Episode #280: Designing Effective Math Professional Development in 4 Stages

Apr 8, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:


Each and every year, district and school mathematics leadership teams spend countless hours crafting lofty goals and monitoring plans, but struggle to state measurable improvement in effective teacher practice and student gains. 

If you’ve ever wondered: 

  • How can I create a pd action plan that teachers view as useful and not “just adding to their plates”?
  • We feel like we have many of the necessary pieces, but we aren’t clear on how to put them together to form an effective math program.
  • How can I structure my PD so that I reach more teachers on a limited budget?
  • How can I get my educators to “buy-in” to using research based teaching methods routinely?
  • How can I get my teachers to become lifelong learners and take more ownership in their professional development?

Then this is the episode for you!

In this episode you’ll learn the 4-stage process to craft pd action plans that bring alignment to fractured organizations, highlights bright spots to spread effective math teaching practices more quickly, and inspires more teachers to become lifelong learners. 

What You’ll Learn:

  • A clear step by step process to craft and create a unified vision for mathematics and PD action plan for your district so you can stop throwing spaghetti at the walls each year to see what sticks.
  • A systematized approach to rolling out your action plan on a limited budget so you can hit your key results by your due dates.
  • The most important component your PD action plan needs to include so that students can maximize their reach and how to embed that component in your action plans.
  • Essential components of how to build a team of educators who care as much about improving their craft as you do

Tune into this enlightening episode now and equip yourself with the tools to make a lasting impact in your educational community!

Attention District Math Leaders:

How are you ensuring that you support those educators who need a nudge to spark a focus on growing their pedagogical-content knowledge? 

What about opportunities for those who are eager and willing to elevate their practice, but do not have the support? 

Book a call with our District Improvement Program Team to learn how we can not only help you craft, refine and implement your district math learning goals, but also provide all of the professional learning supports your educators need to grow at the speed of their learning. 

Book a short conversation with our team now


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00:00:00:03 – 00:00:15:24
Jon Orr
Each and every year. District and school mathematics leadership teams spend countless hours crafting lofty goals and monitoring plans, but struggled to state measurable improvement in effective teacher practice and unfortunately, student gains.

00:00:16:04 – 00:00:39:10
Kyle Pearce
If you’ve ever wondered how I can create a PD action plan that teachers view as useful and not just adding to their plates, if you’re feeling like we have many of the necessary pieces, but we aren’t clear on how to put them together to form an effective math program. Or maybe you’re wondering how I can structure my PD so I reach more teachers on a limited budget?

00:00:39:12 – 00:00:53:07
Kyle Pearce
Or how can I get my educators to buy in to using research based methods routinely, or even how can I get my teachers to become lifelong learners and take more ownership in their professional development journey?

00:00:53:13 – 00:01:12:15
Jon Orr
Then this episode is for you. So stick around and you’ll learn the four stage process to craft PD action plans that bring alignment. Fractured organizations highlights bright spots to spread effective math teaching practices more quickly and inspires more teachers to become lifelong learners. Let’s hit.

00:01:12:15 – 00:01:31:15
Kyle Pearce
It. Welcome to the Making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pierce.

00:01:31:15 – 00:01:34:02
Jon Orr
And I’m John or we are from make map moments dot com.

00:01:34:04 – 00:01:43:10
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.

00:01:43:11 – 00:01:56:05
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate foster your mathematics program with strong, healthy and balanced treat. So if you master the six parts of an effective mathematics program impact that you will have, will grow and reach far and wide.

00:01:56:09 – 00:02:09:13
Kyle Pearce
Every week you’ll get the insight you need to stop feeling overwhelmed, gain back your confidence, and get back to enjoying the planning and facilitating of your mathematics program for the students or educators you serve.

00:02:09:15 – 00:02:31:14
Jon Orr
All right, Kyle, here’s what we’re going to do. We are actually releasing our latest training for district leaders on the four stages that we use with district partners to gain the goals and measurable PD results that you’ve been after. And we held this training back live on February 27th, 2024, and we had many, many leaders join us in that live session.

00:02:31:14 – 00:02:54:08
Jon Orr
We wanted to release it here for you to listen to so that you can also gain your planning, gain the same objectives, learn about the four stage process that you could put into place starting tomorrow, starting whenever. So if you’re listening to this, going into a school year or even in middle school year, you can still gain some traction by following the process or starting that process by listening to the show.

00:02:54:09 – 00:03:16:20
Kyle Pearce
And just as an aside, you mentioned leaders. If you’re listening to this podcast, you are a leader, whether it’s formalized or not, whether you’re a classroom teacher, a consultant, a coach, a principal, a superintendent. If you’re listening to a show like this, you are a leader. We had a lot of classroom teachers who take on a leadership role in their building, in their grade level team.

00:03:16:20 – 00:03:27:21
Kyle Pearce
So if that’s you stick around, check it out, because this might just give you the next step in your journey with the group of educators that you are working with or serving.

00:03:28:02 – 00:03:47:19
Jon Orr
So here we go, folks. We’re ready to roll here, and we know that you’re joining us here because we’re going to talk about what’s important coming into planning for next year, in 2024 or 2025, Math district, professional development wise, what our action plans are going to look like. And in this webinar. So we got about 75 minutes here together.

00:03:47:21 – 00:04:07:20
Jon Orr
And what we want to do is outline the four stages that we’ve been using successfully with districts across North America on helping them decide on what matters most, but also this four step plan or this four stage plan is really what’s required to get the change that we’re after. And we’re really excited to share the four stages with you.

00:04:07:20 – 00:04:26:12
Jon Orr
And we’re really looking at this being a work period, almost like this work time. And we’re going to share with you our workbook. We have a very detailed workbook with templates, with action steps, with different pieces of learning along the way. So by going through this workbook, we’re going to share with the workbook a little later on how you can access it.

00:04:26:16 – 00:04:46:02
Jon Orr
Everyone here is going to get a copy of this workbook, but the workbook kind of is exactly the workbook we use with our district partners. So that basically walks them through and you through what are we need to start? And then when we complete the workbook, we’re going to have an action plan in place. We will know what matters the most, and we’ll also have a plan in place to not let these things fall off the radar.

00:04:46:02 – 00:04:52:15
Jon Orr
And I think that’s sometimes one of the biggest kind of components of setting plans and then making sure that those plans come true.

00:04:52:17 – 00:05:18:07
Kyle Pearce
Absolutely. So this workbook is awesome. It has been something that we’ve been working on for the past couple of years. And for those friends, John was referring to, those are some of our district partnership partners. They have been along the journey working on little segments of this along the way in our planning process. So friends, you’re going to have an opportunity to dig into this a little bit later.

00:05:18:09 – 00:05:43:05
Kyle Pearce
One thing I also want to mention, though, is this is hard work. I would like to acknowledge this right from the beginning that this webinar isn’t going to suddenly make this problem go away tomorrow. What we’re going to do is we’re going to help you build that flywheel, which is going to take some people a little longer than others, because some of you are wearing one hat, some of you wearing two hats, some of you’re wearing too many hats.

00:05:43:05 – 00:06:06:07
Kyle Pearce
You haven’t even been able to count them yet because you wear a lot of hats in your world. So keep in mind that the pace at which you’re going to go is going to differentiate based on your particular situation. So while you are sharing where you’re coming to us from, we see a lot of people joining us. We’re approaching 200 math leaders from around the world, which is awesome.

00:06:06:07 – 00:06:31:05
Kyle Pearce
Furthest I saw was India. Keep that coming to the chat. We want to get us started here with a pebble. We would love to hear about a pebble that is in your math leader’s shoe and ultimately why you thought it might be a good idea to join us here and join this group so that we can together try to shake out as many of those pebbles here today.

00:06:31:05 – 00:06:43:23
Kyle Pearce
So go ahead and share that pebble in your math leader’s shoe in the chat. It’s probably not the only one, but share the one that’s sort of top of mind, the one that you can feel right now rattling around in there.

00:06:44:00 – 00:06:55:20
Jon Orr
I’m curious because there’s just so many pebbles we hear all the time about what is the priority or what is the most important thing we should kind of pluck from that shoe so that, you know, we’re walking down that path a little bit easier. What do you see?

00:06:55:24 – 00:07:22:19
Kyle Pearce
Well, I saw one that as my dog in the background is choking here away. Hopefully you can’t hear too much of that. But one pebble that I saw coming up was this idea of failing students and the language mentioned being okay with it. And I’m going to reframe it because I’m going to guess that what they’re probably saying is being able to like, somehow sleep at night knowing that there are some students that we are not being able to help with all of the effort that we’re making.

00:07:22:23 – 00:07:40:13
Kyle Pearce
That is certainly a pebble that is in our shoes. So it’s like, what can we do so that we can continue the work and work hard to help all of those students without allowing that to suck the energy from us, because that’s one of the challenges that we face in this role. John what’s another one that you saw?

00:07:40:15 – 00:08:00:02
Jon Orr
Yeah, hearing this one, Not yet. I saw it here in the chat boat competing demands. You know, there’s so often in our roles that we have these things that we want to accomplish these goals that we want to set for ourselves. And we imagine this is what we want our classrooms to look like. But then there’s other demands that come at us, like you said at the beginning of this is like a lot of us are wearing many hats.

00:08:00:04 – 00:08:19:17
Jon Orr
And then it’s like, where do I place the focus? And I want that to get done and I want that to get done. But I got to do that and there’s so much demand on us. And if we want to focus on really what matters, the Steve had written trying to provide enough time for necessary content, specific PD content specific PD, which is a big focus of ours and the work that we’re doing.

00:08:19:20 – 00:08:47:16
Kyle Pearce
I see another one here, Rose. I have this visual in my mind. She’s saying I’m spinning so many plates, so kind of like this, wearing different hats, but spinning so many plates, different initiatives. I don’t know what to focus on with PD so that I’m intentional with everyone’s time. That is definitely something that people are challenged with. And today we’re going to give you some strategies to help you get yourself planned and organize so that you can start making a move in the right direction.

00:08:47:16 – 00:09:06:02
Kyle Pearce
Because guess what? There is no easy answer to what should you be doing now? Because the answer is all of it. But that’s impossible. So we want to help you so that you can get all of it down and then we can craft an actual pathway so that you can start making progress towards accomplish doing those things.

00:09:06:06 – 00:09:29:22
Jon Orr
Yeah. So we’re going to kick things off, keep them rolling here because we want to see some of those pebbles. We’re going to save the chat too, for a little. We’ll share that chat after the webinar. We’ll get the workbook in your hands. After the webinar, we’ll get the recording in your hands after the webinar. But what we’re hoping to achieve here, we’ve got a few kind of goals ourselves for this next hour is we want to give you a clear step by step process to craft a unified vision for mathematics.

00:09:29:22 – 00:10:00:20
Jon Orr
I did see that pebble in the show about this kind of clear picture of what everyone should have for what math, teaching and learning should look like. So we’re going to kind of unpack that in how to kind of go through that. What are the steps that we should do take to create kind of that pathway so that, you know, we’re not left going, throwing stuff at the wall every year, going like, I want to try that, I want to try that, and then not realizing if it’s sticking, we want to kind of create a plan so that we know it’s sticking in the end, what else are we going to do here?

00:10:00:22 – 00:10:19:24
Kyle Pearce
I love it. We’re also going to be looking at a systematized approach. Here’s the problem keyword for me. When I was in that district leader position for over a decade where systematizing was something was not my strength at the time. Right? So we’ve been working on this ultimately to solve our own challenges that we’ve experienced in these roles.

00:10:20:01 – 00:10:41:01
Kyle Pearce
So we’re going to help you with that systemized approach and so that you can actually create and roll out that action plan regardless of budget. Because budget for me, I used to use that as sort of like a hindrance that I couldn’t like get the work done. The reality is the budget is only going to allow the time at which it takes you the length of time it’s going to take you.

00:10:41:01 – 00:10:56:04
Kyle Pearce
We need to continue the work. We just need to be more creative and we need to be more intentional about it because we want to hit those key results by the due dates that you set for yourself in a realistic, attainable sort of manner.

00:10:56:06 – 00:11:16:14
Jon Orr
Yeah, awesome, awesome stuff. The other thing that we want to give you and talk about here in this hour is to figure out what is the most important components that your PD action plan probably hasn’t been including and how do we bring that into our PD action plans for this year? Finishing off this year, Can we sneak it in and also planning for next year?

00:11:16:14 – 00:11:24:21
Jon Orr
We’re going to talk about what that component is and how do we make sure that we hit it, because it is it locks almost everything moving forward here. Kyle In the last.

00:11:24:23 – 00:11:54:09
Kyle Pearce
The last one and I’m going to say shadow to James, lots of love for James comment around this idea of trying to like sort of shift educators thinking, right, shifting their teaching practices, how to use the word convince. We’re going to talk about essential components on how we can actually emerge like we have the word build here. But I want you to envision this, that we need our teachers to actually have the epiphany that they are going to do this work because they now see it.

00:11:54:09 – 00:12:13:10
Kyle Pearce
They now make sense of what it is that we’re trying to share with them, because sometimes it feels as though you care about the work and it seems like maybe some of our educators don’t care about the work, but in reality, they’re just not seeing what you’re seeing yet. And that is one of the pieces that we really want to help you with here today.

00:12:13:14 – 00:12:13:20
Kyle Pearce

00:12:13:20 – 00:12:28:22
Jon Orr
And if you don’t know who Kyle and I are, you like, Hey, I sign on to this webinar and I’m just kind of figuring things out. I thought these topics were really important and I’m here to learn. I’m not sure, but if it’s possible. You’ve listened to our podcast before. I don’t know if there’s any listeners out there.

00:12:28:22 – 00:12:48:02
Jon Orr
Give us a shout out in the chat. If you’ve listened to some episodes, maybe even say you’ve listened to a few, because Kyle and I’ve been putting out weekly episodes on the Making Mouth Moments That Matter podcast for five, six years. So there’s like over 250 episodes for you to listen to that. They’re all around pebbles that are in our current teacher’s shoes.

00:12:48:02 – 00:13:03:18
Jon Orr
How do we shake them out? What are the things that we’re dealing with in our classroom? We’ve got thought leaders coming on the podcast, sharing their thoughts. So I don’t know. We’ve got some folks in there listening. But the other thing Kyle and I are doing on a regular basis is we are helping school districts change their math instruction.

00:13:03:18 – 00:13:30:07
Jon Orr
And really what we believe is that there’s six key areas that that are really required to strengthen a professional development program at the district level or at the school level, a few steps up from our classroom level. And we always think of these things like a tree, like a balanced, strong and healthy tree. And in that tree, those six areas can be made up of the trunk of the tree, which is like our leadership portion of the tree.

00:13:30:09 – 00:13:56:23
Jon Orr
We’ve got content knowledge, we’ve got mindset and beliefs. These are all important things. We got a professional development plan which we’re going to talk about here today. We talk about teacher moves like these are the important things that we should be thinking about. And then finally, resources. All six of these areas are really important, and what we’ve got is that really our four stage process we’re going to unpack today addresses all six areas so that you’re planning appropriately to make sure that all six areas are strengthened.

00:13:57:00 – 00:14:22:13
Jon Orr
And the reality is that some of these things we’re doing well at some of these things, we could be improving it and we can always be strengthening that tree up. So just to give us a little bit of a framework is that a lot of times this was also in the chat as one of the pebbles is that when we start to think about strengthening our professional development tree up our district program level tree, we often think about that the soil, the water in the sunlight, which is our mindset and teachers mindset.

00:14:22:13 – 00:14:45:23
Jon Orr
And Kyle and I’ve been meeting with school districts across North America. We’ve probably had over 200 meetings with people just like you in the last year. And the most common pebble that comes out of that is is about how do we help educators shift their practice. And when we dug into some of the research, you know, there’s some a little bit of research this paper that we found particularly interesting was about how why teachers changed their classroom practices.

00:14:45:23 – 00:15:04:18
Jon Orr
We realized that in the paper outlines there are some key factors that play into how do we help our teachers shift their practice. And there are some internal factors which I think we all realize, but then there are some external factors that I think maybe we may take for granted. And all of these factors actually get addressed in this four stages that we’re going to outline today.

00:15:04:18 – 00:15:25:04
Jon Orr
But specifically, if we think of the external factors, there’s there’s something that often does get overlooked in that, and that is about kind of that shared vision. So many of those 200 conversations we had. Right. Kyle In these last year, teachers are kind of missing or district leaders are kind of missing this shared vision. It’s like, I think I have a good vision of what math should look like in our class.

00:15:25:06 – 00:15:28:00
Jon Orr
But not everybody has that same shared vision. Yeah.

00:15:28:02 – 00:15:50:12
Kyle Pearce
It’s almost like if you can imagine taking teachers and everyone’s wearing blindfolds and you sort of say, All right, let’s go do this work together. And you all start walking. And then you take the blindfold off and you recognize that actually only like a couple of people are with you and everyone else is in a different direction. Without that shared vision, we don’t know where they think they’re trying to go to.

00:15:50:12 – 00:16:18:08
Kyle Pearce
And a lot of times we interpret that we’re human, we’re emotional. Right. And oftentimes as leaders, we sort of just think it should be innate for everyone to think like us. But the reality is the Kyle I know today as a math educator is a very different Kyle than I was at the beginning of my career. And if you take a moment right now and think about your own journeys and how much you have learned along that journey, how much other people have had an influence on you, either explicitly or implicitly.

00:16:18:13 – 00:16:41:20
Kyle Pearce
And then just think about all of the work that you’ve done yourself in order to help you sort of build or maybe even reshape your beliefs about mathematics, because I’m going to be open and honest here today and say, When I began this journey as a math educator, I thought I was coming in to tell the kids what they needed to do, and I was going to help make it as easy as possible for them to learn that material.

00:16:42:00 – 00:17:04:01
Kyle Pearce
And I had done my work and I very quickly recognized when I got into that classroom that it was about me and maybe three other kids that actually wanted to be there that day. And the reality is, is that sometimes we do this in our PD sessions as well. We assume that everyone in the room has had all of the same experience that we’ve had, but yet they haven’t.

00:17:04:01 – 00:17:26:21
Kyle Pearce
They have walked a very different path. They’ve had maybe a really rough class for the past few years or they haven’t seen what conceptual understanding looks like. So these external factors are some of the factors that we tend to ignore or overlook, and yet these are the factors that we can have the greatest impact and influence on in the roles that we have.

00:17:26:21 – 00:17:49:05
Kyle Pearce
Whereas these internal factors, they take time, they take a lot of intentional effort in order for educators to get what we’re hoping they will get, which is I want them to build their confidence. I want them to have initiative in these roles as an educator. I want them to be adaptable. But those things are much harder for us to change and influence.

00:17:49:05 – 00:18:10:17
Kyle Pearce
We tend to leapfrog over the shared vision, the team learning, the systems thinking, and we tend to try to attack these internal factors, which actually oftentimes creates more separation between us and our educators, then bringing them closer together and closer to that change in beliefs and approach that we’re after now.

00:18:10:19 – 00:18:34:22
Jon Orr
So we’re going to dig in here in the four stages. So here are the four stages that we use when we work with districts to make change, to set action plans in place. And the four stages are designed to measure, optimize and sustain, build capacity and inspire growth. And none of these things are like ground breaking. But I think where we’ve been making the most success in progress is when we think about these four stages as a flywheel.

00:18:34:24 – 00:18:58:20
Jon Orr
So think about a flywheel for a sec like a flywheel, this big turnstyle thing that generates electricity and we have to turn it. When you first start a flywheel to it takes immense effort, power to just budge that wheel and we push it. And then every time that every rotation that that wheel goes around, it gets easier and easier because the momentum is taking it around.

00:18:58:20 – 00:19:21:02
Jon Orr
And that’s the way we see the four stages that we implement and that we’re going to share here with you today is that we we want to start it takes a lot of effort to design and measure what our action plans are going to look like, how do we optimize and sustain them so that we’re can creating a plan that can last years, two years because the reality is there is such high turnover in our roles, but also the teacher roles that we’re working with.

00:19:21:02 – 00:19:47:22
Jon Orr
So we want to create a sustainable program that can continue past the personnel that are in these spaces. We’re going to talk about why we need to build capacity and what that really means. But when you think about it, each state builds into the next. Because if I can build capacity with teachers that leads into inspiring their growth so that they take ownership and treat their professional development, their own personal professional development, the same way you treat your personal professional development.

00:19:47:24 – 00:20:14:14
Jon Orr
So we’re building into that same growth. So think about coming in through a year and going have inspired growth in teachers because I took action on the PD plan that we’re talking about here today and then think about planning for next year, how that becomes easier because we’ve built in this kind of momentum. And as the years go on, this momentum builds and builds and builds and it’s been said sustainable, it takes off and you’ve got the change that we’ve been after all this time.

00:20:14:16 – 00:20:19:12
Jon Orr
You can take each one separately, but it’s them all acting together that makes that real change.

00:20:19:18 – 00:20:43:02
Kyle Pearce
And I want you to think too, about this idea of that flywheel and have that visual of John kind of trying to get that flywheel going. Oftentimes we tend to try to rush through, especially the design and measure phase of our planning. So we try on a yearly basis, we try to get a new flywheel going and then at the end of that year we’re like, Woo, that was a lot of work.

00:20:43:04 – 00:21:11:01
Kyle Pearce
I just got that one rotation done. And then we’re like, Huh, man, that was hard. We didn’t get as far. It was really hard. And guess what? We get to start a new flywheel for next year and really what we want people thinking about is that, you know what? If we’re actually more intentional and even we have some of our district partners on this call right now, that took some time for them to recognize that, oh my gosh, I thought oftentimes they would come in to our program and they would come into the design and measure phase.

00:21:11:01 – 00:21:38:09
Kyle Pearce
And they would think like after one call together that we would have a plan and then we would start that flywheel. And what many of our partners recognize is that actually there’s a lot of effort that goes into this design and measure phase. If we want this flywheel to gain momentum, if we want to just quickly try to get through it as best we can, put as much energy and effort into it and then start a new one next year, then we’re going to keep doing what we’ve done in the past.

00:21:38:09 – 00:22:09:12
Kyle Pearce
So designing and measuring can often be, I’ll call it sneaky in that it takes a lot of time and effort in order to do what is required, which, as you see on the screen, is actually creating that clear and measurable vision and action plan for mathematics. What I think is some of the most important learning that we can do with our leadership teams is when the leadership team themself recognize that, oh my gosh, I felt we were all on exactly the same page.

00:22:09:12 – 00:22:33:18
Kyle Pearce
And in reality we’re working in the same general direction, but we actually don’t have that clarity that’s going to make it easier in time for us to all do the work we do, which is sharing this work with the other individuals. Remember, if we’re trying to actually have an impact with our educators and ultimately on the education of the students in our classrooms, that’s a long way to get to.

00:22:33:18 – 00:22:51:00
Kyle Pearce
We’ve got to be clear in which what we’re trying to do, because if John goes off this way and I go off that way and I’m working with this group of teachers and he’s working with that group of teachers, what we ultimately end up with is the spaghetti at the wall method, right? And we like to look at it as all these puzzle pieces.

00:22:51:00 – 00:23:09:15
Kyle Pearce
Nobody’s going around the district and doing bad teaching practices, right? Or they’re not trying to promote things we don’t want to see happen. But if there’s no clarity, what we find is everyone’s just kind of pushing these puzzle pieces around, but they don’t know what that finished puzzle will ultimately look like once we get there.

00:23:09:17 – 00:23:27:24
Jon Orr
Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it. And when we think about it, the research here supports us too, because last year we did a webinar around it was a little later in the year, but I think it was like in the spring on vision planning on goal setting, just like we’re doing this year. We want to continue that and give folks like you kind of the reminders of what’s inside, what’s important.

00:23:27:24 – 00:23:49:19
Jon Orr
But the research kind of supports this. We wrote an article last year based off Alan Schoenfeld article about why teaching and learning math is so difficult And what they’re saying in his article, which we were we kind of built on in our article, was really that school mathematics this these started this this way is that school mathematics is the fossilized remains of real reasoning and improving.

00:23:49:19 – 00:24:06:06
Jon Orr
And the article kind of goes into three big areas. But the biggest area I want to kind of tackle here just in this first part about vision planning is that cultural surround. And because when we think about the cultural surround, it’s like what are our surrounding things that affect our success in the work that we do with teachers?

00:24:06:12 – 00:24:26:10
Jon Orr
Because that’s real hard. And really what happens in the article and explains this and actually the article that we shared above, I’m just going to bring it back up here. This one here as well, said the external factors that we can influence, the cultural surround, that we can influence has to have that shared vision. And if we don’t have that shared vision, then we’re acting like what Kyle said.

00:24:26:11 – 00:24:32:23
Jon Orr
We’ve got these pieces of the puzzle that we’re pushing around, and if we haven’t communicated with that plan looks like.

00:24:33:00 – 00:24:33:06
Kyle Pearce

00:24:33:06 – 00:24:54:22
Jon Orr
All key stakeholders, then we’ve got people kind of shooting for different things. In parallel. You’ve often talked about there are pockets of success in different areas, but without this unified vision of where we need to go, real change doesn’t happen because your know that you’ve got a teacher who’s not going to take a risk to go down a pathway if they’re not supported at all levels.

00:24:54:24 – 00:25:12:03
Jon Orr
If you’ve got a coach in a classroom that’s saying like, I think the most important thing that you should try in your classroom is this, this and this. And let’s try to structure your classroom like that. And then you get pushback from the teacher because the teacher’s saying, like, that’s tough, that’s hard. I’m not sure. And we don’t see the change even though we got into those classrooms.

00:25:12:03 – 00:25:35:22
Jon Orr
It’s because the vision is not shared across all levels. It’s like the coach has the vision. They have not yet convinced the teacher that that’s the vision, but they also the administrator is the direct supervisor. If they don’t support the vision, then when there’s pushback because maybe we didn’t cover everything in the curriculum that year because we were trying new things, which is going to happen and that parents are calling going, Hey, what’s going to happen here?

00:25:35:23 – 00:25:51:12
Jon Orr
Like, my kid didn’t cover everything in the principal’s like, Well, let me get to the bottom of this. There’s no vision there. Why would the teacher want to take that chance? The teacher’s not going to take that chance. And then they just say, Oh, I don’t have time. But really what they’re saying is I don’t feel supported in the vision that you have.

00:25:51:18 – 00:26:19:03
Jon Orr
And it’s not my vision because I’m not sure that that’s the right vision. So there is so much power in when we create that unified vision of where we want to go and where the teachers want to go. Because the reality is we’ve got lots of different visions in the question that we need to answer, the question we all need to answer in this first stage is have we communicated our vision of mathematics to the key stakeholders at all levels and how did we create them?

00:26:19:07 – 00:26:37:15
Jon Orr
And have we created a vision? Because this is one of the areas that when we talk with districts, those 200 calls that we had over the last year with district leaders like yourselves coming in saying, you know, just starting this process, all have gone. I didn’t have a vision and I’ve never communicated it to the people that I’m working with at any of the levels.

00:26:37:17 – 00:26:49:11
Jon Orr
So that’s this first stage. And what we want to do is we want to unpack the step by step process and give you some of the things that you need to think about so that you do create a unified vision. Carly Got anything to say before we kind of unpack those three steps?

00:26:49:14 – 00:27:16:10
Kyle Pearce
No, I love it. I think we carried on. You did a great job there. So let’s chat a little bit about this. So ultimately, some of you, if you were with us last time, we’re reiterating a few of the early details, but we’re not going to go as in-depth to this particular portion. So some of you might go, Oh, I recognize this from our last webinar, so we want to bring it back up because this work is really important work and it’s not work that you do one time.

00:27:16:12 – 00:27:49:23
Kyle Pearce
We like to call it your magic wand wish list. This is something that you can do in smaller groups up at the leadership table level, but then you need to waterfall this work down. We need to engage as many of those involved in this work as possible, because if it’s only a group of five people that have a vision and they have a wish list, and then we just assume that the wish list items are all the same across the district, it will lead us to harder opportunities to try to shift and share that clear vision.

00:27:50:00 – 00:28:11:14
Kyle Pearce
So we want to make sure that we’re spending enough time to do that. And that’s one of our first steps. You’ll notice up on the screen, there’s a a quick little link here. McMath moments dot com forward slash. Your goals will be sending you these details along the way. But this is a first step for those of you who are going you know what we actually haven’t sat together as a team to start this work.

00:28:11:20 – 00:28:16:09
Kyle Pearce
You’re going to want to start some of this work with your team, including this magic wand wish list.

00:28:16:13 – 00:28:44:07
Jon Orr
Actually, it’ll be different. So if you went there, it will bring you to a different we’ve got an updated page, so look for the link in the chat a little bit later. We’ll make that correction so it’ll be a slightly different link than that exact one. But the second step, Kyle, is once we kind of map out what we envision for what our classrooms should look like on our magic wand wish list, the next action we need to do, and this is also in the workbook that we’re going to share all of these templates, all of these kind of prompts are in the workbook that we’ll share you.

00:28:44:11 – 00:29:02:02
Jon Orr
There’s space for you to map out where you want to like what your magic wand wish list is, what are your objectives? But that’s this process right here, because what we’ve pulled from the what matters measure what matters book is that nothing gets done unless you measure it. And what we have to do is we can’t just say this is what we want in our math class.

00:29:02:02 – 00:29:23:22
Jon Orr
We actually have to be more precise than that. We have to actually plan out what is it that we hope to achieve and that when we create our objectives, because the workbook will walk you through and we have videos that walk you through how to do all of these things and when we think about our objectives, these are the things that we want to see change or achieve by the end of this year or next year, or maybe it’s a three year plan.

00:29:23:22 – 00:29:40:04
Jon Orr
But these are like your goals. These are the big goals. These are the things that we were like, I want to see change here. I want to see that we want to work through in my classroom productive struggle on a regular basis, even just saying that is an important goal. It doesn’t say give you all the steps to do that.

00:29:40:04 – 00:29:59:01
Jon Orr
It’s saying this is a focus for us for this year in the thing that you want to remember when you’re crafting objectives is you don’t want too many because you could say like, I want that. I want all the eight effective teaching practices. I want to make sure all the five proficiencies of mathematics are covered. I want all of that in my classroom because I wrote it all in my magic one wish list.

00:29:59:07 – 00:30:17:02
Jon Orr
The problem is, if you focus on too many, you focus on none. And so we recommend with the groups that we work with, the districts we work with to pick three at most. Because if you pick three, that’s still loads of work. Still those you’re seeing one of our templates in the background and that’s one of the districts had built that based off some of the work that they did.

00:30:17:02 – 00:30:36:03
Jon Orr
And you can see a little glimpse there that they had picked problem solving through productive struggle as a main focus for the work they’re doing this year. And it’s the next process, the K and the R part that is what’s created above that little blurb there, which is our measuring our key results. Measuring our key results are going like, Well, what are we hoping to achieve?

00:30:36:05 – 00:30:53:23
Jon Orr
Can I create a measurable goal that is reliable? Is it attainable? How do I write that goal? We have again, it’s in the workbook videos that walk you through how to do that so that you have a set of goals that you can achieve and you write them as if they already happened and it gives you the targets to work through.

00:30:54:00 – 00:31:11:10
Jon Orr
And so because if we don’t write them down, then we’re going to get to the end of the year and we’re going to do that spaghetti at the wall approach. It’s through the objectives and the key results process that we do need to do. And like what Kyle said is that process takes time. That’s the beginning of the flywheel that does take some time to get going.

00:31:11:10 – 00:31:27:07
Jon Orr
So that’s why we picked today as the start day of this webinar for next year, because we know it takes time to develop our objectives, our key results, so that when we hit the next school year, we’re hitting the ground running. We want to do this planning upfront.

00:31:27:09 – 00:31:55:06
Kyle Pearce
Now, one thing I think is worth mentioning here, John, on the OKRs is this idea that don’t get me wrong, I think most districts, almost all districts are setting goals and they’re setting measurable results, right? But what we often see and is very common is that we take a massive leap from the objectives or the objectives are way too lofty and not clear enough as to what we’re actually going to do to actually make a real dent.

00:31:55:08 – 00:32:16:16
Kyle Pearce
And then the measured goal that we actually have or our measurable that we use is actually something that’s related to student outcomes. And yet the work we’re doing in our district isn’t necessarily going to have an impact in the short term on student outcomes immediately. So what we want to do is we want to tighten these things up.

00:32:16:16 – 00:32:35:01
Kyle Pearce
Now, you can still have this overarching longer term goal that of course, the reason we’re doing this work is to help students and we’re hoping more students can achieve at higher levels so that all students can reach their fullest potential. Of course, that’s what we want and we want to state that as a district. That’s what we’re after.

00:32:35:07 – 00:32:55:17
Kyle Pearce
But when it comes to the actual work we’re going to do this year, we want to make sure that we get more specific around what are the objectives that we’re going to be focusing on this year and what should we see happening if we’re successful, What is going to happen if we’re successful in that activity, We’re still going to have to craft a plan in between.

00:32:55:20 – 00:33:07:20
Kyle Pearce
But we want to make sure that what we’re saying we’re going to do and then what we’re measuring are actually linked. So we can figure out whether we’re getting closer or whether we need to do some modifying as we move forward.

00:33:07:22 – 00:33:26:16
Jon Orr
Yeah, what you’re seeing on the screen is the measurable part, because I think that’s the key part is measuring what you want to see change in. Like what I saying is like we could use student data, but if I want to see change in a pedagogical move, if I want to see change in teachers proficiency and see on mathematics for their content what grade level they’re teaching that I better measure that.

00:33:26:16 – 00:33:43:02
Jon Orr
That’s the important part. I think most districts miss as they wait for the student data to come out to see if they made a change. If it worked. You don’t have to wait for that. We do want to see. We do want to keep track. Those are important goals to set for ourselves as well. But we can measure what we want to see a change in.

00:33:43:02 – 00:34:03:00
Jon Orr
And if we don’t, then again, you’re at the spaghetti at the wall. You won’t know if the work that you put in this year had the impact that you were hoping for. So we want to create those measurable goals like what you’re seeing on the screen. Here is the Structural Shifts survey that one of our school districts used to measure one of their key results so that they were like, We want to see a change here.

00:34:03:00 – 00:34:20:18
Jon Orr
We’ve got the exact number that we want to see a change in. We did a pre assessment, we did a post assessment on the thing that we wanted to see the change and we now know that we move the needle in that direction. And the goal is eventually we’re going to move the needle and student data like that is the ultimate goal, but we are going to measure what matters most.

00:34:20:18 – 00:34:46:08
Jon Orr
And this is going in some Holmdel Township public schools been Gwen spent a lot of time, I would say didn’t spend a ton of time. She spent the appropriate amount of time developing her objectives, thinking about our key results. But what she did well in kind of you’ll you’ll echo this is that Gwen wanted to do this from a grassroots program like she wanted her teachers in on the measuring, her teachers in on the objectives and setting those objectives.

00:34:46:08 – 00:35:06:19
Jon Orr
What were the pebbles in our teachers shoes? And she held a series of sessions with her teachers to build go through the magic wand wish list, go through the objective settings with her teachers so that they created this unified vision together. And at the end the teachers are saying we now feel ownership, which is another thing coming up a little bit later.

00:35:06:19 – 00:35:23:24
Jon Orr
We feel ownership in the learning that we’ve done here because we spent time developing our objectives and our key results. Her teachers are coming up to her like you see in the quote here. The teachers were coming up to her saying like that session that we did on vision planning was the most important and the most impactful PD they’ve had in years.

00:35:24:01 – 00:35:58:16
Kyle Pearce
Now, John, this brings up another piece here because, okay, so we have Gwen who went in and actually is a more recent partner in our program, which is fantastic. She’s off to the races and had a really successful session. Awesome. Doesn’t always work out that way the first time and that’s something that’s really important. I want to come back to the chat because Candice had asked what if the teachers don’t agree with the vision of admin, of what the vision of the admin have and what research shows, i.e. what if they are on board that the standard algorithms and drill facts are what is needed?

00:35:58:18 – 00:36:18:18
Kyle Pearce
And I would argue that that is going to happen in a lot of places. And the reality is, is that that is probably your first objective is that whoa, wait a second, I can set the objectives, the easy answer in life as you go to the research. Right. And this is how we’ve done it traditionally in school districts, we go to the research, we see what it says.

00:36:18:24 – 00:36:36:03
Kyle Pearce
We usually only pick parts of it. We don’t read enough into it to actually understand all of the pieces that need to be intact for it to work successfully and get the same result from the research. So that’s a negative. But we then bring it to educators and we tell them, we say this is what’s going to help us.

00:36:36:07 – 00:36:53:24
Kyle Pearce
We’re going to do X, Y, and Z, so go do it. And what that reminds me of is back when I was in the math classroom and I said to the kids, Hey, use the standard algorithm. It’s the quickest way you’re going to find after you tinker around with all this math stuff that at the end of the day, the quickest way to get the answer is this.

00:36:54:01 – 00:37:16:05
Kyle Pearce
And then I pause and then I zoom out and then I recognize is that what we tend to do at the district level or at the leadership level is exactly what we’re asking teachers not to do with their students. We say that we want them to inquire, we want them to learn, we want them to productively struggle. We want them to think, we want them to communicate.

00:37:16:05 – 00:37:39:17
Kyle Pearce
We want them to do of these things. But yet because we have tightened timelines, that sounds familiar. I remember that in the classroom because we have a tightening budget. I remember that in the classroom too, because we have all of these outside factors that are hard to control. I remember having that issue in the classroom too. We rush, as we used to say in the classroom.

00:37:39:21 – 00:38:03:04
Kyle Pearce
We rushed to the algorithm while we rushed to the PD plan. We rushed to the vision. We rushed to the answer That’s going to save the day, even if the answer is right, even if we know 100% that it’s right. The problem is, is it such a hard thing to do when we come in and try to implement it instead of build it?

00:38:03:06 – 00:38:24:15
Kyle Pearce
And I know a lot of people will push back on that. I used to be this person. I would push back and say, We can’t wait for these kids. These kids are in the classroom now and we need to do something. And I agree with you. But if we are going to go in there and just keep banging our heads against a wall because it’s the thing that’s the right thing to do, I’m going to look at that.

00:38:24:16 – 00:38:50:13
Kyle Pearce
I’m going to go I want the most effective thing. And what we know and what we know from research is that we need that collective vision. And that means that maybe my district, to my context, might require additional work in the vision planning section, which means that flywheel you’re going to spend a lot more time trying to get that vision flywheel going, designing and measuring because guess what?

00:38:50:13 – 00:39:05:01
Kyle Pearce
Before you actually can design and measure, you’ve got to make sure that is on board with you, because if they’re not on board, you can design a measure all you want. It’s not going to have the impact at least to the level that you’re hoping for over time.

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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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MMM Unit - Snack Time Fractions Unit


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