Episode #253: Why Equity Is Just a Buzzword In Education – An Interview With Dr. Kristopher Childs

Oct 2, 2023 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:

In this episode, we’ll dive into a conversation with Dr. Kristopher Childs, a Mathematics Educator, Presenter, and Speaker from Orlando, Florida. Kris joins us for an insightful conversation about shifting professional learning opportunities for districts, schools, and teachers. 


Join in and you learn what truly engaging mathematics professional learning needs to look like, why equity is just a buzzword in education rather than something we actually care about, and why real change needs to start with you! 

What You’ll Learn:

  • Why we need to define (or redefine) what engaging in mathematics truly is?
  • How do we make practical sense of mathematics and bring true application to the mathematics classroom;
  • Why seeing is believing in mathematics professional development;
  • Why real change in education starts with you;
  • Why it isn’t about whether you can do all things, but rather are you doing the things you CAN do?

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 – 00:00:15:12
Kristopher Childs
Something. We’ve got to camps right now in the math Bill we’ve got. Why can’t they just want to be honest? Some folks just want to be seen. Get some followers on social media and be the cool person and just do all the things. It is what is rock your world. So they never we’re in it to actually facilitate change.

00:00:15:12 – 00:00:22:15
Kristopher Childs
But there we have folks that really want to do the things but are too busy. I put myself in them. We call myself out. We’re too busy trying to do the.

00:00:22:17 – 00:00:47:02
Jon Orr
In this episode, we’ll dive into a conversation with Dr. Christopher Childs, a mathematics educator, presenter and speaker from Orlando, Florida. Chris joins us again. We had him back on episode 68 a while ago, talked about why the gradual release responsibility sucks. And we’re back with Chris. In this time you’re going to hear an insightful conversation about shifting professional learning opportunities for districts, schools and teachers.

00:00:47:04 – 00:01:05:21
Kyle Pearce
Join in and learn what truly engaging mathematics professional learning needs to look like. Why equity is just a buzzword in education rather than something we actually care about and why real change needs to start with you.

00:01:05:23 – 00:01:21:11
Jon Orr
Let’s go.

00:01:21:13 – 00:01:25:18
Kyle Pearce
Welcome to the Making Mouth Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pearce.

00:01:25:18 – 00:01:27:24
Jon Orr
And I’m Jon Orr we are from Make Math moments dot com.

00:01:28:05 – 00:01:38:05
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.

00:01:38:10 – 00:01:49:17
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate foster your mathematics program like strong, healthy and balanced tree. So if you master the six parts of an effective mathematics program, the impact you’re going to reach will grow far and wide.

00:01:49:17 – 00:02:05:12
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 Persily testing of your mathematics program for the students or those educators that you serve.

00:02:05:17 – 00:02:23:23
Jon Orr
Hey, let’s not waste any more time. Let’s jump into the conversation with Chris. Hey there, Chris. Welcome back to the amazing Math Moments That Matter podcast. We had you here with us. Oh, it’s been a couple of years back on, I think episodes 68. We talked about gradual release responsibility and we are super glad to have you back.

00:02:23:23 – 00:02:26:11
Jon Orr
We’re going to talk all things mathematics. So how you bet.

00:02:26:16 – 00:02:44:05
Kristopher Childs
Everything is going good. I remember the last time we’re all here. We talked a bit. You messed up the title the last time you had a release responsibility stuff. I didn’t the title part because that kind of went viral a little bit. Folks like what’s going on, but all things go well. Still pushing this whole piece of what’s happening.

00:02:44:05 – 00:02:55:01
Kristopher Childs
The math is behind us. I think it’s stale. We keep regurgitating the same stuff over and over and keep wonder why we get the same results. So for me, I’m doing good. But the feel we struggle.

00:02:55:03 – 00:03:20:01
Kyle Pearce
Oh my gosh, you just nailed it. And that’s exactly it. It’s funny because it seems like so many of the ideas that John and I reiterate on the show and guests come on the show every single week. We’re talking, like you said, about the same things. We just haven’t actually done the things. And one of the biggest things on our mind has been how do we help, especially math leaders in actually walking that walk?

00:03:20:01 – 00:03:40:15
Kyle Pearce
Because I think that’s some of the most impactful work that we can do. And I’d be curious before we dig right in here today, you’re working with districts all over the place. You’re working with open up resources, you’re doing all kinds of great things out there. What do you see or feel is maybe our biggest hurdle or obstacle in the field if we’re regurgitating all this stuff?

00:03:40:17 – 00:03:54:06
Kyle Pearce
The definition of insanity is what I heard you just say, right, is we’re just doing the same thing, expecting a different result. And here we are. What’s the biggest hurdle in your mind and how do we as a community, the math moment maker community, how do we do something about.

00:03:54:06 – 00:04:09:14
Kristopher Childs
It that day? We’ve got to count right now in the math bill we got. Why can’t they just want to be honest? Some folks just want to be seen, get some followers on social media and be the cool person and just do all the things it is. What is Rocky world? So they never we’re in it to actually facilitate change.

00:04:09:14 – 00:04:27:18
Kristopher Childs
But there we have folks that really want to do the things but are too busy. I put myself in them. We call myself out. They’re too busy trying to do the big thing as opposed to focus on what are the little things that we can be doing to slowly make progress in facilitating. We’re so worried about what’s the big thing I can do that’s going to knock it out?

00:04:27:18 – 00:04:42:14
Kristopher Childs
The part that ain’t happening, y’all. It’s the little things you keep chipping away at and keep getting better, Better and better and better and better and better and better every single day. That’s how we think about when a child when you first start to count, do you start learning to count one through 10,000? No. You start to learn what zero three.

00:04:42:14 – 00:04:58:01
Kristopher Childs
By the time you get to 20, you get to. It’s the same thing. If it’s a progression of learning to count, it’s a progression of learning to change the system. But all we willing in this field of education, especially with math, education, do those little things, they’re eventually going to have a bigger impact.

00:04:58:03 – 00:05:17:04
Jon Orr
Yeah, I think a lot of people, like you said. So if we have effective mathematics, professional development folks sharing their ideas, their thoughts, their webinars, their courses, the work that they’re doing, the partnering with the big districts, and they’re trying to share big ideas, I think a lot of folks are trying to we’re hearing and what we’re seeing is all pedagogy.

00:05:17:04 – 00:05:39:09
Jon Orr
It’s like, boom, we’ve got to change pedagogy, we’ve got to change effective instruction. What are you seeing as the little things if we’re saying these are the big things, we’re all trying to focus on big things, what would you say are some of the key moves, these little things that we need as teachers to put in the reps, Keep hammering out these things over time, we’ll know that will affect change with our students.

00:05:39:11 – 00:05:49:00
Jon Orr
So what would you say are some of your top little things that teachers can do to make those change? And then also effective professional development providers to help teachers make those changes?

00:05:49:02 – 00:06:09:13
Kristopher Childs
I think we’ve got to again, think small but think simple and think meaningful. You’re going to hear me say on this podcast, you’re right. I try to use our students. It is so formal in this idea number, but if children, the babies, they’re still learning and growing no matter what age they’re at. But one of the things we could do in your environment, how often do children have the opportunity to talk about math?

00:06:09:15 – 00:06:26:21
Kristopher Childs
They talk on the playground, they talk before school. They talk at lunch, and they get a math class. They got to hear you lecture for 60 minutes, 90 minutes. What is a little thing to do? Allowing them to talk and showcase their thinking, creating their space for that to occur? That’s a little thing that we can do, but how often do we do it?

00:06:27:02 – 00:06:41:11
Kristopher Childs
The second thing, how often we do, we let them go out hard in the paint on the way you watching this episode right now when 20 to 23 bamboo a hard to paint to the end of the career. So if you watching this in 2023 you seeing it in real time watch it later like you know I’ve been doing this.

00:06:41:13 – 00:07:00:00
Kristopher Childs
When are we going to make sure every child is seen in value in their math, math, education experience to author. If you’re not a white identify a child. You don’t see yourself in the math education experience. If you’re anything else, you may or may not see yourself. How often are we making sure every child sees same value within that experience?

00:07:00:00 – 00:07:18:10
Kristopher Childs
How are we showing women that could be mathematics educators, how we saw someone that could be a add? Melanie To identify as a mathematician, we are so centered on this crap. So we got to get the right answer. We got to get ready for the standardized test. We got to do this. We’re missing the beauty of what mathematics wasn’t created to be.

00:07:18:12 – 00:07:37:06
Kristopher Childs
And that is a problem solving piece, everyone being involved in it. But oftentimes in mathematics we’re so focused on. I got to tell you all of these things because of the test and we keep saying, isn’t it a team? Again, this really opportunity gap, because you’re not creating the things for every child’s seeing the barriers. So let’s rewind that two things real quick that you can do.

00:07:37:06 – 00:07:55:17
Kristopher Childs
Number one, are you like every child be doing the mathematics? Listen, every single child, every single child has a contribution. Are they getting that opportunity the second they are they seen in the mathematics experience? There are so many opportunities in mathematics to let someone be seen, be valued, be heard. All you provide in that. And you can’t blame the curriculum for that.

00:07:55:18 – 00:08:13:14
Kristopher Childs
You can’t blame the standards for that. You can’t blame all the things. We can only blame ourselves. Are we doing that? And then as professional learning providers, hey, yo, this clip going to go viral a lot, y’all. Everybody’s just taking the same books. And how I highlighting a couple of notes and regurgitating some people and doing a lot of things.

00:08:13:14 – 00:08:32:15
Kristopher Childs
Okay, respect. But are you changing the narrative or are you just trying to do a lot of things? What are you doing in this Poe work? What are you doing in this work? To be innovative and practical and actually making sure folks do the work? A lot of times we have problems and be honest. We come in, we do the thing with a rock star and we leave and never check on.

00:08:32:16 – 00:08:34:11
Jon Orr
Exactly right.

00:08:34:13 – 00:08:51:12
Kristopher Childs
So perfect example, right before the podcast, I’ll be honest, a district called me Will do some work together. Oftentimes what we do Hey District tell you we need three things. The peer provides that army do those three. But let me show you point by this, Madame, so I can feel good about myself. When you go in, you really don’t even do one, two and three.

00:08:51:13 – 00:09:12:02
Kristopher Childs
You do four bad. You feel good. The district is like willing to talk about have this stuff. And that’s again, because it’s easy to do it that way, as opposed to how we authentically develop relationships with these dishes authentically over time, working with, Hey, what are you doing in the district? Let me help that part. And it enhance it collaboratively and not just, Hey, Chris, come to your thing.

00:09:12:03 – 00:09:21:18
Kristopher Childs
Hey, we’re going to the goal is help teacher. We go with help. Children We got to work together. I sell my meatballs. Yeah, I’m hot. I love it. I love it. I miss being on this podcast. Yeah.

00:09:21:18 – 00:09:43:24
Kyle Pearce
Bringing it on a monday morning, which is awesome. You got tons and tons of energy, which is amazing. And I want to roll back because you said so many key pieces there, which is so important. I think when you were talking about the Peel leaders or that Peel deliverers, I think one of the things that we see often missing is not only are they coming in and I’ll say we, Chris, you’re just like us.

00:09:43:24 – 00:10:03:21
Kyle Pearce
You go in and you offer professional learning, but whether they realize it or not, oftentimes we come in and then we do things in the way that we’re telling them not to do as students, which is telling them things right. And we might do it in an engaging way. It might be an interesting story of whatever the presentation may be, but something that we really try to do.

00:10:03:21 – 00:10:29:24
Kyle Pearce
Any time we’re working in a district, we ask that we have the opportunity to engage in the math, because until you actually see the mathematics unfolding in the ways that we’re describing, right, unless we get people to talk about the math and give them the opportunity, these are teachers getting the opportunity to do that talking. It’s hard for them to go back into their classroom and get their kids to talk because I don’t know what that’s supposed to look like and sound like.

00:10:29:24 – 00:10:56:17
Kyle Pearce
Right? That’s a big risk for some teachers who may not have done that. If we’re talking about trying to make sure that every student sees himself as a valued member of the mathematics community, we need to let them as educators see that as well. And that’s something that I think we missed the mark on so many times, unless we’re very explicit about actually making sure that there’s math at the center of everything we do with our educators, it’s way too abstract.

00:10:56:17 – 00:11:16:15
Kyle Pearce
Just like math class is way too abstract for the students that we’re trying to teach when we’re just telling them, telling them, telling them it’s too abstract for teachers to kind of see what this math environment could look like by just describing it. We need to create it with our educators so that the educators know what that looks like and feel like.

00:11:16:15 – 00:11:40:21
Kyle Pearce
Most importantly, right. You have to feel it so that you go, Oh my gosh, I need every single student in my class to feel the same way. I felt through that mathematic experience. So I’m wondering for you, what does that look like and sound like when you want to go into a district and let’s say they say something like, Hey, listen, we just want you to do a 60 minute talk about all the good things.

00:11:40:23 – 00:11:52:11
Kyle Pearce
What does that look like and sound like for you? Is it one of those you like, Oh, shoot, I just got to do it that way or how do you find ways to allow the participants to feel what it is that you want students to be feeling in your math class?

00:11:52:17 – 00:12:21:03
Kristopher Childs
So first we got to redefine what is math. So when I’m working with districts, I’m always questioning this idea of math. Is it just a textbook? But the point is, textbook is just a textbook with a bunch of math problems in it or math all around us, and how we create an environment where mathematics can make sense of the problems of the world, where in general, if I make it practical or like theoretical, makes us the world’s kind of convoluted, but how are we making it practical?

00:12:21:06 – 00:12:40:10
Kristopher Childs
Everyday uses the math. Right now we’re doing this. But we were face to face. Folks drove to a session. If you drove to a station or took some water, transportation utilized gas that cost money. How can we just talk about the practical sense of how much did it cost for you to be here today? Then when you grab lunch, how much is that cost?

00:12:40:12 – 00:13:02:23
Kristopher Childs
Then making a connection to how much you make so though, the practical pieces that we often get hung up on, let’s talk about these fractions today and finding a common denominator. Good. And then that common and automated that will help you pay that light bill, that common denominator. It’s not going to help you understand and make some calculations as you move through the day.

00:13:03:00 – 00:13:22:24
Kristopher Childs
So for me is how do we make practical sense of mathematics and applicable mathematics, not only for the participants, but then helping them think, how am I translated into the classroom? We live in a day and age. I’m not trying to give you ageism, but we grew up in this sense of you never have a calculator all the time.

00:13:22:24 – 00:13:45:03
Kristopher Childs
You got to learn these formulas, you got to memorize it. Let’s be real. These children today will always have their supercomputer in their pocket, their phone. They can Google, they can do a lot of different things. So we have to start to put what are we doing to harness that as opposed to I got young children in schools and you can imagine what it’s like me being a parent of children in schools and interacting with teacher.

00:13:45:05 – 00:14:01:14
Kristopher Childs
But I’m honest, I go to these conferences, I say, Hey, they never go use this stuff. Let’s be real. You’re making them memorize and learn that they would never use. What are we doing to be innovative? What are we doing to harness the power of technology? That’s what we need to start thinking through in our workshops and then helping teachers see that.

00:14:01:14 – 00:14:16:24
Kristopher Childs
And then I know everyone’s going to talk about the standardized exam, etc., etc.. Hey, we want to go there. We can go there, but at the end of day is a as them benefit children. No one is asking me when I got my eighth grade math test there was ask me about my essay. He asked who wasn’t it being asked, but they know how to ask me.

00:14:16:24 – 00:14:24:14
Kristopher Childs
Do problems are let me let me stop because the assessment people will listen to our podcast. Let’s skip that part. Oh, I want to hear that guy.

00:14:24:16 – 00:14:52:03
Jon Orr
No, I’m really glad you brought up what is practical, but also what is being used by students in their real life. And something I think we’re seeing in when we’re doing a professional development sessions is I’d mention that we focus heavily on the mathematics, but I think the mathematics in their practical sense, but what we’re trying to do is uncover hidden truths for teachers because you’re saying is no good for us to go in and show I’m going to show you how to do fractions that doesn’t make any sense.

00:14:52:03 – 00:15:17:20
Jon Orr
But what does make sense for us and what we’re seeing, the biggest hurdle right now in teachers changing their pedagogy is them truly understanding the conceptual understanding of mathematics. So when we say, Hey, we want to do fractions, what we want to do is uncover actual strategies and models people in their real life will use. Hey, they can have a calculator, but are they using models in effective, flexible strategies to achieve that?

00:15:17:20 – 00:15:39:04
Jon Orr
And when we uncover that with teachers and we blow their minds without models and strategies, they’re like, I’ve never seen math done like that before. I’m like, Actually, you probably have. It’s probably the strategy you mentally do on your own anyway, but we don’t teach it that way. We teach the algorithm and the memorization technique and not the actual understanding and the flexible model.

00:15:39:04 – 00:15:59:12
Jon Orr
When we start to show teachers that that’s where we see true change in pedagogy, because that’s the biggest hurdle right now. I’m not sure what you’re seeing as a big hurdle for teachers to change their instruction is that when we’re asking teachers to change their instruction and say, Hey, I want more talking in my mathematics classes, I want my students to be talkers, I want that discourse.

00:15:59:12 – 00:16:26:00
Jon Orr
I want them to think, and I also want them to interact with each other. Teachers don’t go down that pathway because they don’t feel comfortable in unlocking the potential of what math could be to these students because they don’t know it themselves. They’re like, I don’t have the confidence to be flexible in the moment. And so that’s the biggest hurdle we’re seeing right now in changing pedagogy, is actually help teachers low confidence in real understanding of conceptual mathematics.

00:16:26:05 – 00:16:30:06
Jon Orr
I don’t know. What are you seeing as a barrier right now in teachers changing pedagogy?

00:16:30:08 – 00:16:54:21
Kristopher Childs
So I want to shift it from that piece to more. So the biggest thing I’ve seen in doing this piece of work and I got to travel the country and doing it is multiple said to see it, to believe it, because all of us have gone through an educational experience, all of us have seen it done. But as we’re talking about these in new and innovative models, are we giving them opportunities to see it so they can make sense of it?

00:16:54:23 – 00:17:15:18
Kristopher Childs
Oftentimes we do these abstract, professional learning activities in the city cafeteria or the library there. No children around. So sounds good. It feels good. But I’m like every teacher I work with show me my classroom. So we need to take all of these things that we’re saying that can be done into actual classrooms and then collaboratively working with the teachers to show it can be done.

00:17:15:18 – 00:17:31:02
Kristopher Childs
And this is how we do it, because at their heart that every teacher wants to do better, every teacher wants the children to better. But oftentimes we don’t give them that chance to collaboratively work with us in this piece of collectively working to do better.

00:17:31:05 – 00:17:55:23
Kyle Pearce
You just nailed it. I love that. The piece and the key is yeah, until you actually experience it, until you see it, you don’t know what you’re signing up for, right? It sounds great. I heard what John just said. That sounds great. I want to shift it my thinking and do what John said or I want to do a Chris said, but ultimately, at the end of the day, we need to really experience this this shift before we’re able to take that first step.

00:17:55:23 – 00:18:15:20
Kyle Pearce
The first real step will say, right in shifting that work and shifting our way through. And that’s really interesting. I’m wondering where your head is at when you’re going in and you work with, say, a district or you’re working with a school. Do you have any sort of go to strategies? We know there’s so many math leaders that listen to this podcast.

00:18:16:01 – 00:18:33:09
Kyle Pearce
I would argue that the majority of listeners are in some sort of leadership role, be it at the grade level or maybe administration or coordinators, things of that nature. What’s your go to to kind of like invite educators to see and believe the mathematics as you’re describing?

00:18:33:11 – 00:18:51:10
Kristopher Childs
So me, it starts our relationship building a lot of folks expect me to jump into the math. A lot of folks in my work expect me to jump into this talk about equity. A lot of folks expect me just to do all the things. But at the end of day, I want to develop a relationship with you. Why?

00:18:51:12 – 00:19:10:23
Kristopher Childs
Because one I care about you care about who you are as a person, and then mutually, I hope you care about me. That’s why you brought me in. And we could develop a relationship sometimes. Maybe it’s a friendship. Then we could collaboratively work together to do better for this district, to do better for these children. I think oftentimes in this work, we missed it.

00:19:11:00 – 00:19:27:02
Kristopher Childs
We missed it because we spoke about trying to get in, get out. The people that are bringing this in today, which is fast and furious, fast and furious. But at the end of day, I want to run a marathon with folks that I work with. I want to run a sprint. If someone wants to run this and be honest, pick somebody else.

00:19:27:02 – 00:19:45:08
Kristopher Childs
I want to run a marathon because if I believe in what I’m saying, I believe in what I think we should be doing. I want to be there with you. As teachers improve, as children improve. I don’t want to just tell you something and let’s see if it happens. Let’s work together. Let’s be collaborative. And that way, if a Denver, I want you to call me out on it.

00:19:45:08 – 00:20:03:02
Kristopher Childs
Chris The stuff Denver and we were together for the past year. Respect. I was wrong. So I think that’s something that’s missing within this piece. We have to be willing to develop relationships. We’ve got to be willing to work together collaboratively. If we’re working together collaboratively, then we can jump into let’s talk about the mathematics. Let’s talk about this time.

00:20:03:02 – 00:20:26:06
Kristopher Childs
It’s our divide and just conceptual knowledge, this conceptual understanding. Let’s dive into this procedure first. Let’s do all the things, but let’s first get to know each other as how we can collaboratively work together in making stuff better. If we think about this collaboration piece as we work in this piece and Pierre provided you know this, you travel, you see a lot of things, education will do so many things in silos.

00:20:26:10 – 00:20:40:09
Kristopher Childs
And with all this technology, how we bringing people together, like you see this happening here, you see this happening here. While it may not benefit you to connect the people, it benefits the ecosystem. So let’s stop thinking so small, like how do we make these connections that work together?

00:20:40:13 – 00:21:02:22
Jon Orr
I think that’s so true because what you just said is exactly how all professional learning providers are talking about how to teachers can help their students is to create that relational trust and into that mentor relationship is because a student is not going to a child is not going to open their minds to accepting new ideas, new strategies, talking to others.

00:21:02:22 – 00:21:22:23
Jon Orr
If they’re not feeling seen in that classroom, but also have trust that the teacher is there for them. So we talk about that all the time as professional learning providers. But how many professional learning are doing that with the teachers that they’re working with? And I think that’s huge. And you hit the nail on the head about how many people are coming into a district and doing the one and done and then moving on, right?

00:21:22:23 – 00:21:37:06
Jon Orr
It’s like, I’m here, I’m doing my four and five, and then I’m out instead of saying, No, I’m here for the long term. And that’s actually one of our models that we changed in the last couple of years, is that we hold back on. If you want us to come in and do a one off, it’s probably not for us.

00:21:37:07 – 00:22:02:13
Jon Orr
We’re looking to partner with the district for the long game and come in and build that trust so that we can support sustainable real change in your district and do all the little things with you to make this happen. And so that when we do leave, we might not partner for more than three years. But after that third year when we do leave, we’ve left a system in place that not only is trust is built on the foundation of the leadership, but also it’s trickled down to the teachers.

00:22:02:13 – 00:22:17:05
Jon Orr
So that’s something that we’ve been working on. I’m glad that it’s in line with what you’re saying for sure. Chris. I want to shift that just a little bit to be talking about. We have our virtual summit that we’ve been holding this is going to be our fifth virtual summit coming up in November. You were with us a few times ago.

00:22:17:05 – 00:22:35:14
Jon Orr
And I want to kind of jump into some of the topics that we’re going to talk about really looking forward to your session. That coming up. I think your sessions will be on Sunday, November 19th. So we’re excited to share that. Give us some insight, give us some backstage access here on what you’re thinking and talking about. And let’s dive in a little bit.

00:22:35:16 – 00:22:57:00
Kristopher Childs
So no secret I’m sorry to bring in one of my colleagues for this surprise guest say over here who’s coming with me. But we’re going to hit on the big three. It’s going to be simple one, go focus on classroom equity in mathematics. So classroom mathematics, equity of mathematics, classroom. Second, they will focus on this culture response of education where they look like they’re like, we got to be low income, ethical.

00:22:57:03 – 00:23:18:11
Kristopher Childs
I’m getting Big three and committed the therapies is what are we doing to create a child center environment? That’s it. I’m keeping it simple. I’m not going to give you like here 50 things to do. Big three Equity Culture sponsored Children does all that matters. And the reason we’re focused on this equity piece is education flavor. BUZZER So we really don’t care about evil.

00:23:18:12 – 00:23:42:22
Kristopher Childs
I think he just said it. Yeah, just said he dealt with all in 2023. We still don’t have equity in classrooms and equity in all of the levels from technology, from a patient, teachers from the right environments, from high quality curriculum materials, from every child in Silicon Valley in 2023. All this technology, we still don’t have equity. Second piece, there’s culture is passive fees.

00:23:42:24 – 00:24:06:05
Kristopher Childs
In 2023, there still curriculums that refuse to be inclusive as race. Race, ethnicity, as race to socioeconomic status, as relates to disabilities, with the least to multilingual in 2023. So you’re telling me in 2023 we still have curriculum that only center one title? Yeah. So what are we doing to be culture responsive to all the things and every publisher out there?

00:24:06:05 – 00:24:26:16
Kristopher Childs
Stop saying what you cannot do. Your multimillion dollar companies, You can hire anybody that you want and you refuse to do better. Why? Because it doesn’t impact your bottom line. The districts keep buying these crappy materials from you. That’s why you’re not doing better. You don’t want to do better. Could that post it? Yeah, I said. I’m calling this out of the industry because we can do better.

00:24:26:20 – 00:24:33:18
Kristopher Childs
But at the end of day, do we want to do better? Do we really care about every child who really care about that bottom line, every single month or every single day.

00:24:33:20 – 00:25:08:10
Kyle Pearce
You highlight something that I think is so true in education, not equity being like you’re saying. It’s in the forefront right now. It is everything on every district improvement plan, school improvement plan, everywhere. But like you’re saying, just like all the other improvement plans that have existed decades ago, does it really matter? Because if it really matters, then we’re going to actually do something about it and we’re actually going to make it a priority, not just add it to the list of the things that we’re going to say we’re doing, but then make excuses that there’s all these other things going on, getting in the way.

00:25:08:10 – 00:25:34:03
Kyle Pearce
Right. And that’s ultimately what ends up happening with all of these improvement plans. So I am super, super excited to be able to dive into those Big three with you at the summit. I’m wondering, are there any sneak peeks for us? You gave us a big, big one right there. Just this idea that it’s a buzzword equity is a buzzword and that actually if we truly cared about it, that we would actually be doing something or more about it.

00:25:34:05 – 00:25:39:12
Kyle Pearce
Any other little sneak peeks for those who are thinking about the sessions that they’re going to be attending this coming November.

00:25:39:18 – 00:25:57:05
Kristopher Childs
So any day you’ll hear the biggest sneak peek, the biggest kept secret that you should know. Change starts with you a lot of us is I’m talking to these things. Folks who listen to you go, Yes, the equity buzzwords. Yeah, we have that plan. Or what about this? What about this? It the any day when you close the classroom door, what are you doing to bring about equity?

00:25:57:09 – 00:26:11:23
Kristopher Childs
Well, we’re doing professional learning. What are we doing to question when you do all the things your leadership, what are you doing? I am not trying to hear that. You cannot do certain things. What I want to know is what can you do? And are you doing the things that you can do? Period?

00:26:12:00 – 00:26:31:12
Jon Orr
Yeah, I think if you’re waiting for the senior administration, the district to tell you what it’s going to look like, what it’s going to do, then you’re going to be waiting forever or you’re going about it wrong. It does have to come from you going, What am I going to do to make this difference? Because it’s going to come from the bottom up if it’s really going to make this change for sure.

00:26:31:14 – 00:26:40:04
Jon Orr
Chris I’m wondering, that sounds like a big takeaway for our listeners, but if you had to leave one more idea for our listeners right now, what would it be to leave the episode with.

00:26:40:07 – 00:26:57:19
Kristopher Childs
Listeners to the listeners you all have enjoyed? Kyle, John, Chris, we appreciate you. Tell me you’re not going to get this time back in your life. I suggest never talk to the have so have a long this episode ends up being you not getting this time back but what history is able to record. All of you listen to this episode.

00:26:57:21 – 00:27:19:14
Kristopher Childs
You heard our voices. But the question is going to be what are you going to do? What? What you hear a lot of us, we keep waiting for this mythical person to do all the things. When you were put here on this planet for a limited amount of time to do the things. The question is, are you willing to do the things that you need to do to facilitate change in mathematics education, to facilitate change in your environment?

00:27:19:20 – 00:27:35:15
Kristopher Childs
Or are you just going to keep waiting for this mythical past? Are you going to keep waiting for all these other things to happen as opposed to looking in the mirror and say, You know what, I’ve been getting a shot of this thing called life. This is a career path I’ve chosen. I’m going to do things that I’ve got to do to make it better.

00:27:35:19 – 00:27:50:00
Kristopher Childs
Are you willing to do that? If you are, get off your butt and start doing it. There’s nothing magical that’s going to happen in some moment in time. But what’s going to happen or what needs to happen is you doing what you need to do to make these things happen.

00:27:50:02 – 00:28:05:10
Kyle Pearce
I love it. I love it. And if we all can take even that little thing and we all can do something, and that was kind of my big takeaway here is that we can all do something to do it a little bit better. And if everybody’s doing something to do it better, we’re all going to learn from each other.

00:28:05:10 – 00:28:24:20
Kyle Pearce
You talked about collaboration working together, So okay, if I could bring this piece to the bigger puzzle and John brings that piece and Chris and the next person, the next person, we’re all bringing these pieces together. It’s going to fit nicely and we’re going to have a much better situation for those students, not just this year, next year, but hopefully decades down the road.

00:28:24:20 – 00:28:41:14
Kyle Pearce
And hopefully when we chat with you on the next time we’re on the episode, we’re not saying, hey, we’re still regurgitating the same things over and over again. It sounds like what you’re saying is, let’s quit waiting and let’s just take some action. So, Chris, we want to thank you so much for being on the show here today.

00:28:41:14 – 00:29:06:16
Kyle Pearce
Coming back on the show and joining us again this November 17th, 18th, 19th, 2023, in our fifth annual Free Virtual Summit, Chris is going to be one of our featured speakers. And as always, Chris, always learning a ton from you and with you. And we so appreciate the work you do and for taking some time to chat with the math moment makers here today.

00:29:06:21 – 00:29:18:07
Kristopher Childs
And thank you all for the opportunity to continue doing the amazing work that you all are doing. And real quick, plug all social media platforms, ADR, K-12. Take me on the website WW David at Christopher Charles dot com Christopher with a K.

00:29:18:09 – 00:29:24:19
Jon Orr
And don’t forget Hey Chris has his own podcast You co-host with a few others Chris tell him about your podcast.

00:29:24:21 – 00:29:43:18
Kristopher Childs
So we suggest that we pivot it. We are a new show, a lot more voices from the classroom. So if you want you to type in Inspire, what’s in the classroom is on my channel. I go around the country interviewing some amazing mathematics educators live and in person. We just released Season two brand new episodes out. Inspiring Voices from the Classroom.

00:29:43:20 – 00:29:51:15
Kristopher Childs
Yes is on the podcast platform for the show. Taking you to, I promise is the most amazing show. Do you have education? You only check it out.

00:29:51:17 – 00:29:57:12
Jon Orr
Awesome stuff. We will include all of that in our show notes page. Chris, again, thanks so much and look forward to chat with you in November.

00:29:57:15 – 00:29:59:02
Kristopher Childs
Thank you. Take care.

00:29:59:04 – 00:30:28:00
Kyle Pearce
Take care. Now, my friend. Well, my friends, today we had another great discussion with Dr. Chris Childs. And the last time he was on the show, we talked about why the gradual release of responsibility model sucks. And now you know what? He wasn’t holding any punches either. And we addressed some of the challenges. We talked about the constant regurgitation of the same things over and over again in math, education and probably in education in general.

00:30:28:02 – 00:30:54:18
Kyle Pearce
Even touched on this idea of how we know that equity is just a buzz word and how actually doing something about it is how we can truly show that it does, in a sense, matter in our districts, in our schools and in our classrooms. And it was a great discussion. We could talk about all six parts of the math program tree that we’ve highlighted, but something that came out quite a bit was the limbs of the tree.

00:30:54:18 – 00:31:22:01
Kyle Pearce
And when we’re talking about the limbs of the tree from a district perspective, we’re talking about the PD structures. So things involved in how we plan and deliver our professional development. But also in the math classroom, we referred to the limbs as our own professional learning plan, and we hit it in both ways because we talked about some of the ways that we’ve been ineffective in delivering professional development in the past, and I’m sure Chris feels the same way.

00:31:22:01 – 00:31:42:09
Kyle Pearce
He was probably there, we’ve been there, and that we’ve actually got to do the work with educators for them to see and believe, as Chris articulated in our own classrooms. Chris calls on you to do something right, and when he says something, he’s talking about those things that you know are going to make a difference and just acting on them.

00:31:42:09 – 00:32:08:03
Kyle Pearce
You’re never going to get them all. You’re never going to know it all. But take what you know now and put them into action. And I really like that as a great call to action, really, for our district leaders as well as our classroom teachers on both sides here, we have actionable steps that we can take that will help us get that stronger, balanced and healthy math program.

00:32:08:03 – 00:32:08:17
Kyle Pearce

00:32:08:19 – 00:32:31:17
Jon Orr
And one action you can take right now. If you’re listening to this in October, then registration is open for the upcoming Make Math Moments Virtual summit. Chris is going to be presenting there, as you heard in this episode, along with a number of other featured speakers and actually a collection of you of math, lawmakers, listeners, classroom teachers who’ve applied to speak at our free conference.

00:32:31:19 – 00:32:57:03
Jon Orr
First time ever that we’ve opened the doors to accepting applications. So you’re going to hear from practicing classroom teachers. We’re elevating the voices of our McMath moment makers so you can head on over right now to make that moment dot com for the summit register right now choose your sessions and that’s an action item you can take so that you can learn what and the next step can be can learn from Chris you you’ll learn from us you learn from Peter Little L you’ll learn from Dr. Nikki Newton, among others.

00:32:57:03 – 00:33:00:05
Jon Orr
So make math moments. Tor.com Forge Summit.

00:33:00:07 – 00:33:26:02
Kyle Pearce
All right, my friends. Hey, and do you know someone who could learn from this podcast? Guess what? By sharing it, you’re not only helping us reach a wider audience, but you’re also helping to influence and impact more students in mathematics. If that’s a goal for you, which we know it is, then go ahead and share this podcast. Do us a favor and rate and review on whatever podcast platform you’re listening to.

00:33:26:02 – 00:33:48:21
Kyle Pearce
Or maybe it’s on YouTube and you’re watching us right now in full color. Go ahead and do so. We would so appreciate it. And remember Shownotes links to resources and all kinds of other goodies are available over on Mac Math moments dot com Forward slash Episode 253 Until next time math moment maker friends. I’m Kyle Pearce.

00:33:49:02 – 00:33:50:01
Jon Orr
And I’m Jon Orr

00:33:50:01 – 00:33:52:21
Kyle Pearce
High fives for us.

00:33:52:23 – 00:33:58:12
Jon Orr
And a high five 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.