Episode #266: The Pathway To Higher Achievement: A Conversation with Mike Lipnos

Jan 1, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:

Join us for an uplifting conversation with Mike Lipnos, a middle school teacher and math coach from Ohio. In this episode Mike shares his experience and insights on helping teachers build ownership and agency for students in their mathematics classrooms. 

We discuss how some teacher moves ultimately shut the door on students seeking higher levels of mathematics, and how young people are thinking beings and are capable of doing high level thinking, even if a data point may say they are “low” and how having agency as a mathematician is going to be more impactful on humanizing mathematical experiences than the traditional “I do, we do, you do” model of math teaching.

What You’ll Learn:

  • How some approaches to teaching mathematics can ultimately shut the door on students to seeking out higher levels of mathematics;
  • Once you see student strategies and developmental approaches, you can’t unsee them;
  • Why we need to be intentional about positioning ourselves as a co-learner instead of the expert in math class; and,
  • How to teach the practice standards through content and not vice versa.


Rethinking the gradual release model – An article from Tim McCaffrey.

Mike Lipnos on X @mlipnos 

Mike Lipnos Email: mikelipnos.kidscan@gmail.com

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00:00:00:05 – 00:00:19:05
Mike Lipnos
The mathematical practices come to life in their classrooms. They’re not posters on the wall, right? The teachers are doing the mathematical practice. The young people are doing it right. And then those kids are outperforming peers that have been the good students all their lives. And these quote unquote, young people that maybe haven’t had those same opportunities are outperforming them.

00:00:19:05 – 00:00:22:02
Mike Lipnos
And outside audits. And it’s struck me very hard.

00:00:22:03 – 00:00:42:01
Kyle Pearce
Join us for another uplifting conversation, this time with Mike Lippe notes. A middle school teacher and math coach from Ohio. In this episode, Mike shares his experience and insights on helping teachers to build ownership and agency for students in their mathematics classrooms.

00:00:42:07 – 00:01:08:09
Jon Orr
We discuss how some teacher moves ultimately shut the door on students seeking higher levels of mathematics and how young people are thinking beings incapable of doing high level thinking. Even if a data point says that they are, in quotes, low. And we’re going to talk about how having agency as mathematicians is going to be more impactful on humanizing mathematical experiences than the traditional I do we do you do model of math teaching.

00:01:08:11 – 00:01:28:23
Kyle Pearce
Here we go. My friends, welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pierce.

00:01:28:23 – 00:01:31:18
Jon Orr
And I’m John or we are from Make Math Moments.

00:01:31:20 – 00:01:42:13
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.

00:01:42:15 – 00:01:48:04
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate foster your mathematics program like strong, healthy and balanced tree.

00:01:48:07 – 00:01:56:18
Kyle Pearce
If you master the six parts of an effective mathematics program, the impact of your math program will grow in reach far and wide.

00:01:56:22 – 00:02:06:13
Jon Orr
Every week you’ll get the insight you need to stop feeling overwhelmed, gain back your confidence, and get back to enjoying planning. Facilitating your mathematics program. The students or educators you serve.

00:02:06:15 – 00:02:31:17
Kyle Pearce
All right, my friends, let’s dig in here with Mike Lippe knows. Hey. Hey there, Mike. Thanks for joining us here on the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. We are excited to hang out with another math moment maker. And you’re actually not too far down the road hanging out in Ohio. Mike, say hello. Introduce yourself and tell the math moment makers a little bit about you.

00:02:31:19 – 00:02:37:12
Mike Lipnos
My name’s Mike Live, knows I’ve been teaching mathematics probably for about 27 years at this point.

00:02:37:18 – 00:02:38:18
Kyle Pearce

00:02:38:20 – 00:02:57:10
Mike Lipnos
I can remember I was mostly taught at a middle school level and I was moved to a curriculum office to work as, like, a lead teacher type thing. And I did that for about six months and we kind of decided we needed a math coach. And my boss looked right at me and said, You’re the guy. And believe it or not, I was.

00:02:57:10 – 00:03:15:03
Mike Lipnos
This was about 15 years ago. I was kind of bummed out about it because I was almost excited to move past math and into something else. But then, lo and behold, my goodness gracious me, once someone says, You’re the math coach, there’s a lot to learn and a lot to learn fast. And boy, has it changed everything in my life.

00:03:15:03 – 00:03:34:02
Mike Lipnos
From that point forward. I never realized that there was so much more to mathematics than what I was doing in the classroom, and that’s just I was content coverage, boom, boom, boom. I do. You do practice. We came from a nice, affluent community. Everyone was getting great outside audit scores. So that was my math experience as a teacher.

00:03:34:04 – 00:04:01:00
Mike Lipnos
Once I became a coach, I realized the difference is I have to understand how young people actually learn math. There’s a get to it. And then that, of course, led me to what the topic, the agency topic today that I really, truly grown into over the last 15 years that if we want our young people to be mathematical, we can’t expect them to show up in a building and be told what to do, when to do it, why to do it, and for them to have any kind of agency over themselves as a learner.

00:04:01:02 – 00:04:03:08
Mike Lipnos
Like it just seemed like such an oxymoron to me.

00:04:03:08 – 00:04:24:15
Kyle Pearce
So and maybe even seems maybe obvious now, but yet you like us. We did it for so long without even recognize it, right? You don’t even think about it. You just like this is how it’s done. And then only when you kind of get pulled into that other role, that other place, do you all of a sudden sort of go, Wait a second, what the heck is going on here?

00:04:24:16 – 00:04:27:08
Kyle Pearce
What are we doing? What have I been doing over time?

00:04:27:10 – 00:04:47:14
Jon Orr
And oftentimes it takes that shift to be in the classroom to stepping outside of the classroom or in that supporting role where you do get that epiphany. I think all of us, all of those who are listening to podcasts are like that. And if they’re in classroom teachers still, it’s probably the fact that they have been supporting others.

00:04:47:14 – 00:05:06:04
Jon Orr
As a classroom teacher as well to have that epiphany. I’m curious, Mike, we always ask this to every one of our podcast guests, which is your math moments. I mean, we think math class, think back to your time as a student, something that kind of sticks with you all these years. I’m curious, when we say math class, what comes to mind?

00:05:06:06 – 00:05:31:04
Mike Lipnos
Yeah, as a younger student, I love mathematics in math class. Up until I didn’t. And that shift happened in 10th grade for me in geometry class, I was pretty good at learning procedures and backfilling and understanding why things worked. But when I got the geometry that I left and I can remember really having almost an identity crisis about it, I didn’t know what I was going to do.

00:05:31:04 – 00:05:58:20
Mike Lipnos
I’m like, Something’s broken me. I don’t know how to do math anymore. So when I went to college, I very purposely, much like a lot of my elementary friends and peers, I went to college seeking something that was not going to be high level math at all. And I kind of forgot about those years. And then when I had that epiphany about content coverage versus young people actually performing and doing mathematics, I was closing doors on young people just like doors are getting closed that me for my future and I don’t want to do that for young people.

00:05:58:20 – 00:06:07:08
Mike Lipnos
So that’s kind of what sticks out from my own mathematical experience, is that math was awesome until it wasn’t. At that point I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know where to turn.

00:06:07:14 – 00:06:24:07
Kyle Pearce
What you just shared. You’ve kind of restated it in a different way. I always love hearing it from a different viewpoint, from a different perspective. We talk about for me, I call it when the wheels fell off the bus for me, or when you got kicked off the wagon or any of those analogies. And that’s a really interesting one as well.

00:06:24:07 – 00:06:49:00
Kyle Pearce
This idea that the doors were shut on you and then that you were actually perpetuating that with students just the same way we were as well. And we did that because we didn’t know what else to do really. Right. It was like, that’s just the way it is. And until you have that epiphany, you don’t actually think of it any other way and you don’t even recognize that that’s really what’s happening and you wouldn’t consider it.

00:06:49:00 – 00:07:08:11
Kyle Pearce
You probably wouldn’t consider it a door being shut on you until you have the epiphany, because you just assume it’s like, Well, I just wasn’t a math person, right? That’s the mindset that you’re in and that’s what’s being sort of modeled to you through your own experience. So I’m wondering, I want to dig a little bit deeper into your sort of shift from that district office job.

00:07:08:11 – 00:07:27:00
Kyle Pearce
You spent a little bit of time there. You said about six months and then all of a sudden you became that coach. How long did it take you to have that epiphany? Was it like right away? Was it through the attempts in coaching where you were like, Man, I’m not really getting anywhere here with some of the teachers?

00:07:27:00 – 00:07:48:19
Kyle Pearce
Or was it the fact that you’re like, What the heck am I going to coach them on? They’re all doing it the same way that I was doing it. And really for me, I always look back and I’m like, So why did some students still like my class when I was teaching in that way? And really the only thing I could kind of bring it back to is that I built a good rapport with most students, not all, but with some students.

00:07:48:19 – 00:08:14:14
Kyle Pearce
And I’m going to guess that, you know, that might be the same for you, might be the same for John. So where and when did that epiphany actually happen for you? I’m always super curious about that because as we hear about people’s epiphanies, the more times we share them in the various ways that they’ve happened for people, it gives us information and data for us to maybe try to recreate that experience for for more educators.

00:08:14:14 – 00:08:26:18
Kyle Pearce
Right. And like help them to shift those beliefs. So where would you say, like, was it right away? Was it six months after the role? Was it after grinding for a long time and wanting to quit? Tell us more about that. I’m always curious.

00:08:26:20 – 00:08:43:09
Mike Lipnos
That’s pretty awesome. Yeah. I mean, you go through all those emotions. I was 100% ill prepared to become a math coach, and I didn’t realize that when they decided that’s what I was going to do until I walked into a classroom. And it struck me as I saw a teacher pulling out workbook pages and chunks and stapling together.

00:08:43:09 – 00:09:00:16
Mike Lipnos
It goes, There’s the next nine weeks. And in my mind I was like, That doesn’t seem right. That can’t be the human side of learning That just doesn’t add up. And that was the first moment where I decided I needed to do something because ten years ago I would have been the same person. I just wouldn’t have ripped them out and stapled.

00:09:00:18 – 00:09:15:07
Mike Lipnos
I would have had them printed off the copier and a stack in a shelf and I had to pull them out. But when I made those connections and I would say I was very blessed because the district I work for at that time, they sent me away to math recovery training. I got trained at Mass Advantage Math recovery.

00:09:15:12 – 00:09:35:14
Mike Lipnos
Ohio State University used to have what was called MCP. It was a mathematics coaching program that was funded through a stipend from our state or a scholarship or whatever. There are funded through our state. And that was fantastic. The people that I started listening to and talking to and I just started they started reshaping what I believed mathematics was.

00:09:35:16 – 00:09:57:15
Mike Lipnos
And I think that that’s the big shift that’s you got to build this capacity to understand that school, math and mathematics are two totally different things. And how do we make them the same? How do we make school mathematics be more mathematics and not just practicing arithmetic and computation? And that was probably where the shift started for me was through those programs and those trainings.

00:09:57:21 – 00:10:21:20
Mike Lipnos
And it didn’t happen overnight. I mean, that was a long, a long time. I will say the moments that were the most impactful throughout that, and I always tell people today, once you see something, you’re not going to be able to unsee it, for example, that you see a young person invent or create a strategy for subtraction with regrouping, that we never would have been like, Well, how are they going to do that if I don’t tell them how?

00:10:21:22 – 00:10:38:16
Mike Lipnos
But then you see them do something and you’re like, And when you start to see those moments and they start to pile up on each other, you start to realize, Wow, I think I’ve just been getting in the way of a lot of their natural thinking and actually been confusing kids. But you got to be open to think about those things.

00:10:38:18 – 00:10:55:10
Mike Lipnos
You got to check your ego at the door because let me tell you, I’ve changed so much of the way I think about learning in young people that there’s no room for a big ego there because you have to reflect and change and just want to do what’s best for them. You want to serve in the best way possible.

00:10:55:12 – 00:11:01:08
Mike Lipnos
So I wouldn’t say it was an exact moment. It was pieces piled up on top of each other that really got me there. Yeah.

00:11:01:10 – 00:11:24:15
Jon Orr
That makes sense. And I think you’re right. I think the best educators are the ones that have checked their ego at the door and they have pushed. It’s about because I used to think this too, is like it was about the math. I’m here to serve math instead of help students understand and grapple with ideas and think about the kids like I used to put the mathematics at the forefront as the only thing that really mattered.

00:11:24:15 – 00:11:51:16
Jon Orr
Instead of understanding who kids actually were and the human element of them. And I think you have to check that at the door if you’re going to be an effective teacher whose goal is to help students really understand the mathematics that they’re doing, and for kids to come out of there feeling that they have that ability to do mathematics, I think once you check that, then that’s when the real learning, I think, starts to happen for everyone, not just the kids, but you as well.

00:11:51:18 – 00:12:15:03
Jon Orr
I think this is a good kind of move into specifically talking about unity, because I think we are talking about agency. You wanted to talk about it here as a pathway for higher achievement. You’ve been sharing your experiences already about what’s led you to focusing on that. I think your history, your memories, your experience has kind of steered you to this thinking about students and ownership of mathematics.

00:12:15:03 – 00:12:24:09
Jon Orr
But what else might has led you to making sure that or focusing on that agency as the primary way in the pathway to higher mathematics?

00:12:24:11 – 00:12:46:08
Mike Lipnos
Yeah, I think without having collected millions and millions of data points and we had some statistical analysis on it. My own experience just in this position, I’ve probably worked well for the last 15 years. I’ve been a math coach and I’ve worked in hundreds of districts, worked with thousands of young people, spent times long term in classrooms, spent short term, sometimes in classrooms.

00:12:46:10 – 00:13:12:15
Mike Lipnos
But the one thing that has stuck with me, especially in the classrooms that I spent a substantial amount of time in, is that you could sit in this classroom space where these young people look like they’re you’re grappling and struggling with content. Maybe it doesn’t look like they’re even getting to that mastery level of said content. But yet when I think about them and their outside audit scores, they outperform all the young people that were mastery learning along the way.

00:13:12:15 – 00:13:36:02
Mike Lipnos
And that’s all they had. All the checkmarks. Yes. You did it. Yes, you did it. Yes, you did it. And that these young people are outperforming. And I’m talking about young people that are on IEP and people that maybe have come from different backgrounds that maybe they don’t have such a rich mathematical experience as a young person. And the one thing that strikes me is that they’re always coming from teachers, classrooms that are allowing them to be in charge of their learning.

00:13:36:07 – 00:13:57:09
Mike Lipnos
And what I mean by that is that it’s not the procedural process and how to get to an answer. It’s the study of the mathematical content within the context of a problem and the conversations around that. So it’s not like, oh, we’re going to keep change flip, right? We’re going to have a contest. We’re going to see what does it mean to divide a fraction by a fraction or something like that.

00:13:57:11 – 00:14:13:03
Mike Lipnos
And it looks like the young people are struggling. This whole time. And I often wonder myself, I’m like, is this right? Do we need to pull in and like force some material down their throat so they can answer the questions at the end of the year? Audit and I’ve worked with teachers are like, Absolutely not. That’s not where my heart’s at.

00:14:13:03 – 00:14:32:10
Mike Lipnos
It’s not what I believe is good for young people. We’re not doing it and they just stay the course. The mathematical practices come to life in their classrooms. They’re not posters on the wall, right? The teachers are doing the mathematical practice. The young people are doing it right. And then those kids are outperforming peers that have been the good students all their lives.

00:14:32:10 – 00:14:56:01
Mike Lipnos
And these quote unquote, young people that maybe haven’t had those same opportunities are outperforming them in outside audits. And it struck me very hard at the end of last year that the difference is that these young people have agency. They can sit down at an outside audit or a test. They could come across a math problem, but they don’t know the answer to or even a procedure to get to that answer.

00:14:56:07 – 00:15:17:06
Mike Lipnos
But they’re able to look at that problem and think about what do I understand here? What do I know? What am I working with? What am I trying to do? They have that mathematical conversation with themselves. Basically, they perform the mathematical practices and they might not know the content, but guess what? It’s not stopping them from finding solution pathways.

00:15:17:08 – 00:15:50:19
Kyle Pearce
That is really interesting and well said. I tend to agree that ultimately what you’re highlighting here is exactly what we’re trying to work towards when we talk about. And there’s some of the episodes way back when we actually just recorded with someone from the Math moment Maker community about our suggestion for this individual was kind of do what we call the real flipped classroom allows students to actually grapple with problems, to productively struggle through this work and not leave them out to dry.

00:15:50:20 – 00:16:19:20
Kyle Pearce
We’re not going to leave them out too. If they don’t figure it out, they’ll never know. It’s the fact that they’re able to tackle unfamiliar situations, unfamiliar problems. And ultimately, I would argue that not only are you giving them the agency to do that, but you’re also in the process allowing them to build confidence that they are capable, that they are capable mathematicians, that they are capable of finding solutions without being told.

00:16:19:22 – 00:16:42:21
Kyle Pearce
And to me that is you were talking about doors being shut, the way you were teaching, the way that John and I used to teach were shutting doors on students, just like doors were shut on us. And in reality, it’s like the exact opposite, though. You’re actually allowing students more opportunity to open that door and to realize how powerful the human brain is.

00:16:42:23 – 00:17:06:08
Kyle Pearce
Given the fact that some of us have certain challenges that we have to overcome. Right? Certain kids come to school with different experiences, certain kids come with different learning disabilities, certain kids come with all kinds of different things. But ultimately, the human brain is such a powerful tool. If we actually allow them to sharpen that tool consistently and repeatedly, that students can do pretty awesome things with it.

00:17:06:08 – 00:17:29:21
Kyle Pearce
So I want to ask you, when you see teachers who are doing this well, who are providing students with this agency, what sort of observations are you witnessing in terms of like, let’s say, even just student behavior? And really, I kind of want to get to like this. How is their demeanor in the math classroom? Like, how is their beliefs and mindset sort of how is it impacting them?

00:17:29:23 – 00:17:45:22
Kyle Pearce
And I’m wondering as well, like, is it always a positive outcome or have you seen some teachers that maybe have struggled to try to turn their classroom into this place where they do give students a little bit more of that responsibility and ownership?

00:17:45:24 – 00:18:05:24
Mike Lipnos
No, for sure. I mean, I’ve seen all ends of the spectrum with it. I could say that the classrooms that are super successful are the people that they have a vision and they have a belief system and they’re going to stay the course regardless of what the little events within a day or the day to day events have, because they know they have, you know, 180 some days to work through that.

00:18:06:01 – 00:18:25:07
Mike Lipnos
So first they have a vision and they kind of stick to it. The other thing I notice about them, super intentional, very intentional about every conversation. I like to think every time we have a conversation with the young person, there’s going to be a consequence. They’re right. Some kind of feeling is going to be had. It’s either going to be positive, negative or neutral.

00:18:25:11 – 00:18:44:13
Mike Lipnos
Right? And I see these teachers are always trying to make sure that that interaction is left positive. And I’m not saying it’s a cheerleader always. It could be something where they’re really struggling and they are not there yet. But the interaction with the teacher isn’t about the deficiency. It’s not from that point of view. It’s from a point of view of, well, what can we do?

00:18:44:13 – 00:19:05:21
Mike Lipnos
What do you notice? What do you wonder? What can you do for this problem to make it feel easy for you rather than a deficit model? So I see the intentionality of the teachers and in the content they’re putting up, they’re making sure that the kiddos that aren’t talking ever, they’re the first ones they call on during a notice one very they’re very intentional with who they call on.

00:19:05:21 – 00:19:28:24
Mike Lipnos
When they call on them, very intentional when they quote unquote, I don’t want to say lecture the group, but pull the group back and say, Hey, gang, what are we here for? Where’s the math? What are we listening to to get that classroom management piece? They’re also very intentional that it’s not all day long. It’s only at the important moments where she or he knows they’re going to get the full attention of the group.

00:19:29:01 – 00:19:56:01
Mike Lipnos
Teachers, I think that struggle with it. They have a hard time giving up control and when they see young people not producing correct answers, I think that stresses them out because historically we come from a content delivery model and when we are doing content delivery, if young people in that space aren’t understanding how to get to an answer, that’s an US problem because we didn’t deliver the content the right way, right?

00:19:56:01 – 00:20:18:00
Mike Lipnos
So if that’s what you’re used to now, if you want to go towards student centered, but you still see people not being able to get to that solution pathway or that outcome you want, then you think that’s a failure. Whereas I look at that and I’m like, listen to the mathematics that’s happening. They’re actually talking about numerator and denominator in their reasoning about their size.

00:20:18:04 – 00:20:26:10
Mike Lipnos
They’re not just getting a procedure and getting an answer. There’s more math in those incorrect answers than not. It’s just hard for people to wrap their mind around that.

00:20:26:11 – 00:20:53:11
Jon Orr
Yeah, I always wonder about like I call them look forwards. I guess that’s just language that I’ve had my whole teaching career from my administrators to think about What do we look for in the teachers that we support? And I guess what I’m thinking about right now, and I always wonder about is and this is like a self look for let’s say I’m in the classroom right now and it’s like, what are some of those telltale signs that you think that a teacher says or is a teacher move is doing that?

00:20:53:13 – 00:21:17:14
Jon Orr
If I’m listening right now, it’s like if I’ve seen those words or phrases or teacher moves, that’s one of those tell tales or those look for us to go, Wait a minute, we could go down a different pathway than going down this pathway. It’s a trigger for us to be like, let’s take a step back. If I go do this routine in my classroom, is it allowing my students more agency around their learning or less?

00:21:17:14 – 00:21:37:05
Jon Orr
In your opinion, what are some of those moves or things we should look for? Because if I’m listening right now and sometimes we resort back to some of those moves and we’re like, Wait a minute, let me take that step back or but if I’m working with teachers or I’m next door to a teacher and I’m hearing that or I pop in and I’m seeing it, what am I looking for to be like, You know what?

00:21:37:05 – 00:21:46:10
Jon Orr
Maybe I should just have a give them a quick tip. That seems so not confrontational, but what are the things that we look for to kind of make us take a step back and rethink?

00:21:46:12 – 00:22:00:13
Mike Lipnos
I think my big one is whenever I hear someone say, well, let me show you. I hear that a lot, you know, walking through halls in classrooms as well. I’m going to show you I want to show you. And that’s a big one for me when I start to hear that in classrooms. Let me show you how to do this.

00:22:00:15 – 00:22:27:18
Mike Lipnos
I was thinking of another one when you were asking. It’s kind of slipped my mind at the moment, but any time that I’m in a space and we’re more worried about what the outcome to the problem is, rather than talking about the problem itself or what you’re thinking, may be the get started on the problem. When I’m in classrooms and someone throws a problem up right away and they start talking about solution or share you how you solve this right away without talking about the actual problem.

00:22:27:20 – 00:22:42:10
Mike Lipnos
Like that’s a red flag for me. I’m like, Well, we should study the problem just as much as we study our solutions. We have to understand what’s being asked of us. How are we going to model something if we don’t understand it? How are we going to do any mathematical modeling or put a context to it or quantify it?

00:22:42:10 – 00:23:04:04
Mike Lipnos
Those are all things that strike me if I don’t hear a little bit of confusion, if I don’t hear young people talking to one another. I don’t know if you’re familiar with complex instruction. I’m sure you are. I really like the idea of equalizing classroom status. If we’re building agency, every person has a seat at that table and every person matters and every thought matters.

00:23:04:04 – 00:23:26:20
Mike Lipnos
And we have to be really super intentional about it. You know, as a coach, when I walk into classroom spaces, if I’m going into teach in someone’s room to model something, a lot of times I’ll get the ball to side before I walk in and say, This is my low group, and it’s like everyone wants to give me that that disclaimer before I walk in there because they’re afraid I’m going to evaluate and judge the work they’re doing so far from the truth.

00:23:26:22 – 00:23:53:21
Mike Lipnos
And the other thing I hear a ton of when I leave classrooms is I don’t know how my kids knew that I never showed them or I never taught them those things that stick with me. I think that we get into even myself and I do this a lot. I tried to stop myself, but you can try to be student centered and the most conceptual math teacher in the world, but you can still scaffold and probe kids in a unique vocal way that’s getting them to think the way you’re thinking about it by asking to.

00:23:53:23 – 00:24:13:18
Mike Lipnos
I call it a unique vocal pathway. I’m asking questions that are leading you to think like I do, and I see a lot of that. And I don’t necessarily know that’s a good or a bad thing. I think it’s a transition thing. I think when you go from content delivery to trying to student centered to ask more questions, I think that’s also something that happens naturally.

00:24:13:18 – 00:24:43:01
Kyle Pearce
I just wanted to throw this in there too, because I actually I think it can be really helpful in some cases and it can be really maybe hurtful is maybe the wrong word, but maybe too much if we always do it right. So like you were saying, I think there’s times where if let’s say I think in a perfect world, if we could allow students to freely share and not be sort of funneled from the start, but then as they’re sharing, it’s like, how can we take what they’re doing?

00:24:43:01 – 00:25:02:08
Kyle Pearce
And then also kind of help at least mold the conversation just a little bit without them knowing, Right? So, like, that’s the tricky part is like you don’t want it to be like where kids are like identifying as like us, you know, sUrs just going to eventually lead us to the thing we need to do anyways. So why do I even want to think about it?

00:25:02:10 – 00:25:25:09
Kyle Pearce
But I think something that you’re modeling and what you’re sharing here on this conversation is that it really comes down to us as facilitators of the mathematics, learning, being very reflective and being very intentional about what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. So if we’re questioning and we’re thinking about that ahead of time is like, how am I going to question?

00:25:25:09 – 00:25:44:20
Kyle Pearce
Right? So like that anticipatory stage should go. Is that going to be too direct to where I need them to get to at the end? Because that’s the other piece too, is like if there’s no thought about it and I don’t think about the questions, we might end up over here and it might be a very hard way to get all the way back over to here to the learning goal of the day.

00:25:44:22 – 00:26:12:22
Kyle Pearce
But it really comes down to being reflective in what it is that we’re doing in the classroom and sort of using that as data to guide where we go next. And it gives me the pieces. John and I are in a document here just kind of jotting down some of the little pieces here, some of your look for us or the things that sort of pop out to you are really interesting to me and I’m picturing them in my own experiences and you’ve articulated them so clearly.

00:26:12:24 – 00:26:47:11
Kyle Pearce
So I guess my question for you then is when you’ve assessed where and we’re not evaluating very different, like when you’ve assessed the scenario that maybe the teacher is maybe not allowing for enough opportunity for students to be in charge of their learning and taking that responsibility. What might be a starting point? You know that there’s some people listening that are either in coaching roles or leadership roles of some type, or it might be the teacher themself that what you just said, they might be going like, Oh, that’s me, I’m that person.

00:26:47:11 – 00:27:14:05
Kyle Pearce
And I just I didn’t even realize it. But now might is sort of highlighting that for me. What can I do about it? What’s like a will say like not a massive leap first start, but something small that they might be able to kind of think about, plan on and then try to add to their repertoire so they’re not throwing the baby out with the bathwater, panicking that they’re doing it all wrong, but rather that they make this small tweak to sort of head in that right direction.

00:27:14:07 – 00:27:36:18
Mike Lipnos
Yeah, that’s a good question. Honestly, I like to say first off, that there’s no wrong. There’s only ways that we can reach young people better. So there’s really no wrong way. There’s ways that are more natural to the young person’s way of thinking. Anyway, that research has shown us how they learn. One of the first things that I would recommend for folks to do is when someone in the classroom has a question, Hey, Mr. Lip knows.

00:27:36:18 – 00:27:55:20
Mike Lipnos
I’m wondering about this. Instead of me answering it, just throw it back to the the young people in the space like, hey, Suzy has a question about this. Who can answer it or turn and talk with your talk partner for 20 seconds? Can someone come up with a solution for that instead of making me the expert in the room?

00:27:55:22 – 00:28:17:14
Mike Lipnos
We’re working on this together. Dan Finkel said it in his TEDTalk. I’m not the answer key. We can tell young people like lip service is a big thing in education. We could tell young people all the time, I’m not the answer. Key answers aren’t important. It’s the process or persevere. But if we then say those things and we turn around and run our math class like we always have, then it’s just lip service.

00:28:17:14 – 00:28:33:06
Mike Lipnos
It doesn’t mean anything. But if I truly believe those types of things and I believe that I’m not the expert in the room, but we’re in this together, then the questions are for the class they’re not for. Mr. Lip knows. So I think that’s a really, really good starting point is just to say, you know what, I’m not answering any more questions.

00:28:33:06 – 00:28:55:18
Mike Lipnos
I’m going to let us as a class, answer them, talk about them, and come to a consensus of understanding together. And that’s a community building that builds agency. All of those little things. Remember every single conversation matters and it’s going to leave feeling somehow, someway. So I love to have every single day turn and talk. Partner. I’d like to make it different every day.

00:28:55:18 – 00:29:17:02
Mike Lipnos
If it was my classroom. I can’t mess teachers classrooms up like that. But here’s your Turner clockwork for today. Every time I want you to turn it, talk 10 seconds, 15 seconds. No longer than 30 seconds. None of this four minute conversation stuff. No, because you and I right now, if you said, hey, let’s talk about this, we’d get about 30 seconds in and we start talking about ice fishing and hockey and football.

00:29:17:02 – 00:29:40:19
Mike Lipnos
Right. That’s what the young people do. So they’re no different than us. So that’s one thing that I do that an article, I don’t know who wrote it. It was an article that was a blog post through A.T.M. years ago, but it was kind of rethinking the gradual release model. Right. And it just basically said instead of We do or I do, we do, you do it, just flip it.

00:29:40:21 – 00:29:52:24
Mike Lipnos
Just go and order. And that’s easy enough to do because I’m not asking anyone to change anything besides the order at which they present material. Get young people, have some skin in the game before you start stretching. You know.

00:29:53:01 – 00:30:13:01
Jon Orr
We call that the real flip classroom. Yeah, you do it the other way, which is not the flip classroom about watching videos or anything, but flipping the order that you would typically structure your lesson. Mike What would you say would be if you could leave one big idea with the audience today after this call, what would you say that one big idea is.

00:30:13:03 – 00:30:34:23
Mike Lipnos
The energy mathematical practice. I mean, I think the standards for Mathematica, you know, how the Common Core, the language arts have there anchor standards. I almost wish our standards for mathematical practice had more of a role in our standards or teachers. Instead of getting a list of content things to check off the list. I did that. That I did that.

00:30:35:00 – 00:31:09:02
Mike Lipnos
What if every teacher in every school knew that their goal was every single day to get my kids to behave mathematically? And that’s a wonderful what if? But if the young people are actually doing the mathematical practices, then we’re differentiating, we’re building agency, we’re building positive math identities and I truly firmly believe, after everything I’ve seen over the last 20 some years, answers will come if we truly study mathematics and play with mathematics the way it’s meant to be.

00:31:09:04 – 00:31:17:19
Mike Lipnos
The content answers will come, and if they don’t come naturally, it sure will be a heck of a lot easier to teach them because we have young people that are primed and ready to go.

00:31:17:20 – 00:31:44:04
Kyle Pearce
I love it. I love it. That’s such a great takeaway. Couple big takeaways I think there. And we often say it’s like looking at and trying to reframe the content standards as more of like ideas on how to engage in the mathematical practices, like their ideas. It’s not like that’s not the reason we’re doing the content standards. It’s like it’s giving you ideas on how you can engage in the practices.

00:31:44:06 – 00:32:24:02
Kyle Pearce
So let’s not get too bent out of shape over every student walking out of the room, being a master of completing the square or whatever, and more about like, wow, completing the square is a really interesting thing. Let’s explore it and let’s actually try to figure this thing out. Right? And I think you’re 100% correct. Students who are given these opportunities to think to problem solve, where they have agency, where they’re thinking mathematically, as you’ve articulated, they are building true problem solving skills, which let’s be honest, the last time I used quadratic formula was when I was teaching a class about the quadratic formula.

00:32:24:02 – 00:32:50:07
Kyle Pearce
And then before that was when I learned the quadratic formula. That is not what it’s really about. It’s really about learning how to think. It’s really about learning how to conjecture, how to reason, how to prove how to do all of these things. And I think this episode was a great opportunity for the math moment maker community to kind of hear some of the messaging that we hear across over 250 episodes that we’ve done.

00:32:50:12 – 00:33:15:13
Kyle Pearce
But coming at it from a different angle, a different perspective and using some different language, which I think is really important. And ultimately what it really comes back to for me as my big takeaway is that like good teaching is good teaching. And when we do those things and when we’re giving students the opportunity to do the thinking, we are engaging them in good teaching and learning practices.

00:33:15:13 – 00:33:35:21
Kyle Pearce
So, Mike, I want to thank you a ton for joining us on the show here today. But before we go, folks who are intrigued by some of what you’ve shared, where can they get in touch with you? Where can they learn more about you? Or maybe they just want to get connected with you so that they can continue to learn alongside you in their math network.

00:33:35:23 – 00:33:56:19
Mike Lipnos
So they can reach me. A What my Twitter handle is hashtag hypnosis. Or is it at Let us lip notes. Right? And then my email is Mike Lippe knows all IP and O’s dot com or dot kids can kids can so kids can at gmail.com.

00:33:56:21 – 00:34:12:18
Jon Orr
Awesome. Thanks so much for being here Mike And we’ll put all that in the show notes and we’ll look forward to seeing you at, say, maybe a conference coming up or maybe next year, but you’re not too far from us. So let’s make sure we try to meet up and keep this chat going.

00:34:12:21 – 00:34:33:11
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, I would say, John, maybe a summit session on the horizon for 2024 in November. So put that on your roadmap of ideas because I think a lot of what you shared here would be well-received by those who attend the virtual summit each year. So definitely stay in touch for that. And yeah, hopefully we’ll be networking with you sometime soon.

00:34:33:16 – 00:34:38:14
Mike Lipnos
I hope so. And I want to thank you both for all you do for our community. It’s it’s fantastic.

00:34:38:16 – 00:34:40:18
Jon Orr
Oh, thanks. Thanks so much, Mike. Take care.

00:34:40:20 – 00:34:41:07
Kyle Pearce
Thanks, Mike.

00:34:41:10 – 00:34:42:03
Mike Lipnos
We appreciate you.

00:34:42:09 – 00:35:21:02
Kyle Pearce
Have a good one. Well, my friends, what a great episode. Awesome to chat with a math moment maker like Mike just up the road or down the road, I suppose, from John and I in Ohio, across Lake Erie, from Windsor-essex County where John and I are living. And the conversation great talking about specifically agency and it’s I’ll be honest and say John agency isn’t a word that we use a ton but as Mike described agency it really does highlight a lot of the things that we like to discuss surrounding good teaching practices in mathematics.

00:35:21:02 – 00:35:39:22
Kyle Pearce
So while I think it would be really easy for me to talk about the branches of the tree, talking about the mathematics, pedagogical content knowledge, I want to take a moment and talk about the part of the tree that actually isn’t the tree itself, but it’s really necessary for the tree to grow, and that’s the soil, water and the sunlight.

00:35:39:24 – 00:36:28:20
Kyle Pearce
When I look at building and sort of framing your mathematics classroom or your coaching or your district around the mindset and beliefs driving force student agency, what we are doing is we’re giving that tree a ton of energy. We are giving it the energy that allows it to grow and flourish. And by giving students that opportunity to think, to have the responsibility for that learning and to have that guide there at the side instead of the sage on the stage, as Mike was sort of articulating that we see in so many math classrooms, even still today, it really does allow for students to truly shift what their mindset or belief about mathematics might be.

00:36:29:00 – 00:36:59:09
Kyle Pearce
And let’s not be mistaken here, we aren’t born with mindsets and beliefs around mathematics the way we see them here in North America and beyond. These are beliefs and mindsets, better learned through learning, through experiences, through the classroom experience, through the world around us, and through their home life experiences. And the only way we’re going to start seeing those shift is by truly shifting our mindset and beliefs so that we can do something differently in our math classrooms.

00:36:59:09 – 00:37:19:01
Kyle Pearce
And hey, nobody’s kidding here. We’re not kidding around thinking that this is going to be an easy shift. It takes bravery, but ultimately, at the end of the day, really does take that epiphany. Just like Mike had just like John and I had a long in this journey. So that for me is a big piece here that popped out at me from this conversation.

00:37:19:03 – 00:37:24:08
Kyle Pearce
John What part of the tree is circling around in your mind when you think about the conversation?

00:37:24:10 – 00:37:50:19
Jon Orr
I think it’s the same. Like you said, Branches is mostly talked about as the teacher moves, right? Teacher moves. What can we do? But it does require that epiphany like we talked about early on in the episode. And and we kind of mentioned that epiphany sometimes only comes when you are asked to take that coaching role, become that leader, take that step to be the department chair, the curriculum leader or the department head, or even a math coach.

00:37:51:00 – 00:38:12:00
Jon Orr
A lot of times when you’re asked to help another teacher, you start to look at your practice differently. And if we could do more of that right, if that’s where the soil in the water in the sunlight starts to turn, the mindsets start to turn, then how can we position more of our teachers in those supports and coaching roles?

00:38:12:00 – 00:38:36:14
Jon Orr
Because if they could do that, if they are asked and held accountable in a way that says this person, maybe it’s a new teacher, maybe it’s a teacher who you pair them with, but when that happens and you’re asked to support another teacher, help another teacher, I think that’s where that kind of epiphanies start to happen in the well, it’s almost like the soil becomes more rich and we start to grow that tree differently than it was going to grow before.

00:38:36:14 – 00:39:00:07
Jon Orr
So if you’re a leader right now and you’re thinking about how do I get more of my teachers to listen to podcasts or take that active role in changing their instruction and reaching out and looking at how to engage their own professional learning like you’re doing right now. Then ask yourself, Can I shift some things around to get my teachers to take more coaching roles themselves with the teachers that they work with?

00:39:00:07 – 00:39:12:02
Jon Orr
Because I think planting those seeds see what I did there? Planting those seeds can start to change that soil. So that’s, I think part the tree that I think I recognize the most are at their core.

00:39:12:04 – 00:39:37:06
Kyle Pearce
If you’re curious about what parts of the tree are flourishing for you or maybe your organization, you can head to grow your math program dot com that’s a grow your math program dot com. And based on whether you’re a classroom teacher or a district leader, you could take our short math program assessment screener. I’ll take you through a series of questions.

00:39:37:06 – 00:40:09:19
Kyle Pearce
And really what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to highlight some of the areas that are working well for you and according to the six areas of your math program tree and which areas need a little bit more attention, a little more nourishment. And at the end, the beauty is, is that not only do you get this opportunity to kind of think through all six areas and really reflect as you do this process, but you’ll also get a report sent to your email with some next steps and what you can actually put into practice at that time.

00:40:09:19 – 00:40:18:14
Kyle Pearce
So if you’re curious about that, you should head on over to grow your math program dot com and complete that assessment screener today.

00:40:18:16 – 00:40:29:24
Jon Orr
Show notes and links to resources. From this episode folks can be found over at Nick math moments dot com for such episode 266 make math moments dot com for episode 266.

00:40:30:04 – 00:40:50:08
Kyle Pearce
Thank you to all those who have been leaving ratings and reviews. We so appreciate you the math moment makers around the world are appreciating you and we look forward to those who haven’t yet done so. Make sure you do that right now until next time. I’m Kyle Pierce. And I’m George high fives for us.

00:40:50:10 – 00:40:52:19
Jon Orr
And a high.

00:40:52:21 – 00:40:54:00
Mike Lipnos
Powered wave.

00:40:54:02 – 00:40:56:19
Kyle Pearce
For you. Oh.

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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.


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Represent Categorical Data & Explore Mean

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