirm them as learners of mathematics, you're affirming who they are as people. And when you value their thinking, you're valuing them as people as well. And so it's not just about the learning it's about who they are as individuals. And I try to be, like I said, mindful of how am I impacting these kids in ways that I may or may not be aware. But it's about who they are as learners and then who are they as people, right?
Kyle Pearce: Absolutely and something that I really like about your story is how you've managed to take that experience and you were able to reflect on it. And I know for myself, I went through school and we always say if you're learning mathematics in a very procedures first approach, which tends to be a lot of our math experiences at least many of the people we talk with, when it's procedures first it makes certain students feel like they are math people. And then other students tend to struggle because if it's procedures first, it's very memorization driven, not necessarily relationship or connection driven.
And it's interesting because even some of the teachers that I've worked with in the past have had experiences, maybe not exactly like yours, but something negative that's happened and yet somehow we still perpetuate a lot of those things. Especially in elementary, I find that it's almost like in their minds, it's hard to sometimes realize that that negative experience for me can be perpetuated with my own students if I continue down that path. And I don't know if people intentionally do this or educators intentionally do, I'm going to guess they don't, but I think sometimes you can get stuck in this thinking that that's how mathematics is and I've just got to keep that going. So a little hat tip to you for being able to kind of recognize that and to want more for your students and to end that approach at least with the students that you're working with.
I'm going to go ahead and take a little bit of a guess here, a stab in the dark, that a lot of that experience has impacted some of the work that you've done. And that's really what brings you on the show here today, because we want to dive into some of the learning that you've done. I know that you've done a lot of work around assessment. In particular around observations and conversations. I'm wondering, can you tell us a little bit about that? What got you down that path? Do you see it as connected to that math moment? Was it as you were teaching that you were finding that assessing only product, I know Jon and I we've talked about it on the show many times before, that we were very traditional early in our career. We were giving tests and quizzes and even marking homework sometimes and doing those practices that were really all product driven.
And we didn't really understand how to incorporate observations and conversations. So I want to flip it back to you. What got you on this path to go down the rabbit hole and try to figure out how do I better use observations and conversations in my assessment practice?
Lana Steiner: So what happened was in June of 2019, the Ministry in Saskatchewan, there was a team that had come together and they created a provincial holistic rubric in math. And they were going to collect data in grades two, five and eight. So the rubric was released in June of 2019 and we had brought together in our school division what we called a group of early adopters. And there was some teachers from grade two, some teachers from grade five and some from grade eight. And we asked them to bring sample student work. And we thought that it was going to be very similar to the way writing is assessed where you have teachers look at work and then calibrate like, "What does a two look like? What are the qualities of a three? What are the qualities of a four?".
And that's how we anticipated that the day was going to go, but that's not what happened. What happened was as the teachers went through the work and they discussed the work, they said, "Oh, this kid knows so much more. If this kid only could show what he or she knew", that comment came up again and again and again. And it's like, "Okay, the kids know more", and the thing is the Ministry can audit your data. So if your data looks like it's not truthful, they can come and look and see, "Okay, how are you making this judgment?". So as I listened to the teachers throughout the day, I realized, "Okay, I need to figure out how these teachers can document these conversations and observations that they're having in a way that allows them to use them in their judgment of where these kids learning is actually at", because the product wasn't doing justice to what the children actually knew.
And so then that's what got the ball rolling in looking at conversations and observations. And the weird thing is, is that this is the conversations and the observations are the teaching and learning that happened every day and we just don't give them value at the end. And they're such rich sources of data, right?
Kyle Pearce: Yeah.
Jon Orr: This is a very hot topic for me right now and I'm a high school math teacher. And I work all day with teachers who are indefinitely saying, "Product, product, product". Even though here in Ontario, we've had growing success, which has had outlined that we need to capture or assess or use observations and conversations as part of our assessment to further students' learning since 2010. So it's been around a while, but we still have people saying like, "No, it's got to be test quiz, test, quiz".
And I guess my wonder for you, Lana is why do you think teachers, because when you ask teachers, teachers will definitely... you also just said it, is that we want to document it, right? So it's like, why do you think we have to one document it instead of relying on our professional judgment. For example, as a high school teacher who did not do this for a long time, I only could rely on the product because I actually didn't know who my students were, right? So I would teach from the front of the board, give them examples, give them work to do, ask them to do homework. I was a very traditional math teacher for a long time where I would walk around and like provide help, but I didn't get a sense of what they can and can't do. The quiz time would come around and then be like, "Okay, let's see what they can do".
And that was when I learned what they can and can't do. But when we've changed our practice to asking kids to think and asking kids to work out problems and working with them side by side at the boards or at their desk or wherever, we're asking kids to think first. This is what we've been talking about here on this podcast for years, is that we've gained so much more information. But I think those teachers who are doing that are still saying, "I know so much more about my kids", like you've just outlined in this plan or this work day that you guys were realizing, "Hey, we know all this. Why can't we use it?". I guess my question is, why do you feel like teachers can't use that information to help push kids' learning forward, but also to put that down on a report card? Why do we have to resort back? Teachers feel the need to resort back to something physical?
Lana Steiner: I think it has to do with the accountability that they feel towards external audiences. But I was really lucky because the division that I was in prior to coming to this one and the documentation tools that I created are based off of some analytical rubrics that the school division created, right? And so you look at those rubrics, they have the outcome, but then there's the indicators, right? And the indicators are telling me exactly what I want to observe or exactly what I need to have the conversation about. So then I know exactly what I am looking for when I'm having those observations and those conversations with kids. So it almost starts with your curriculum. It's truly backwards by design. I'm starting with my curriculum and then I need to go to my assessment. And if I change my assessment and say I'm going to value conversations and observations, then that's what's going to change my instruction. Because often what you see in the classroom is that you'll see a teacher start to change their instruction and then they resort back to a traditional assessment. But if I can get them to change their assessment, the instruction will follow, right? And so that's the key to it all is working backwards.
Kyle Pearce: That is awesome. And I'm just picturing my colleague, Yvette Lehman, she's one of our curriculum writers for Make Math Moments. So when you see a lot of the new units that we write and we publish on the website, she always has something to do with the big ideas and some of the things that we try to emerge in there. And she is big on starting with assessment and we constantly go back and forth about this because I know it can be really tough to start with assessment because it's so big. And so what I've seen people do, and I know this is my own journey. My own journey was starting with changing how I taught.
But just like you said, Lana, we ran into this problem where we started changing our teaching, but we weren't changing or shifting our assessment. And I'm going to call it more of evaluation process, because at the time I was evaluating everything. It wasn't assessment. It wasn't assessing for learning. It wasn't assessing as students learned, it wasn't assessing and changing my plan and pivoting my plan in order to meet the needs of the students. I was just evaluating everything and whatever was evaluated got put in the grade book and on we went down the road. So I heard you mentioned backwards design, where might you point some people to, who are listening, if they're thinking like, "Huh, I didn't really think about starting with assessment. I was thinking about changing my lessons and hopefully evolving there". What advice or what strategies might you share with someone who's listening and going... maybe they've had this little epiphany, this little light bulb that they're going, "Maybe I want to start with assessment first".
I heard you say start with a curriculum, so that that's going to be important, right? We have to know what we want to teach, but was there any resources that you leaned on yourself as you went down this journey?
Lana Steiner: Well, there's a few people that's research that I brought in later on, but the reason you want to start with your... Those analytical rubrics, when you at them and they break everything down into those indicators, what they do is they tend to push your teaching deeper, right? You really start teaching for conceptual understanding. So if you can get your hands on a good set of analytical rubrics, that's half your battle right there. And the analytical rubrics that were created that I was working with, they have the outcome, but then what they've done is as a group, the teachers went through and they said, "Okay, these are the indicators that we feel best demonstrate understanding of this outcome".
And then your team, like I said, when you start working with that assessment tool and you realize, " Oh my goodness, my teaching needs to go deeper, I'm not teaching deep enough", then it does change your instruction, right? And that's super important. And I think there's just this natural evolution where things also becomes much more holistic, right? My assessment becomes my instruction and my instruction becomes my assessment. But in terms of when I started bringing it all together, I was looking at a lot of work by Dylan William on formative assessment and I was looking at Joe Bowler's work on equity. And then I was looking at Carol Ann Tomlinson's work on differentiation. And so kind of what I did in the end was I brought those three individuals, I brought their work together because what I was really wanting to explore at the end of all of this was equity in summit of assessment and can I differentiate my summative assessments to promote equity?
So I started with this problem that the teachers were having. And then as I finished up my master's, I ended up exploring that question, but I had the two experiences tied together.
Jon Orr: I'm wondering if you can go down that road and paint us a little bit more of a picture on that idea of bringing them together. There's teachers listening to this episode right now, like Kyle said how did you get started on that? But you've talked about the assessment tools, the assessment rubrics to have. We have to go and create those or for every one of our kind of lessons, or is that for the course? Give us a little snapshot of what should a teacher do? "Hey, I want to change my assessment first so that I can change my teaching practice. How do I get started on that? Do I need to have the rubric first so I can go deep or what's a good first entry in here?".
Lana Steiner: If you have the rubrics it makes your life a lot easier. If you don't, you're creating a rubric per outcome and then you're choosing the indicators that you feel best demonstrate understanding of that outcome. That's the process that you go through to create the rubric. And then that makes your teaching deeper. But as you start to look at these different indicators, they're using words like explain, demonstrate, model. And so you start to look at the verbs and you realize some of these indicators, they don't align well with assessment of product, right? When you're asking kids to explain pen and paper is the best, right? You want to have a conversation with them. One of the other benefits of having a conversation too, is if I give kids a test and I take it home and I'm marking it in the evening and they have a partial answer there, what's on the papers is what's on the paper.
But if I'm having a conversation with a child and I need more, I'll just say, "Can you tell me more?". And kids who have more, they'll give it to you, kids who don't they'll just stall out and then you know. So that's a really nice benefit to doing it that way as well. And sometimes people get nervous about what they might see, they're often nervous that the kids are going to present them with something that they're not sure they're going to be able to work with. And I just say, "If you have open-ended questions and you keep digging, you'll know if the child actually understands", because most teachers are quite nervous that they don't know how to respond when they see something that maybe doesn't align with the way they like to think about the math, because we all have a certain way that we like to think about the math ourselves, and we need to recognize that, right?
And we want to make sure that we know how we understand math so that we don't perpetuate a bias in our classroom to those students who think like us, right? And quite frankly, there's nothing more joyful than having children share ways of knowing that are different than how you think, right? I find that super rewarding as a teacher.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. You bring up so many ideas here and so many things that are coming into my mind and something that, again I think this process of starting with the end in mind, right? So knowing what it is that we're going to teach. And I vividly remember this from early in my career where I would come into a course and I would kind of look at the expectations of the course and I would go, "Okay. Well, I'm going to start here and work my way through and try to figure this out", as I went. And what I'm hearing in this message and what we've discussed on the show many times before, is this idea that we have to have a clearer picture of what it is that we want students to walk away with.
And not just on an individual lesson, but also the bigger picture. And again, as you kind of study your curriculum wherever you are, if you're in the US standards or in Ontario here we call it the expectations. When you look at those, some of those words, those indicators, those descriptors that are telling us, a lot of them are verbs. And they're asking us for explaining, they're asking us to essentially model understanding versus simply regurgitating some sort of steps or procedures. And what I find through that process is that you start to learn a lot about what you know about mathematics, but then you'll probably bump into things that you didn't really understand, or you thought you understood but maybe you didn't.
So I'm wondering, did you feel that at all throughout this process? I know what my answer is, I'm still doing that work. But what would you say if a teacher is... They look at this curriculum, they start to plan with the end in mind and then they start to work backwards and then they start to realize that maybe they didn't have such a strong, conceptual understanding of the content themselves. What would you say to them? What sort of advice could you give them on how to do this work? Is this something that you work with your co-teachers, is there a certain resource out there that you've leaned on? Paint them a little bit of a picture because I'm sure they'll bump into it along the way.
Lana Steiner: In all honesty, when I started teaching a lot of math again, and I was teaching grade seven, eight, and I needed to really dig into the conceptual understanding and the models that were being used, I used YouTube and I did a lot of self-teaching through YouTube at the time. And I mean now there's so many... There's Christina Tomlin son's, there's Graham Fletcher, there's you guys, there are so many people that take the time to share conceptual understanding so that teachers can relay that to kids, right? Because we can't give what we don't have, right?
And that's super important for us to understand as educators, that if we lack that conceptual understanding, we can't give it to kids. So I mean conceptual understanding, it's much easier to find resources on that then there was 10 years ago. But I was in a very lucky position because what happened was I came off a Mat leave and I was asked to do some co-teaching to get some kids, give them some extra boost. And the co-teaching model didn't work out the way that we thought it was going to. And so then my administrator said to me, "You know, I want you to create a math intervention program". And he was like, "I'm going to give you some time to research it.", and so I started doing a lot of research and then that's where I really came to know about concrete, representational, abstract.
And so I was quite lucky because I had some space to learn there, where a lot of teachers don't. And then I was able to try it in the intervention model. But what I tell teachers as a coach is a literacy coach has a slightly different job than what a math coach does because teachers tend to be really good readers, right? And so then it's more about the pedagogy. In terms of a math coach, you have the content and you have the pedagogy, and sometimes you have teachers who don't have conceptual understanding. So you have to take care of that content piece first, and then you work on the pedagogy. And so I've worked with teachers that teach grades as low as grade three, grade four. I'm working on them with what is actually happening when we're dividing and how does that connect to long division and making sure that they have both the conceptual understanding themselves so that they can give it to the kids.
And also building... I've had teachers cry when they've gotten that conceptual understanding and it just a reflection of their math moments, right? And it's really rewarding as a coach, but it's also sad at the same time that they weren't given that in their own experience, but at least they're getting it now so that they can give it to the kids.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. These are great points and I have to agree 100% that in mathematics there's so much work to be done, both pedagogically, but also on the content knowledge side. And I always try to do a little bit of both, but like you're saying the pedagogy, it's great to try to make your class more engaging and to draw students in. But the problem is, and Jon and I have referenced it so many times before, early in our journey, we were great at that.
We could get kids to lean in, but they didn't make sense of the mathematics because we hadn't made sense of the mathematics ourselves. And something we've been doing a lot in our district, especially this year given that we are stuck in our coaching roles. We're stuck in more of a virtual support role right now where we connect much like this over a Zoom call and what we do is we actually, we do math talks with our educators and we get together and we do it and we have them be the student, and truly share like what's coming to mind and we try to help them make some of these connections. And then we talk about what that could look like in the classroom as well. And I'll tell you by doing that work, even though oftentimes I'll be leading or I'll be facilitating the math talk, I feel like I'm getting the most benefit out of it.
And you had mentioned it as well, Lana, in your role. We have this amazing opportunity. We're so spoiled from a content knowledge standpoint, because we get to focus on math all day long and we get to dive deep. And well I'm not worried about maybe lesson planning for later in the day, I get to focus in on the mathematics. And I really wish for those who are listening, any system leaders, there are ways that you can bring educators together so that they can learn mathematics together and essentially build the trust, the community that you have so that you can all be open and honest about some of your comfort and some of maybe your uncomfortable scenarios with the math content knowledge. That's really going to be the only way that we can actually help students with the access and equity piece. So as we're looking at the time here, Lana, you've shared so many awesome knowledge bombs with us.
I know for me, I'm thinking about assessment. You mentioned about differentiation and we didn't dive deeply into that, but I think by doing this work you are in a sense differentiating right from the get-go. You're listening to students, you're observing them, and you're trying to craft experiences for them, right?
Lana Steiner: You can't differentiate without formative assessment, right? And your formative assessment is often based on conversations and observations. Sometimes you're using specific strategies, but what's really interesting is when you look at the differences between formative assessment and summative assessment, the only difference is who is my audience? So when it's formative, it's for the teacher to inform their instruction, when it's summative we're sharing with like districts, parents, whoever it might be, the province. The other thing is it's time bound. Summative assessment has some type of time attached to it, right? The actual strategies though, they don't have to change.
And that's the big thing, right, is if I'm using this strategy for formative assessment, there's nothing that says that I can't take that same strategy and use it as summative. And then what I'm starting to do when I do that is I'm starting to develop what's called an assessment agility, right? And so then I'm starting to pick out what type of assessment best suits this child based on his or her learning needs, right? Because if I'm differentiating my instruction, I should be differentiating my assessment. It doesn't make sense to differentiate one and not differentiate the other, right? If I'm trying to meet the students' needs here, I need to follow through with that cycle and meet their learning needs or their differentiation needs when I'm assessing as well, right?
Jon Orr: You bring up so many great points in this conversation and we built a course on assessment in the Make Math Moments Academy, and you are touching on all of these things that we've been talking about for a number of times of how we've changed our assessment practices over the years. That's what we put into the course, but I'm so glad you brought in Joe Bowler's work and Dylan Williams lectures, where we've based the foundation of our course on assessment, on changing assessment for students. And one of the biggest ideas we say in there is that we're always formative assessing. That's the main thing that we are doing in our classroom. And I wanted to touch on one more thing about conversations and observations that we were chatting about just a little bit ago, is that I think that accountability piece. So it's like we've got these teachers who are hesitant to actually just use their understanding and knowledge of what a student knows because of that accountability piece. Like "How do I prove that?".
And so teachers are wondering, "How do I capture this? What are the tools? What are the ways that I can capture this?". What do you recommend? We've got some stuff in our course that we're recommending, but I would love to hear what you're recommending to teachers to say, "Look, I know that you have only so much time in the world, you want to document stuff so that you have accountability of what proves that the kid knows these things". What are you using Lana?
Lana Steiner: So I created documentation tools and I took the indicators out of the rubric that were using words like explain, model, if it asks them to do something concretely or with a picture. I took all of those and I put them on a sheet and then I have it all set up so that I can just mark the date in.
The reason I don't want to be, and there's a small space for notes, but the reason I don't want to be taking too many notes is because I'm not watching my kids and I'm not responding to them, right? So I needed something that was more efficient inaudible and then the learning doesn't move forward. So then it's almost counter productive. So you need something that's efficient and so that was really nice and efficient. And I heard Steve Limone speak one time and he said, "You know, four is the magic number. You want to see kids do things four times". And as I was working through this project, I reached out to him again and I said, "I just need to double check that number", and he's like, "Yep, it's four". And then you need to watch the kids' confidence as they're working through. But he said after that your data kind of gets inaudible and you pretty much know. And it's true because I use four as my magic number too, unless I'm seeing inconsistencies in the kid, but then that tells me that I have some work to do, right?
Kyle Pearce: I love it. That's such a great... I think a big nugget, I'm so happy that it came out, because I think that's something people right now are probably in their mind going like, "Huh, okay". Because I'm sure there's teachers who are asking themselves this question as like, "How many times do I need to see it?". And sometimes too, I think in the past, I may have thought students understood something maybe more so than they did because of the lack of space between when we engaged in an engagement or in any activity, and when I spoke with them or I observed them, or I saw their product. And oftentimes that's sort of more familiarity than an understanding, right? Like a depth of understanding.
So being able to have that in mind and go like, "Huh, have I asked them enough about this?". And then it also I think gives you an opportunity to differentiate the way you're asking them in the moment. So you're not necessarily asking them the same question, you're asking about the same idea, but you might come at it from a different angle and that can give you a different bird's-eye view. So I think that's a huge takeaway here and I think there's going to be so many great things that people can learn from this episode. So now I'm going to flip it back to you. If there's one thing that you think if the entire episode someone listens through and they can only remember one thing, what would be that one thing that you would want them to walk away with? Something that you think would help them along this journey, as we refine our assessment and evaluation skills in order to differentiate and build that equity in math education? I said a lot of things right there, but what's that big thing that you'd want them to walk away with?
Lana Steiner: It's two sentences. Ask kids, "How do you know?" and "Tell me more.". If you want to improve your instruction in the simplest way, it's start asking, "How do you know?" and "Tell me more", because they often don't give you... And they need that time to work through their thinking and to articulate it. Those are the two most important things you can ask in a math classroom, as far as I'm concerned.
Jon Orr: Awesome. We will definitely be highlighting that phrase for everyone to hear, but Lana thanks so much for joining us here on this episode of our podcast. But before you go, where can our listeners learn more from you, get in contact with you? Let us know some of the details so they can reach out.
Lana Steiner: So I'm on Twitter @LanaSteiner4, that's my handle. And my email is just email@example.com.
Kyle Pearce: Thanks so much for hanging out with us tonight. We are hoping that spring has sprung out west. Here, the sun is coming out more often. The temperatures are starting to rise. What's that?
Lana Steiner: There's a storm here right now. Hopefully it's the last one of the year.
Kyle Pearce: Oh, darn. Well, you know what though, with storms come the sunshine and the wonderful weather. So thanks so much for hanging out with us and we really look forward to connecting with you sometime soon, hopefully at a face-to-face conference before too long.
Lana Steiner: Thanks guys.
Kyle Pearce: Take care. See you later.
Jon Orr: Take care.
Kyle Pearce: As always both Jon and I learned so much from these episodes where we get to interview colleagues just like you. And today we got to bring on Lana Steiner and I hope you feel like you got some great nuggets of awesomeness to start maybe rethinking or continuing to think and reflect on your assessment and evaluation practices and policies in your classrooms. So what are you going to do to make sure that that learning sticks? For Jon and I, we spend a significant amount of time thinking after our episode, writing these bumpers where we have to think about what happened, what is the summary, what are the key takeaways?
What are you going to do to make sure that this learning sticks, so it doesn't wash away like footprints in the sand?
Jon Orr: Yeah. So another great way to hold yourself accountable here is a chat with somebody, a chat with a colleague. Or hey, you can chat with us in the Math Moment Maker community by commenting on the show notes page, which you'll get a link for a little bit later or on social media, on all our social media channels we are at Make Math Moments. And also head on over to our private Facebook group, Math Moment Makers K through 12.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff. Lots of awesome action going on in that private Facebook group, you just search up and we will accept you into that group. And it just kind of keeps it within that bubble, so it doesn't appear on your friends, your principles timeline, if you're asking questions and want to get vulnerable with us.
If you want to get extremely vulnerable, jump into the academy and you can chat in the community with all of us. And guess what? Inside the academy, you also have access to our Assessment for Growth course, which is there. It is awesome and full of amazing learning. So go check that out at makemathmoments.com/academy. And my friends, have you hit that subscribe button yet?
Jon Orr: Yeah, in order to ensure you don't miss out on new episodes as they come out each week, subscribe like just Kyle said on your favorite podcast platform. That could be Apple or it could be Spotify, or it could be any of those podcasts platforms. Also, show notes and links to resources from this episode plus complete transcripts can be found over at our show notes page, which is makemathmoments.com/Landsteiner. Again, that's makemathmoments.com/Landsteiner.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff. Well until next time, Math Moment Makers. I'm Kyle Pearce.
Jon Orr: And I'm Jon Orr.
Kyle Pearce: High fives for us.
Jon Orr: And a big high five for you. Music
Sign up to receive email updates
Enter your name and email address below and we'll send you periodic updates about the podcast.
DOWNLOAD THE MAKE MATH MOMENTS FROM A DISTANCE CHEAT SHEETS
Download the Cheat Sheets in PDF form so you can effectively run problem based lessons from a distance!
UP YOUR DISTANCE LEARNING GAME IN THE ACADEMY
There is a LOT to know, understand, and do to Make Math Moments From a Distance.
That’s why so many Math Moment Makers like YOU have joined the Academy for a month ON US!
You heard right: 30 days on us and you can cancel anytime. Dive into our distance learning course now…
Thanks For Listening
- Apply for a Math Mentoring Moment
- Leave a note in the comment section below.
- Share this show on Twitter, or Facebook.
To help out the show:
- Leave an honest review on iTunes. Your ratings and reviews really help and we read each one.
- Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, and Spotify.
ONLINE WORKSHOP REGISTRATION
Pedagogically aligned for teachers of K through Grade 12 with content specific examples from Grades 3 through Grade 10.
In our self-paced, 12-week Online Workshop, you'll learn how to craft new and transform your current lessons to Spark Curiosity, Fuel Sense Making, and Ignite Your Teacher Moves to promote resilient problem solvers.