Episode 184 – Make Restorative Moments: Our Summer Rejuvenation Guide
It has been a long school year for those in the Northern Hemisphere! Whether you are already off on summer break like our friends in the Southern States of the U.S. or whether you’re eagerly looking to the end of June like our Friends here in Canada, the time to rest, reflect and recharge for the next school year is upon us.
In this episode, we will dig into some of the most impactful learning we have engaged in throughout this school year and offer some ideas for how you can not only rejuvenate your tired self, but we’ll also share some ideas for how you can continue pushing your mathematics teaching practice forward as you look ahead to the next chapter in your teaching career.
- How to set goals that create happiness for you;
- How you can plan your summer to rejuvenate and feel refreshed for the next school year; and,
- What you should do this summer to set yourself for success next year.
Are you a district mathematics leader interested in crafting a mathematics professional learning plan that will transform your district mathematics program forever? Book a time to chat with us!
Kyle Pearce: Well, Math Moments Makers, it has been a long school year. Doesn't it feel like multiple school years, John? It feels like the last couple of years have really just combined into one. But this school year in particular, we are sensing, we are feeling some of the exhaustion catching up from COVID, from all of the flip flopping online, offline. But guess what, for those in the Northern hemisphere anyway, some of you are already on your summer break like our friends in the southern states of the US, or if you are like us and you're hanging out in the northern states or in Canada like John and I and you are anxiously awaiting that end of June dismissal for summertime, my friends, be ready because guess what? There will be some time to rest, reflect, and recharge for the next school year.
Jon Orr: In this episode, we are going to dig into some of the most impactful learning we have engaged in throughout the school year, and offer some ideas for how you can not only rejuvenate your tired self. I know that I need that, but we'll also share some ideas for how you can continue pushing your mathematics teaching practice forward if you're ready for it, as long as you're looking ahead to the next chapter in your teaching career.
Kyle Pearce: All right John, what do you say we get into this thing?
Jon Orr: Here we go.
Kyle Pearce: Welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter Podcast. I'm Kyle Pearce.
Jon Orr: And I'm John Orr.
Kyle Pearce: We are from makemathmoments.com, and we are two math teachers who together with few the community of Math Moment Makers worldwide, who want to build and deliver problem-based math lessons that's our curiosity fuel, sense making, and ignite your teacher moves. Welcome, welcome everyone. We are really excited to dive into this episode not only because we love recording these episodes, and we love being able to join you in your earbuds wherever you're listening in from, but also because we're getting to look ahead us being up in Canada right now and just entering into June. We are looking ahead to summer break, and what a well-deserved summer break for so many of us, and for those who have already had their summertime break like our friends in Australia and New Zealand, who are in the middle of it again.
I still think there's going to be some benefit that you can pull from this episode here today.
Jon Orr: For sure. In this episode, we want to talk about some of the things that you might want to think about on planning your summer, planning your next year, but also planning what you need, so that you can feel rejuvenated come the next school year. And I know that Kyle and I spend some time setting some goals for ourselves and what that looks like, and setting some personal goals, setting some next year's school goals, setting some things to strive for in both those realms, personal realms and also back to school. In this episode, we're going to talk about what we're doing and also, what you could be doing and how to think about your summer and how to think about this rejuvenation time, and what really the rejuvenation means to you because I think it can mean very different things to different people.
Kyle Pearce: Absolutely. And as we dig in here, we're going to take a little bit of time. We're going to talk first off, I think something you want to do before you start thinking ahead, and you start getting into that rejuvenation stage, you want to also be reflective, right? And I wonder John if you and I were to take a little bit of time here just to reflect on some of the things, some of the learning that we've taken from this school year. Of course, we're not going to be able to cover all of the things that we'll be reflecting on along our journey here as we enter into our summer break, but it is really important for you to think back, think about the things that went well.
And then also think about maybe some of the things that didn't go so well, but one thing we will advise is that you do not dwell on just the things that didn't work in your favor, or the things that didn't work the way that you had hoped. I don't know about you John. I'm going to start, and I'm going to say there's a couple things that went really well this school year, despite the challenges. After we came out here in Ontario, Canada, we were online learning again in January, and we came out into February. And then the reopening process happened fairly quickly. Actually, it was surprising at the time.
And I made it a point to try to get into as many classrooms as possible, despite the fact that some people were maybe not super sure, given the fact that we had this huge spike in COVID around in our area, but I wanted to get back out there. And something that I feel like worked well was just reconnecting with educators and students. I think that it went a far distance in trying to again rebuild some of those connections with educators, but then also for myself to experience that in person face to face experience, which I feel like I was missing out on for several months prior as everything was online. I was in a lot of online classrooms. And I feel like through those relationships, we've grown a lot considering how short a period of time we've had over these past few months.
For me, that's a big, I'll call it a win in terms of the work that we've done over the last little while. It really made me feel good in my role that I felt so restricted over the past couple of years. I felt like we weren't getting anywhere, because there was always something there. The restrictions just made it so difficult to do professional development and now, it's like we're gaining that momentum again, right? You can see teachers are thinking again about how can I shift my practice, instead of how do I just survive the day. Seeing that shift happening, you see that mindset shift shifting back to where we were pre-COVID, for me, that's hugely inspiring and gives me hope for the future as we look ahead to next school year. How about you John, what's going on in your world?
Jon Orr: Yeah. Something to be reflective on my school year to having a teacher of a high school mathematics here in Southern Ontario, and I guess my big wins and big reflection is this year was a big change for us. Not only because we are teaching through COVID again, but also it was our first year's introduction to our new grade nine curriculum, our grade nine pathway which is we call it here a de-streamed math class in grade nine here in Ontario, which really means it's detract. There is no tracking in grade nine. All the students are in say like what would have been in maybe grade eight and it's just again in grade nine. It's a collection of students varying levels.
Especially in my department in my school and talking to other teachers, there's a lot of anxiety around that. You've become accustomed to teaching a certain curriculum because not only are we de-streamed, but we had a new curriculum to teach. We had new strands to implement and bring in. For example, we had not talked about coding and coding being one of the strands that we had to bring in, that seemed new in a lot of anxiety around with people in my department and other schools. Financial literacy finally has been brought into the grade nine program, and that had been excluded for many years, and that was in. It's like, "Okay. Well, what are my resources around that?" And not too many resources flowing our way.
There's a lot of anxiety around that at the beginning of the school year too. It's like, "Well, okay, I got a new curriculum. Do I have a textbook to go with that?" I get asked from the teachers in my district, "No, we don't have a textbook." "Do we have any resource?" "No, we don't have any resources for these new things." We're going to work together to create some stuff, and it was amazing to see the teachers sharing. I feel like that happened this year in that course more than ever. I don't know about you Kyle, but our board spent a summer putting together some resources, a team started building things. And they not only built things over the summer last year, but built things for teachers to use in their classrooms throughout the rest of the school year.
And then it was great to see all the other school boards. Your school board was building things and sharing them online. Other school boards across Ontario, we've referenced the Waterloo School Board of using some resources from them. They're sharing things. Everyone was sharing things openly on websites and not locked down, which was amazing to see how we collectively started sharing more. It was like Kyle when we started discussing math concepts, you and me, we were sharing things on our websites back and forth 10 years ago. And that's how we've built up our skill based of teaching mathematics over the last few years, but it's almost like this new course allowed, or almost forced us to do more of that.
And I think we've as a group of Ontario educators are in a better place. Speaking that way, I think that has been a great thing this year. And also in my class, it has been a great to see this de-streamed classroom, seeing students who... I think when I went in, I was like, "Okay. Well, I've been used to teaching this group of students in this particular way, and this group of students over in this way. And it's almost like well, why was I doing thar, right? And why couldn't we be using the same strategies in one class, versus the other?" It was just a great year for resources, a great year for seeing students for who they are and their potential. I'm just really happy about that this year, and really looking forward into going into next year as well.
Kyle Pearce: I love it. And for those who are listening in maybe from Ontario, those who maybe are engaging in a de-streamed course, keeping in mind that maybe if it didn't go so well for you, then maybe thinking to some of the things that John, you just shared might be helpful moving forward. Did you reach out to more colleagues and say like, "Hey, what's working for you, or what isn't working for you? Maybe the same thing's not working for me, and maybe we could put our heads together and figure out how do we get over this hurdle." But if you're struggling on your own, then that's really not a fun place to be, right? Because you're looking to yourself for the answer, but you're the one who's seeking the answer, right?
Look open, look beyond just your own classroom, and open that classroom door. And you'll see there's some pretty awesome things going on, and I would argue that the same is true for any course. It doesn't matter whether it's Ontario with this new course, or maybe it's a course that you've been teaching for a while, and you feel like those tires are just stuck in the mud a little bit. All right, look around. Who might you be able to reach out to and touch base with, and work together to try to do better in your classroom? I think that's great. And of course, reflecting on things that you can do better is always really important, but always start with something positive first, recognize the fact that you did a lot of really great things this year.
Something I'm going to highlight here that I feel like teachers don't give themself enough credit for is even just strategies you may have used, or that may have worked for some students to get them to come to class more often. Note, the keyword. I'm not saying that you made them, or inspired them to come every single day. But if you had a student who never came and now they're coming sometimes, that's an improvement, right? And those are some of those things that I think are really easy to miss in this education field we're in. We want to help all students. We want to see all students succeed. We tend to get stuck on the one student, or those few students who we haven't had as much success with.
Of course, we want to try to reach them. We want to work hard to help them, but make sure that you're not letting that demotivate you, or take that inspiration and suck it out of you because it didn't work yet for that student. So, don't give up on those students, but let's not dwell on that either. We need to make sure that we recognize all of the amazing things that you're doing throughout each and every school day throughout the school year.
Jon Orr: Yeah, good point there Kyle, good point. And as we move into this episode and talk about some of the things, we're going to recommend for the summer or recommend you think about, we often want to think about how we want to plan our summer. And that I think Kyle should start with almost like a goal setting stage. And I think we do this ourselves when we get into blocks of time and in different transitions. It's like, "Okay, school year is coming to an end. I'm going to be reflective." We just talked about that. Now, it's like let's set some goals for myself for this time period I have. And I think these goals obviously depend on what you are looking for in this summer period.
Some of you might be like, "Well, I'm going to start my job. I'm going to go back and I'm going to do summer school," or maybe it's like, "Now, I have to pivot and do a job over here. I'm going to reevaluate some of my goals at home, my goals for the summer into those fields." But also might be like, "I'm going to decompress. I'm going to make sure that I'm taking some time for myself, but then also what goals should I set for myself to do that. Some of you might be like, "I'm going to go all in on this brand new venture this way, or I'm going to set way some time to read." Everyone has some goal setting to do I think at the beginning of the summer, and I think naturally we get into that and plan our summers that way.
I know Kyle that one of my goals in the summer, personal goals in the summer is to do a ton of camping with my family. We enjoy camping together. We enjoy visiting with our extended family who are far away, and visiting with them for a good length of time while we're camping. That's a thing I grew up doing. We go back to the same campground that I grew up going to when I was say five years old, all the way up to now. I've been going there every year since then. We make a point to camp there for a good chunk of time. Everybody enjoys that. It's like my goal is let's make sure we have a ton of family time, and reconnect with each other that we might not do during the school year. Even though we try as much as we can, but we want to reconnect.
I especially want to reconnect with my extended family, who we rarely see during the school year. Goal setting I think Kyle is super important, and I think that looks different for everybody. What about you, what do you think about goals for your summer, and what tips can we give our listeners here on goals?
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, and I like how you've framed it. You said it, but I just want to be super explicit that sometimes, maybe it's because of the role I'm in. I know you're in the classroom, we're working with your classes every day. I'm in a PD role currently in my district a consultant role. We talk about goal setting often both at the district level, but then also when we're working with educators. And I think sometimes, that can sound scary. Setting a goal, it always feels like there's a burden there, but everything that you highlighted though John is it's about setting goals that are realistic for you. And I think ultimately is getting clear on what it is that you want out of it, and I'm personally working on this.
I tend to be the type of person who I just continue to work away. I put my head down, and I just get her done. And I do find joy in doing that work, but I've been working on a personal goal for myself is trying to create goals that will help me feel better about myself. And what when I say feel better about myself, I mean feel happy, right? And this is something that it's hard to articulate. Because sometimes when you actually pause and think about it, why do we do the things we do? Oftentimes, it's just habit. It's not necessarily because it makes you happy. It's just what you do. Sometimes, they're healthy habits. Sometimes, they're unhealthy habits, whether it be things we eat or drink, or maybe it's the things we do physically or don't do, or maybe it's just how we choose to spend our time.
And what I heard from you John is you are going to find some happiness in reconnecting with your family and doing some of the activities that you like to do. As you're setting your goals for this summer, remember don't make them goals that will feel like burdens to you because you should be setting these goals that are going to you know if I do these things that I'm going to get happiness and joy from them. This is something that again my wife Chantel has been doing a ton of reading on this, and learning about herself and about just what happiness really is. How do you feel happy? What makes you feel happy? And really trying to get to the root of it. And a lot of times, it comes down to little small things.
I love your camping example. We're going to do a lot of traveling together, not as much camping as you folks do. We always like to do our one camping trip, but we do as a family always like to go away at least to some place. And this year, my family's going to be joining us, John as we go down to Denver to do a keynote for-
Jon Orr: Excited for that one.
Kyle Pearce: ... math learning center. We're, yeah, super excited for that. My family's going to be coming down, and we're going to spend some time there and check out Denver. And that's going to be fantastic to spend time with them. But then a personal goal of mine that I've been thinking about is something small. And actually, I told you about it that earlier this week on the weekend when you stopped by, when you and Jules stopped by to hop on the boat with me, and we did some wake surfing. And it was cold. It was here in Canada, the water is still really cold. And you could tell it was just frozen only a month and a half, two months ago, but we went out there and we did it.
And I don't know if you remember me saying this John, but I have a personal goal that I'd like to get out there and I'd like to do some sort of water sport on any decent day, right? I mean if it's waves, we're not going to do that, but that's a goal to myself. And I know that will bring me happiness if I commit time to doing that. And I feel like it's so easy for life to get in the way. So, that's an example of maybe a little goal that might help you to set up, or set yourself up for just feeling positive, feeling joy, feeling like you did something that fills your heart.
Jon Orr: Yeah. You know what, that's a good example. And I know that I know you and I know that that would make you so happy to get on that boat as much as you can and do those things with your crew. And I think for different people, it's different things obviously. It's like, "Hey, if cleaning the garage this weekend, if I dedicate..." because people do that in the summer, right? I always hear that. It's like, "Okay, what are you going to do this summer when you're talking at the staff room table?" And it's like, "Well, I'm going to get this done that I haven't been waiting to do all year, or I haven't had time to do that," right? Those are those little things that I think bring people joy. It's like, "I'm going to clean the garage."
This organizational joy comes out when we feel a little bit less cluttered. It brings this emotional tie to it that says, "Hey, I've cleared this off. I've got that off my to-do list. I cleared it out, that feels good to me to do that," or it's like, 'I'm going to dedicate every other day to go for a run, or go for a bike ride, or just walk in the evenings." That's something that's like, "Ah, I'm going to set this up for myself. I know that this is going to make me happy." And I'm glad that you've articulated that as a way to set goals for ourselves. Because I think after this year and the last couple years Kyle, I think so many of teachers are in this burnout stage, or so close to being burnt out and to say let's spend our summer getting ready for the school year.
And actually before I continue with that line of thought, that actually might bring you joy to go, "Hey, I want to spend some time this summer rethinking my assessment practices, or I want to spend some time thinking about how can I improve this area of my lessons and the activities that I use in my class?" That might be bringing you joy because you know that spending time there could also bring you joy later in the school year. I know that we do that, and that's why we do what we do right here. And that's probably why some of our listeners, or all of our listeners are listening to us right now, because they're spending some of their time listening to us on their own time, because they're not teaching class right now.
They're probably driving to work and listening to us, or they're mowing the lawn or on a exercise treadmill listening to us talk about goals today, but I think those goals look for everybody. And I think it's so important to think what is that goal that I'm going to pursue to bring me happiness, and how can I get there? I think that's so great message that we can share with everybody here today.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, I love it. And you think about it, and you boils down to... it's like taking care of your own mental health, right? And we were chatting before we hit record here John, and when we were just describing this idea that I think sometimes we get tricked into thinking that when you have time off, you should do certain things. Some people are just like rest and relaxation. That's a really general idea, right? The idea of rest and relaxation, I'm the type of person that I would probably get very little joy out of sitting and doing nothing, but that might be exactly what you like doing John, and that might be exactly what you need.
It's again getting in tune with who you are and what makes you tick, and making sure that you're not doing things that other people are trying to use to get joy out of, because you might find yourself more exhausted at the end, right? If it's not something you feel good about, then it's not worth doing.
Jon Orr: Exactly. If you're like, "Hey, I'm going to work on this, this and this this summer," and then you're like, "Oh man, I should probably do that too because if that's making you happy, I'm sure it'll make me happy, but I'm a different person." We don't want to get caught up with keeping up with the people down the street, or next door, or doing things that aren't going to make you happy, but you do have to reflect on go what are those things and can I make those happen in my life?
Kyle Pearce: I love it. Some of those things that bring you joy might be again cuddling up on a hammock with a book. I'm the type of person, I love listening to audio books, I love listening to podcasts, but I am not the type of person that will grab a physical book, and go sit and just read for an afternoon. It's like it doesn't work for me and for other people...
Jon Orr: Oh see, I can do that Kyle. I can do that.
Kyle Pearce: Exactly, but imagine if I put that pressure on myself in order to do that, that would be a huge concern for me. What I do though, I do find joy in listening to books while I go for my run in the morning, or while I'm exercising or anytime I'm in the car, especially when we're traveling. When we go to Denver, I'm going to be loaded up. And I just wanted to share John some of the ones that are on my radar, I have a physical copy of the book called The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics. What really brought it to my attention was actually one of our summit sessions, and it was Marilyn Strutchens who had highlighted some of the work from this book in her summit session.
And that caught our eye and I say our Yvette Lehman actually had taken a screenshot of these five equitable teaching practices. I put it on my radar, I put it on her radar, and we actually are doing a book talk with some of our math coaches in the district. Right now, that's the one I'm physically reading which again not my style, but it's not available in audiobook. I'm digging into that, and we meet regularly on that one. And then the one I picked up for audiobooks that I'm excited to dive into, and I'll probably won't get into that until we're done this book top, but it'll be in the summer. It'll be one of my audio books I listen to on my runs and on flights, and those sorts of things. It's called the Impact of Identity.
The first book is The Impact of Identity in K-8 Mathematics. And then this one caught my attention. It's called The Impact of Identity: The Power of Knowing Who You Are. And I found it when I was looking for the first book on Audible...
Jon Orr: They're not related?
Kyle Pearce: Not related at all. Different author, but what caught my attention about the second one is because I actually in that moment, when I was searching for that book, this one pops up on the screen. And I clicked on it to see is this the same book? And I'm like, "Oh, it has nothing to do with math, and it's actually all about you, the reader learning more about who you are as a person." And in that moment, I realize, I'm like, "I don't know if I've spent any time really understanding who I am. If I'm going to try to help determine use the impact of identity with my students to be more culturally responsive, to provide more access and equity to all learners in my classroom, I should probably do my own homework too and maybe take a deeper dive into who I am as a person.
I think I know who I am, but I haven't really done any work, right?" I grabbed that one. I purchased it already, and I'm really eager to see what I can learn through that book. And I feel like if I know who I am, if I better understand who I am and who I'm not is probably the part that I'm looking for the most here. If I can figure out those differences and those nuances, then maybe I can better recognize the differences in my students and who they are. And that might help me as I work with different students across our system.
Jon Orr: Good recommendations Kyle for some books, for folks who are... I know that I talked about it a moment ago about this. If we are burnt out, what are those goals that we're going to set for ourself to make us feel happy? And again, if making you feel happy is to do some digging in and doing some improvement for your practice, then hey, we could throw some suggestions your way. You're listening to this podcast, right? Maybe you're looking to do some more digging in this summer. I know a book that I'm still in the middle of. And I've talked about it I believe here on the podcast before Kyle. Sometimes, these things blend to me because some we did some webinars back in May as well is the book Four Thousand Weeks by Oliver Burkeman.
And I picked this book up an audio format like you Kyle. I'm on audio book person when I'm on the go, when I'm doing exercise, driving in the car, otherwise listening to the podcast. I'll listen to books. This one I picked up because this one's hitting home for me right now and especially for the summer. And I think it hits home on some of the things we've touched on already here in this episode. I picked it up because I'm always on the hunt for productivity books. How can I be more productive? How can I maximize my time? How do I have work life balance better? Lots of people ask us Kyle, how do we work at our jobs and still manage the podcast and create math lessons, and keep our wives run the makeups-
Kyle Pearce: Those...
Jon Orr: ... Make Math Moments Academy. Yeah, spend time with our families. It is a balance. I'm always on that hunt to be like, "What is that? How can I optimize this? How do I achieve this?" And this book called Four Thousand Weeks is that way and it's almost like, "Hey, you only have 4000 weeks alive. And if you're thinking about how do you strategize your week, so that you can make the most of that week and get the most done off your to-do list, and then also spend time with your family. And then all of a sudden the next week, you have more stuff to do. How do I move things off my list and move things down the line of this conveyor belt of tasks that have to get done? Oliver Burkeman in this book, he makes you rethink that whole mindset.
And that says, "Look it because you only have 4000 weeks." If you're of the mindset that you're trying to get stuff off your plate to you're just going to fill that plate up with more stuff. And he basically makes the argument that you're never going to achieve this productivity dream that you think you're going to achieve. You're trying to achieve this goal of like, "I'm going to get this system that is going to be the best, and it's going to make my life perfect." And that he's saying you're never going to get there. And until you come to the realization that you're never going to have this perfect system, you're never going to be the happy. You're never going to get there.
And it's only when you realize that it's you choosing the right things to do with your time and not about getting things off your plate and your to-do list. It's a good book for mindset that way, and it's helping me think instead of asking a question, how do I get things maximize my productivity, what are the things that I should be spending my time on? Super important book I think, especially for going into the summer thinking about that. I'd recommend that one. It's not a math book at all, right? It's a productivity book, but not. I'm listening to that one on my exercise routines. Kyle, what about podcasts? We got podcast listeners here. What are you listening to right now on your podcast list?
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, I am so enthralled what... did I use the right word there? I'm intrigued. I'm diving deep into this idea. It's called the infinite banking concept. I mean I guess there's math involved in it, but really it's super intriguing to me, and there's a podcast called The Fifth Edition. And it does a really good job of highlighting what it is, and how it works. And basically, it involves whole life insurance policies, but then also this a way to basically save money, but then also be able to pass on more to your children after you're gone. And I've been really intrigued by that. I'm digging deep into that one right now. As we've said before, sometimes we listen to productivity podcasts, or sometimes we listen to personal wellness podcasts.
And this one in particular has really got me right now, just diving into that. If there's anybody out there who's thinking this summer, they're like, "Hey, I want to rethink how maybe I deal with my finances, or you want to make some changes." I'm sure we've all realized this thing called inaudible is hitting us all. So, that's one I would definitely recommend if that sparks your interest. I'm digging it for sure. How about you, what are you listening to?
Jon Orr: Yeah, I got a couple and these aren't math related podcasts at all. I've always recommended Freakonomics to people. It's one of the longest running I think podcasts. They've got over 600 episodes, or something of that nature. If you've ever read that book Freakonomics, it's one of the authors who has basically taken that chapters of that book, and then basically continued the book and dove into different ideas. And the subtitle is always exploring the hidden side of everything. There's always this hidden side, and that's the really cool part of Freakonomics. It's like it's diving into things that uncovering things you didn't think might have been there.
Along those lines, there's another podcast that always comes around now in June from Malcolm Gladwell in the same realm which is called Revisionist History. We've talked about it here on the podcast before. I always look forward to that in the summer to listen to Revisionist History from Malcolm Gladwell. He looks at many different ideas. He says from history, but a lot of them have to do with current events. And he looks at a hidden side of that, and it's really interesting. I find them most interesting I look forward to them every week. And then similarly, Michael Lewis's podcast Against the Rules looks at different aspects of professionals and experts in our world.
I think in season one, he looks at the refer... I think the coach and coaches, or that might be season two. In season one, it's the referees. And then in season three is right now, he's looking at the expert. It's like what does the expert do, and how can we look at experts in a different way, or maybe they're looked at poorly. Those three podcasts are always on my to-do list in Kyle. Well, there's another podcast I listened to for fun, super fun. These are all for fun by the way, but it's like I like to laugh along new podcast in the last year, SmartLess by Jason Bateman, and Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes. Those guys are pretty funny to listen to, and they just interview people on their podcast. So, that is definitely not a math podcast at all, and it's also not a podcast you listen to with kids in the car.
Kyle Pearce: Oh, yeah. Okay, good disclaimer. One thing we can proudly say is that Make Math Moments Podcast, you can always, always listen with kids in the cars. So, there you go. If you're listening with the kids, then just stick with us and you'll be in good shape there. Those are great shares there. John, the last piece that I wanted to share before, we'll talk about our goal setting for our math endeavors for our mathematical curiosities. The last one that I'm going to share is actually I already watched it, but now I'm enacting it a little bit. And I'm not fully committing, but there's a documentary on Netflix called The Game Changers, and we'll link to it in the show notes.
It is basically the person who puts this documentary on, I believe it's... is it Lewis Hamilton? I'm trying to think of who it is. It's a UFC fighter who's basically trying to find answers about plant-based diets and the impacts of eating meat and plant-based food. And I'm a big fan of meat, and I enjoy it. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I've never wanted to not eat meat, but I watched this. My wife actually encouraged me to watch it, and she started going mostly plant based for a little while, and she's felt amazing. She just said, "Just check it out." And she's like, "It's up to you." She didn't put any pressure on or anything like that, but I checked that out, and it really has me thinking differently at least about what I eat, how I eat, and all of those things.
If friends are listening and they're thinking like, "I'd like to use some time this summer to maybe rethink your health or your diet or your exercise routine," that could be. If you're a big fan of eating meat like I have been in the past, that maybe might be something for you to check out. So, that was the last one that... and I'm trying my best John to avoid plant-based foods and I've done so. I'm at about week two, and I've had a few little things here and there, but I've tried to avoid it. I'm not going to beat myself up if... I'm not going to call it cheating if I do have some. I'm not committing to never eating it again, but I will say that I feel so much lighter and I don't know, just energetic.
Whether it's the whole effect that I know that I'm doing this and that's having that impact or not, I'm not sure. But over time, we'll find out. But that's something for me over this summer, I'm really going to pay attention to that, and at least try to figure out which foods make me feel good afterwards, and which foods don't make me feel so good, right? I love them while I'm eating them, and I look forward to them. But afterwards, do I feel like I want to go lay down on a couch, or do I feel like happy, excited, energetic? So, that's where my head's at there. So, a little bit of a focus for me this summer in terms of health.
Jon Orr: Right. Nice, good recommendation there, and I might even check it out. Now if we pivot to talk about goals towards say our classroom or our next steps when we think about that reflection on our school year, how we started the podcast, thinking about moving into next year, if you're going to dedicate some time to think about that because I know that I feel better about next year. Not that I go into school and plan a whole bunch of stuff, or spend a bunch of time in my classroom, or on these things. I usually do a lot of pondering, and thinking about what happened and what I can do. I think moving into this what are we going to do for school, a lot of times, it's like what are we going to do?
Are we going to think about our lessons, and how am I going to change some of the lessons? How am I going to improve those? How can I improve on those? What are the steps that I'm going to need to do? For me, after reflecting on the school year, I've been in the last number of years, you know that I've always been on an assessment journey. We've built a full course in the academy on assessment for growth. I feel like I live and breathe that thing every day in my classroom, because I think it's the primary driver of what we do in the classroom, helping kids understand where they are on their learning journey.
And one of the things I know I'm going to do for sure this summer is think about this connection between how much a student knows where they are on a particular learning goal, and where they need to go. In our course assessment for growth, we talk about standards based grading and how to track that. And in my class, we track that on a digital program called Fresh Grade, which has been very helpful. Kyle and I used to track it with spreadsheets, which was really cool and really great. Fresh Grade is just a nice program that does what we were used to doing. Just makes it easy for the kids to use. And I think Kyle right now on my reflection of that is that when it's on this digital device somewhere, right? It's like almost out of sight, out of mind and I want our students to think about it more on a daily basis.
If we're not looking at our fresh grade account to see our learning goals and what I did today achieved into those learning goals, I felt like this year, even though I think I did a better job than last year, I still think there's that piece missing. It's like I'm always thinking we need, I'm going to have, or I'm going to create this summer some sort of hard copy that's with them. And I've always left it digitally, so that they could go back to it and continually upload it. We've always liked that about our spreadsheets as well, but now I think we need something that's bridges that gap, so that it's something right there. We don't need a piece of technology to look up how we're doing on a particular learning goal.
So, that's where I'm going to be I think spending some time this summer, thinking about my learning goals for next year to always improve on that area that I'm always looking to improve on.
Kyle Pearce: I love it. And actually I was just chatting with a teacher recently who is on a similar journey at a different place in their journey for assessment and evaluation, but is really digging into this idea of okay, I can more narrowly assess instead of broadly assessing. I would say your typical test where you might be testing a unit which is some big ideas that are together, but the number doesn't really tell you where the student needs to improve or anything like that. And I know you're at a very different place. This particular teacher, we were discussing some of the concepts from the assessment for growth course. And that was one of the hurdles we had was exactly that was they don't have technology in this classroom on a regular basis. It was like how do we keep it fresh and in the forefront?
And we were actually deciding, this is something for maybe you to chew on too and what this might look like or sound like in your context, but we were even talking about almost having where there's say a template created. And some of that template could be created by you, and be something that's standard that's handed out, but then almost where students are forced to you give them let's call it 10 minutes of time each week, or maybe it's five minutes every other day for them to update this hard copy, almost their version of what's going on, so that it's like they're being reflective about it. Something along those lines, I'm sure you'll come up with something really cool too, but just to get students involved in the process I think is so important.
It's so key because if let's say or I print off our fresh grade report, you'll post it on the wall, or you could code it and give them all nicknames or whatever you do. It's like it still takes that student going over and looking at that, right? It's almost like how do we make some activity that's a part of the learning process where the student is essentially forced is the wrong word, but they're basically nudged to be reflecting and updating, and something to keep them going and aware of what they're up to it's. Super cool, I love that thinking. For me this summer, it's something I've been thinking about for a while, but it's like I feel like it's still very piecemeal all over the place.
And I mentioned this to you the other day John was myself and a colleague Mark Bodett, who I've done a lot of learning with this year and we've done a lot of growing together in terms of our own content knowledge and math, specifically in that 1W course, that de-streamed course you referenced earlier. And right now, people who have listened to the podcast know that I've been on this division journey for a long time, this partitive, quotative journey. We had Yvette on the podcast recently with her summit session replay all about division, that progression of division. Her and I have done tons of learning with this division concept and the implications it has on ratios and rates.
I'm still learning more and more about that each and every day. A lot of our units that we've developed over this past year 18 months really leverage the learning we've done in those areas around partitive and quotative division. Well now, we've leveraged or gone a step further, and we're now looking at solving equations, in particular linear equations through models and strategies, and developmentally seeing and realizing the impact that positive and quotative division have on solving equations, which obviously impacts linear relationships and proportional relationships. We've been really working on what does that progression look like, what are the best ways we can model this, and then what are the contexts that we have to be paying attention to in order to ensure that we emerge these ideas.
And I'll let the cat out of the bag. Something I know for sure already, even though we have so much more work to do is that... and I know you experienced this the other day when we were chatting about a lesson you did. But every time you're working with a linear equation, so this is for our friends who are teaching linear equations at any point. Typically or not typically, always when we have a linear equation, you are given the rate because for those who know Y equals MX plus B. If you're given the rate, then that means when you solve that equation, you're going to have to leverage quotative division to do your final step of solving the problem. However, for my entire career, I told kids to split it, or partition into groups in order to solve that equation, which is conceptually inaccurate.
It's actually wrong conceptually, even though the number will be the same. We're going to be taking this. We're going to be thinking about this all summer and developing content around it in order to emerge this idea, so that it's A, easy for teachers to understand and do and then B, makes it explicit to students when they're learning. If you are new to our problem based units and all of this is foreign to you, you're like, "What the heck is he talking about?" Make sure you check them out. Head over to makemathmoments.com/tasks, and dive into some of the content we already have. You'll see in those teacher guides that we try to be as explicit as we possibly can on what big ideas, strategies, and models we want to emerge, and then what students might do.
Because remember, we're not pre-teaching these concepts. We're actually using the task as a means to get to the learning, to get to the concept. So, check those out. I'm super excited to put a ton of time and effort into unpacking and mapping out these equations and journey.
Jon Orr: Exciting stuff. I'm looking forward to those discussions as well. If you are thinking about your next step in your journey and you're not sure exactly where you want to go, we're going to encourage you to look in two places today. One, if you were looking to revamp some of your lessons and thinking about how that looks in your classroom, and you want to create some engagement without recreating everything or changing so much, then we're going to encourage you to take our free 4-part video series course on transforming your textbook into an engagement machine. We ran this back in January as live sessions. We've got them recorded. We've put them in a course format for you through your email. If you have not yet done that, we're going to encourage you to go there.
If you're looking to do some learning this summer, this is definitely manageable to do a little each day. It's only going to take four day. It's not four full days Kyle. It's like there's four days of emails you're going to get. We would encourage you to go there. You're going to go to makemathmoments.com/transform. That's where you can sign up if you're looking to dive in a little bit about lesson planning, and how to actually take what you already have and jazz them up a little bit, or go deeper a little bit, so that you are making Math Moments by sparking curiosity, but also fueling sense making. We dive into all of that in that 4-part series. Kyle, what about some books for people If they're looking to go deeper?
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. Make sure you check out... we've got a massive list of the... we call it the ultimate book list for math educators. If you head to make makemathmoments.com/books, you can grab that. You can see it online, but you can also print it and take it with you, and have a look through there. They are books. We do need to do an update to that relatively soon there John, and add some of our latest titles. And we'll also have in the show notes all the books that we had referenced and all the different resources that we've referenced here today. Before we sign off, we've got a big takeaway here for you to think about and it's really hopefully you get the idea.
It's what are those goals going to be for you in order to help you with your happiness. And I think if you set those goals and you think about what is going to make you feel good about the work you do this summer, that is what's going to rejuvenate you. That is what's going to refresh you, and get you ready for this upcoming school year. Don't look at it as stuff that you have to do. It's what are the things you want to do? What are those things that are going to bring out that joy and bring out that fun for you this summer? Hopefully, these were some ideas. Remember, you can't do them all, right? You got to pick ones that make sense for you and maybe everything we mentioned, maybe that doesn't work for you.
Maybe it's something else, but keep that mind open, think about who you are, and make sure that, yeah, you're being true to yourself.
Jon Orr: Great takeaway there Kyle, great takeaway for people. And also if you are looking to maybe work out that pebble in your shoe, or there's something that you know if you just pluck that thing out of there, then some things might go smoother next year. And if you're not sure exactly how to get that pebble in your shoe, then we would encourage you to head on over to makemathmoments.com/mentor, and sign up for an interview. We would love to chat with you about that pebble. Kyle and I, both of us together and you, one on two, two oh... Oh, I don't know, two on one. We would love to brainstorm on how we could help you. We would record it as a podcast here on one of our Make Math Moments mentoring episodes/
Head on over to makemathmoments.com/mentor. Tell us about your pebble in your shoe, and we'll try our best to get you on in brainstorm, so that you were ready to go come September.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff and friends, remember ratings and reviews are so helpful in really letting the Apple Podcast, Google, Spotify, YouTube, whatever you're on. Those would go a long way in helping others find the podcast. When people are searching for math professional learning or just great math resources, that really helps more people find this community. Do us that quick favor and remember, show notes, transcripts and all resources can be found over at makemathmoments.com/episode184. That is episode 184 at makemathmoments.com. Friends, until next time. I hope you have a fantastic and relaxing restful summer if that is the time of year for you. If you are in the middle of your school year, we wish you nothing, but the best.
Keep doing that amazing work that you're doing, and we will see you next time. Until then, I'm Kyle Pierce.
Jon Orr: And I'm John Orr.
Kyle Pearce: High fives for us.
Jon Orr: And a super big high five for you.
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