Episode #281: Help! My Curriculum Resource Is Being Pulled Away. What Do I Do Now? – A Where Are They Now Math Mentoring Moment

Apr 15, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:


It can feel frustrating and overwhelming and you’ll feel like you’re forced to “go back to the drawing board” when your curriculum resource is pulled away from you.

What do we consider when trying to select a new curriculum resource?

Are we supposed to create our own resources from scratch? 

As educators, we are constantly facing the challenge of adapting our teaching methods to improve student understanding and engagement. 

This often involves exploring new pedagogies, such as problem-based learning, and selecting the right curriculum resources that align with our teaching goals. 

In this episode we speak with long-time friend of the show Katrien Vance, a middle school math teacher in Virginia. 

Katriene is trying to decide how to transition to a new curriculum resource and feels overwhelmed with the work ahead. Stick around and you’ll hear how together we make a plan for next steps.

What You’ll Learn:

  • Innovative Teaching Strategies: Discover the effectiveness of problem-based learning and how it can enhance your students’ understanding of mathematics.
  • Navigating Curriculum Transitions: Gain insights on transitioning between different curricula, managing costs, and finding the right resources for your classroom.
  • Building Confidence in Educational Choices: Learn how to confidently communicate your curriculum choices to parents and evaluate the effectiveness of educational tools and resources for your specific teaching needs.

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


Episode Summary:

Math Talk and Career Updates
Kyle, Jon, and Katrien had a long-awaited reunion where they discussed various topics. Jon shared his enthusiasm for discussing math during his spring break, and Katrien shared her recent career development, having transitioned to teaching English, math, and music to middle-schoolers at the North Branch School in Afton, Virginia. This year, she’s not teaching history, and instead, a colleague is handling that subject. The group agreed to have more meetings in the future with many listeners.

Math Teaching Strategies and Resource Concerns
Kyle, Katrien, and Jon discussed strategies for teaching mathematics. Katrien revealed a significant success in her school, where teachers were in agreement about using problem-based learning methods to teach math. She highlighted the effectiveness of this approach in promoting deeper understanding among students. However, Katrien also shared a pending concern about the future availability and cost of a previously free math curriculum resource she had been using, which is now being published. She expressed her interest in discovering new resources for the math community.

Math Education and Curriculum Challenges
Katrien shared her teaching experience and highlighted the importance of teaching math in context, emphasizing that understanding comes more naturally when concepts are presented as part of a real-world application. She also discussed the effectiveness of the Connected Mathematics project from Michigan State in teaching problem-based learning. The conversation then touched upon the challenges of using a curriculum like this, specifically the costs involved. Katrien suggested exploring free resources available online, while also expressing concerns about the overwhelming text on new textbooks. The team, led by Kyle, agreed to continue the discussion, focusing on ways to make such curricula more accessible.

Concerns About Curriculum Transition and Costs
Katrien expressed her concerns about the transition from a customizable online curriculum to a printed one, mainly due to the cost and the loss of the ability to easily modify the content. She also shared her reliance on the current curriculum, which has been effective for her students. Jon and Kyle discussed potential solutions, including the possibility of digital access for teachers and students, but Katrien was uncertain about the affordability of this option. The group agreed to revisit the pricing and access options to determine the best solution for Katrien’s situation.

Understanding Student Needs and Trusting Instincts
Jon emphasized the importance of understanding the needs of the students and using available resources effectively. He expressed his belief that educators should trust their instincts and judgement when selecting or creating educational materials. Katrien and Kyle concurred, noting that their training as math teachers involved a lot of self-directed learning and deep dives into mathematics. They also highlighted the valuable insights they gained from their own experiences as educators.

Critical Evaluation of Educational Tools and Resources
Kyle emphasized the importance of critical evaluation and understanding of educational tools and resources, rather than relying on blind trust. He advocated for teachers to take the time to understand the content, its context, and its potential applications in various scenarios. He suggested that by understanding the big ideas and the context used to demonstrate them, teachers could effectively instruct their students and apply the concepts to new situations. Katrien responded with acknowledgments and agreement to Kyle’s points.

Leveraging Resources for Process Improvement
Kyle, Katrien, and Jon discussed the potential for leveraging existing resources in new ways to improve their work process. Kyle suggested exploring what actually works within a process, not just assuming that everything is necessary. Jon emphasized the importance of identifying non-negotiables and being open to adjusting the process if necessary. Katrien expressed some hesitation due to past experiences, but also shared a positive anecdote of alignment with a colleague’s problem-solving approach. The team seemed to agree on the potential benefits of this approach, despite some initial uncertainties.

Curriculum Choices and Parent Communication
Katrien, Kyle, and Jon discussed the potential benefits and challenges of using different curricula and resources in their teaching practice. Katrien mentioned the value of exposing her students to various approaches, while Kyle suggested that understanding the themes and progressions in different curricula could help Katrien to make more informed choices about which resources to use. They also discussed the importance of being intentional about their curriculum choices and the potential for parents to question these choices. They agreed that being able to articulate the source and rationale for their curriculum would help to address any concerns or questions from parents.

Supporting Students and Evaluating Resources
Katrien, Jon, and Kyle discussed their confidence in supporting students and their concerns about potential parental questioning. Katrien expressed her comfort in having an authority endorse her choices. They all agreed that having a starting point, whether it’s a resource or a well-regarded educator, is beneficial, and that it’s important to evaluate this starting point based on their needs. Kyle emphasized the importance of professional judgment in enhancing the starting point rather than randomly mixing and matching. They also discussed the value of seeking out additional resources as needed.

Parental Confidence, Lesson Planning, and Continuous Learning
Jon highlighted the importance of parental confidence in teachers’ lesson choices and the need for intentional lesson planning to meet standards and address student needs. Katrien and Kyle discussed the value of having a clear plan and being flexible in finding alternative solutions, even in the face of unforeseen obstacles. They emphasized the significance of continuous learning and improvement in education, with Kyle stressing that this process not only benefits educators but also enhances students’ learning experiences. The team agreed to stay in touch and reconnect soon.


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!


00:00:00:02 – 00:00:22:06
Katrien Vance
I’m not a trained math teacher. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 25 years. It is on the job training. But I grew up the daughter of two English teachers. I was an English teacher first, and I’m totally comfortable there. I can tell you exactly what kids need to know and how to know it. Math. I feel a little less confident inventing for myself, although.

00:00:22:06 – 00:00:45:21
Jon Orr
It’ll feel frustrating and overwhelming. And you’ll feel like you’re forced to go back to the drawing board when your curriculum resource is pulled away from you. What do we consider when trying to select a new curriculum resource? What’s that look like? Are we supposed to create our own resources from scratch when those resources are plucked from our grasp?

00:00:45:23 – 00:01:09:07
Jon Orr
As educators, we are constantly facing the challenge of adapting our teaching methods to improve student understanding and engagement. This often involves exploring new pedagogies such as problem based learning and selecting the right curriculum resources that align with our goals. In this episode, we speak with longtime friend of the show Catriona Vance, a middle school math teacher in Virginia.

00:01:09:09 – 00:01:38:11
Jon Orr
Katrien is trying to decide how to transition to a new curriculum resource and is feeling overwhelmed with the workload ahead. Stick around and you’ll hear how together we can make plans for her. Next steps.

00:01:38:13 – 00:01:42:20
Kyle Pearce
Welcome to the Making Mouth Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pierce.

00:01:42:20 – 00:01:45:17
Jon Orr
And I’m John or we are from McMath moments dot com.

00:01:45:19 – 00:01:56:09
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.

00:01:56:11 – 00:02:09:09
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate and foster your math nights program like strong, healthy and balanced tree. So if you mastered the six parts of an effective math program, the impact that you are going to be doing will grow and reach far and wide.

00:02:09:11 – 00:02:24:22
Kyle Pearce
Every week you’re going to 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 the educators.

00:02:24:22 – 00:02:52:14
Jon Orr
That you serve. All right. Hey, we are back with another episode with and Vance. Kendra. It’s been forever. It’s been forever. I think we had you on like our very first ten episodes back in the early, early days of the podcast. This is going to be, I think, episode 280 something to set. I don’t even know. We’ll figure that out later, but I think we had you back for kind of a recap, not maybe a year later than that, but that’s still years ago.

00:02:52:15 – 00:03:04:15
Jon Orr
So fill us in. We’re excited to talk catch up. Felicity, still in the same place, is still teaching the same things. Give us a small little update and then we’ll dig on a pebble that’s kind of rattling around in your shoe.

00:03:04:17 – 00:03:40:00
Katrien Vance
All right. Well, congratulations to you two for being, I don’t know, close to 300 episodes, because it was it was episode eight and it was episode 72. I went and looked back to see and that feels like a very long time ago. But I was reading the transcript and it’s a lot of the same questions, so it’s like, I haven’t figured anything out since then, but I am still at the same school I teach at North Branch School in Afton, Virginia Center of Virginia, and it’s a tiny little preschool through eighth grade, and I teach the seventh and eighth graders, and it’s so small that if they discover you can do it, you’re going to

00:03:40:00 – 00:03:53:04
Katrien Vance
end up teaching it. So I had been teaching history, English, math and music, and I just this year I’m not teaching history for the first time in about 25 years. So now I’m narrowed it down to English, math and music.

00:03:53:06 – 00:03:59:12
Kyle Pearce
There you go. Did you just pretend that you can’t teach history anymore and that, like, work for you right now? I forgot. I forgot.

00:03:59:12 – 00:04:00:16
Jon Orr
The history.

00:04:00:18 – 00:04:05:24
Katrien Vance
And somebody better. So it’s been actually really exciting to watch her take over the history.

00:04:06:01 – 00:04:30:09
Kyle Pearce
That’s awesome. Well, we so appreciate you coming back. And like so many, we have this conversation with so many listeners. We will meet people in person at conferences or we’ll have some people reach out with some questions through, say, email. Then we encourage a mouth mentoring moment episode, much like this one. And a lot of people assume it’s like theirs is in a creative enough pebble and we’re like, That is not what this is about.

00:04:30:09 – 00:04:52:08
Kyle Pearce
Because the reality is we wouldn’t have made it into. It’s going to be episode 283. John For this episode. We wouldn’t have made it this far if this was an easy problem. And if talking about a pebble one time meant it was forever gone, a lot of this takes time, it takes iterating, it takes reflecting, and then it takes bringing it back up to the conversation.

00:04:52:10 – 00:05:14:14
Kyle Pearce
In order to have that conversation with others and kind of work through it because everything is so nuanced. So I’m wondering, before we dig into a bubble, I’m wondering what would be a quick win for you. It might be that you’re not teaching history anymore. I don’t know. Or maybe there’s another quick win that you might want to share with the math community before we dig in here and start rattling that pebble around.

00:05:14:16 – 00:05:39:02
Katrien Vance
Well, I would say a huge win is that, again, very small school. So there’s one teacher who teaches third and fourth. One teacher who does fifth and sixth. I do seventh and eighth for math. We are all completely aligned with the whole sort of problem based learning and using resources that are having the kids that are sparking curiosity and having the kids investigate hands on learning and we are fully in sync with that.

00:05:39:02 – 00:05:50:17
Katrien Vance
So that’s really exciting. I don’t have to fight anybody. What we think is the most effective way to really own the math and understand it at a deeper level than just memorizing it.

00:05:50:19 – 00:06:12:18
Jon Orr
Yeah, that’s a huge win because I think I know that you went through some of the kind of convincing or the, Hey, let’s try this. And not everyone is doing the exact same thing. And I think we’ve still got teachers almost I think all teachers who are trying to go through this and teach their students in these ways are battling are always kind of having that battle of trying to convince someone else that this is a really great way.

00:06:12:18 – 00:06:29:15
Jon Orr
You should try it, too, or defending that this is the right way or the way that works best for my students or the way that works best for the students that are sitting in front of us to what we do every single day. So that’s awesome. Win for you. Now fill us in. What’s been since last Episode 72?

00:06:29:15 – 00:06:38:08
Jon Orr
What are some epiphanies revelations, new thinking that you’ve had since way back since we last chatted and then we’ll get into the pebbles?

00:06:38:10 – 00:07:06:11
Katrien Vance
I think I’ve gotten better at really inquisitive, curiosity based approach and have found some really good resources, which is where my pebble is going to spring from somebody somewhere. Might have been. Pam Harris mentioned the connected mathematics project out of Michigan State. That’s what I’ve been using as a curriculum for the past couple of years. And so just discovering, finding those resources has been really helpful.

00:07:06:13 – 00:07:26:17
Katrien Vance
And that’s also the source of my problem, because that resource, which had been free, is now getting published and being official and it’s going to start cost money. And so I had been it had been sort of the perfect scenario where it was online and it was free and I could adjust it as much as I wanted. And now it’s going to be a published book.

00:07:26:19 – 00:07:50:03
Katrien Vance
And so I’m just was so curious to hear what is out there that I don’t know about what kinds of programs and curricula and resources were really good problems because I am not as you heard, I’m not a trained math teacher. I mean, I’ve been doing it for 25 years. It is on the job training. But I grew up the daughter of two English teachers.

00:07:50:03 – 00:08:10:18
Katrien Vance
I was an English teacher first and I’m totally comfortable there. I can tell you exactly what kids need to know and how to know in math. I feel a little less confident inventing for myself, although I’ve done a lot of that too. So I would love someone to hand me the perfect curriculum.

00:08:10:20 – 00:08:28:06
Jon Orr
This is a great pebble because it sounds like you’re saying I would love for someone to do all the thinking for me. I don’t want to think anymore. And it’s like, Guess who says that in our classrooms, right? It’s like the kids are like, Hey, just tell me how to do it because I don’t want to get anymore.

00:08:28:06 – 00:08:41:05
Jon Orr
And then Catriona barnes is like, No, I want you to think I’m going to put you through these activities and these ideas because I need you to think. And then here we are, teachers going, I don’t want to think anymore.

00:08:41:07 – 00:08:47:16
Katrien Vance
Right? Someone just tell me, but couple someone tell me what to do. But I also know exactly what I want it to look like.

00:08:47:19 – 00:08:50:05
Jon Orr
So right.

00:08:50:07 – 00:09:10:08
Kyle Pearce
I love this. First off, we can end the episode now and say the perfect resource doesn’t exist, but we are not going to do that because what we are going to do though, is I think this is going to be a really interesting episode, especially for those who may have been longtime listeners, first time callers coming and basically trying to think of like, what does this even look like?

00:09:10:10 – 00:09:34:03
Kyle Pearce
Are we all talking about the same thing when we talk about problem based learning or we talk about different types of lesson styles, what does it look like in Catriona? In Catriona class, what does it look like in John’s class? What does it look like in different classrooms? So before we go down, we’ll call it like resource lane here and talk about some of the different tools that could be out there to potentially help you along this journey.

00:09:34:05 – 00:09:59:02
Kyle Pearce
I would love for you to help articulate for those who have not used connected mathematics project from Michigan State, describe what it is that you’re liking about it. Maybe some of those features and benefits, and that might help us to kind of frame what that looks like and sounds like and then we can sort of discuss some of the other options that might be out there that may help.

00:09:59:05 – 00:10:04:09
Kyle Pearce
But again, as John said, we’re going to make sure that everyone’s doing some thinking along the way as well.

00:10:04:11 – 00:10:25:00
Katrien Vance
The biggest idea, I would say about the CMP is that everything is in context. There’s never a just a naked problem where you’re just if you’re going to learn the distributive property, it’s going to be cut. It will have come out of some kind of context. And I have seen the difference that that’s made in terms of understanding something like slope.

00:10:25:02 – 00:10:50:13
Katrien Vance
The slope is rate of change is unit rate is scale factor that all of those things build on each other and my students are so comfortable with it before they’ve necessarily learned an official word for it or, you know, Y equals an X plus B or whatever. And then the same thing with we just finished quadratic function. So that one is on my mind that it’s all out of context.

00:10:50:13 – 00:11:13:04
Katrien Vance
There’s a reason that you’re thinking about rectangles with a fixed area and when you graph them, it’s like, Oh, lo and behold, it makes the shape and it makes it every time. And then can we figure out from the equation, can we start to see things that are consistent in the graph like that? So it just builds so organically that they’re never memorizing something.

00:11:13:04 – 00:11:41:11
Katrien Vance
They just see it so often and build for themselves the connections that Y equals an X plus B or a X squared plus B x plus. It means something to them. Once that label is finally given. And it’s that the thing you guys said right from the beginning of holding off, holding off, holding off and then saying, Oh, by the way, the thing you just did looks like this when you know, in an official math book or can be called this.

00:11:41:13 – 00:11:49:08
Katrien Vance
Yeah. And it’s been really successful for my kids in terms of their genuine understanding and then being able to apply it to different kinds of problems.

00:11:49:14 – 00:11:59:01
Jon Orr
Right. So was the real struggle that this is a great curriculum that you want to use and now we have to pay for it and it’s like, what can I do instead?

00:11:59:03 – 00:12:03:03
Kyle Pearce
Right. So, John, do you have a coupon code for this curriculum?

00:12:03:05 – 00:12:25:19
Katrien Vance
And the question is, is it because there are so many resources that are free online now as well? I never know if it’s illustrative or illustrated math that can get I can get that for free. And the other thing is when they publish it, I’ve seen samples of the new textbook and there’s a lot of text on each page.

00:12:25:21 – 00:12:43:16
Katrien Vance
And when it was online, I went through and changed all of that, you know, put space for my kids to work and separated it out and did some of that stuff that you guys always talked about with the textbook, Take this problem, but get rid of all of that stuff. So not being able to do that anymore makes me nervous as well.

00:12:43:16 – 00:13:00:21
Jon Orr
It’s nervous because because it’s like that was a lot of work to go through that. Is that what makes you like, I don’t have time to kind of do that again with some more resources or this grade level. Is that what’s making you nervous or is that like, I have to go through all that thinking again? It’s overwhelming.

00:13:00:21 – 00:13:03:07
Jon Orr
Where’s the nervousness coming from?

00:13:03:09 – 00:13:19:03
Katrien Vance
There’s nervousness comes from if I spend the money on this curriculum and then I can’t, I don’t have that ease of manipulation because it’s a printed book. Is it still going to be as good? And if not that, then what now?

00:13:19:03 – 00:13:41:13
Kyle Pearce
I’m curious. We’ve never actually utilized this particular other resource you’re referencing. So sounds like it’s fully online. You’ve been logging in in order to access it. And then anything you modify sort of in this, we’ll call it like online chamber account thing that now will have a cost in order to get behind the paywall. Or have you been downloading this stuff?

00:13:41:13 – 00:14:00:08
Kyle Pearce
What does that look like? And then I guess when now that it has a cost to it, what is costing something? And then is there any we’ll call it residue left, meaning do you have any of that stuff that you’re using or did they say sort of like, sorry, you’re not allowed to use it anymore and you’re respecting the actual licensing agreement?

00:14:00:09 – 00:14:18:24
Kyle Pearce
What does that look like? Because I’m picturing most teachers out there. We know you teachers out there, you like to collect resources and, you know, you get online with something and you’re like, I’m I’m going to download it all and I’m going to have it on my hard drive and I have it so I never lose it. What does it look like from a user experience?

00:14:18:24 – 00:14:42:16
Kyle Pearce
And then I guess what’s now changing about that user experience once this paywall comes up? Is it like students are logging in and now it’s not interactive, What’s going on there? And then I guess to that end is like, is there anything from this learning that you’ve done and resource that you’ll still be able to leverage into the future instead of, say, abandoning everything?

00:14:42:18 – 00:14:57:06
Katrien Vance
This is a good question. So one thing to know about me is I’m married to a patent attorney. So all of that intellectual property stuff, all the rules. Yeah. So Fair Use Act, I know I can use some things in my classroom, but do.

00:14:57:06 – 00:15:03:07
Kyle Pearce
You have a license to have that curtain in the background up in this video right now? I need to be careful.

00:15:03:09 – 00:15:26:20
Katrien Vance
Yeah. Don’t sing any songs in there. Yeah, right. I’ve been field testing, so I’ve been a part of a group of field testing this curriculum, which gives me access to it, both as a PDF and as an editable doc. And I think there are people who do it fully online with their kids. That’s not me. I actually print out each unit and there it’s in a notebook that the kids have unit by.

00:15:26:20 – 00:15:53:13
Katrien Vance
And then we take out that unit and we put in the new one. And that’s just been important for me to sort of the pencil and paper thing, especially with the comes to graphing and that sort of thing has been important. So that’s what my intention was if I use this curriculum was to order the books. So one change is these are not consumables, so it would be a book and then the kids working in a different place and I’m sure there’s teachers out there going, who cares?

00:15:53:13 – 00:16:12:18
Katrien Vance
But for me, having the work next to the question has been important in a sense of letting the kids connect what they’re doing. It’s, I don’t know, just one of those accommodations that I make. I’m just trying to make it as foolproof as possible. Let me not have another thing that you could lose and lose all of your work.

00:16:12:20 – 00:16:25:07
Katrien Vance
So I think I will have access. I know I’ll have access to teacher things digitally. I think I could have access to kid things digitally, but I’ve been wanting that hard copy. They all have different price levels too.

00:16:25:10 – 00:16:31:07
Jon Orr
So right now, even when you have access to this, have you been supplementing along the way.

00:16:31:09 – 00:16:52:20
Katrien Vance
Some with some like Dismas activities that are just a nice break and a way to sort of see things in a different way? Absolutely. And once in a while I have just a tried and true thing that I love to do that I will throw in there and be like, Oh, good, it’s time for the pumpkin. The rubber bands and pumpkins not always has to happen around Halloween, so that that gets in there.

00:16:53:01 – 00:17:16:09
Katrien Vance
So definitely there’ll be some activities like that. But this is pretty much been I don’t have to constantly find those. I will also use in the last episode I was in, I talked about algebra last year. I still use that to help them see those solving equations, but also building the if you’re multiplying binomial is being able to really see that rectangular solution in there.

00:17:16:11 – 00:17:28:17
Katrien Vance
So I do supplement some, but really I have been counting on the curriculum that’s there for me and a really nice it’s been very nice to be able to count on that and know that it’s good and that it’s working well for the kids, right?

00:17:28:19 – 00:17:45:05
Jon Orr
Yeah. So would you say that I think I asked this and I was just trying to get at the heart here. The heart is the cost or you’re just you just don’t know that you can manipulate it like you right now. You can manipulate. So what makes you think you can’t if you have to pay for it? Or maybe it’s just like we can’t afford it.

00:17:45:05 – 00:17:51:16
Jon Orr
So I need to move on. I just need to get over that. I have to I have to move to something else and I’m just not sure what to move to.

00:17:51:18 – 00:18:12:04
Katrien Vance
My plan was to I have to look back at the price because I hadn’t even considered getting the student’s digital access. As a teacher, I know I will have digital access to some things, but I don’t know that I have everything and I’m going to manipulate it and print it out. Why would I buy the workbooks for the kids?

00:18:12:04 – 00:18:31:09
Katrien Vance
We just have a tiny, tiny budget at my school, so it’s really figuring out the best bang for my buck and having that align with my philosophy about the best way to teach. And well, I mean, I could go back to an old I used to use the Prentice Hall Algebra one textbook. I could go back to that and manipulate that.

00:18:31:09 – 00:18:33:19
Katrien Vance
Three, but I don’t want to.

00:18:33:21 – 00:18:56:03
Jon Orr
What’s holding you back? And I’ll give you my $0.02 on changing curriculums because textbooks come and go, Curriculums come and go. Somebody can have a new one someday for me in teaching my students. And this is maybe just the way I viewed structuring the course. And I always looked at every year my course looked different from year to year.

00:18:56:03 – 00:19:12:21
Jon Orr
So when I taught the ninth grade, I taught seventh grade, even though it’s like you have a list of resources to teach that grade or you have a scope and sequence, these are the topics. These are the standards that I want to uncover. I was still always on the hunt for, I’ve got these kids in front of me.

00:19:13:02 – 00:19:33:24
Jon Orr
And the lesson here is not going to go this this year. It’s going to be this one over here. So it’s for me, it was always like, what arsenal can I create or pull from? That’s great for this group this year. And it was never the same. I used to keep a running. I have a day by day that I would write in every single day, every single year.

00:19:33:24 – 00:19:54:15
Jon Orr
So I’ve got a spreadsheet that has like ten years in a row on it. And if you look at the year to year, some things overlap because it’s like, Well, why would you recreate the wheel? Like you find a good activity if it works, it works. But a lot of times because it’s a different group of students that there was data by days with was shuffle and also the activities would come and go, right?

00:19:54:15 – 00:20:21:08
Jon Orr
So it’s like all of a sudden I have a different activity that slides in here because it replaces this one because I got better results and I wanted to see if I ran that. The previous year is like that group responded this way. I think this group is going to respond this way. Like for me in the way I tried to structure that, that was the job that is the job is trying to like, read who’s in my room, understand what they need, and then figure out what is the right resource that time.

00:20:21:08 – 00:20:42:20
Jon Orr
Why I’m giving you that to sense about where I used to think about is to me, it didn’t matter what textbook was in front of me. It was a me of meaning about collecting different things and then having this arsenal. And sometimes it was there is no resource here that’s going to do a better job of me trying to interact with the kids this day on, you know, this topic, because this is exactly where I think they need on this day.

00:20:42:22 – 00:21:08:13
Jon Orr
So that’s my, I guess, not hesitation. My thinking would be if it costs money and we don’t want to pay for it, we ditch it and we go to like, oh my gosh, I don’t have a resource anymore. Now I have to build everything from scratch. It can be building every friend thing from scratch. What Kyle was kind of, I think hinting at is like you’ve got some stuff, you’ve got collections along the way, you’ve got your intuition, you’ve taught this course many, many times, so you won’t be without.

00:21:08:13 – 00:21:24:10
Jon Orr
And it’s I think it’s like trusting ourselves that we could do what’s right for the kids in front of us. But I know it would be like, Hey, this would be great if this thing was here in front of me because it does everything I want, which is important, right? Knowing what you want is really important because you can’t make those decisions without knowing what you want.

00:21:24:12 – 00:21:49:08
Jon Orr
And it sounds like you know what you want. It’s just saying is knowing what I want and going is this cost enough or too much or is it not worth it? Because it actually doesn’t do all the things I want and maybe I can be better over here. But we all have to make those types of decisions. But I think coming down to like knowing what you want, which sounds like you do, which is great, and then just being like, Can I do this without it?

00:21:49:11 – 00:22:07:14
Katrien Vance
It’s really great. I mean, you’re making me hold the mirror up to myself a little bit and say, I do this in English class all the time. Exactly what you’re describing of, okay, we’re going to read something that’s medieval. This group is a Canterbury Tales. Or is it Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? Ooh, these guys are going to go and they’re going to like that.

00:22:07:14 – 00:22:13:12
Katrien Vance
I don’t know why. I don’t feel confident enough to do that in math, but it does sound like a lot of work.

00:22:13:14 – 00:22:35:10
Kyle Pearce
Well, and work. It is great work. It would be right. And this is work for sure. I think John at the beginning mentioned about the thinking piece, which is there will be that. And what I was going to ask and I think you’re kind of alluding to it, is the fact that you had said that you didn’t actually say get trained to become a math teacher.

00:22:35:10 – 00:23:01:18
Kyle Pearce
Right. And the reality is for a lot of people who were quote unquote, trained, John and I were trained to be math teachers. I’m telling you that the training we received in mathematics education is not why we are doing what we’re doing. We did a lot of self training. We also had really good unlearn. Yeah, and in the province of Ontario there a lot of great learning for over ten year period around mathematics.

00:23:01:18 – 00:23:34:09
Kyle Pearce
So we benefited from that. We did deep dives on our own. And really what I think here and John’s saying it and you’re kind of recognizing some of this is it really comes down to oftentimes when we think that this person or this group or that publisher releases a tool and you feel like you can trust it. And I think the part, though, that we don’t want to rely on is we don’t want to rely on it being, say, blind trust.

00:23:34:10 – 00:23:58:01
Kyle Pearce
I’m not suggesting you’re using blind trust by any means, but the reality is, is that if I was to, let’s say, with the current curriculum you have in your to set some time and you might you probably block this in blocking it in your schedule, little chunks of time to go through little parts of this to really understand what about it do I like about it?

00:23:58:03 – 00:24:17:15
Kyle Pearce
And then how could I keep doing more of that? And kind of to John’s point that I might be able to do this in different ways. So you use the example of like Y equals X plus B, right? So it’s like, what are they getting at in that lesson that other lessons I’ve used in the past are not getting?

00:24:17:19 – 00:24:36:18
Kyle Pearce
And you had mentioned a few things. You said context is one. So now I’m like, could I create a context? And it doesn’t have to necessarily be. A lot of people think when John and I say anything, they’re like, Oh, I’ve got to make a video because John and Kyle like to do animations and videos. No, a context can be written context.

00:24:36:18 – 00:24:56:11
Kyle Pearce
It can be verbal, it can be anything. So you’re like, okay, I’ve got context. What is it that they’re doing to help? And you had mentioned this idea of holding off, right? Holding off, leading them down this. But how can I recreate that experience? And then I’ll even be honest and say, you could probably go through that course.

00:24:56:11 – 00:25:13:12
Kyle Pearce
And if you were to think about maybe the first time through, you highlight what are the really big ideas that I really want kids to take with them. And you started there and you went, Hey, if it’s ten big ideas, maybe it’s 20 big ideas, whatever that number is for you, I’m not going to say what the number is.

00:25:13:14 – 00:25:47:05
Kyle Pearce
And if you were to go through and go, what context did they use that helped to drive home that big idea? Could I either still use that context moving forward without this resource at all and still drive home that same point? Or could I create my own meaning if I really understand? Because at the end of the day, if a context helped my students to understand the math understanding that we’re trying to reveal, then in a perfect world that means I could probably apply it to another situation too, right?

00:25:47:05 – 00:26:26:07
Kyle Pearce
Because that’s why we’re learning this math. It’s not only for the scenario involving the apples and the baskets and, you know, whatever that content. It’s like any context like that, any scenario involving the same big ideas that can reveal the same strategies and the same model could be leveraged here. So it’s like if I spent a little bit of time, you might actually shock and surprise yourself that you’re like, Huh, maybe I’m actually not meaning to rely on this as much as I needed to, and that some of the things that I was leaning on, maybe I don’t actually require from, say, this resource.

00:26:26:07 – 00:26:47:05
Kyle Pearce
So for example, practice material might be sort of something you might be able to pull from elsewhere. Right. So I’m wondering like when you hear me say that one of the reasons why I think it’s helpful to do this work is because sometimes we’ll do something and we’re like, We did it. It looks like it’s working, but in reality, it’s like, what?

00:26:47:05 – 00:27:13:06
Kyle Pearce
What part of it actually did work? We don’t actually know. It could be one very specific thing that they do in every lesson. That’s the secret sauce for your lesson. But we’re thinking the entire curriculum is doing it when maybe it is, but maybe it’s not. And it’s like if we can kind of start narrowing down and sort of really going towards what is it that I’m really liking about it, what is really mattering here?

00:27:13:08 – 00:27:28:08
Kyle Pearce
And then when you do that work, you’ll not only know what it is you’re liking and what’s important, but then you’ll actually start to realize that maybe I can even do that by finding the right tool like John saying potentially even crafting something yourself.

00:27:28:10 – 00:27:46:21
Jon Orr
It becomes a filter, right? If you go, These are my non-negotiables, you know, these are the things that I pulled from this particular curriculum that I liked and my non-negotiables I can develop or use another resource. Like if you’re pulling, I am and going like, okay, I’m going to look at what I am says I should do today.

00:27:46:23 – 00:27:59:02
Jon Orr
And okay, my non-negotiables are these four things and just do it today. No. Okay. Does these three things well. But this one I need to like make an adjustment. So I’m going to roll with that. And it doesn’t have to be every day.

00:27:59:04 – 00:28:10:00
Kyle Pearce
And thinking why they did what they did when they did it. Did they do that on purpose or is that just sort of like the next thing that seemed logical, but maybe it doesn’t matter? I don’t know.

00:28:10:00 – 00:28:33:04
Jon Orr
Does that make us suggesting this? Because I think what it sounds like we’re suggesting is being okay with not having this particular resource, but pulling from other things. But I think the real takeaway that I think we’re providing or hoping we’re providing is the confidence to know what to look for and be able to go like that’s what I really after and I want to.

00:28:33:06 – 00:28:53:00
Jon Orr
I can create that in a few different ways and I’ve created a lots of different ways along the way. And I could use resources that are here to build what I need to build and not have to scrounge every single day, because there are lots of resources out there that can provide you that framework, but kind of filling in where you need to fill it is really important.

00:28:53:02 – 00:28:55:13
Jon Orr
How does that sound?

00:28:55:15 – 00:29:18:11
Katrien Vance
It sounds good. It sounds hard. I mean, it sounds worthwhile. I’ll tell you the thing that where am I hesitation is at this moment is the one thing I find both from camp, but then also so we do Pam Harris’s math stretch each week. And there’s so many things that are not the way that I would solve a problem.

00:29:18:13 – 00:29:44:10
Katrien Vance
And so what I most and what I’ve really loved is introducing the kids to that, and they go, Oh my God, did you think of doing it that way? No, no. Neither did I. And I the other day, literally, I celebrated did a full on celebration because I did a way before I listened to the podcast. And then Pam did it my way and I was like, there are some that aren’t that I did it the same way that I thought of the way that she did it.

00:29:44:12 – 00:29:47:08
Kyle Pearce
Rather than how did she get in my brain?

00:29:47:10 – 00:30:11:02
Katrien Vance
Yeah, right, exactly. So and that’s a little bit of one of the things that this curriculum does is it gives a problem and then they call it the initial challenge, and then it will show several different student solutions. And sometimes that’s baffling to my kids. They’ll look at it, be like, what is this person doing? But it’s also so good for them to be like, What is this person doing?

00:30:11:04 – 00:30:30:13
Katrien Vance
Oh, they did a ratio table, but they did an equation, but they did a, you know, all those things. And I am better at knowing all of those. But I also don’t want to miss that stuff that I wouldn’t think of because I probably say that at least once a week of well, I would never have thought to do it this way, but look what this person did.

00:30:30:15 – 00:30:33:17
Katrien Vance
So I don’t want to limit my students in that way either.

00:30:33:23 – 00:30:52:19
Kyle Pearce
At risk of potentially making you feel like it’s more work, but I think it’ll actually be less work. Is if you are to look at that current curriculum and you were to again kind of zoom out a little bit and kind of look at it again and go like, okay, what are the themes I’m seeing that I’m liking that I want to find in something else?

00:30:52:19 – 00:31:12:03
Kyle Pearce
Once I know what that is, once I can notice and name it a little better, then when I take a illustrative path and I look at it, it doesn’t mean you have to read every single lesson in illustrative, but you zoom out on illustrative a little bit and kind of look at and then you look at a lesson and kind of look at what is the progression, How did they do that?

00:31:12:05 – 00:31:51:08
Kyle Pearce
And of course, it’s going to be different. They might have a different approach to one of these types of warm ups or minds on, as some call it, or for us, a spark. Right? A lot of resources use a fairly similar flow, I’ll argue. And then once you recognize those things that you’re after, then it becomes a little easier for you to hone in on what matters to you to grab and use and insert where you want to use it, and it becomes a little easier for you to maybe leave the part that you’re like, Either I’ve already got that covered or it’s not serving the purpose that I’m after.

00:31:51:08 – 00:32:26:07
Kyle Pearce
And it’s almost like a little bit of a filtering. And if you keep it to sort of a good for now or not for now type idea, not saying you’re throwing out an idea, but I like it now. Don’t necessarily like it or need it right now. It will allow you to kind of more quickly filter as John’s using that term through to figure out what does this Well, you might even find that as you zoom out and you look at different resources from a distance, you might think, holy smokes, I actually like the organization of this curriculum a little bit more.

00:32:26:09 – 00:32:46:11
Kyle Pearce
Not that I’m going to abandon the approach that I’m using with the one you’re doing now, but you start to see what makes more sense to you and what doesn’t otherwise, really, what we’re doing is we’re sort of going, okay, I’m going with this curriculum and just going to try it as is and like, we’ll see how it goes and hopefully it goes well.

00:32:46:13 – 00:33:05:11
Kyle Pearce
But it could be the opposite, too, where it’s like maybe it’s going to be the worst year of my life. Hopefully not. But you know what I mean, right? It could be anything. So as you start to kind of recognize those things and start to quickly identify, it’s like anything in your brain, your quick thinking brain’s going to start taking over and go, I recognize the pattern.

00:33:05:13 – 00:33:25:06
Kyle Pearce
I like that I like this not so much that not so much this. And it’ll allow you to more quickly evaluate where do I want or what resources might be helpful for me as I do my planning. And you might even find that you might feel even more equipped by doing this process that you’re like, You know what?

00:33:25:08 – 00:33:49:06
Kyle Pearce
Every now and again I’m going to pull something from cluster of every now and again. I’m going to go to every day map every now and again. I’m going to go to the make math moments problem based all units that we have on our website. So really, I think the goal is, again, that intentionality, understanding what it is that you’re after and then kind of putting those pieces together.

00:33:49:08 – 00:34:09:12
Kyle Pearce
Because to date, it’s so funny because we work, John and I work with districts across North America and beyond. We help them with their district planning. And in many cases, these districts are going through curriculum reviews. And it’s actually hard on us because it’s like we’ll work with one district that’s trying to ditch one curriculum to start this curriculum.

00:34:09:17 – 00:34:29:03
Kyle Pearce
And then we’re with a different district that’s doing the exact opposite. And then what we get to is the nuts and bolts of it all is like, why are we doing this in the first place? In many cases, because they’re like, we didn’t like the one we had or the scores didn’t change or a teacher complained or these teachers complained about this, that and the next thing.

00:34:29:09 – 00:34:58:14
Kyle Pearce
And then two states over, you’ve got a district that’s doing the exact opposite change, right? So we really try to highlight that the resource itself, while can give you a great starting point, it’s actually much less important than say, which one is it and which 1 a.m. I going all in on or some in on. And it’s more about, again, recognizing and becoming more fluent with what am I after, what do I really want here?

00:34:58:16 – 00:35:04:22
Kyle Pearce
And you’ll feel so much more empowered, I think, by engaging in some of that work.

00:35:04:24 – 00:35:26:01
Katrien Vance
Let me ask you one more question. What about in terms of parent response and the difference between I’m making up my own curriculum and I’m pulling from these places and you’ve got to trust my years of experience and being able to say to them, We’re using this, here’s the name, here’s the publisher. In this case, it’s from a university.

00:35:26:03 – 00:35:34:16
Katrien Vance
They’ve been crafting it for 30 years. I have to admit it’s felt good to be able to say that we give them that name for the past couple of years.

00:35:34:20 – 00:35:51:02
Jon Orr
Are you saying you felt confident that your choices to support their students has been validated because you didn’t have to put it together? Someone else with authority put this together? Is that where your comfort has kind of been?

00:35:51:05 – 00:35:53:06
Katrien Vance
Yeah. There’s someone else with authority part.

00:35:53:07 – 00:36:02:08
Jon Orr
Absolutely right. And you’re worried about a parent who is questioning your choices that all of a sudden that’s what you’re worried about.

00:36:02:14 – 00:36:06:04
Katrien Vance
Not super worried. I’m just acknowledging that part in my brain that.

00:36:06:04 – 00:36:09:06
Jon Orr
It’s worried about like it could happen. And what do I say?

00:36:09:08 – 00:36:39:07
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, you feel like a little bit more secure that they might be thinking. And I. I want to go maybe a step further, too, and say by no means are we maybe promoting, say, to a district or something to not have at least resource as the starting point. So that’s not what we’re saying. So we’re not we would actually say it’s probably not a good move if all the teachers out there just were randomly grabbing or now randomly is the key word, right?

00:36:39:07 – 00:37:04:02
Kyle Pearce
So having a starting point is always a good fit. But I guess what we’re trying to hopefully the big takeaway here is that regardless of what your starting point is, be it illustrative, be it a different resource, again, illustrative, put together and founded by an amazing mathematician, amazing educator, and is very well regarded. So that might be maybe your home base.

00:37:04:02 – 00:37:24:00
Kyle Pearce
You’re starting point but I think as you’re evaluating that that home base or that starting point, you want to know kind of what it is you’re looking for so that you can make that choice. And it sounds like in your district or in your school that maybe there isn’t sort of like a home base, a resource as a starting point.

00:37:24:00 – 00:38:03:04
Kyle Pearce
And I would argue that everybody should have at least a starting point. And then you can use your professional judgment to enhance right. Versus if it’s just randomly mixing and matching for the vast majority of people, that ends up being a big experiment, which we wouldn’t necessarily advocate for. Right? So it’s like but we also want to give you confidence that regardless of where you hang your hat in this next year, if it’s illustrative as a starting point or if it’s DES most curriculum, which is a paid curriculum, unfortunately, then you at least know that that was put together very intentionally.

00:38:03:06 – 00:38:10:01
Kyle Pearce
And then we can still engage in this work where we go and seek out the resources that you need to attain what you’re after.

00:38:10:03 – 00:38:27:22
Jon Orr
And when a parent calls and it’s questioning what they’re doing in a roundabout ways, they’re saying like, we’re unsure of the choices you’re making. And do you have the best interest in my kids mind? And I think that’s what usually happens when a parent calls. Right, they’re voicing really that concern. It’s like I’m very concerned that I’m not sure you have the best interest.

00:38:27:22 – 00:38:59:15
Jon Orr
So if you’re just doing the random poll, then that is the concern. And that I would be concerned as a parent if there is no intentionality in the lesson choice of what I’m doing on that day. But if I have conviction that I’m choosing this lesson for these students on this day, because that’s what they need. And I’m this is the standard that we’re covering a parent will not when you have that conversation and you can justify your choice, that parents are going to be like that makes sense.

00:38:59:17 – 00:39:22:07
Jon Orr
They’re looking to see where your confidence is. If I’m not confident of my choice, then I have to actually rethink my choice. Maybe it’s like I should be confident in what choice I make. If a parent sees that confidence, they’re like, She got this. There’s no issue anymore. It’s usually when there’s like, I’m not sure. And the kid, like, everything’s unsure.

00:39:22:07 – 00:39:37:06
Jon Orr
They go home. They tell Mom and Dad, Mom and dad call. This is where these things come from, really. It’s like this like not actually been intentional with what my lesson looks like today. But when we are intentional, we know what we’re kind of working towards. These are the goals. Then you’re not going to get any calls. How are you feeling?

00:39:37:06 – 00:39:39:13
Jon Orr
What do you feel like your next step is?

00:39:39:15 – 00:40:01:09
Katrien Vance
I think my next step is to start with you said start with the really big ideas, 1020, whatever it is, the really big ideas and really map that out for myself and then think about, especially while I still have access to all the different resources. What worked in that was what I liked about it and why I liked.

00:40:01:12 – 00:40:27:19
Kyle Pearce
I love that that to me feels like a great first step. And then ultimately, even if, let’s say you couldn’t access your husband says you’re not allowed anymore, honey, because of my job you can’t access. But you now have a clear plan like John saying there’s an intentional plan of this is what I really loved about the order of things, the way things happened in these lessons.

00:40:27:21 – 00:40:56:16
Kyle Pearce
And I’ve got a lot of these ideas ready to go, and I know that I can either replicate that same experience or a similar experience or maybe a better experience. And I might have some spots here where, like, you know, this lesson here, I’m not sure what I’m going to do if I don’t have access to the old tool, but that’s when you can go, okay, now I’m going to intentionally search for that one so that it’s not like an aimless pursuit every single night.

00:40:56:16 – 00:41:30:22
Kyle Pearce
Where you going? Like, what’s tomorrow’s lesson? What’s tomorrow’s? It’s sort of like you’re like, No, no, got this. I’ve got a pretty solid plan and I’ve got a couple holes here that I want to fill. Might take me a little bit of time, but ultimately, at the end, even in doing that work, I believe and we’ve seen it happen, is that when you do that type of work, it’s almost like the delivery of it also improves over time because you’ve thought about it so intentionally and then you get to actually get rid of maybe some of the things I’ve been doing in the past that actually weren’t that helpful.

00:41:30:24 – 00:41:40:06
Kyle Pearce
And I get to do more of the things that actually are helpful so that I can actually have more or a greater, deeper impact on the students I’m working with.

00:41:40:08 – 00:41:40:24
Katrien Vance

00:41:41:01 – 00:41:43:24
Jon Orr
Well, what would you say is your big takeaway today?

00:41:44:04 – 00:42:06:09
Katrien Vance
Well, it was both validating and the flipside of that, but both good and bad to hear you guys talk about being always on the hunt. I mean, that’s exactly how I feel. I feel like I’ve been on the hunt for the right curriculum, the right tasks, the right approach. I mean, I have completely changed the way I teach math in the last ten years.

00:42:06:11 – 00:42:14:02
Katrien Vance
And the hunt isn’t over. And that’s kind of bad news in some ways for really, it’d be a lot I haven’t.

00:42:14:02 – 00:42:46:00
Jon Orr
Yet figure it out. It’s not like, Oh, that’s done now. Lesson check course over. It’s never, you know, in my 19 years I taught I said they got the same courses every year and it’s even though it’s like I think, I remember thinking like my binders complete once right and going like but then that mean I think we said this a long time ago, Kyla, we haven’t said this in a while, but I mean like that’s me thinking that for ten years I taught for ten years, but really I taught the same year ten times and that’s not great for my kids, right?

00:42:46:02 – 00:42:49:02
Jon Orr
Yeah, it’s kind of like, what is the right move today for this group?

00:42:49:03 – 00:42:54:15
Katrien Vance
Yeah, it’s so much more of an active thing that I think people realize it is teaching.

00:42:54:18 – 00:43:20:13
Kyle Pearce
Well, listen to this. It’s like teaching can be super passive, but it doesn’t mean it’s teaching. Well, no, right. If you want to be an effective teacher, if you want to have an impact and it doesn’t even guarantee this is the crazy part, nothing we do can guarantee learning. But if we want to have the greatest chance at having an impact with students, it is a very active process, meaning we’re never done.

00:43:20:13 – 00:43:45:20
Kyle Pearce
Because let’s be honest, the curriculum that now is gone from pilot that you like that’s going from pilot to a paid resource, Why didn’t it come out 50 years ago? If it was? It’s because we’re still working on it. And guess what? 20 years that curriculum, it’s going to take a lot of tweaks, right? So even though it’s amazing today, the reality is, is that ten years from now, it might not be thought of as amazing anymore.

00:43:45:20 – 00:43:58:22
Kyle Pearce
So I taking that when making that intentional choice to continue the learning is going to pay dividends to you from how you feel as an educator, but then also for the students that you’re working with.

00:43:58:24 – 00:44:04:15
Katrien Vance
Okay, that’s not what you guys were supposed to say, but that’s why.

00:44:04:17 – 00:44:27:09
Kyle Pearce
We so appreciate you. Thank so awesome to spend another opportunity here having you back to chat And of course this goes to you, but also all the math and makers out there, friends know Pebble is an old pebble or too stale of a pebble or a pebble that we think we’ve kicked out before because the reality is there are no simple answers.

00:44:27:09 – 00:44:34:11
Kyle Pearce
And we’d love to chat with you again. And of course, anyone who’s listening who wants to hop on and dig through with us.

00:44:34:17 – 00:44:52:14
Jon Orr
We are going to check in with you and see what has happened since then. So stay tuned. We’ll reach out within the year. We won’t let it go like six years this time. So we’ll reach out soon and we’ll see what progress you’ve made or what new pebbles we can rattle around and try to kick loose.

00:44:52:16 – 00:44:54:17
Katrien Vance
Nice. I appreciate that. Thank you.

00:44:54:19 – 00:44:57:16
Jon Orr
Thank Thanks so much for talking with us today. And we’ll be in touch.

00:44:57:22 – 00:45:01:09
Katrien Vance
Thank you. Thank you for your time, guys. I appreciate it.

00:45:01:11 – 00:45:23:02
Jon Orr
All right. There you have it. There was that conversation with Catriona and. I want to think about and reflect on the conversation. I think about our classroom tree. We think about the six areas of our classroom tree. I’m often reminded in this particular case of the leaves of the tree, which are our resources of the tree. We talked all about the curriculum here today and what we could be doing with our curriculum resources.

00:45:23:02 – 00:45:51:16
Jon Orr
How do we transform those curriculum resources? How do we make adjustments? How do we supplement? These are all pieces of the leaves of our classroom tree, and we want to strengthen that. Now, even though today we talked kind of what we can do when that resources is pulled from us and how do we kind of adjust. I’m often also reflected on the trunk of our tree, which is our goals are pillars of what we really want to see in our classrooms, like what are we really after?

00:45:51:18 – 00:46:19:15
Jon Orr
And today we talked a little bit about that with CARIAD about what is it that we are hoping to achieve in our classrooms. I like to call those the pillars of what we’re doing in our math class. Are we here for resilience in teaching resilience? Are we here for thinking about how restructuring our assessments of what that really means, like these pillars that what we really want our students to achieve in our room and get out of our experience in our room, they act as filters for any decisions that come our way.

00:46:19:15 – 00:46:40:04
Jon Orr
So when we set our pillars up, we set the things that we really care about, and we might pick four pillars, three pillars these guiding principles of what it means to be in our classroom. Then when we have a new resource sent to us, because that often happens the other way is that, hey, maybe you didn’t have a resource that was commonly used and now you do.

00:46:40:04 – 00:47:14:07
Jon Orr
And the district is saying Thou shalt use this resource. When these things come into play, these new initiatives come down, you’re asked to do this, you’re through that. Do these things help support your core pillars? What you believe in math class. Having those pillars makes it easier to make adjustments. It makes it easier to keep focused on what’s mattering, because in this case, when we have to go search for a new resource or search for new lessons and make up the lessons that we need, that filter, those pillars help guide us, makes it easier, makes them more comforting for us.

00:47:14:08 – 00:47:36:11
Jon Orr
I think it make the work less daunting in overwhelming where we have those pillars. So take some time. Think about what those pillars could be. Katri had reached out to us today like she did in their previous episodes when she went over to make map moments dot com port slash mentor. If you go there and there’s a form to fill out and you can fill that form in, let us know your pebble.

00:47:36:11 – 00:48:02:13
Jon Orr
What’s the pebble rattling around in your shoe? Katrina thought that her pebble was it going to be applicable to everyone? And it may not feel applicable that, but I think when we reflect to go, are we all picking our pillars of mathematics? I think that part is common for all of us. And you might think that your pebble that’s rattling around in your shoe might not fit the podcast, but we’ll encourage you to get on over to make Macrumors.com for each mentor.

00:48:02:13 – 00:48:12:03
Jon Orr
Put your pebble in there and we’ll chat about your pebble here on the show and it will help another person just like carry on conversation to help you here today.

00:48:12:08 – 00:48:16:23
Kyle Pearce
Well, until next time, my math moment Maker friends. I’m Kyle Pierce.

00:48:16:23 – 00:48:18:00
Jon Orr
And I am John or.

00:48:18:03 – 00:48:20:15
Kyle Pearce
High fives for us.

00:48:20:17 – 00:48:33:23
Jon Orr
And then the high five for you Oh maybe.

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.