Episode #274: Where should we focus our district’s math PD goals for the rest of this year? Next year?

Feb 26, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:

Are you struggling to turn your ambitious math educational goals into tangible results in your classroom or district? Have you been asking: Where should I focus the efforts of my district math pd plan for the remainder of this year and following years?

This episode of “Making Math Moments That Matter” is crucial for educators and district leaders of mathematics who are seeking practical strategies to elevate the impact of their teaching and planning. By focusing on goal setting and planning in mathematics education, it addresses the common challenge of aligning educational objectives with measurable outcomes, ensuring that your teaching methods lead to significant, positive changes in student learning and engagement.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Insight into Effective Goal-Setting: Learn how to set precise, achievable objectives in your classroom, ensuring you’re not overwhelmed while still making a significant impact.
  • Strategies for Measuring Success: Discover how to define and measure key results, equipping you with tools to gauge the effectiveness of your teaching strategies accurately.
  • Guidance on Prioritization and Focus: Gain an understanding of how to identify and concentrate on ‘rocks’ or major priorities, helping you to stay focused on what matters most in your educational journey.

Listen to this episode now to transform your district math goals into measurable, impactful realities and start making math moments that truly matter.

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


Be Our Next Podcast Guest!

Join as an Interview Guest or on a Mentoring Moment Call

Making Math Moments That Matter Podcast

Apply to be a Featured Interview Guest

It will take less than two (2) minutes to book your Math Mentoring Moment call.

Book a Mentoring Moment Coaching Call

Take two (2) minutes to book your Math Mentoring Moment call and let’s work together to shake that math pebble out of your shoe!

Are You an Official Math Moment Maker?

Ensure that you followrate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other platforms to show your support and ensure other math educators can find the show.
Start your school year off right by downloading the guide that you can save and print to share with colleagues during your next staff meeting, professional learning community meeting or just for your own reference!


00;00;00;17 – 00;00;29;11
Kyle Pearce
Well, math moment makers, it is 2024 and most of our listeners have been either approaching the halfway point or have already crossed the halfway point of the school year. And lately we’ve been working with a lot of our district partners and we’ve got questions on goal setting and getting started, not only to structure our math visions, but also to craft an action plan.

00;00;29;18 – 00;00;33;03
Kyle Pearce
So we can actually start doing some of this work.

00;00;33;06 – 00;00;55;29
Jon Orr
Yeah, And I would say that we’re hearing from our district leaders and from people that we meet with on a regular basis to talk about district planning for mathematics. They’re constantly asking us a few questions that we wanted to help with you today. Those questions are like where should I focus the efforts of my plan for the remainder of this year, but also set me up for next year?

00;00;56;00 – 00;01;18;12
Jon Orr
Or they’ll say, We’ve done a lot of work in mathematics this year, but we aren’t seeing the results we’d hoped for. And student achievement hasn’t changed. And they also will ask, How can I create a PDF Action plan that teachers view as useful and not just adding to teachers plates. So it’s almost like they are looking for like, how do I build this.

00;01;18;12 – 00;01;20;18
Kyle Pearce
Grassroots program.

00;01;20;20 – 00;01;21;14
Jon Orr
And not make it.

00;01;21;14 – 00;01;22;03
Kyle Pearce

00;01;22;04 – 00;01;46;02
Jon Orr
But also it’s hitting the goals that I want to see happen in our district. So stick with us, folks. And we’ll teach you exactly what we’re doing with our district partners at the beginning of our four stage process to get them started on designing their professional development action plans for the year and actually set themselves up for results by the end of the first year, second year and third year.

00;01;46;04 – 00;02;02;24
Kyle Pearce
All right, my friends here we go.

00;02;02;26 – 00;02;07;18
Kyle Pearce
Welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pierce and I’m.

00;02;07;18 – 00;02;10;01
Jon Orr
John or we are from math moments dot com.

00;02;10;04 – 00;02;20;14
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;02;20;14 – 00;02;32;26
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate in foster your mathematics program a strong, healthy and balanced tree. So if you mastered the six parts effective mathematics program, the impact of the work you do will reach far and wide.

00;02;33;03 – 00;02;58;07
Kyle Pearce
Every week you’ll get the insight you need to stop feeling overwhelmed and gain back your confidence and get back to enjoying the planning and facilitating of your math program for the students or the educators you serve. All right. Here, math moment makers. We’re going to be digging in. And as we mentioned at the top of the episode, this is that time of year where people kind of pause to reflect.

00;02;58;07 – 00;03;19;25
Kyle Pearce
We pause in our personal lives as we approach a new calendar year, but we also have this opportunity to pause and reflect on how things are going this school year. So for those in North America, many of us are at the halfway point or maybe even beyond the halfway point of the school year, and you might be thinking to yourself that time is just flying.

00;03;19;27 – 00;03;50;08
Kyle Pearce
You probably set some goals at the beginning of the year. And let’s be honest, some of those goals maybe you haven’t made as much progress on them as you may have liked. And one of the biggest challenges I think we have is that when we’re setting our goals, we have to do a specific process in order to make sure that we make them attainable, but that we also monitor these goals so that we can actually do the action steps necessary to make real change.

00;03;50;08 – 00;04;21;15
Kyle Pearce
We’re not just going to use the Hope and pray method, right? We’re going to actually have an action plan. So, John, I’m really excited to dig in here because this is some of the work that we often do at the beginning of the process when we have a new district partner join us. And today, we’re actually going to take it and we’re going to look at it in a very small, small sort of starting point perspective, meaning we’re going to look at setting an objective that you can work on from now until the end of this school year.

00;04;21;15 – 00;04;42;19
Kyle Pearce
So we’re going to look at just one objective for now. You can do more after, but let’s focus on one. We’re going to take you through a process to help you figure out what that looks like and what do we need to do, What sort of planning must happen now in order to give us a fighting chance at actually making some decent progress towards reaching it?

00;04;42;22 – 00;05;00;02
Jon Orr
Yeah, And I think what we often experience is one of those good problems to have is that district leaders, when they’re starting this process, when they’re trying to figure out what should I focus on for the year? Like where do I want to see my results? What are we hoping to achieve? There’s so many things that we want, and I think that’s where it’s like.

00;05;00;02 – 00;05;18;08
Jon Orr
And we look at our classrooms, where we walk into our classrooms, you know, on a regular basis. We’re meeting with teachers on a regular basis. What these district leaders are saying, and this is happening in every school, is that when you see classrooms, you think we’ve got a long way to go. And it’s like you want the end result now because you’re wishing it happened now.

00;05;18;08 – 00;05;35;29
Jon Orr
And people are tapping on the shoulders to say like, we need those scores better now. So there’s a tendency to say, We’ve got to go do this, we got to do this, we got to do this, we’ve got to do this. And then what happens is when you start to think of it like that, what you’re saying, Kyle, is you’re kind of like going all in and it’s like, well, where are we really focusing the work that we need to?

00;05;36;04 – 00;05;58;16
Jon Orr
Is it focused like a laser beam focused so that with least when when we get to the end of the year, we know we made progress in this area or this area, and it’s hard to kind of dial back because and this is true once the school year starts, there’s so many other things to also do. You’ve got professional development planning on your mind and we’ve got to take care of those tasks.

00;05;58;16 – 00;06;18;15
Jon Orr
But then you’re getting tapped on your shoulder over here to kind of jump in. And in this area over here and all of a sudden you’re the math coordinator, but now you’re asked to consult over in the language area. You’re being pulled in all these different directions. So it’s really important to have that laser being focus early. And what we say early is the early in that process of the school year.

00;06;18;15 – 00;06;34;26
Jon Orr
But I mean, even though we’re recording this at the halfway marker, it’s really important to kind of like bring our focus back or if we haven’t done the laser focus, let’s do it now so that we can zero in on what the rest of the year looks like and then we can set ourselves up for success next year.

00;06;34;26 – 00;06;55;01
Jon Orr
So we are going to go through with that process looks like. And the best way to kind of think about it as we did throw some questions out that people are asking us at the top of the episode. But really it’s like, where should I focus the efforts starting now and for the remainder of the year? And let’s stop there because like what you said, Kyle, we don’t want to overburden ourselves.

00;06;55;01 – 00;07;24;07
Jon Orr
We don’t want to overwhelm ourselves on all the things we want. So really, when it comes down to it, it’s like, well, what do we really want to see this school year? We have to answer some basic questions and we ask our district partners these same questions. It’s like we have to answer these questions. If we can answer them, then we’re going to not only have our objective, we’re going to have key results that are measurable, and we’ll have this action plan that gets us to that thing.

00;07;24;09 – 00;07;26;03
Jon Orr
But let’s just start with one thing.

00;07;26;09 – 00;07;45;07
Kyle Pearce
I love it. I love it. So I think we really want to dig into this. I think to what I’m really excited for people to sort of get a glimpse into is this idea that sometimes, as you had said, you want to do everything everybody wants to and then we don’t do the proper steps in the planning and we do a little bit of everything.

00;07;45;07 – 00;08;05;05
Kyle Pearce
But then it’s like then you lose track and you lose focus and then it sort of leads to little or no progress. So here what we’re going to do is we’re going to start with what is it that we’re actually looking to change? And then we’re going to do a little bit of back mapping and try to figure out like what are the things that will have to change ahead of that, Right?

00;08;05;05 – 00;08;21;04
Kyle Pearce
So it’s like we’ve got this thing that you want to happen. You have a result that you want to happen. You want to change something between now and the end of the school year and that thing. Obviously, we don’t want it to be something that’s so out there that it’s going to be way too hard to do in one year.

00;08;21;04 – 00;08;45;04
Kyle Pearce
Like everyone gets 100% on the standardized test or something along those lines. But what is that thing? If we could focus on one area, what does that look like? And then what needs to happen in the meantime along the journey in order for that change to happen? So this change might be, well, say this sized, whatever that is.

00;08;45;04 – 00;09;07;26
Kyle Pearce
Right? It seems like a small change, but then there’s probably a bunch of other really small changes that need to take place. We need to do the thinking and the planning to figure what those are because those will be easier and quick wins that will get you closer and closer and closer. And when you do start spinning your wheels, you’ll know where you are in the journey.

00;09;07;29 – 00;09;27;01
Kyle Pearce
And heck, maybe there’s even a spot along the journey that you didn’t plan for, you didn’t anticipate. Well, guess what you added in at that point. But now we’ve got this tracked progress that where this log we have that we can work with and we can use for monitoring in order to sort of really pump our own tires along the way.

00;09;27;01 – 00;09;37;12
Kyle Pearce
As we check off these little pieces and go, wow, I am making progress. I’m not at the end goal yet, but I’m getting closer each and every day or week or month.

00;09;37;19 – 00;10;02;18
Jon Orr
Yeah. And the process that we go through and that we’re going to go through with you is really it’s called the objective and key results process. We had learned about it from reading the book Measure What Matters by John Dorr, which is a business book. It was about how Google and Bill Gates and Bono created objectives and then created measurable key results to make their businesses skyrocket and become so successful.

00;10;02;19 – 00;10;20;21
Jon Orr
If we really care about something, if we want to see change, we actually have to measure it. And that’s where this process has come from. And any when you think about the process for us and if we want to think about our math classrooms, it actually has to start with what Kyle was saying is like, well, what do we want to see changed by the end of the year?

00;10;20;21 – 00;10;42;10
Jon Orr
But also it really starts with your vision of what, you know, to be an effective math classroom. We have to imagine what those classrooms look like. If everything that you did, not just this one thing that we’re going to plan today, but it’s like all the things if all the things that you said at the beginning of the year came true, what does that math classroom look like?

00;10;42;11 – 00;11;01;18
Jon Orr
Because you have to have that image because then you can start to narrow down your first objective, which is thinking about what is that big idea that Kyle was talking about? It’s like, what do I want to see happen? What do I want to work on That’s really important? This only one, I just want to say, Hey, this was one idea.

00;11;01;18 – 00;11;23;22
Jon Orr
This was one thing I want to work on. If I work on that thing that I’m closer to the vision that I imagining in my math classroom. So that’s your first objective is thinking about what is that thing that we can work on this year that’s really important? And then if you worked on it doesn’t mean you like are going to like solve it.

00;11;23;22 – 00;11;40;12
Jon Orr
It just means you’re going to work on it. And if you did that, you’re closer to your vision of what mathematics classrooms across your district are going to look like. So if you think about our examples that we use of their districts and thinking about the step by step process is once you have that thing, we call that our objective.

00;11;40;14 – 00;12;06;07
Jon Orr
And we’ve also read the book called Traction by Geno Wickman, and he uses that analogy that maybe you’ve heard. We’ve talked about you here on the podcast as well, about priorities and whether the things that we want to work on. And he calls them rocks because he uses that analogy about the jar and putting got your rocks, you got sand, you got water, you got little pebbles, and we got to put all that in the jar because the jar is like your time.

00;12;06;08 – 00;12;20;03
Jon Orr
The jar is like the work that you do. And most people focus on the little things. First, they’ll put the water in the jar and then they put the sand in the jar. These are like little things. I got to take care of this. So you’re tapped on the shoulder to go over here. You got to go do that.

00;12;20;05 – 00;12;34;17
Jon Orr
You got to go solve a problem over here. You got an email to respond to. These are the little things, right? So these are like the sand in the water. And then people put a little bit bigger things and they put their little pebbles in. And then by the time you’d put all of that in there, there’s no room for the rocks.

00;12;34;17 – 00;12;57;22
Jon Orr
And the rocks are the biggest pieces of the work you want to do. These are the objectives, These are the big ideas that you want to see become true. The things that are going to move us closer to this amazing math classroom that we can envision. And we have you all have this, you have it. And so why he calls them rocks is because if you put the rocks in first and then you add the little pebbles and then you add the sand and the water fits in, no problem.

00;12;57;24 – 00;13;12;08
Jon Orr
Everything fits in the jar. So in step one, when you think about this, we’re going to think about our rocks. You have to come on. You have to decide like, what is that rock? Just pick one rock. Don’t pick more than one rock. Just pick What is one rock? What is one big idea? We call that your objective.

00;13;12;11 – 00;13;35;22
Jon Orr
Now, once you have your objective, you would have to build what Kyle was saying. We have to build specifics. We have to take it a step down. We have to take a layer. And now you have to ask yourself really one question is that if we only did one thing all year, just one thing all year to achieve that objective, that’s the one thing and that’s your key result, then we’ll craft that key result.

00;13;35;22 – 00;13;56;00
Jon Orr
But Kyle, before we get into the nitty gritty about how to craft those key results, an objective that a district will have picked is we were working with a district today and they picked their three objectives and they said, You know what, I want to work on getting our students to experience productive struggle in the classroom. That was one of their objectives.

00;13;56;00 – 00;14;15;13
Jon Orr
That’s a rock because they know that if they worked on that right, it’s a big thing. So we’re not going to solve that for all classrooms every day, all year. It’s like that’s a worthwhile big thing to work on is I want my students to experience productive struggle in their classrooms because it’s going to help them become more resilient problem solvers.

00;14;15;13 – 00;14;33;18
Jon Orr
If that’s the true they can. You imagine these enriched math classes, these math classes where students are thinking they’re engaged in not just mimicking, they’re not just kind of like following notes. They’ve been engaged in productive struggle. This is one of the objectives that they pick. We could use that as an example to kind of walk through key results around that objective.

00;14;33;18 – 00;14;34;13
Jon Orr
What do you say?

00;14;34;15 – 00;14;51;13
Kyle Pearce
I love it. I love it. So we’re going to be looking then at Productive Struggle. Now, you gave the example based on a district we’re working with, so they were using that as one of the objectives that they wanted to focus on. But for those who are classroom teachers, they’re in the classroom. Or maybe you’re administrator in one building.

00;14;51;16 – 00;15;08;04
Kyle Pearce
The same is true here. You get to decide what is that rock that you’re going to focus on. So as a teacher, you can have this very same objective for yourself and you can say, you know what, That’s the thing that I want to focus on right now, and I want to see some change between now and the end of the year.

00;15;08;10 – 00;15;32;29
Kyle Pearce
Now, something that I think goes without saying, but I want to say it anyway, is that just because you’re setting this as an objective and today we’re only going to pick one objective because we want to get you started on a journey. It doesn’t mean we’re not doing other things like it doesn’t mean like we stop doing everything in the math classroom or that we’re not going to do I’m not going to work towards trying to get students to engage in more math discourse.

00;15;33;02 – 00;15;49;26
Kyle Pearce
I’m going to keep trying to do those things just like you probably have already been trying to do in the past. But this one, because we’ve named it as a rock, because we’ve named it as something that we really have as an objective that we want to move the needle on. We are going to be really specific with it.

00;15;50;03 – 00;16;15;26
Kyle Pearce
The beauty is if you do this well for one objective, well, guess what? You can add another objective, right? But we’re going to start with one because we want to make sure that we have something there that we get to build on. So now we have to ask ourselves what will happen. You had already mentioned sort of what will happen if we engage or if we give students the opportunity to experience more productive struggle in the classroom.

00;16;15;28 – 00;16;46;20
Kyle Pearce
One of the key results will students will become more resilient problem solvers. That’s something that you are hoping will come. So some of the questions we want to ask ourselves is like, So what would that look like if this happens? If we are successful in this work, what is going to happen? What is going to be different in the math classroom when this happens versus what is going on now?

00;16;46;22 – 00;17;12;28
Kyle Pearce
And I’m wondering for you, John, in this call today, we were trying to kind of pull out some of these ideas. What are we going to see from students? Like what will be different? What will be a key result, something that we can actually measure, something that is going to kind of tell us that, wow, we’ve made some significant progress in meeting this objective?

00;17;13;03 – 00;17;33;25
Jon Orr
Yeah, there’s two prompts that I always think about, and we do have a few steps is like a three step process, but I mean, the prompts that help me get started on this key result process, we got to the end of the year, let’s say we got to the end of the year and only one thing was accomplished that got us closer to the subject of like, what’s the one thing in it that sounds like that one thing could be like a thing.

00;17;33;25 – 00;17;54;28
Jon Orr
I check off a list, but it’s like, that’s an important starting point because it’s going to give you a sense of like, that’s the thing I should work on. And now if that’s the thing I should work on, then what we should be doing is thinking about, well, how do I make sure that that is true? Because the other way I think about it is to say, like, let’s say we did a bunch of stuff this year.

00;17;54;28 – 00;18;24;03
Jon Orr
I did some stuff this year around helping teachers and students, engaging in lessons that involve productive struggle. It’s like if all of that stuff worked, like, how do I know it worked? What can I say? Or what can I report to somebody that this thing worked? We call that. That’s another way to think about your key results. So kind of step one and the key result building process is to list the one thing if you achieve by the end of the year would make you feel successful and getting closer to that objective.

00;18;24;05 – 00;18;44;23
Jon Orr
So that might be like in this particular objective, if we’re saying productive struggle, they might say, you know what, we want to see teachers in the fourth through sixth grade because that was maybe a target group that the district is targeting in the work that they’re doing, engage in more productive struggle lessons. So they might say like, hey, but that’s like a step one.

00;18;44;23 – 00;19;06;16
Jon Orr
It’s like, I want that to be true. That’s the thing. Hey, that we can say more, that would be great. It’s like, okay, well now step two disciplines you two. Step two is like, how can you measure that? And that’s sometimes a tougher thing. It’s like, Well, how do I measure more Students are engaged in productive, struggling type lessons, and so you have to be able to answer that.

00;19;06;16 – 00;19;35;25
Jon Orr
So an answer to that one made me like, well, we have to measure that somehow. Okay, so how do I measure that? Well, maybe I’m going to measure how confident a teacher is in delivering that style of lesson. Well, how do I measure that? Well, we might have to think about engaging that teacher in a pre and post survey of like, what their experience is or how they feel confidence wise about productive struggle lesson because that might be a key result we need to make true before the students experience it right.

00;19;35;25 – 00;19;52;26
Jon Orr
Like we mean to make sure that maybe teachers need help in that area first and then that should unlock them to do that in the classroom. So we might want to measure that. How do we measure teacher’s confidence in delivering this style of lesson? And so we could create a survey around that and then you can put all this together.

00;19;52;26 – 00;20;08;27
Jon Orr
So so you got to put both of those two statements together. So say one one was like, we want to see this improvement in students engaging in productive struggle lessons in the fourth through sixth grade. But we also want to see that teachers have more confidence in engaging those things. We’re going to use a survey to do that.

00;20;08;27 – 00;20;38;17
Jon Orr
So a key result statement is combining those two so that it’s specific. It’s measurable and it’s attainable. We can get there. Okay. So like, here’s here’s one that, you know, combines those two that this particular group came up with by May of 2020, for the fourth or sixth grade, teachers will progress and they’re supporting productive struggle in learning math or mathematics, as evidenced by an increase of three values on the average score on an instructional shift’s assessment.

00;20;38;19 – 00;21;00;29
Jon Orr
So they were going to create an assessment that measured teachers confidence on productive struggle before and after. And we were going to take the baseline in the work that we were going to do, which we haven’t said yet would. Then show that increase. And then it’s like, Well, what are we going to do in the work? But I mean, we have to craft that key result because what it does, it gives you a target.

00;21;01;01 – 00;21;17;12
Jon Orr
It’s something I can measure, but I’m going to target the work I do to hitting that and making that true. So think about this process, right? We’ve funneled this process. We said we want to work on productive struggle. We said, Well, how are we going to do that? We need some sort of target. We call that a key result.

00;21;17;14 – 00;21;41;12
Jon Orr
The key result was crafted by saying, what would I be happy with at the end of the year if this became true? Step one write down what that is. Step two How will you measure it? Step three combine them. So that’s our kind of process to go through to create that key result statement seems pretty simple. It’s hard when you put it into practice because you’re going to try to combine them by the end and go like, Well, where do we really want to do?

00;21;41;19 – 00;21;46;02
Jon Orr
And then the tough part is thinking about like, how am I going to measure and implement that?

00;21;46;04 – 00;22;04;26
Kyle Pearce
I love it. And I think one of the big, really important parts here is for some people, they want to know right now exactly all the key results they’re going to need between now and the end of the year to like, reach this objective. And sometimes that might happen. But other times you might just have the first sort of step, right.

00;22;04;26 – 00;22;25;26
Kyle Pearce
And it’s like, do that. Get yourself that first step. Get yourself that first win. Because even the example you just gave where, hey, we’re going to see that the instructional shifts assessment score is going to increase. So that’s amazing. But there’s more to this story, right? We’re going to need to actually create like an action plan around that.

00;22;25;26 – 00;22;52;22
Kyle Pearce
Now, I want to give another example here for, let’s say a teacher. Okay, Let’s say you’re a teacher. You’re not thinking as a district leader and you’re going let’s use the same productive struggle as kind of the main theme here. And they’re setting a key result for themselves. They might approach a key result for themself as being okay, Well, in order for me to get closer to that objective, what do I need to see more of in my class or do more of?

00;22;52;24 – 00;23;10;11
Kyle Pearce
And what do I want to see less of or do less of? Right. So an example which could be a start would be Hey, and they might do this on a shorter timeline. They might say, okay, while on average. Right. And they might have to actually take some time to measure this because maybe they don’t even recognize it yet.

00;23;10;11 – 00;23;29;07
Kyle Pearce
But on average, let’s say they’re sort of telling the kids how to do the math within the first 10 minutes of class or the lesson, whatever you want to call it, the new concept is being delivered and boom, it’s like we’re out of the gate and all of a sudden it’s like, Cat’s out of the bag, Here’s how to do it, everybody, and go ahead and do it.

00;23;29;07 – 00;23;56;06
Kyle Pearce
And they’re going, okay, I know I need to do less of that or push that off longer. I need more time for kids to do some thinking. So I might set myself a key result that involves how much time I give students to grapple with a problem before I give them any sort of direct instruction, guidance, whatever it might be.

00;23;56;06 – 00;24;18;20
Kyle Pearce
Right. Like setting yourself some small key result that’s going to get you closer. Because the reality is, is let’s be honest, if I look at my classroom and I go, I want more productive struggle. But my lesson is me doing most of the talking, most of the thinking, well, that needs to change. So I need to get some sort of change going here.

00;24;18;20 – 00;24;40;23
Kyle Pearce
I need to set myself some sort of key result so that I can actually start along this journey and I should start to see some of that progress happening. Like that’s a very, very small change, but it’s something that a teacher can do, but you have to monitor it, so you have to actually do it, document it and start pushing along so that you continue down that path.

00;24;40;25 – 00;25;05;27
Jon Orr
Yeah, that’s a great example that I think it can be easily imagined, but also like, hey, put into practice. So I appreciate that for sure. I wanted to task one more say key result that say a district might kind of look at another example that says I’m creating that target for the thing. So if we’re still thinking about productive struggle, step one could be like, okay, what else?

00;25;05;27 – 00;25;23;17
Jon Orr
Because just one key result might be enough. But really what you want to do is when you creating your key results for your year or for what they’re doing this year, remember we said that the first prompt is like, what’s the one thing you want to see happen by the end of the year? But you might go like, okay, I did the one, but I think I want this other one too.

00;25;23;19 – 00;25;38;20
Jon Orr
So having more key results for one objective can help you steer the ship. It also remember that what this is doing is giving you targets to work on. So you’re not just throwing spaghetti at the wall during the year in figuring out did we do any damage, Did we help anybody? Did we get closer to the things that we want?

00;25;38;20 – 00;26;01;25
Jon Orr
How do I know I’m close? So these are the measurables that we’re creating. So the key results, in my opinion, are the most important because they give you the measurable goal of we did work this year and here’s my proof and here’s exactly the outcomes that we saw. So when you want to measure change, measure the change you want to see, don’t measure change just because it’s on student data.

00;26;01;26 – 00;26;19;09
Jon Orr
Don’t say like, Oh, we did this and student data didn’t change or measure the change you want to see which means you have to decide what the measurement tool is going to be, and that’s that designing that key results. So for example, the second one could be specifically, you know, let’s say one of the things you would like to see could come true at the end of the year, right?

00;26;19;09 – 00;26;39;26
Jon Orr
That’s prompt. One is, hey, I want teachers to go through maybe like a book study on thinking classrooms. I know it’s important for built, you know, for productive struggle. I’ve learned about it. I know I’ve shared it. I want to put those fourth through sixth grade teachers through a book study on productive struggle. Okay. That’s the one thing, right?

00;26;39;26 – 00;26;57;22
Jon Orr
That’s the next one thing. And then it’s like, okay, question two, how are you going to measure it? So that might be a little bit easier to measure, right? It’s like, well, I have the fourth through sixth grade teachers and I can check off whether we did this or not. Did we do a book study? Yes or no?

00;26;57;22 – 00;27;21;19
Jon Orr
But then you could say like, Well, how many do I want all of them to do a book study? Yes. Okay. Well then, now I’m going to craft those two statements together. Book study Measurable Peace. By the end of 2020, 400% of my educators in our target schools have completed the book study. I’m thinking clusters. It sounds basic when I say it like that, but I mean like we had to go through that process and going like, break it down.

00;27;21;21 – 00;27;37;09
Jon Orr
But now when you write it, you now have this target. Hey, and in this case, you have to now go, well, how to achieve that, which is what you said, college to the next layer down is going okay. Now I have to create some to do’s to make sure that at the end of the year that becomes true.

00;27;37;16 – 00;27;52;11
Jon Orr
And you’ve built an accountability piece for the work you’re doing. Right. So too often we’ve got our district PD programs that there’s no accountability. The accountability is like we look at the student data at the end, Hey, to be increased now, would we decrease? I would say the same, yeah.

00;27;52;13 – 00;28;04;19
Kyle Pearce
Got a lucky bounce this year and we attribute it to the work we did. And then when it dips, we go, you know, we’ll blame it on some excuse, but it couldn’t have been the work we did, right? What, We’re measuring the wrong thing.

00;28;04;26 – 00;28;21;20
Jon Orr
Yeah. And it’s like you’re creating your own accountability piece. So it’s kind of saying like, did I hit him or not? This is the nice thing about cookie results is did we do that? Yes. No. And then you could say like, well, no, because of this, which is okay. Now it gives you the framework to do it again and you keep doing it right.

00;28;21;20 – 00;28;29;16
Jon Orr
So it’s important to keep cycling these, but every time you check one off, you know you’re closer to your classroom that you’ve envisioned.

00;28;29;19 – 00;28;53;07
Kyle Pearce
I love it. And so there is no while the minimum is one, you want to start with one objective and at least one key result, of course. But the reality is, is that you will find that as you engage in this work and as you put more effort into that first key result. Right? So you plan it out, you actually have the follow through and actually do the work.

00;28;53;10 – 00;29;13;17
Kyle Pearce
What you’re going to find is that’s going to lead you to the next place in your journey. You might know that in the planning stage, but you might not. So, for example, I want to use your book study as an example. You read the book that’s not going to create resilient problem solvers on its own, right. So now the question becomes awesome.

00;29;13;17 – 00;29;40;21
Kyle Pearce
We did it, we read the book. What are we hoping we will see change in the classroom now, for those who have read the book, many of you have. We know that in their math moment maker community are big, big Peter fans. But when you look at and you go, there’s 14 practices there. If we read that book, are we anticipating like all 14 practices are going to be happening flawlessly the day after we put the book down?

00;29;40;23 – 00;30;10;21
Kyle Pearce
Probable or not, is there a focus on one or two practice? Like are we going to go, okay, are we going to generally monitor like where we are with the 14 practices ahead of the book study, right? So that we get a sense of what that looks like and then at the end, measure it again. Are we going to go down the rabbit hole on one of the practices that sort of stood out to the people in the book study that they’re going, wow, we really want to implement this one.

00;30;10;23 – 00;30;17;26
Kyle Pearce
So what’s that going to look like? And what will we see different in the classroom if we’re successful in doing that?

00;30;17;28 – 00;30;45;13
Jon Orr
I love it because this is the part I love about the work that we do with our districts is because they have the same questions when we craft them. And because you picked your objective, you said this is really important and maybe you picked a second objective like on that same process. Or maybe you pick three. What I love about what you just said is that every time you do new learning or every time you work on an objective or let’s say you’re working towards a key result in this case and others, it’s like it opens up new possible key results.

00;30;45;13 – 00;31;07;19
Jon Orr
It opens up new possible things to like work on. But what you’ve built, though, you’ve built a filtering system to decide is if I want to see that, okay, I learn 14 new practices that are supposed to help me with productive struggle. I’m like, okay, now I should design a key result around one of those. Two of those, I don’t know, but maybe we need to or maybe we wait for next year.

00;31;07;19 – 00;31;29;22
Jon Orr
But what you’re doing is you’re saying, Hey, I’ve learned something new. Does what I’ve learned new still get me closer? If I start to work on that, is it in line with my objective? Will it get me closer to the objective, which is getting closer to me, to my classroom vision? So you’ve built that filter to go now, you know, like I learn something new, but I’m not sure what at this point.

00;31;29;22 – 00;31;46;21
Jon Orr
If it gets me closer to my objective in this case, we know it would. But you now get to go, like by doing these new key results that I’m going to craft after my learning. I know I will get closer to my objective. You get exactly focused. You get that laser treatment still there.

00;31;46;26 – 00;32;05;12
Kyle Pearce
I love it. And really, what it is is these key results. I like to think of them as like little checkpoints along the way. And the interesting part is there’s no like exact science behind which one should come first. You might find you’re going to have to feel like you’re backing up to start monitoring, say, a key results over here.

00;32;05;14 – 00;32;32;18
Kyle Pearce
The reality is, is just to continue keeping you moving forward in a general direction towards that objective that you’re after at the time. Because let’s be honest, productive struggle. It’s not an easy thing to just fix overnight. It’s not an easy thing to fix in one school year. These are bigger things that you’re working towards over time. The beauty is, is that a lot of the big ideas that are out there, they are interconnected, right?

00;32;32;18 – 00;33;09;23
Kyle Pearce
They’re much like the math proficiencies that we talk about, right? They are intertwined. And as you focus on one, you’re not ignoring the others. You are going to bring in things like when you’re doing engaging in productive struggle that oftentimes times is a collaborative process. So it’s not like you’re ignoring trying to bring collaboration into your classroom. It’s like, no, actually, like you’re getting that benefit at the same time as you continue down these rabbit holes and you’re sort of checking off these different or monitoring these different key results to see where we are and what is our next move moving forward.

00;33;09;25 – 00;33;33;14
Kyle Pearce
So one of these things here, John, before we start looking to kind of wrap this episode up, what I’d like people to be thinking about, if we go all the way back to that objective, is like getting yourself an objective that, you know, like you could recite this. We talk about elevator pitches sometimes to district leaders and we say, you know, when you’re talking as a district and like, what are you working on in mathematics?

00;33;33;14 – 00;33;54;15
Kyle Pearce
It’s like unless someone could elevator pitch you on it in general, not word for word, but in general what it is that we’re focusing on. You want to be able to elevator pitch to yourself in your own mind or be able to describe it to other colleagues or parents what it is that you’re really trying to focus on doing better and again, not ignoring all the other things.

00;33;54;15 – 00;34;15;08
Kyle Pearce
It’s just that’s the thing I’m going to be really using as my filter to try to focus my really intentional work. This year. You start there and then you start to map out those key results. And the beauty is, is that when you map out, maybe you map out two or three key results to begin, maybe you start with one.

00;34;15;08 – 00;34;31;27
Kyle Pearce
It’s really up to you just get started. But as you’re doing that work, be reflective on it. And what you’re going to note is that, hey, along this journey a bit like, you know what else? Know what else I should be monitoring in this process, this thing over here. And you go, okay, I’m going to put that down.

00;34;32;00 – 00;34;53;09
Kyle Pearce
That is another key result because it’s like as you’re doing this process, you’re observing now you’re going to notice and name more things going on and you go, Huh, I never noticed it before. But the kids, every time I give them a problem to solve independently, at least five hands go up in the first minute. That’s an easy thing that you can measure, right?

00;34;53;09 – 00;35;11;12
Kyle Pearce
That you could go, You know what? If I can do this better, I should see less hands going up so quickly. So like, hmm, how can I craft that into what I’m doing right now? Because that will be an indicator that we’re getting better, right? What we don’t want to see is the opposite. We’re more hands are going up.

00;35;11;12 – 00;35;29;25
Kyle Pearce
The work we’re doing is leading to more dependance on the teacher. It’s like, Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa. Something’s not working. Now I pause and then I look at what I’m doing and I try to assess, okay, is this something that I’m influencing? Is this something in the new ideas or the new pedagogy that I’m using? Is that having an influence or an impact?

00;35;29;28 – 00;35;39;15
Kyle Pearce
It’s all just about monitoring and ensuring that we’re actually doing the work that we’re trying to do instead of the hope and pray strategy.

00;35;39;17 – 00;36;13;02
Jon Orr
And what we’re talking about here. On the objective and key result process is one piece of our four stage process that we partner with school districts and make Math Moments District Improvement program. We have a four stage process in this. Okay? Our process is kind of one piece of stage one, which is the design and measure stage and we’ve really been talking about is that in that four stage process is crafted to strengthen the six parts of our effective math programs, which we always talk about is our tree or math classroom tree, or a district program tree.

00;36;13;05 – 00;36;32;29
Jon Orr
And when we focus on that design and measure stage of the work that we do with our districts, we’re really focusing on the trunk of the tree. We’re focusing on the leadership for focusing on the vision. We’re focusing on the backbone of what the work that gets carried out through the district is based on. And it’s a really important work.

00;36;32;29 – 00;36;52;22
Jon Orr
And sometimes that work takes some time to craft out that design and measure stage, sometimes takes a lot of time in going, what do we really after and how do we going to unfold what we’re really after? So when we work with districts, we teach that same step by step process, but we’re with them every step of the way in our one on one coaching calls in our group sessions in our courses.

00;36;52;22 – 00;37;02;26
Jon Orr
So that’s a really important part of the stage. But again, back to the trunk of the tree, we got to strengthen that trunk before we can start working on the other areas.

00;37;02;28 – 00;37;18;19
Kyle Pearce
That is so well said there, John. And for those who are thinking and I mean, hey, one thing you can do, I’ll promise you one thing, you might go, You know what I’m going to take their objective of more productive struggle and I’m going to use that. And if you do, hey, good on you, because that’s great for math classrooms.

00;37;18;27 – 00;37;48;27
Kyle Pearce
But if you’re not sure what you might want to focus your attention on, you should head on over to make math moments dot com forward slash report and we have it’ll ask you whether a district or a school leader or whether you’re a classroom teacher. We have different versions based on your role. But this short assessment screener, it’s for you to take so that you can get a better sense as to what part of the tree you might want to focus some of your attention around.

00;37;48;27 – 00;38;13;01
Kyle Pearce
So if you’re wondering and you’re going, what sort of objective do I want? I’m sure like, let’s be honest, we probably have a lot of things that we want to see change in our math classrooms, right? We’d like it to be perfect, of course. Right. But this will allow you to figure out what are some of the things that maybe are going more we’ll say well or smoothly in your classroom, or what are some of the areas might need more attention now?

00;38;13;03 – 00;38;38;20
Kyle Pearce
From there, you get to decide, do I want to take something that maybe I have momentum with and continue down that path or do you want to start focusing in an area that maybe you haven’t spent a ton of time in and maybe by spending a little bit of time, a little bit of focus there with that objective to be very intentional, that maybe there’s something that might lead you to some big impact over a shorter period of time.

00;38;38;23 – 00;38;59;24
Kyle Pearce
So head on over to make math moments dot com forward slash report and you’ll be able to take that assessment and immediately afterwards. I think just taking the assessment, sometimes we get a lot of feedback. People say just taking the assessment itself taught them a lot about some of the things they didn’t realize were important or that maybe a term they had never heard about.

00;38;59;24 – 00;39;18;24
Kyle Pearce
And then they click on the link or just do a quick Google search and they go, Huh, I think I need to do some digging here. Well, the bonuses is right after you’re going to get a report sent to your email. It’s a full report. It’ll unpack all six parts of the tree, but it’s going to highlight the area that you might want to focus in on first.

00;39;18;26 – 00;39;28;26
Kyle Pearce
So, again, make math moments dot com forward slash report and you can go and get yourself on your okay our journey today.

00;39;28;28 – 00;39;50;08
Jon Orr
We want to thank you again for listening to this episode of the Megan Beth Melissa Matter podcast. It’s the first time you’ve listened to an episode. We want to welcome you, but we also encourage you to hit the subscribe so that you can get notified of when those new episodes go out on Monday mornings. If this is not your first time you’ve listened to a few in the past, then don’t forget to rate and review.

00;39;50;10 – 00;40;01;06
Jon Orr
We want to see those reviews and ratings. We read every single one. It makes. Our day also helps people that are new. Find the podcast, so please rate review and subscribe well well.

00;40;01;06 – 00;40;13;11
Kyle Pearce
Math and her friends. We hope you found this week’s episode helpful in your journey to make some real change in your math classroom. So until next time. I’m Kyle Pierce.

00;40;13;11 – 00;40;14;05
Jon Orr
And I’m John or.

00;40;14;10 – 00;40;17;05
Kyle Pearce
High fives for us.

00;40;17;07 – 00;40;22;00
Jon Orr
And high five for you.

00;40;22;02 – 00;40;34;20
Oh, baby, baby, baby.

Your Customized Improvement Plan For Your Math Classroom.
Take the 12 minute assessment and you'll get a free, customized plan to shape and grow the 6 parts of any strong mathematics classroom program.
Take The Free Assessment
District leader/math coach? Take the District Assessment

Thanks For Listening

To help out the show:


Submit a Comment

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

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.