Episode #252: How Do I Align My K-12 Mathematics Program? – A Math Mentoring Moment

Sep 25, 2023 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:

In this episode we bring back Shawn Hershey, a math interventionist teacher and department chair from Pennsylvania. Shawn joined us back in episode 223 and we discussed how to strengthen his math team. This time around Shawn is seeking advice on how to create alignment across his school’s K-12 grade bands. He has seen individual pockets of success in his school but knows that if his teachers are working toward common objectives that alignment will strengthen their team and the students they work with. 

This is another Math Mentoring Moment episode where we chat with a teacher like you who is working through some problems of practice and together we brainstorm ways to overcome them. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to set realistic and measurable goals that drive sustainable change in math education;
  • How to help the teachers you work with without seeming like you’re adding more to their plate;
  • How can I structure professional development so it fits into a busy teacher schedules

Attention District Math Leaders:

How are you ensuring that you support those educators who need a nudge to spark a focus on growing their pedagogical-content knowledge?  What about opportunities for those who are eager and willing to elevate their practice, but do not have the support?  Book a call with our District Improvement Program Team to learn how we can not only help you craft, refine and implement your district math learning goals, but also provide all of the professional learning supports your educators need to grow at the speed of their learning. Book a short conversation with our team now.  

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00:00:00:08 – 00:00:18:18
Shawn Hershey
I would say K through 12 alignment would be my biggest focus and how you guys like to do that. So I sent the survey to, I think with the structures I have in place, the biggest alignment I have would be I think K through 12 because we’re not going to grow as a middle school until our elementary grows.

00:00:18:18 – 00:00:22:17
Shawn Hershey
Now they just adopted already and I think they are moving elementary person is.

00:00:22:17 – 00:00:52:12
Jon Orr
In this episode we bring back Sean Hershey, a math interventionist teacher and department chair from Pennsylvania. Shawn join us back in episode 223 as we discussed how to strengthen his math team. And this time around, Shawn seeking advice on how to create alignment across his school’s K-12 grade bands. He’s seen individual pockets of success in his school, but knows that if his teachers are working towards common objectives, that alignment will strengthen their team and the students they work with.

00:00:52:14 – 00:01:26:13
Kyle Pearce
This is another math mentoring moment, an episode where we chat with a teacher just like you. From our math moment maker community who’s working through some problems of practice and together we brainstorm some ways to overcome them. Let’s go. Welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pearce.

00:01:26:13 – 00:01:28:11
Jon Orr
And I’m Jon Orr, we are from makemathmoments.com.

00:01:28:11 – 00:01:39:21
Kyle Pearce
This is the only podcast that coaches you through a six step plan to grow your mathematics program, whether at the classroom level or at the district level.

00:01:39:21 – 00:01:51:21
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate foster your mathematics program like a strong, healthy and balanced tree. So if you master the six parts of an effective math program, the impact will grow and reach far and wide.

00:01:51:23 – 00:02:06:03
Kyle Pearce
Every week you’ll get the insight you need to stop feeling overwhelmed, gain back your confidence and get back to enjoying the planning and facilitating of your math program for the students or educators you serve.

00:02:06:08 – 00:02:22:03
Jon Orr
Let’s go. Hey, Shawn, welcome back to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. We’re glad to have you back in. Actually, I think Al and I were just looking at the dates. We chatted with you not long ago, so a lot of times we wait a year, we wait a year and a half and we kind of check in.

00:02:22:03 – 00:02:39:18
Jon Orr
And with the folks that we chatted with to see where they are in their journey, I think we just chatted with you less than six months ago, so we’re excited to dig into what’s changed along the way where your journey is. But do us a favor before we dive deep in there, fill the listeners in. I’ll tell them to go back and listen.

00:02:39:18 – 00:02:50:13
Jon Orr
Episode 223 That’s the episode that you were last on to kind of get a sense of your journey, but fill them in where you’re coming from, what’s your role? And then let’s dive into what’s happened since the last time we chatted.

00:02:50:15 – 00:03:10:23
Shawn Hershey
I’m a middle school math interventionist in Pennsylvania and my role is in a nutshell. I try to keep any kids as many kids as possible from entering direct instruction or special education kind of front line, and it’s kind of where we put them structures in place to assist kids that need a little bit more help with math and then see if we can get them going and keep them in the regular.

00:03:10:23 – 00:03:14:17
Shawn Hershey
Ed, I it in a nutshell because that’s our goal.

00:03:14:19 – 00:03:40:00
Kyle Pearce
Awesome. Now for those who are listening and remember, episode 223, I would say that your role you’ve definitely taken on a role that has a leadership aspect to it. You’re thinking about the teachers and you’re like a conduit from my interpretation anyway. And it sounds like you’ve got a good relationship with your colleagues and you’re constantly striving to make things better for kids, right?

00:03:40:00 – 00:04:04:18
Kyle Pearce
And obviously easier for teachers is always important because we need to make sure it’s as easy and as smooth and seamless as possible so that it’s easier for us to do the right thing for students. So give us a little bit of an update. How have things been going? Last we spoke, we chatted about the six parts of an effective math program and we even talked a little bit about some math talks or mini lessons at the start.

00:04:04:20 – 00:04:06:16
Kyle Pearce
Tell us, how are things going lately?

00:04:06:20 – 00:04:25:21
Shawn Hershey
So I guess basically last time we talked we were just trying to understand the tree. When you asked me to come on the show, I was trying to think where we started and where we’re going and remember, this started back in 2018. If you guys remember, you’re kind of lucky that I was with you guys from the ground because I did your first class and then you guys developed the website.

00:04:25:21 – 00:04:29:16
Shawn Hershey
If you remember, but it was really barebones. And then it was like.

00:04:29:18 – 00:04:32:00
Kyle Pearce
We do remember when it was barebones?

00:04:32:00 – 00:04:33:13
Jon Orr
Yes, it was a while ago.

00:04:33:13 – 00:04:55:00
Shawn Hershey
And it was you guys just like this thing is really robust. But everything kind of got slowly released to me over the years. So what I was saying to you is while we knew we wanted context, we started there and we’ve never stopped that. We never stopped trying to take what we have. We weren’t in a spiral, but we’re really taking our textbooks and changing them with the deep problems.

00:04:55:00 – 00:05:09:00
Shawn Hershey
And what you help me understand is, number one, you’re working on several parts of the tree. When you’re doing that, you’re doing professional building because you’re meeting together to talk about the problem. You’re doing conceptual understanding because you need that to build. And then you also the leaves are kind of dying from that resource and rebuilding another one.

00:05:09:00 – 00:05:26:04
Shawn Hershey
So I think that’s something where we always started. But what we were doing is we’re focusing so much on our building. So this is going back to your question now. So I feel like we built up to there, but what we weren’t doing is the leadership, the trunk. You guys kind of said you need to start expanding that a little more.

00:05:26:09 – 00:05:50:22
Shawn Hershey
We kind of know where we’re going in the middle of school, but where we’re going as a district and now we have places not that we haven’t done that. It’s just I don’t know how intentional was because Elementary would contact us in elementary chair, elementary point of contact down there. We would talk. But now I’m thinking like we need to get together with all three of us and kind of see where we’re going and then get that direction, that vision going.

00:05:50:24 – 00:06:03:00
Shawn Hershey
Because it was funny, I was talking to the guy who’s going to go for me. I said, You know, I have five years left. Here’s where I’m going. I know where I want to end, which is number talks. I said, But where are you going to take it after that? So we got to start keeping this ship cause like you said, it just never ends.

00:06:03:02 – 00:06:21:24
Shawn Hershey
That’s why this is one of those pieces. That’s where my next steps are. And also number talks. In order to do number spots, you would have to develop your own conceptual understanding. So I’m trying to look at, okay, where the number talks, what do they look like in a 40 minute period, and how do we do that as a teacher?

00:06:21:24 – 00:06:44:01
Shawn Hershey
And so this summer, every grade level invited me in. So we actually met over the summer and each grade level was kind of unique, where we’re looking at our sixth grade math team this year just went to a double period. So now we don’t have just 40 minutes in sixth grade, we have 90 minutes. And that was interesting, looking at that rotational model and building some pieces in there.

00:06:44:07 – 00:07:07:23
Shawn Hershey
But we didn’t go that number talked to that. We’re just looking at the curriculum for right now. And how does that look in 90 minutes to figure that out. Then we move forward. Seventh grade, they now have all their textbook on keynote. That’s interesting to me because I learned that from you guys, how you adapt a problem, keep your textbook flexible as you’re moving through, because we just did that yesterday, which I can talk about example with that for just yesterday, our fifth day of school.

00:07:07:23 – 00:07:26:13
Shawn Hershey
But they’re working on building those problems, so they’re a little bit different spot. And then my eighth grade teachers already have all that done, but they’re now doing building, picking classrooms. So this summer and we looked at the problems we to do with that and where are the rich tasks and how do we adapt those? We looked at every problem that we’re going to do through the year for that.

00:07:26:13 – 00:07:31:05
Shawn Hershey
So every grade level is a little bit different and at a different spot, which is I think, a cool part.

00:07:31:07 – 00:07:53:17
Jon Orr
So it’s a good recap of where you are now. It sounds like you’ve got a great focus, you’ve got a great understanding of obviously your classroom and your district level tree and the pieces that need to come into place. You talked about the trunk, we talked about the leaves. You’ve indirectly talked about branches, some of the moves, but also some of the kind of those puzzle pieces that are in the right spot.

00:07:53:19 – 00:08:05:16
Jon Orr
And I heard you mentioned a few different things of where you want to go. So, Shawn, where do you want to focus some of our time here? Where can we help you? The most? So what really matters to you right now?

00:08:05:22 – 00:08:24:07
Shawn Hershey
I would say K through 12 alignment would be my biggest focus and how you guys like to do that. So I sent the survey to I think with the structures I have in place, the biggest alignment I have would be I think K through 12 because we’re not going to grow as a middle school into our elementary growth.

00:08:24:08 – 00:08:41:11
Shawn Hershey
Now they just adopted already and I think they are moving elementary person is phenomenal and our teachers down there are phenomenal. So I think I think the structures are in place. It’s just where is the biggest going to go? So we got this program. Well, what does that program mean for the middle school? In my mind, that’s where I’m trying to wrap thing.

00:08:41:12 – 00:08:50:24
Shawn Hershey
And I don’t know how you guys go about doing that, but I think getting the people in the room that work with the teachers I think is just the next. Anyway, I already talked to Cheryl about and she’s like, Yeah, I would love to.

00:08:51:05 – 00:09:19:18
Kyle Pearce
Yeah. No, that’s fantastic. Because really I think one of the best ways, first of all to do that is exactly as you’re describing getting everyone together. It sounds like there is already some relationships there, right? At least it seems like that. So that’s great. If there aren’t relationships, this is more for other people listening. If there are not relationships yet, thinking about ways that you can get together on a more regular basis to build those relationships, to build that relational trust is going to be really important.

00:09:19:20 – 00:09:39:18
Kyle Pearce
There’s already some trust there. Then you might be able to get right into really asking some questions, because if you think about it, John and I are kind of asking you some of the same questions you might want to ask the group. And that, for example, might be why was I already selected? Is it just the best thing you can find?

00:09:39:18 – 00:09:59:02
Kyle Pearce
What’s the goal? What are we hoping for? An element tree. And I don’t know about you, John, but I’m thinking right away, This sounds to me like a great opportunity to get the entire group to engage in the wish list activity that we’ve mentioned a few times before. And it’s like a brainstorming activity, but it’s also a trust builder, right?

00:09:59:02 – 00:10:25:08
Kyle Pearce
And it allows you to talk about some of the things that are important to us for our students. Right? And there’s some things that you’ll probably say, Shawn, about when we say the magic wand wish list, What we say is if you could wave the magic wand and you could make the perfect math class environment, the perfect math class experience, the perfect end result for our students, like five years from now, what are students going to say about math class when they were with you?

00:10:25:08 – 00:10:56:12
Kyle Pearce
You can phrase it so many different ways, but to get the entire group talking with each other and sharing some of the things that matter that can really help you with starting to shape it starts really big, as you can imagine, right? You’re going to have all of these ideas out there. But the one thing that will be really important and I feel like, Shawn, you would actually be a really great fit for this role, but maybe there’s another instructional coach or maybe this another leader in the team that might be willing to co facilitate this with you.

00:10:56:14 – 00:11:21:22
Kyle Pearce
But ultimately someone has to take on the job of taking these wish list items and trying to help direct or trying to help shape some sort of themes there. Right. And you’re going to hear the same ideas popping out. Now. You’ve got the tree in the back of your mind, right? So you have all of these ideas over here when somebody says, I wish the students knew their math facts.

00:11:21:24 – 00:11:39:22
Kyle Pearce
Hmm. I might be saying, you know what? I want to group that together in a roots section. Because you know what? I think there’s more to it, right? The Roots is the content knowledge. So how do I do that? Some people might say, well, that might be the branches as well, because the branches is how we go about it pedagogically, right?

00:11:39:24 – 00:11:58:07
Kyle Pearce
Is it just flashcards in That’s it. Or drilling kill as some people would call it. You just repeat, repeat, repeat or is there something else there. Right. That we need to dig into? And what you can do is you can essentially through this activity, you can get everybody bringing their ideas to the table. And we’re not talking one idea.

00:11:58:07 – 00:12:16:02
Kyle Pearce
We’re seeing anything and everything that you would want in your math class. We want to be greedy here, right? We want to be like, what is it that would make that perfect experience? And what you get is people sharing all these ideas and then Alshon shared this, and then the next thing pops into my mind and then I share that idea.

00:12:16:02 – 00:12:40:18
Kyle Pearce
And many of them are going to be very connected. Some of them are going to be a little bit further apart. But ultimately, at the end, if we as a team can kind of come together, this activity really helps people to see that, you know what? No matter what our opinions are, maybe me and this other colleague in grade seven have had a disagreement about something mathematically, whether it’s pedagogy or content or whatever it might be.

00:12:40:20 – 00:13:10:24
Kyle Pearce
What you’ll find is that you actually have a lot more in common in terms of what you want in your math class than you have. That is a difference of opinion, right? And what you can do is you start to take these ideas and we try to start organizing them in such a way that we can start figuring out, Hey, where is that area of focus right on our district level assessment that we do, as well as our classroom assessment, helps individual teachers sort of ask themselves some difficult questions.

00:13:11:00 – 00:13:31:17
Kyle Pearce
This wish list idea is a great group activity because it emerges so many ideas, some that you already had on your mind, but then probably some of the ones that you didn’t have on your mind. Right. So it’s helpful to even the facilitator who’s trying to do this, who’s trying to make this work. Right. So you are at the center here of this idea of alignment.

00:13:31:17 – 00:13:50:16
Kyle Pearce
So in your mind, you’re going like, how do I align all these people if they all want different things? Well, we try to find anything and everything that we have in common, and then we start to say, Hey, what does this look like and sound like? And then actually, are there some things that we can all agree on that we want to focus on as a group?

00:13:50:16 – 00:14:12:19
Kyle Pearce
That doesn’t mean that Shawn maybe Number talks doesn’t hit the list for this year for the entire group. That doesn’t mean Shawn can’t work on them as well. But we want to make an agreement across our K-through-12 group to try to get ourselves in a place where we go, you know, there’s these three things. We typically pick three, three objectives that we want to focus on here.

00:14:12:21 – 00:14:38:10
Kyle Pearce
For the next, we’ll say we don’t want to put necessarily a timeline on it, but the next 1 to 3 years, we want to be focusing on these three things and we want to make those our priority when it comes to mathematics, as a team, as a group, everyone can have their individual things that they want to also explore, but we want to commit to each other that, hey, by the end of this school year, we’re going to see some gains in this, this and this.

00:14:38:16 – 00:15:03:15
Kyle Pearce
And we start to craft what does that look like? Like if we get there, if we reach those goals, what is that going to look like? What’s the result going to be? And this activity can really just open the door to exploring where everyone’s mind is that you might learn why did they select that curriculum in elementary or you might learn that actually they aren’t sure and they like that just looked like the best tool, right?

00:15:03:17 – 00:15:40:15
Kyle Pearce
So it really allows us to reduce or eliminate the assumptions we might be making about the choices that we make in our classrooms. And we just try to get a little bit more connected, a little bit more aligned so that when I am thinking about those elementary teachers or when I’m thinking about those high school teachers, I can actually have a better sense of what it is that they’re actually trying to achieve there instead of just assuming that we’re kind of all on the same page, like we all want the kids to know the math that I think is a given, but it’s like, what’s our key objective, our goal that we’re after here?

00:15:40:21 – 00:16:02:18
Jon Orr
I just want to add two things to what you just said here, Kyle, because I think that activity is one of the very first activities we do with our district partners when we sit down and start the planning process. And Sean, I would recommend you doing that first yourself or with any small team, maybe your superintendent, you bring them on board and go, look, what do we want to focus on this year?

00:16:02:21 – 00:16:25:21
Jon Orr
And then your subcommittees figuring out what you want and you’re doing your magic. One wish list. What does it look like in our classrooms five years from now? What do we want to see? And when you craft that list and you start to narrow down and go, Hey, maybe we can pick three big things. The beauty part is when you do the activity like Kyle suggested with the bigger group K to 12, now you’ve got a target of where you want to steer the conversation right?

00:16:25:22 – 00:16:43:02
Jon Orr
Because if you’re trying to go like we know these three things are really important for our school system this year because you’ve done all the research right, you’ve done all the learning and not every classroom teacher or not every person in charge of a site might have that same learning. So you might have a little bit of a leg up to go.

00:16:43:02 – 00:17:07:14
Jon Orr
Like, I know that because of research, this is really important for us, but they might not know that. So you get to steer that conversation towards the three things you’re looking at. So think about our classrooms when we are facilitating math talks in our classrooms or we’re teaching through problem based lessons. Yes, we’re giving the students up front the access, the ability to start solving problems on their own or this particular problem our own.

00:17:07:14 – 00:17:27:06
Jon Orr
But we know what the learning goal is of that lesson, and we’re crafting that conversation to get students to land on the learning goal or bring out the need for this skill in that lesson. That’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re doing our planning processes, so we’re crafting this discussion and go, Okay, Oh, you said you want better math facts.

00:17:27:08 – 00:17:54:06
Jon Orr
Like Kyle says, Well, maybe we could put that in the Roots area. That was Kyle’s example. It’s because you’re like, Yeah, that’s perfect, because I’m going to use that to talk about how we can build conceptual understanding with our students, right? So it’s kind of like you get to craft where you want it to go. And here’s the second piece why this is such a great activity is because now it looks like your team built the plan and they have ownership in all the things that they want to work towards.

00:17:54:06 – 00:18:12:18
Jon Orr
And it’s really all addressing little pebbles that all these teachers had along the way in their shoes anyway, because they’re sharing those out. You’re finding kids aren’t doing homework. All right, let’s put that over here and let’s try to address that might fit all the way across. Well, what could help us slot that in? Hey, that thing right here, that’s something we can all work towards.

00:18:12:18 – 00:18:20:14
Jon Orr
And it was because you guys wanted a fix there. It wasn’t because Shawn came in and said you should do this right. Which is a big even though.

00:18:20:14 – 00:18:25:11
Kyle Pearce
It was kind of like Shawn wanted. But the exact know that that happened. Right.

00:18:25:11 – 00:18:41:24
Jon Orr
Right. So it’s kind of like I have a solution over here that could work to fix this pebble. But everything is about dressing those pebbles that they’re sharing and now you’re not the one coming in and saying, we should do this, we should do this, we should do this. They’re coming up with it, and you’re kind of sliding and going, Let me just facilitate this discussion.

00:18:42:05 – 00:18:47:11
Jon Orr
But all along, you in that small team had carefully crafted this discussion the whole time.

00:18:47:13 – 00:18:49:23
Kyle Pearce
How does that make you feel? Where’s your head? Out there?

00:18:49:23 – 00:18:51:00
Shawn Hershey
And I recap.

00:18:51:06 – 00:18:52:07
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, absolutely.

00:18:52:08 – 00:18:53:17
Jon Orr
Yeah, we said so. We said a lot.

00:18:53:22 – 00:18:54:18
Shawn Hershey
Of guys, I can tell.

00:18:54:18 – 00:18:59:14
Kyle Pearce
We get kind of passionate about this work, so I’m so excited for you and your team that you’re learning the.

00:18:59:14 – 00:19:03:15
Jon Orr
Work we’ve been doing for the last couple of years, so we wanted to share.

00:19:03:17 – 00:19:24:12
Shawn Hershey
That. I think it’s amazing. So to recap, I think with the structures, at least in my district, I think getting with the elementary myself and the high school person, we come together and we kind of throw a wish list round because I think that’s good because our elementary person understands elementary, the schedule, everything that what that looks like.

00:19:24:13 – 00:19:47:04
Shawn Hershey
A high school person understands that. So I think we we’re working together. But that magic one wish list which I know I’ve done like I said, that’s why I said we’re got to start going bigger. But when you do the magic wand, which you said, big reading, there’s going to be a ton of things, you then said pick just the re object, which I guess you’re saying the three objectives and we take the wish list items and try to throw all military objectives.

00:19:47:04 – 00:19:49:21
Shawn Hershey
Or are we choosing three objectives from the wish list?

00:19:49:23 – 00:20:12:03
Kyle Pearce
Great question. So usually the wish list is going to start very it’s like a brainstorming activity. It’s messy. The wording isn’t always great, it’s just getting your ideas out there, right. And now we’re starting doing it on Sticky notes can be helpful or doing it on whiteboards. This is another trust builder as well. Like if you get your depending on how big the group is about how many educators would that be?

00:20:12:03 – 00:20:12:24
Kyle Pearce
Do you think.

00:20:13:01 – 00:20:14:17
Shawn Hershey
It would only be three of us?

00:20:14:19 – 00:20:38:14
Kyle Pearce
Oh my gosh. So this would be great. You could just do it right around a table and some sticky notes are nice and the reason sticky notes are nice is because you can kind of move them around and maybe group them together a little bit. Right. Create little clusters together. But then as you start to look at this, the really the goal here is that you get all these ideas out, but then you start to think about, hmm, if these five stickies are together, right.

00:20:38:14 – 00:21:01:20
Kyle Pearce
And there’s five different ideas there, your objective is probably going to be a slightly higher level than that. That sort of encompasses those five. Right. So some people might be around, let’s say there was around a productive disposition. I’m using one of the five proficiencies, so I know that word might not come out that way, but it might be described this idea of kids seeing purpose in mathematics.

00:21:01:20 – 00:21:23:08
Kyle Pearce
They want students to feel positively about mathematics. They want to see themselves as doers of mathematics. They want to persevere. They want to stick to itiveness and all of those things. You group those together and you go, Wow, okay, those are a lot of really key things, really important things. I feel like this has to do with mindset the soil, the leaves, the water of the tree.

00:21:23:10 – 00:21:49:11
Kyle Pearce
And you’re like, Hmm, okay, so what’s her objective? And now you can start crafting, like describing what that is. What is it that we’re going to try to achieve? And by doing that objective, you’re going to actually be kind of helping those five sticky notes, if that makes sense. Right now, there is no perfect process here and really it is pretty organic as it comes along, and it’s always helpful when there’s a facilitator there.

00:21:49:11 – 00:22:07:15
Kyle Pearce
John and I typically are working with our district partners to engage in this work and we act. We take on that role for them so that we can kind of help them to craft some ideas because it’s kind of scary work, right? If you’ve never done it before, you’re like, Did I pick the right objective? Did I picked the wrong objective?

00:22:07:17 – 00:22:28:06
Kyle Pearce
The reality is, is that this work oftentimes will continue to shape and we’re going to continue refining it. So it’s not about getting it, say right or wrong, because there is no right or wrong. It’s about making progress towards that clarity. Right. So it’s just like anything it’s almost like you’re picturing it in the distance and you can see what that in the distance.

00:22:28:06 – 00:22:45:07
Kyle Pearce
But it’s still pretty hazy right now. But as you gets, you know, we do the work, we get a little closer. It’s like that visibility starts to come in, right, and you get closer and closer. And then eventually you’re like, oh my gosh, look at that. You can see exactly what it is. It’s building and there’s this on it and that on it and all these things.

00:22:45:07 – 00:23:09:18
Kyle Pearce
That’s what our math plan starts to become. It gets clearer and clearer as we engage in that work. So I would say your objectives, the reason we suggest three is really humans love threes, right? First of all, but also because if we pick too many things right, then we’re actually prioritizing nothing. Right? And this is something that we in education get stuck doing all the time.

00:23:09:18 – 00:23:34:19
Kyle Pearce
And the reason why we do it is because we want to help kids as best we can, right? So we’re like, well, there’s these 40 things we need to change, right? In order to make sure that students get what they need and they should all do those things. So we put all these ideas out there. But the problem is, is that we have no chance to actually focus on any of them, and then we often don’t accomplish much to really anything measurable.

00:23:34:19 – 00:23:52:24
Kyle Pearce
We’ll say, for those big goals. So really aiming for three allows you to focus. It also allows the entire group to sort of be able to name them right? You want to be able to name them. If you have a priority list and you have to pull out a piece of paper to tell someone what the priorities are, that’s not a priority, right?

00:23:52:24 – 00:24:17:13
Kyle Pearce
These are great ideas. So you wouldn’t necessarily have all of those wish list items. We can hold on to them and you want to keep those. But over time, what we’re trying to do is we want to hack away at the objectives that matter most to the group. Because remembering that if it’s just my idea, some districts will come in, they’ll say, Well, tell us what you think our goals should be in our first meeting.

00:24:17:15 – 00:24:42:21
Kyle Pearce
And we’re like, We could tell you what we and what research would say is going to help you. But the problem is, is that if you don’t see it, then you’re not going to be able to focus on it. Right. So we need to develop this as a team and this is going to organically grow. And I would argue for you, Shawn, if you’re leading this work or helping to lead this work, you can let the group know and say like, Listen, we’re trying to gain clarity together, right?

00:24:42:21 – 00:25:02:01
Kyle Pearce
It’s almost better in that way where you’re saying it’s like, This isn’t me who has the perfect clear vision. And I think this is what really holds a lot of districts back and leaders in districts. When I began my role as a district leader, I kind of came in and I had a vision for myself of what I wanted to see in the district.

00:25:02:07 – 00:25:22:19
Kyle Pearce
And I went out there assuming that, like everyone would just line up and follow me down. But the reality is, is how I missed the boat. There was I didn’t bring them into that process and I didn’t allow them to engage in the same work and the realization, the epiphanies that I had had already. So that’s what makes a great math leader, a great math facility.

00:25:22:19 – 00:25:40:18
Kyle Pearce
Charter is by having some of these epiphanies in your mind of like, Hey, I envision my district. And this our district would be so much better if we did this, this, this, and this. But it’s how do I bring that out of the group? How do I help the group to recognize that, to mentor them, to see that?

00:25:40:18 – 00:25:57:15
Kyle Pearce
Because the reality is, is that if I can see it, but they don’t now I’m just telling them, right. And now we’re back to doing what we did with kids in math class. We’re like, Hey, this is Pythagorean Theorem and here’s how you do it. It’s like, No, we need them to come on that journey to recognize like, Oh, there’s a pattern here.

00:25:57:15 – 00:26:07:12
Kyle Pearce
If we did this, this, and this, then things would get better. And the same is true here in our district planning activities that we engage in with our leaders.

00:26:07:14 – 00:26:23:06
Shawn Hershey
Yeah, I think I get it now, actually, I’m really excited about it. I was always wondering how that happens. I will say our administration is fantastic from top down. I mean, they really will support this. I went to Assistant to a super and she’s like, Absolutely. Liam said, like, Whoa, oh, that was great.

00:26:23:06 – 00:26:24:06
Kyle Pearce
So that is.

00:26:24:06 – 00:26:39:21
Shawn Hershey
Fantastic. I feel like I have when we meet the first time I feel now, like, okay, I got it. I’m going to bring sticky notes and we’re just going to go to town. Then we’re going to sit there and just have this nice discussion about it because like you said, I don’t ever want it to be my plan.

00:26:39:23 – 00:26:51:12
Shawn Hershey
It’s all about the district, not about any of us. And that’s one thing I think is neat about teachers. I really do think we believe that it’s about what’s best for Calico and their kids, not for me or whatever.

00:26:51:12 – 00:27:18:02
Kyle Pearce
And I definitely get the sense that I had mentioned. I really get this sense like we’ve only had the opportunity to chat a few times, right? And based on everything I hear from you, you are in a position, just your demeanor, the way you approach things, you’re very non-threatening. Right? And I know there’s people out there that are threatening and it’s like, no, they just come off as maybe a little bit too aggressive in terms of their beliefs and what they want.

00:27:18:02 – 00:27:35:14
Kyle Pearce
Sometimes passion does that to people right? You can come in and you might have a mass leader who’s in there and they’re like, listen, we need better for our kids. And because of that, I’m going to make sure that we don’t stop at anything until we get there, which is great that we’re passionate like that, and we know that that work is so important.

00:27:35:14 – 00:28:01:24
Kyle Pearce
But the problem is getting that team to trust that they’re going to be a part of the process. And that’s what I hear from you. I hear this idea that you are truly here trying to do better, but you’re not coming in saying, I have all the answers. Right? And I think when we approach it in that way, you build a great team and the team just wants to follow, even though you’re not trying to lead, quote unquote.

00:28:02:01 – 00:28:04:23
Kyle Pearce
But you are leading, right? You’re doing it in such a way that.

00:28:04:23 – 00:28:25:18
Shawn Hershey
It’s I guess, but I never view it that way. But you guys have so much information and there’s so much research power. Plus, on top of that, I think what you guys don’t do yourself enough credit. But after 2018, I’m going in there and actually trying to implement first. Does this really work? What does this look like? And then once you do that, I just was very blessed to have another teacher that was looking at it.

00:28:25:18 – 00:28:39:00
Shawn Hershey
He was brand new and he was having trouble with his classroom behavior and you guys were like, Well, let’s first because that’s lower the bar or math or as a demo, I would say turn out in math. But you go in there and you’re actually trying it. So it’s not like I’m going in there saying, Oh, here’s research.

00:28:39:00 – 00:28:56:08
Shawn Hershey
That’s like, okay, here’s what we’ve done. We try this, been successful here, Can we try a little bit more? And our teachers just all work together in there, okay. If I walk in the room, like, listen, that’s know, I was trying this. I didn’t get it. Can someone help me understand this? I’m okay with that. There’s so much that you had to put out that I think there’s a lot of growing into, what, five years now?

00:28:56:10 – 00:29:00:12
Shawn Hershey
Five years now We are able to put some of it into practice, and I think that helped.

00:29:00:13 – 00:29:19:05
Jon Orr
Yeah, amazing to hear it. Shawn, If you’re going to kind of go down this path with the magic wand wish list in thinking about aligning K to 12, if you’re going to follow that plan that we follow with our district partners, what do you think is going to be a barrier to, say, achieving the results you want to see?

00:29:19:08 – 00:29:27:01
Shawn Hershey
I know you’re going to ask that question. I don’t know why, because it’s been in your mind as you went to it. It would be the professional development side. I think that was more about that.

00:29:27:07 – 00:29:29:20
Kyle Pearce
Like structurally, logistically.

00:29:29:22 – 00:29:47:06
Shawn Hershey
So there’s two things for me is I went to a superintendent and asked, are we going to have any in-service times? And due to our strengths, we don’t have any. And that’s okay. There’s no no time. We get together as department. We would like to have department meetings in the morning, but hey, I have teachers who four of them are coaches.

00:29:47:08 – 00:30:06:11
Shawn Hershey
So guess what? That’s not going to work before. And that’s okay because I know we’re not trying to climb the mountain one year. And like I said, that’s where I think a lot of times will meet in the morning. But our grade levels have meetings too, for me, that would be the barrier that once we choose our objectives, I see that as we’re working through, but I’m kind of like one of those two.

00:30:06:12 – 00:30:23:24
Shawn Hershey
We have five years. Okay, So if that’s a barrier, how do we get around that barrier? And hopefully when the three of us meet, we can come up with a solution and then I know or ten or so super tests will come in and work with us on that. I don’t know how it looks like, but I would say right now that we’re probably what I would say would be the biggest barrier to working with that.

00:30:23:24 – 00:30:42:10
Shawn Hershey
But I also the way we’re doing PD Now after phone, you guys is our next one is because I did a one off at the keynote, but we actually worked with the guy who’s going to take over for me. But I was talking to my department about I said, I want to solve problems together and I want to put sixth grade, seventh grade, eighth grade together.

00:30:42:10 – 00:30:59:22
Shawn Hershey
And here’s this one problem I have, which is which one doesn’t belong. And I want to see how each one solves it, because I think, again, in my mind, I think sixth grade myself, one boy, seventh grade, another way, eighth grade, another way based on the question I have. And then we’re going to look at what the curriculum looks like going across and then like you said, they’re going to experience it, but then they’re going to see it.

00:30:59:22 – 00:31:15:19
Shawn Hershey
And they I never thought of it that way. Yes. Because as we’re teaching, this is where the kids are going. Does that make sense? I want to get that in place, but I probably went need an hour, hour and a half for that. And I just don’t see that top with my department at this because even bringing that morning, it’s only for 20, 30 minutes, you know, to me.

00:31:15:19 – 00:31:24:03
Shawn Hershey
But that’s also challenging with these people that have young kids that are not coaching because these are people and I really admire these people that I work with because they are really some.

00:31:24:08 – 00:31:48:08
Kyle Pearce
It sounds like your team is awesome. It sounds like there’s a great synergy there across the team, which is awesome. And I just want to name that one thing that we’re seeing in with. We work with a handful of districts every year through our District improvement program, but we’ll do an initial coaching call with whatever district reaches out, will hop on a call and kind of like this, but doesn’t always come on the podcast like a mentoring moment call.

00:31:48:10 – 00:32:22:06
Kyle Pearce
But we do it with district leaders to try to help them get started on their journey. And something that we’re hearing is that we’re not getting enough math on the table when we do our professional development. So those limbs of the tree, in order to strengthen those, we’re constantly talking about how there has to be math on the table and you just highlighted that this idea of getting them to do the math and if we can do that in every opportunity we possibly can now, maybe not with this wish list activity, this might be the one exception that I would argue that maybe there isn’t math on the table for that.

00:32:22:08 – 00:32:43:24
Kyle Pearce
But as you work through always having math, there is so key because that’s how we’re going to get to the roots of the tree ultimately at the end. And what we’re finding is that we can try any pedagogical practice. We can go and we can pull out vertical nonpermanent surfaces with Peter Little. The halls work. We can go to vandalize, work and do a three part math lesson.

00:32:43:24 – 00:33:05:04
Kyle Pearce
Or we could do the five practice. We could do all these things. But if we don’t have strong enough roots of our tree, if we don’t have that content knowledge and we’re not talking about are you comfortable with doing a procedure like I did when I was in school? We’re talking about actually understanding how the math develops. We’re really not going to make much gains, if any gains over the long term.

00:33:05:04 – 00:33:29:00
Kyle Pearce
So keep that math on the table. That’s huge. And then structurally for your limbs, you’re talking about the challenge of maybe not having as much in-service time. There are creative ways, as you mentioned, in order to get together. And sometimes even if it’s small little chunks and sometimes it can even be in small groups, two, two craft ways that this can happen and you’ll never know.

00:33:29:01 – 00:33:47:21
Kyle Pearce
Some of the districts we’ve worked with in the past. Sometimes the administrators step up to the plate and say, Hey, listen, if two people want to get released, the administrators like, I will jump in for a 40 minute block to cover one. And then we have maybe another person on staff who is open and they’re able to jump in.

00:33:47:21 – 00:34:20:12
Kyle Pearce
Maybe it’s the coach. A coach hops in and then that way those educators can get together. So there are creative ways I love how you’re staying positive about it, too, which is really key, and you’re not letting that sort of hinder crafting those objectives. Even if there was zero PD time, having the alignment where everyone is working towards the same objectives, even if it is in more isolation than maybe we would like, you’re going to see much bigger gains over the long term than you would if we’re all just kind of randomly trying this or trying that.

00:34:20:14 – 00:34:39:01
Kyle Pearce
Sean I tried that idea two years ago and this person’s like, Oh, I’m going to try that idea next. And we’re kind of all over the map. If we have that vision that’s going to allow us to continue working towards the same goals. And then some of that conversation comes out at the photocopier, right, or in the staffroom over the lunch table, right?

00:34:39:01 – 00:34:56:14
Kyle Pearce
Instead of the lunch table being about talking about all the things that went wrong today, we can maybe start talking about some of the things like where we are with our objectives, having those objectives printed and laminated and put on the table so that all the teachers, when they come in, they see it when they’re there, whether they talk about it or not.

00:34:56:14 – 00:35:31:10
Kyle Pearce
Right? So there’s all of these ideas that we can try to build and put into practice. But before we ask you for a big takeaway here and let you get on with a super busy Tuesday, I want to also offer to you and more so to say your superintendent, if your team is interested in hopping on a call with us to chat a little bit more about the district improvement program, some districts and most of our district partners actually us in simply to have an outside voice and to help be the accountability partners to try to help with some of the decision making that happens.

00:35:31:12 – 00:36:11:06
Kyle Pearce
It can be difficult sometimes for for educators to advocate for an idea to say a superintendent or to a supervisor because there is a hierarchy there. And sometimes it’s good to have a team come together and really talk it through. And oftentimes what we’ve found is that our district partners, often when there’s a challenge like say, no in-service or when there’s no funding for maybe something specific, what we will do with those teams, usually it’s a superintendent team is will actually engage in a little bit of prioritizing and help them with their budget, because oftentimes we look at the budget and most of it stays the same from year to year.

00:36:11:06 – 00:36:38:17
Kyle Pearce
And unless there’s a new bucket of money that shows up, it’s like we don’t add anything new, but we haven’t actually reviewed where that money is going. And is it actually having the same impact or the impact we’re hoping to have? Is there a way we can restructure this in a way that might be able to open up a PSC time or to have X-number of supply teachers or substitute teachers available throughout the year for some of this?

00:36:38:17 – 00:36:56:07
Kyle Pearce
PD So we really do try to help get creative when there is a true challenge when it comes to in-service and oftentimes we can find some solutions. So that’s an offer I know we only. John I think about one spot left for this next year for our district improvement program.

00:36:56:07 – 00:36:58:24
Jon Orr
However, I think we got to yeah, I think we got to to.

00:36:59:00 – 00:37:31:11
Kyle Pearce
Okay, awesome. But however for your district, whether there’s a spot or not, if your team wants to hop on a call, even just to have that chat and kind of get your team in the same place so that you can engage in that work, we’d be more than happy to suggest an offer to you there. And of course, anyone listening to the podcast, of course reach out to us, Will, whether we have our spots full or not, we will always take on a district call so that we can at least help the district teams sort of get framed up, ready to go, and with some next actionable steps to help them get down that path

00:37:31:11 – 00:37:35:08
Kyle Pearce
so they can see those key results starting to shift over time.

00:37:35:10 – 00:37:52:00
Shawn Hershey
Yeah, the only thing I would add about PD as a superintendent, I would be this way if I were or just leader. I’m a principal. If I just go and say, Hey, listen, I need PD time, I’m gonna look in and say no, but I think we do this and you always have to plan if I want PD time, we’re going to make this math vision.

00:37:52:00 – 00:38:09:01
Shawn Hershey
I’m thinking PD wouldn’t happen till next year because they need to plan for next year now and plan that in. But we also need a reason is what are you going to do with that time? I feel like if we get that small group like you guys said, let’s get the vision. That’s what we need. Then I think he has a whole different conversation with your leaders.

00:38:09:03 – 00:38:09:18
Kyle Pearce
You’re 100.

00:38:09:22 – 00:38:18:12
Shawn Hershey
Would be correct. I need this. I need for the guys a whole hour. I just want to put that out there that he’s sometimes just going to go to forget it. It’s like no words.

00:38:18:15 – 00:38:40:17
Jon Orr
I think the most successful districts we work with are the ones that are they realize, like you realize there are constraints and we have to or the most successful are the ones that are in those curriculum consultant or math curriculum director roles who we’re thinking about making sure that the folks above us know what we need and what’s available and what we can do.

00:38:40:17 – 00:38:58:03
Jon Orr
But the most successful ones are the ones being flexible in those constraints. It’s like, What creative ways can I provide to these people up here because they’re really busy so that it’s a no brainer for them to go. Yes, right. That’s an easy one because you figured out all the little things along the way that I don’t have to think about.

00:38:58:05 – 00:39:11:19
Jon Orr
So our most successful ones, and that’s why Kyle brought up the issue of working with districts is because we help them do that as well. It’s like, what creative ways can we figure out here to structure the limbs of our tree, which are those professional development models, and what do we have to work with?

00:39:11:22 – 00:39:34:06
Kyle Pearce
And Shawn, the part that really resonated that you said was this idea is once they see the work and how important the work is, priorities shift, right? Whereas like you said, if you just go up and this happens, sometimes we’ll meet with a district leader on a call and they’ll be like, Oh my gosh, I’d love to be on have this program and have this support so that we can do this work in our district.

00:39:34:08 – 00:40:10:10
Kyle Pearce
And sometimes they’ll just go and individually walk up to say their supervisor and say, We would love to do this thing called the District Improvement Program. And the supervisors like, how much does it cost? That would be the first thought that goes through someone’s mind and they’re like, Oh, we don’t have any budget. But when people actually are brought to the table, they have the conversation and they start to envision like what that would look like if we were doing this work and that if we had the support as well, where there’s an accountability partner to help move that along, that is where you start to see go, you know what, this sounds a whole

00:40:10:10 – 00:40:30:02
Kyle Pearce
lot more important than this other thing that we had in our budget that has been in our budget for the past five years, because it’s always been in our budget and we’ve just always done it and we’ve never thought to change it. And now they go, You know what? I think we have something here that actually might be more important and therefore now the priority shifts.

00:40:30:02 – 00:40:48:22
Kyle Pearce
So keep that in mind as you do this work with your team. You see the value here. The hardest part for you is to be how do you do it? In a way, if let’s say it’s for PD time when you go, it’s like you have to build that case over time. But we as humans, we would much rather have an answer right now.

00:40:48:22 – 00:41:09:07
Kyle Pearce
Right? So you just kind of want like, can I have time? And they’re like, No, but if that work and you’re building that up, that answer can shift in time where they go, holy smokes, look at the work that this team is doing. It’s like we’re committing our budget over here to this other thing over here, which doesn’t seem to be really having the same impact or influence.

00:41:09:09 – 00:41:27:23
Kyle Pearce
Hmm. There can be some shifts that take place, so might take a little bit of time, but staying positive as you are and working within those constraints for the short term will lead to better long term results. When it comes to, say, even just structurally the budget and all of those things. So I think you’re nailing it there.

00:41:27:23 – 00:41:45:22
Kyle Pearce
So we’ve chatted about so many things here, Sean, and it is early in the morning. I’m super energetic. You’ve got me started on the right foot here today with this conversation. Tell us what’s your big takeaway and what is, I guess, your next step? What are you hoping to do next after we hang up on this call?

00:41:45:24 – 00:42:02:09
Shawn Hershey
So I have a meeting next week and I’ve already talked to one, but I want to make sure I talk to high school math teacher and just talk to them, say, can we get together for a day and let’s do this active Now, can I ask you a question? You said you would hop on a call with this, so you said it must be regular meetings.

00:42:02:11 – 00:42:12:18
Shawn Hershey
How many meetings in your experience does it take for you guys kind of hash out visions and because I don’t see it being one. So a typical what would I be asking for?

00:42:12:18 – 00:42:23:05
Kyle Pearce
Usually at the beginning of a call, people think it’ll be one, but then they have a call like we just had here where we’re chatting and then you go, Wait a second, this isn’t going to be a one call thing. It’s going to take a little bit of time.

00:42:23:07 – 00:42:32:19
Shawn Hershey
Okay, So meetings, is it probably take for you when you guys meet with teachers to craft that vision? So we do our wish list, we get our three. I think that’s doable in a day. And if you’re.

00:42:32:19 – 00:42:58:13
Jon Orr
Going to engage in an activity with your team, you can definitely get the wish list done and start to craft your objectives. If you’re spending a day for sure in that small team, definitely you could achieve that in a day and that’s going to set the work that you do. And the other thing I think we said here is that once you have those objectives, right, once you craft that, then everything you do for the year should always refer back to those objectives as the filter.

00:42:58:13 – 00:43:26:23
Jon Orr
Does that thing help this? Does that thing help this? Everything should go through that filter. And so that work is always ongoing and it’s always kind of in flux as well. So it’s like, Hey, just because we set three objectives right now, does it mean we could start to pivot or change these things as we go? But when we hop on a call, we talk about what those big wishlist items are, but we always like to say we move as fast as the district wants to, or the curriculum leader or the person in your will wants to.

00:43:26:24 – 00:43:38:15
Jon Orr
So that’s kind of a time frame. It depends on the district and what their priorities are and where or how we can help shape those priorities. So there’s not a hard and fast rule of exactly how many, but you can get this done in a day.

00:43:38:21 – 00:43:53:01
Shawn Hershey
Okay. And then if it is multiple calls and you would be willing to hop on one or I pay you to appoint one, whatever, would it be the first one? Or where do you guys find that you’re more valuable? Like if we have our objectives or you meet with us the next time? I’m just curious.

00:43:53:02 – 00:44:14:19
Kyle Pearce
It’s A great question. I would say that typically when we do hop on will hop on with a district, usually teen gauge, kind of like in this conversation that we’ve had here with you. And we try to help get them going in those sorts of things with you because we’ve done this first call, probably the logical piece would be to be a part of say, we’ll call it closer to now calls, if that makes sense.

00:44:14:19 – 00:44:34:20
Kyle Pearce
Only because if we were brought back in, say, four months from now and you’re going, hey, by the time we get caught up in terms of the work that’s been, we’re still trying to figure out, hey, where are your head’s at? How did you come up with the objectives? Do we fully understand what that means? Because when everyone this is another key piece that I think it’s worth noting.

00:44:34:20 – 00:45:03:17
Kyle Pearce
It’s nuance, but I don’t think district partners often see it until later is like if the whole team is not a part of the process to develop the objectives, the interpretation of someone new coming in, it will take them time to actually get a clear vision of what that actually means to the group. Does that make sense? Because it’s been developed together, it’s been co constructed, it’s started from this massive list, this massive wish list, and then it’s been kind of refined.

00:45:03:17 – 00:45:33:20
Kyle Pearce
It’s been filtered down into something smaller. So it’s almost like a definition, right? Your definition of mathematics might be different than my definition of mathematics. What does it mean to you? These objectives are big enough that just reading them might not give you the full context, but when someone does come into the district because we have these objectives, we can bring them into the fold much more quickly than someone who’s just a new teacher kind of flopping around for five years trying to figure out what matters here.

00:45:33:20 – 00:45:51:00
Kyle Pearce
Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing the wrong thing? It really does help bring them on board. So to your point about when it might make sense, I would say if say you have a district leader on the call like your superintendent or someone like that. I would say doing some of that work at the beginning to help them.

00:45:51:00 – 00:46:10:19
Kyle Pearce
I think what we could probably assist you and your team with the most, especially if, let’s say you’re not looking to become a district partner over the next 1 to 3 years, I would say is to get them on board so that they get clear about this process and this work right versus us coming in three months down the road and kind of checking in to see where you’re at.

00:46:10:19 – 00:46:21:04
Kyle Pearce
I would say the beginning of the work to help them to see and prioritize that, hey, it’s not just Shawn that sees this as important. You want them to see it as important as well, Right?

00:46:21:06 – 00:46:35:20
Shawn Hershey
Well, and they could also change my mind based on what they know. You mean like, yeah, they’re going to open mine? I don’t know, because I don’t ever want to pretend like I have the answers. But I do know. Well, you guys, I have a lot more knowledge now about how that works. Is that much better? Sure, For.

00:46:35:20 – 00:46:39:22
Jon Orr
Sure. Definitely. Definitely. So, Shawn, we want to thank you for joining us here.

00:46:40:01 – 00:46:41:24
Shawn Hershey
And thank you so much. Time.

00:46:42:00 – 00:46:44:05
Kyle Pearce
I know. Not at all. This has been great. Yeah.

00:46:44:07 – 00:46:45:00
Jon Orr
We’re here for you.

00:46:45:00 – 00:46:51:07
Kyle Pearce
We’re rambling on, Shawn. We should be apologizing to you. We get really passionate about this work. So thanks for bringing it.

00:46:51:08 – 00:47:08:02
Shawn Hershey
It’s, you know, like, I feel like it. I got to go see them now and ask them, but, yeah, I’m excited for some stuff. I really appreciate it, guys. I’m very glad I got to be with you guys from the beginning and C release everything over time because I’m like, Whoa, I’ve spent a lot of time in here.

00:47:08:02 – 00:47:13:11
Shawn Hershey
Just luckily, it got spread out good. I’ve got to get this from the start. I love it. Thank you guys very much.

00:47:13:11 – 00:47:22:15
Jon Orr
Thank you, Sean. We’ll be sure to definitely check in with you next year, but we’ll look forward to actually hearing from you. Reach out to us if. You want to take that next step, send us an email and we can set something.

00:47:22:15 – 00:47:31:02
Shawn Hershey
Up to send you an idea as we get going here. I just don’t mind. I want to be on the show. I was just like, you know, like, Hey, this is cool. Is where you guys, that would be fantastic.

00:47:31:02 – 00:47:32:19
Kyle Pearce
Would you love to hear it?

00:47:32:21 – 00:47:35:15
Shawn Hershey
Like it’s you’re really helping us. So thank you.

00:47:35:17 – 00:47:56:04
Kyle Pearce
Awesome. Awesome. Well, listen, Shawn for you we will send you a link as well if you and your superintendent or anyone from the district is interested in hopping on and learning a little bit more about this process for you, some of it will be kind of on repeat, right? Understanding this process, helping to bring them up to speed, allowing them to ask some questions too, because sometimes it’s not as clear.

00:47:56:04 – 00:48:14:02
Kyle Pearce
You’ve been with us since the beginning. So this probably feels a whole lot clearer to you than it might to someone who’s coming in and doesn’t sort of understand the tree and some of that work. Anyone, including yourself, can head to make math moments dot com forward slash district and there’ll be like a button there to book a call.

00:48:14:04 – 00:48:43:01
Kyle Pearce
So feel free. You and your team can do the same and we’ll throw it out there to every other math moment maker out there who’s listening. If they want to get on a call and chat a little bit more about where your district or school is in their planning journey in terms of building that alignment and building that vision, that clear, concise vision for mathematics, head to that MC math moments dot com forward slash district link and you can grab a spot and we’re looking forward to chatting with some more districts soon.

00:48:43:07 – 00:48:46:20
Shawn Hershey
Awesome, you guys rock. Thanks, John. Thanks guys. I really appreciate it.

00:48:46:21 – 00:48:47:06
Jon Orr
Take care.

00:48:47:11 – 00:48:49:05
Kyle Pearce
Have a great day, my friend. Good luck.

00:48:49:07 – 00:48:50:17
Shawn Hershey

00:48:50:19 – 00:49:17:07
Kyle Pearce
Well, as always, math, homemakers. We love love bringing on our math moment maker community to check in. And it was great to reconnect with Sean. He was on way back in episode Oh I think it was 223 and we got to know him through the academy over the years and it’s so great to see his growth, his own mathematics growth, but also that leadership growth.

00:49:17:07 – 00:49:45:11
Kyle Pearce
And he talk specifically about the trunk of the tree. And he wants to focus his team on that alignment from K through 12. And you know what, though? One thing we didn’t talk about but really came out to me was that his own trunk, the trunk of his own math tree has been growing. That leadership piece, those pillars, the piece that’s really strengthening that alignment, becoming clear and concise on what he wants for mathematics programing.

00:49:45:11 – 00:49:53:07
Kyle Pearce
And now he’s stretching it across K through 12 and trying to bring more of his educators and colleagues to the table.

00:49:53:07 – 00:50:16:22
Jon Orr
Yeah. In this episode you heard us talk all parts of this math program tree. We dove into the limbs of the tree and thinking about how to structure his professional development plan. We talked about pedagogical moves briefly. We talked about some resources his teachers are using. Also, we even dove into the mindset and thinking about that piece, we hit all aspects of the tree and it is great.

00:50:17:00 – 00:50:31:05
Jon Orr
See Shawn’s growth and we look forward to kind of keep strengthening that tree in helping in supporting the alignment that his district’s going to make in achieving their objectives and then setting some key results. So we look forward to continuing that discussion with Shawn.

00:50:31:08 – 00:51:07:14
Kyle Pearce
I love it. I love it. And as we mentioned a little bit earlier, if you’re thinking about, hey, I want more alignment across my entire school, more specifically across your district or organization, you can head on over to make math moments dot com forward slash district. And on that page you can learn a little bit more about the district improvement program and overview of the six parts of your math program Tree, as well as an opportunity to book a call, hop on with your team so that John and I can do some learning alongside you and help you with your next steps.

00:51:07:16 – 00:51:30:18
Kyle Pearce
If you specifically want that magic wand wish lists activity and you want the workbook that goes along with it, you can head to make math moments dot com forward slash what matters again that’s make math moments dot com forward slash what matters and of course always we have all of our links from each episode on our show notes page.

00:51:30:22 – 00:51:47:06
Kyle Pearce
Today’s show notes are on episode 252 that is MC Math moments dot com forward slash episode 252. So those links will be on that page as well. Well, until next time, math moment maker friends. I’m Kyle.

00:51:47:06 – 00:51:49:01
Jon Orr
Pearce and I’m Jon Orr.

00:51:49:01 – 00:51:52:00
Kyle Pearce
High fives for us.

00:51:52:02 – 00:51:53:01
Jon Orr
And a.

00:51:53:01 – 00:51:54:13
Jon Orr
High five,

00:51:54:15 – 00:52:07:18
Jon Orr
For you.

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The Making Math Moments That Matter Podcast with Kyle Pearce & Jon Orr
Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building a math classroom that you wish you were in.


Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

3 Act Math Tip Sheet


Each lesson consists of:

Each Make Math Moments Problem Based Lesson consists of a Teacher Guide to lead you step-by-step through the planning process to ensure your lesson runs without a hitch!

Each Teacher Guide consists of:

  • Intentionality of the lesson;
  • A step-by-step walk through of each phase of the lesson;
  • Visuals, animations, and videos unpacking big ideas, strategies, and models we intend to emerge during the lesson;
  • Sample student approaches to assist in anticipating what your students might do;
  • Resources and downloads including Keynote, Powerpoint, Media Files, and Teacher Guide printable PDF; and,
  • Much more!

Each Make Math Moments Problem Based Lesson begins with a story, visual, video, or other method to Spark Curiosity through context.

Students will often Notice and Wonder before making an estimate to draw them in and invest in the problem.

After student voice has been heard and acknowledged, we will set students off on a Productive Struggle via a prompt related to the Spark context.

These prompts are given each lesson with the following conditions:

  • No calculators are to be used; and,
  • Students are to focus on how they can convince their math community that their solution is valid.

Students are left to engage in a productive struggle as the facilitator circulates to observe and engage in conversation as a means of assessing formatively.

The facilitator is instructed through the Teacher Guide on what specific strategies and models could be used to make connections and consolidate the learning from the lesson.

Often times, animations and walk through videos are provided in the Teacher Guide to assist with planning and delivering the consolidation.

A review image, video, or animation is provided as a conclusion to the task from the lesson.

While this might feel like a natural ending to the context students have been exploring, it is just the beginning as we look to leverage this context via extensions and additional lessons to dig deeper.

At the end of each lesson, consolidation prompts and/or extensions are crafted for students to purposefully practice and demonstrate their current understanding. 

Facilitators are encouraged to collect these consolidation prompts as a means to engage in the assessment process and inform next moves for instruction.

In multi-day units of study, Math Talks are crafted to help build on the thinking from the previous day and build towards the next step in the developmental progression of the concept(s) we are exploring.

Each Math Talk is constructed as a string of related problems that build with intentionality to emerge specific big ideas, strategies, and mathematical models. 

Make Math Moments Problem Based Lessons and Day 1 Teacher Guides are openly available for you to leverage and use with your students without becoming a Make Math Moments Academy Member.

Use our OPEN ACCESS multi-day problem based units!

Make Math Moments Problem Based Lessons and Day 1 Teacher Guides are openly available for you to leverage and use with your students without becoming a Make Math Moments Academy Member.

MMM Unit - Snack Time Fractions Unit


Partitive Division Resulting in a Fraction

Shot Put Multi Day Problem Based Unit - Algebraic Substitution


Equivalence and Algebraic Substitution

Wooly Worm Race - Representing and Adding Fractions


Fractions and Metric Units


Scavenger Hunt - Data Management and Finding The Mean


Represent Categorical Data & Explore Mean

Downloadable resources including blackline mastershandouts, printable Tips Sheetsslide shows, and media files do require a Make Math Moments Academy Membership.


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.