Episode 208: Five Math PD Pitfalls To Avoid – Part 2

Nov 21, 2022 | Podcast | 0 comments



In the second part of our two part series highlighting Math PD Pitfalls To Avoid, Jon & Kyle dig deeper into the weeds we often find ourselves in when trying to plan and deliver effective mathematics professional learning. 

In the final part of this series, we’ll unpack why professional development one-offs won’t cut it and how we can overcome a PD Paradox that can hinder our opportunity to grow as an educational community. 

You’ll Learn

  • Why math professional development one-offs won’t cut it….or will they? 
  • Where do you place yourself on the hierarchy of math professional development learning?
  • How to reframe your math professional development messages so that every teacher feels like they have received the learning they want and need; and, 
  • How to overcome a common math professional development paradox.
Start your school year off right by downloading the guide that you can save and print to share with colleagues during your next staff meeting, professional learning community meeting or just for your own reference!


Kyle Pearce: Welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I'm Kyle Pierce-

Jon Orr: ... and I'm Jon Orr. We're from makemathmoments.com. Together-

Kyle Pearce: ... with you, the community of Math Moment Makers worldwide who want to build and deliver problem-based math lessons that spark curiosity-

Jon Orr: ... fuel sense-making-

Kyle Pearce: ... and ignite your teacher moves. My Math Moment Maker friends, we are so excited. Actually, Jon, I feel like we just dusted ourselves off from a short hop to Texas this past weekend-

Jon Orr: inaudible.

Kyle Pearce: ... working with the awesome, awesome educator friends in Katy ISD. We're back to build on our last session or last podcast episode where we dove into some math PD pitfalls to avoid.

Jon Orr: Our title was Five Math PD Pitfalls You Want To Avoid in 2022-2023. That's this school year. In that episode, we talked about three. We didn't get to all five. That's what this episode is is to finish off the five. We talked about three of them. Let's just do a quick recap here, Kyle, on the three, and then we'll get into the two we want to talk about here in this episode. We talked about these PD pitfalls so that you can spark engagement and fuel sense-making when you're educators, but avoid some of these common traps we get into or common pitfalls we fall into when designing professional development.
The first one we talked about in that episode, which was a few episodes ago, was the "do as I say, not as I do" PD sessions, which were kind of getting around this hypocrisy that sometimes we attend professional development session is all about inquiry, learning, problem-based learning, getting your students to discuss and think and be active-

Kyle Pearce: Collaborate and all of those ones.

Jon Orr: ... and be thinkers, and be thinkers. A lot of times when we're in, say, our district professional development sessions, or if you attend a session at a conference and you find yourself going like, "This person, they're telling me all about how to be active my room, but I'm sitting here and just getting all this information. It's not active. It's not thinking. It's a lot of lecturing." So we talked about that in that episode. Kyle, what was the second one to avoid this year?

Kyle Pearce: This one is about unrealistic goals. We have this habit. It's for a good reason. We want to set great goals, we want to achieve so many things, but oftentimes we underestimate or we overestimate what we can do in a short period of time and underestimate what we can do over a longer period of time. So oftentimes we set unrealistic goals. We try to track them. We try to measure them. We try to see if it has an influence or an impact on student learning. But unfortunately, that can be a big downer if we set those goals too lofty too fast. So we really chatted about trying to make more manageable goals and small bite-sized goals.
It's much better to have a small bite-sized goal over a really short period of time instead of trying to make too large of a goal over, let's say, the entire semester or school year, and then things sort of get out of hand. And what do you know? Next thing you know, it's the end of the school year, and you haven't achieved what you had set after. That obviously is a huge hit to your ego. So avoid setting unrealistic goals, make them small, make them over a small period of time, small, little goals that are easier to track and easier to stack. Stack those goals. Like, "Wow, we got one-off the list. Let's get to the next one." That was our second PD trap.

Jon Orr: Awesome, awesome stuff there. The last one we talked about on that episode was about stop force-feeding math professional development. A lot of times, we do a one-size-fits-all kind of professional development for all of our teachers, making that professional development mandatory for so many of our educators. That one-size-fits-all doesn't always work. We got people who are crossing their arms, and they're talking about, "This isn't for me. It's for somebody else." They don't see it as the thing they need at this time. So we talked about the breadcrumb strategy instead, which is kind of slow nuggets spaced out over time to make and cause some change or implement some change that you're looking for. Right, Kyle?

Kyle Pearce: Yeah, absolutely. If you haven't heard that episode yet, I would go back to that episode. It's just a couple weeks back or a couple episodes back. So go check that one out. Listen to the full three pitfalls that we addressed and some of the ideas that we shared with you. Today, we're going to dive into the last two. The first one we're going to dive into here, Jon, is actually very closely knit with the last force-feeding one. This one is the idea of professional development one-offs. Now, we're saying that it won't cut it. Really, there's a nuance here because professional development one-offs can work. They can work, and we're going to talk a little bit more about what how they can work.

Jon Orr: Well, what is a professional development one-off when you say that, Kyle? Let's be clear here.

Kyle Pearce: I think that's a good point there, Jon, because some people might be wondering, what are we talking about here? Really what we're talking about is when, let's say, there's a professional learning day and then there's this one topic, maybe one speaker comes in and talks about assessment for the day, and then vanishes to oblivion. You never see this person again. You never hear from them again. Both you and I have engaged in that as educators, but we've also delivered many of our own professional development one-offs.
Now, on their own we're saying they won't cut it. Because oftentimes what happens when this sort of professional learning opportunity happens, it's often to a large group of educators who didn't necessarily opt in. They just were sort of forced into it. When that happens, it can be really challenging for the educators to walk away with something positive. We're not saying it didn't work for anyone there. Just much like my old, traditional math classroom where I was teaching, it did work for some students. It just didn't work for the majority of my students.
What we're trying to do is we're trying to figure out, how do we better suit or set ourselves up for more impact, more effective outcomes from the professional development that we do provide for educators? Because, Jon, you and I both know this is a hard thing because there is not a ton of built in professional development time in most educators' schedules. So what do we do in this particular case? We already know it can be effective. So let's dig in a little bit more here.

Jon Orr: Yeah, let's dig in a little bit here.

Kyle Pearce: Do we have any research that we can lean on as to when it's helpful and maybe when it's not so helpful and what we might be able to do about it?

Jon Orr: Yeah, for sure. You know what? Teachers come to professional development sessions with different wants and needs. Everyone has a set thing of what they're looking for. All educators do have this. When we come to those sessions, those wants and needs will dictate whether the change is going to happen or not.
We were talking with our good friend, Peter Liljedahl, who shares so many great insights we've referenced here on the podcast so many times. We've actually interviewed him twice here on the podcast. Peter, we were talking with him actually not too long ago, Kyle, where we sat down with him at NCTM in Los Angeles. We were talking about this idea, this one-off approach, and he referenced a paper he wrote. He brought this up, and it was just spur of the moment. He's like, "I wrote a paper all on this one-off idea." He said the paper was called What Teachers Want from their Professional Learning Opportunities, and he sent that paper over to us. We read it. We got a lot of pieces from this.
A piece we want to share here from his research is he spent some time and he did some interviews with different districts he went to work with. He basically gathered some data that basically says there's almost a hierarchy of what people are looking for in their professional development and what stage they're in that professional development. He says you've got some teachers who are in this "do not disturb" method. It's like, "Hey, I'm doing what I'm doing. Oh, I'm going to head to professional development. Oh, you know what? I'm okay going to professional development." But what "do not disturb" people are looking for is "Don't rock the boat with what I'm doing. But if you've got a great lesson for me to take and swap out with a lesson I'm already doing, then I'll take it as long as it's a little bit better than what I've got before." So we've got this level of educator. I think when you're listening to this, you're like, "Yeah, I know an educator exactly like that." It's like, "Hey, I'll swap this out. I'm glad to swap this out. Thanks so much."

Kyle Pearce: Maybe we've even been that educator.

Jon Orr: I've definitely been that-

Kyle Pearce: Oh, I've been there. I was that person where I was like, "Hey, I'm just looking for saving myself some time because it's hard to lesson plan."

Jon Orr: Exactly. A lot of times, it doesn't mean you're of one hierarchy or the other. You can be at all these different hierarchies at different times. It's like, "Hey, I've got this good thing going over here. I'm willing to think about other things, but I'm really looking for a lesson that swaps right here." So you've got that kind of hierarchy there. Let's say it's close to the bottom. Then you've got the next level up, which is a teacher that Peter calls is willing to reorganize. You've got this teacher who's willing to reorganize my unit. Kyle, you were doing this back when we were talking about reorganizing our spiraling plan. We were taking what we already had, "I can swap this around here. I'm willing to reorganize how I do things. Maybe I'm going to change the setup of my classroom." But there's no fundamental real switch happening here. It's just a reorganizing of some things.
Then another step up from that is a willing to rethink. That's that pedagogy piece that, "I might change my fundamental beliefs about this idea. Maybe I've been convinced that I'm now going to be looking at some group work, and I'm going to do more of that. Or I'm going to be looking at I'm going to change the way I'm doing my assessment practices. I heard some new ways to do that. I'm going to do that." There's that hierarchy, those teachers who are willing to rethink their program, willing to rethink some of their lessons. Then you've got a teacher who's at this inquiry level, Peter calls, which is basically everything. You're willing to change lots. You're open to everything that comes your way.
What Peter suggests is that when he works with teachers and this one-off approach, a lot of times we've been on record of saying, "Hey, the one-off approach doesn't work that great," but what Peter's saying is the one-off won't work if you've got these resistant teachers who are unwilling to change. They're either the "do not disturb," or they got their arms crossed. But the one-off approach can work with the teachers who are in that "willing to rethink" stage or in the everything stage. It's like they're waiting. They're waiting for a new philosophy or a new change. They've already been convinced that something there has to change. So he's saying a one-off approach can work in that sense.
Now, what we would argue, Kyle, is that the one-off is great for that first step, that first step of, like, "I'm now ready to take that and run with it," but then, this is where we would step in and go, "Well, the one-off works for that great spark, and now we still might need more support after the one-off because I'm going to run with it, but I also need some support along the way as well."

Kyle Pearce: Yeah, absolutely. It's like that spark, just like any fire, any flame, if you just leave the spark and you don't actually nurture it, you don't feed it, you don't give it oxygen, you don't give it the kindling to keep it going, it's not going to get bigger. So something that I think you and I try to do when we have been in positions where we go to speak to a large group of math educators is we are really hyper-focusing on getting that mindset shifting, sparking the possibility that things could be different for math class. Like, here's how it is now, and here's what it could be. Doing this shift, and actually the book Jon helped me with it, Nancy Duarte, it's called Resonate, I believe it's called. She talks about this in terms of presenting. All good speeches have this sort of flip flop between-

Jon Orr: Oh, yes, I remember.

Kyle Pearce: ... what is and what could be, what is and what could be. She calls it these pulses. For us, that's what we try to do in that first session. But I would argue that there's going to be a limited number of long-term change or people who take a long-term change if they don't have support afterwards.
What I think Peter's work really helps to highlight here... It's based on Ball and Bass, Hyman Bass and Deborah Ball, and there's some other great research that's referenced in this document as well, in this white paper. If we're speaking to a group of people that are already in this place where they're willing to rethink or where they're willing to inquire, things could be different, then those people, that might be all they need to set off on their path. They might be like, "Oh, yeah. This is what I want."
I'll be honest and say, I believe, I've referenced it a number of times, that's the stage I was at when I saw Dan Meyer speak for the first time at OAME back in 2011 or 2012, whenever it was, that first conference. I was in that moment, in that space where I listened to a one-hour session, and it completely changed how I viewed everything. Now, it took me a long time after that to continue doing the learning, but it was like the switch had been made for me. Whereas if I was in that "do not disturb" or maybe just willing to reorganize the order of things or how I wanted to do things in my class, that might have stopped there. Like you were saying, it really has a lot to do with where educators are.
I think the point you and I try to make about one-off PD and being cautious about it is that, if you do one-off PD and every educator is forced to be there, so we talked about force-feeding the PD in the last session, the results, I think, are more likely than not going to be less than optimal. That was pretty complex what I just said. So more likely than not the results will be less than optimal. That's simply because it would be really challenging or really difficult to really have, I guess, any confidence that all educators in the group or the vast majority of educators in the group are in the space where they're willing to think where they're at that moment where they know that they want to make a bigger change than just simply restructuring or just grabbing a lesson to use in their math classrooms.
So that work from Peter and that conversation from Peter really had us thinking more deeply about this and what we mean here. Hopefully, this is articulating it a little bit further. My wonder is, if we are going to do some one-off PD, how can we change the conditions so that we are going to have a higher chance of effective outcomes here, Jon? What could be done? What could we do?

Jon Orr: I think one of the answers we should think about with the one-off strategy is, if I have to do a one-off strategy, then... This comes into a lot of cases, because like you said, Kyle, we get contacted to come and do a one-off presentation to a district. We're trying to say, "You know what? We would come to do a one-off, but we actually don't want to make it a one-off. We want to make that the next step." That's kind of the strategy we want to employ. What are we putting into place to provide support to the one-off?
Because right now our research from Peter is saying the one-off is great for the people who are willing to think or willing to rethink, the people who are in the inquiry stage. New teachers are also a good spot for a one-off strategy because new teachers are looking for lots of different things right off the bat. They're already in the "willing to think." They don't have preconceived routines and culture that they have to change. Even resistant teachers, if they're sparked, can jump to the "willing to rethink." But if I'm in that "do not disturb" and I'm not willing to reorganize or I'm not willing to rethink, then the one-off strategy isn't going to help those. We're not moving them up the ladder. If it's a one-off, we're probably not giving them the one lesson they're looking for to replace their systems of equations.
So the answer, I think, Kyle, for our one-off strategy is, if we're doing a one-off, I think if I'm bringing in someone, I'm going to also want to go, "What can I do to provide support to whatever they're going to suggest to my teachers?" Because I would say, "Let's do the one-off, but we don't want to make it a one-off. We want to make it a support system." So if I bring someone in, it's like, "Okay, we're going to bring in..." I'm going to want to know what they're going to want to talk about so that I can figure out, how can I support what they're going to do after this? How can I provide support to the teachers to implement whatever's going to be talked about in their lessons? I think that's really important. I think we have to think about that.
Otherwise, why am I really bringing the one-off in? Because if I don't work that into my professional development learning plan, it's almost like, I got the high flyers who are already willing to change and spark and keep going, but I know that most districts aren't bringing that person in for them. So it's like, we want change in the people who are resistant to change. That's, I think, where we move some needles. So it's about, what is the ongoing support that I can do to help these teachers along? That goes back to what we were talking about last episode about bread crumbing people along and addressing these resistant teachers, which actually plays in nice about our next topic.

Kyle Pearce: Absolutely. What I'm hearing from you is, if there is this one-off idea, the reality is is we don't want it to be one-off. It's one-off maybe in the format in which it's being presented, but then there's follow-up support. So either you are helping those teachers that were kind of eager for that learning already, or you're getting ready to breadcrumb the teachers that weren't. You're inspiring those teachers to maybe think differently. Now you're going to provide them with a little bit additional support to continue that learning.

Jon Orr: That too. Think about the one-off for, what is the purpose of our professional development? Because it goes back to our last episode on this about also blanketing professional development. If it's a mandatory professional development, I don't know if bringing a one-off is the best use of that one-off because we're probably not addressing the teacher's needs for the people who are resistant. The one-off isn't going to provide support ongoing. If I'm having a voluntary professional development session, then a one-off would work great because it hits with all of these people who are ready to change. But if it's not a voluntary situation, and that's kind of what we've been talking about with all of our five PD pitfalls in this series of two episodes, it's really mandatory professional development or everyone does professional development. How do you change those so that they're more worthwhile? That's where I think the one-off isn't that great. Peter's got some evidence to say it works if it's voluntary, so great, but not so much if it's not voluntary. I think that's where we want to avoid. We can do other things. Where's the support come from? What are we going to do if it's going to be a mandatory professional development?
For example, Kyle, we got the summits coming up. The time of this recording, it's early November. The summit's coming up the 18th, the 19th to the 20th of November. That's a voluntary conference. It's free. Anybody can go. People who are not wanting to go aren't even going to show up because it's a voluntary thing. So the whole conference is a series of one-offs. It's a series of qualified speakers, qualified teachers, qualified researchers coming in, talking about new ideas, giving the people who are willing to rethink, the new teachers, these new sparks to go off and do great things in their classroom. That's why we do the summit is to provide that spark of next steps for people, give them the seed to build from there. But I'm going to still argue, I think the one-off's not awesome if it's not a voluntary thing.

Kyle Pearce: I love it. I love it. This dovetails so nicely in the last pitfall we're going to chat about. We call it overcoming a common math professional development paradox. There's this paradox that a lot of system leaders struggle with in that they hear surveys... For example, the OECD had the TALIS, which is the Teaching and Learning International Survey. The data showed that despite high levels of professional development, activity, participation by educators, math professional development needs of a significant proportion of teachers are not being met. These system leaders who are bringing in speakers, oftentimes in the one-off format, are going, "What is going on here?" They said that they wanted PD, so we gave them PD, and they're still saying it's not being met. Then furthermore, Jon, you've seen it happen before, I'm sure you've been involved in PD where you're a participant, you look around and there's educators who are marking or trying to lesson plan for the next day. There's a clear mismatch here.

Jon Orr: Shopping online.

Kyle Pearce: It often makes me wonder about really one of the key pieces here being, do we know our learners? We talk about how important it is to know our learners in our math classrooms. Jon, you and I for many years, we would teach a lesson and then find out afterwards that either students already maybe knew how to do the thing that we were already doing, or they were way off base and they weren't ready for it. Now we approach things differently where we're constantly listening, observing, watching to see what students need, where are they, and what's the next step. Now, I think I could do a better job of asking students what they need next versus me always trying to predict just through observation. But with educators, it's almost more important that we're really hyper-tuned in to better understand what they perceive to be their challenge. Because you and I can bring and do a one-off session for a group of educators, if they perceive their challenge to be something completely different than what you and I are trying to communicate to them, then they're going to walk away saying their needs weren't met.

Jon Orr: Right, exactly.

Kyle Pearce: So really this idea, this paradox that a lot of people who are planning PD are often dealing with really comes down to all of the previous pieces that we've discussed before, but more importantly, it's getting to know what do educators actually think they need and then giving them the confidence that they're getting what they need. Then the part we talked about trickery a few episodes back, it's like, how do we leverage this influence, this trickery, this idea where we can get to what we perceive the real problem to be.
It's like when you have to give your dog some sort of pill or some sort of medicine. You know the medicine's going to help them, but you can't just feed it to them like that because they're not going to eat it. So what do you do? You wrap it in peanut butter because the dog's like, "I want peanut butter. All right, let's do it." and they get the double whammy. Now, I'm not saying they'll completely misconstrue what you're doing with educators. But if educators think that there's a problem over here and we say, "No, the problem is this over here," then there's going to be this disconnect. They're going to sort move on to something else thinking, "Hey, this isn't for me," even though maybe it is for them. So what are some ideas where we can actually basically get rid of this paradox if and when we have the opportunity to work with our educators?

Jon Orr: Kyle, it's like what you said. You have to kind of perceive what is the greatest need for that group of teachers that you're working with, and you have to know who they are. You have to know your audience. I think we do have to know that. You have to know whether you're working with voluntary teachers, mandatory assigned professional development. You have to know what grade level this is going to be. What are the teachers going through right now? Are they going through a grading period? Do they just have this loaded on their plate? We have to know our educators just like we have to know what our students are going through. Knowing your educator, knowing who you're talking to is going to go a long way.
For example, here's a little story. We ran professional development a couple sessions ago with a district. We knew going in we were working with high school teachers, and it was a mandatory, everyone shall participate. The idea for this session was to get them to use lessons that are problem-based, lessons that spark thinking, lessons that spark discussion, lessons that use most of the eight effective teaching practices, so we're eliciting student thinking, we're doing productive struggle. But if you go in and you say all those things, you could say, "I'm going to teach you a lesson about how to elicit student thinking," and use the eight effective teaching practices and say, "This is what we're going to do, and here's some examples," like you said, Kyle, it's like giving the dog the medicine. They're not really going to want to eat it because you have to start with their pebble. What is this group's pebble?
On this specific example, we went in, and knowing that it was high school teachers, and if you ask high school teachers what their biggest pebble are, they're going to say a lot of things, you can imagine. It's like, "Well, kids don't do their homework and that they're late all the time." How do we fix all these things that's not so fixable a lot of times?
What we said when we went in, it's like, "What do you want your classroom to look like in five years?" We did our magic wand activity that we talked about in Episode 199. We asked them about, what is your biggest pebble that you're seeing in your classroom right now that you have in your sphere of influence? When we asked those two questions combined, what mostly pops out? Because we did some anticipation. We're thinking about who we have, we know what they're going to say because we know who they are, and because we craft the question in a certain way, since we know what they're going to answer with, we knew that they were all going to say, "I want better problem solvers."
That's what a lot of math teachers want. They want better problem solvers. Then we used that to say, "Everything we're going to do today is going to help you create a better problem solver." Everything was framed around that pebble that they all have. It's like, "Let's talk about how to make a better problem solver this way. Here's another way that we can make a better problem solver." So all of the lessons we talked about with the lessons we gave, the way to run that lesson, the pedagogical moves from the teacher were all designed to create a better problem solver, a better thinker than what they had been doing in the past. Then all of a sudden, the magic helped the medicine go down.

Kyle Pearce: I love. I love it. Whether you had used problem solving as one area, that's something that always comes up in a group for sure. Another one's math facts. It's like, "Students don't know their math facts."

Jon Orr: Right, exactly.

Kyle Pearce: The reason I want to bring up this example is because when you go back to, again, you had said the eight effective teaching practices, using low floor/high ceiling tasks, all of the things that you want to show educators related to building better problem solvers can also be elicited in the same ways to address math facts. Because I know when you want to help make a better problem solver, Jon, you're focusing on strategies and math models. We're using the curiosity path to make sure that everyone can enter in. What are we going to do for math facts and students becoming more fluent and flexible with numbers? We're going to be doing very similar things. Now, we're going to frame everything back to this idea of math facts and fact fluency.

Jon Orr: Exactly.

Kyle Pearce: But ultimately at the end of the day, other teachers are going to be like, "Wow, I could see my students also becoming better problem solvers." The reality is all of these things are connected. I think in education, we're naturally looking at what's the thing that's causing all the other things not to work. When in reality it's actually much more complex and it's much more interconnected. Now, we could look at that and think of that as being overwhelming and scary, or we can look at that as being a huge benefit, how interconnected all of these things are.
Because if I can use a lot of the same solutions to address many problems, well, look at that, we've actually addressed a lot more of the challenges, and we're doing it using the same actual approach and strategies so that teachers don't feel like, "Well, once I'm done solving the problem solving issue, now I have to focus on the math fact issue. Then once I'm done with the math fact issue, then I'm going to work on the homework issue. Then it's the engage..." It's like, no, no, we're going to try to address all of these things by crafting components and routines in our math program that are going to serve all of these ideas. We don't want it to be that the first 20 minutes of class are all about math facts and that's it. It doesn't help any other aspect of my math class. Then these 20 minutes over here are just for problem solving, and that's only going to help those pieces.
It's all about looking at, how do we create routines, and how do we approach math class in a way where all of these ideas are being served? Ultimately, at the end of the day, teachers start to go, "Wow, my needs are being met because, the presenter, "Jon, you listened to me. It's like you crafted this workshop for me." When in reality what you did was you just listened to their needs, and you framed what you wanted to say anyway in a way that's going to resonate with them. It could be the same exact presentation, but if you just completely ignored or didn't respect what they perceived to be the real problem right now, if you don't address that, if you don't highlight that, if you don't articulate that, then they feel like this workshop wasn't for them at all.
If we can do more of that with our math PD and for those classroom teachers who are still listening to us, if we could do more of that for our students when they come into our class where students are like, "Wow, that lesson was for me," think of the impact that we can have every day when we walk into the classroom be it with educators or with the students that we serve each day.

Jon Orr: Awesome stuff there, Kyle. Awesome stuff. Let's just do a quick recap. We talked about the final two pitfalls to avoid in 2022-2023, this school year, when designing math professional development for your district or for your school or for your math department. The first one we talked about here today was how to or why math professional development one-offs won't cut it. But we talked about how they sometimes cut it and sometimes they don't.
We talked specifically about some hierarchy developed by Peter Liljedahl about where teachers stand on their journey and where their mindset is on professional learning and why one-offs sometimes can be good depending if you're on the rethink category or you're a new teacher or you are in the inquiry where everything is going to be awesome for you. But then we talked about if it's mandatory and you've got these folks who are in the "do not disturb" or they're kind of in the "willing to reorganize" but not really willing to rethink yet, we might want to think about, how do I develop or support a one-off so it's not really a one-off anymore? It's about, how do I create a support system to enact the change that I'm looking for, and it actually fits in with my professional development learning goals for the year, which is what we help our districts with that we work with. How do you set up and maintained your goals, and then how do you support those goals more than just a one-off? Kyle and I, when we work with districts, we just worked with Katy ISD in Texas, we're working with them to support their goals throughout the year.
Then, Kyle, this second one we talked about here was how to overcome this math professional development paradox, the idea about teachers want professional development, but then they don't think they're getting professional development. Or when they get it's not, they're tuning out. They're not getting what they need. We talked about how to reframe how you're delivering that professional development to give them what they want, which means you need to know who you are talking to. You need to address their pebbles, what are they looking for, and reframe so that you can give it to them, like that medicine needs to go down.

Kyle Pearce: I love it. I love it. Great recap there, Jon. Again, big takeaways, my friends, whether you're working with educators or students, is we need to listen, learn who our learners are, and try to help meet their needs. We know, we might have ideas of what they need, but if they don't think you're reaching their needs, then the learning is lost, so make sure you're always thinking about that learner first in your planning and as you move forward.
Friends, we've got the virtual summit coming up real soon, and replays are going to be available inside the Academy. So get on over. Make sure you register for the summit over at makemathmoments.com/summit. What you'll be doing, even though you're going to see 25 plus options of one-off sessions from some of the best speakers around the world, the one difference is that you're raising your hand and you're saying, "Hey, I want to influence or change my thinking or influence how I teach my math class." So that type of PD is going to work really well for you. Maybe there's some educators around your school or around your district that you think might be in that same space. Let them know about it as well. Of course, if you miss the summit, if you're listening to this after November 18th, 19th and 20th, 2022, all of our summit sessions from this fourth annual as well as the other three summits are available inside the Academy. You can grab 30 days free over at makemathmoments.com/academy so that you can do some learning at your pace.

Jon Orr: Awesome stuff there. If you're a district leader or an administrator and you're looking for some guidance, some help, some improvement on your professional learning goals for this year or even into next year, we work with districts just like you and support you and your districts on your improvement, your district improvement through our district improvement program. We come in and help you design those goals, how to meet those goals. What are you going to need to support teachers on those goals? How do you frame professional development in your district? We help you with all of those needs to improve your district's math program. You can learn more about that at makemathmoments.com/district. We work with a handful of partners or districts each year. Got a couple spots left. So head on over to make makemathmoments.com/district and reach out to us.

Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff. Hey friends, if you haven't yet, make sure you hit subscribe, like, comment. Oh boy, those ratings keep coming in from Spotify and Apple Podcast, so thank you everyone for those. Show notes over on the makemathmoments.com website, so head on over there. Until next time, my friends, I'm Kyle Pierce-

Jon Orr: ... and I'm Jon Orr.

Kyle Pearce: High fives for us-

Jon Orr: ... and a high five for you. (singing)

powered by


Download the Cheat Sheets in PDF form so you can effectively run problem based lessons from a distance!

MMM From A Distance Cheat Sheets Smaller.001


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…

Make Math Moments From A Distance Course
LEARN MORE about our Online Workshop: Making Math Moments That Matter: Helping Teachers Build Resilient Problem Solvers.

Thanks For Listening

To help out the show:


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


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.