Episode #284: The Secrets of Engagement Through Timing – A Math Mentoring Moment

May 6, 2024 | Podcast | 0 comments



Episode Summary:

Are you ready to transform your math classroom into a hub of student engagement and participation?

If you’re a math teacher or educator striving to maintain sustained student engagement and lead effective, captivating lessons, this episode is crafted for you.

We caught up with 2-time mentoring moment guest Jeremy Sarzana, a high school teacher in Boston.  Together we dive into nuanced strategies to engage the varying level of audiences we see during our day using timing, cadence, and the art of “reading the room”. 

This is another Math Mentoring Moment episode where we chat with a teacher like you who is working through some problems of practice and together we brainstorm ways to overcome them.

Don’t miss out on these transformative insights – listen to this episode now to elevate your teaching and make every math moment matter in your classroom!

What You’ll Learn:

  • Discover the effectiveness of the think-pair-share strategy in stimulating student participation in group discussions.

  • Understand the challenges of sustaining student engagement day-to-day and learn techniques to overcome them.

  • Learn the art of ‘Reading the Room’ and the critical role of timing and cadence in keeping students engaged throughout the lesson.

Attention District Math Leaders:

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Episode Summary:

Jeremy’s Journey and Teaching Improvements

Kyle, Jon, and Jeremy reunited and shared their experiences and improvements in their respective roles. Jeremy, a geometry teacher at a vocational school in Boston, discussed his struggles with being overwhelmed and in a survival mode while teaching. He expressed his current satisfaction with his school’s approach, which has shifted more responsibility to the students, aligning with principles discussed in a podcast. Jeremy also shared his success with particular teaching protocols. The group decided to continue sharing their stories to inspire and encourage others who might be facing similar challenges.

Discussing Classroom Strategies and Reflection

Kyle, Jon, and Jeremy discussed the effectiveness of the ‘think pair share’ strategy in facilitating classroom discussions. They agreed that this strategy encouraged more engagement and discussion than a whole-group discussion and fostered a supportive and validating environment. They also discussed the importance of reflection in classroom activities and the benefits it has for both students and educators. The conversation touched on the idea of incorporating short reflection periods into classroom activities to enhance learning and teaching, with Kyle emphasizing his vision of progressively creating a more student-focused learning environment. The group also shared their experiences with different strategies for engaging students in class, such as the ‘notice and wonder’ activity, and discussed the need for constant improvement and tweaking in teaching.

Enhancing Curiosity and Productive Learning

Jeremy shared his successful experience of teaching a geometry lesson using circles and the importance of encouraging students’ curiosity and predictions in the classroom. Kyle proposed a ‘notice and wonder’ protocol to keep students engaged and discussed the concept of the ‘Sunk cost fallacy’ as a potential classroom scenario. The team also discussed the importance of withholding information to allow students to discover new concepts on their own. Overall, the team emphasized the significance of creating a productive and engaging learning environment for students.

Adapting Teaching Approaches for Diverse Audiences

Jon emphasizes the importance of timing and pace for maintaining student engagement, particularly in general education classes. He moves quickly through activities like notice and wonder, giving little time for responses to keep students focused. For honors classes, Jon has more flexibility with timing since behavioral engagement is less of a concern. Kyle and Jeremy agree that teaching approaches need to be adapted based on the student audience.

Discovering Personal Teaching Style and Engagement

Kyle, Jon, and Jeremy discussed the importance of finding their own teaching style and cadence that resonates with their students. Jeremy initially had his class time management mixed up, thinking his honors class needed more time while his general education class needed less. After clarifying this, the group emphasized the importance of understanding their students’ needs and adjusting their teaching approach accordingly. They also discussed the significance of having a dynamic and engaging teaching presence that reflects their own personality and connects with their students’ energy.

Adaptability and Effective Teaching Strategies

Jon emphasized the importance of adaptability and reading the audience in teaching, pointing out that effective teaching is an art that requires constant adjustment based on the students’ responses. Jeremy and Kyle agreed, highlighting the need to be able to speed up or slow down the pace of instruction based on the students’ level of engagement. They also stressed the role of structures like the think-pair-share framework in facilitating this process and the challenges involved in effectively implementing it.

Emphasizing Reflection and Self-Awareness in Teaching

Kyle emphasized the importance of reflection and self-awareness in teaching, drawing on his own experiences as a teacher. He suggested that by adopting a more reflective approach, teachers could develop a habit of constantly evaluating and improving their lessons. Kyle also pointed out that as teachers became more experienced and confident, their awareness of what was happening in the classroom would increase, and they would be better able to manage stress and distractions. Jeremy and Jon agreed with Kyle’s perspective, highlighting that they too had found an increase in awareness and confidence in their teaching.

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00:00:00:05 – 00:00:20:01
Jeremy Sarzana
But I guess it all kind of led to student engagement. One thing I got critiqued on was it seems like Mr. Samson is doing most of the heavy lifting in the class. What I just talked about was, I should say my honors class has been going really well with the thing per share. But I’m saying, like the general class is, a lot of times we’ll do the quiet time and they’ll just go on their phone or just check out.

00:00:20:02 – 00:00:22:03
Jeremy Sarzana
And I’m wondering, is it because.

00:00:22:05 – 00:00:51:02
Jon Orr
Are you ready to transform your math classroom into a hub of student engagement and participation? If you’re a math teacher or educator striving to maintain sustained student engagement, I think we all are always kind of after that. You’re looking to lead effective, captivating lessons, and hey, another episode is ready for you to continue to listen to. We caught up with our two time mentoring moment guest Jeremy Susanna, a high school teacher from Boston.

00:00:51:04 – 00:01:10:20
Jon Orr
And together we dive into some nuanced strategies to engage the varying levels of audiences we see during our day, using timing and cadence and the art of reading the room. We’re excited for you to hear this one because I think we always kind of think about what we should be doing in class and go, Hey, I’ve got this lesson.

00:01:10:20 – 00:01:33:21
Jon Orr
I’m going to repeat this lesson in the next group. But it’s like sometimes it falls flat. And that’s what we’re talking about here today, is thinking about how do I change one lesson from the next to meet my students and where they are? And sometimes it has to do with timing and cadence. So this is another math mentoring moment episode where we chat with a teacher just like you, who is working through some problems of practice, and together we brainstorm ways to overcome them.

00:01:34:02 – 00:01:48:24
Jon Orr
All right, so let’s go.

00:01:49:01 – 00:01:53:14
Kyle Pearce
Welcome to the Making Mouth Moments That Matter podcast. I’m Kyle Pearce and.

00:01:53:14 – 00:01:56:05
Jon Orr
I’m Jon Orr we are from makemathmoments.com.

00:01:56:07 – 00:02:06:23
Kyle Pearce
This is the only podcast that coaches you through a six step plan to grow your mathematics program whether at the classroom level or at the district level.

00:02:07:00 – 00:02:19:22
Jon Orr
And we do that by helping you cultivate and foster your mathematics 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.

00:02:19:24 – 00:02:37:18
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 that you serve.

00:02:37:20 – 00:02:55:04
Jon Orr
Hey there, Jeremy. Welcome back for, I think a third time. A third time. It’s a Where are They Now episode. We had you back, I think, the first time on episode 177, which is a while ago. Then we talked to you last year and kind of fill us in on some of the changes along the way.

00:02:55:09 – 00:03:02:09
Kyle Pearce
Look at James Tanton again. You’re hot on the heels of James Tanton. I think he’s three and a half. Three and a half, Right.

00:03:02:10 – 00:03:19:20
Jon Orr
We decided I think we were chatting last time around how to think about your problem based lessons and keep kids in the flow. We’re ready to kind of keep this discussion going and hear how things have been going. We said, we check in with you and here we are. So fill us in. Any changes along the way? You’re still in the same role.

00:03:19:20 – 00:03:25:06
Jon Orr
You still coming from Boston. Fill us in on some of those type of details and then we’ll dig in.

00:03:25:08 – 00:03:46:16
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah. So I’m still at the same school, which is it’s a vocational school in Boston, Massachusetts, a public school, and I’m a 10th grade geometry teacher. And one of my classes is an honors class, which is awesome. And then another one is really cool, too, which is just kind of the general population. It’s like just general maybe some students that are on like IEPs.

00:03:46:17 – 00:03:50:15
Jeremy Sarzana
And then I have a third class, which is actually some English language learners.

00:03:50:16 – 00:04:13:07
Kyle Pearce
Very interesting. So it’s giving you a diverse cross-section, right. And I’m super curious to kind of go down that path a little bit. But what I recall back the last we spoke was you were trying some new things, but it was almost like we talked about it before we hit record, like in a bit of survival mode. So can you sort of maybe just to catch some of the listeners up?

00:04:13:07 – 00:04:36:04
Kyle Pearce
We have lots of people who listen to all the podcasts, but it may have been quite a while since you were last on. So can you maybe give like a high level view your perspective of maybe where you were then and sort of like what the big takeaway was from that episode that you started to try to focus in on, And then we’ll kind of cruise into sort of what’s happening, what’s changed over time.

00:04:36:06 – 00:04:52:23
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, So I mean, it’s just funny. Like so last year as I was like I was I kind of I felt like I was in survival mode because the previous year I was co teaching with somebody and I was kind of like pushing into the position of the special ed teacher still with the math license. But the way it was just the other guy was really like the teacher.

00:04:52:23 – 00:04:59:18
Jeremy Sarzana
He was seen as a teacher. I was the helper and not the helper, but just more of like if that’s that, at least that’s how the teachers view me. Right.

00:04:59:18 – 00:05:00:10
Jon Orr
Got it.

00:05:00:12 – 00:05:18:20
Jeremy Sarzana
But anyway, but I was like the special. That’s always kind of helping out with just some of the kids we needed like extra help. So then in my mind though, during that year I was like, Oh my God, next year I’m going to do once I get my own classroom and do everything like differently. Because, you know, I’ve been listening to your podcast religiously and I was like, I can’t believe I’m seeing this as I can’t wait to get my own classroom.

00:05:18:20 – 00:05:21:19
Jeremy Sarzana
And then I got my own classroom and they couldn’t do anything, right?

00:05:21:20 – 00:05:34:03
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, well, it’s probably like that feeling of overwhelm, right? There’s so many things and it’s like, What do you do next? Strength. What do you focus on? I’ve got to get my curriculum together. I’ve got to.

00:05:34:03 – 00:05:58:21
Jon Orr
It’s a lot. And I think we’ve said this here and it can be it’s almost like if you listen religiously to what we talk about here on a regular basis, it’s not that we’re giving a false impression of what it’s really in the classroom, but we have to kind of think about that. The people that we’re talking with that way, Kyle and I taught or teach, there was a long progression to get there.

00:05:58:22 – 00:06:15:11
Jon Orr
I think sometimes we get that tendency. I’ve said that we this many times the podcast is that we tend to compare our bottom 80% to people’s top 20%. And I think when if you kind of pick up where people are talking about on this particular podcast, you’re like, I got to be doing that, I got to be doing that, go do that.

00:06:15:11 – 00:06:31:10
Jon Orr
And then we just start. It’s so much right, It’s so much. Whereas we didn’t even do it that way. We did little change over the course of nights. You know, I taught for 19 years in high school classrooms, so it took me 19 years to get to where I was. And I think we want our classrooms to be like, boom, ready to go.

00:06:31:12 – 00:06:48:12
Jon Orr
I know it takes time and I guess that’s what happened to you. So it’s like we apologize. We apologize, Jeremy, that we made you feel so overwhelmed by listening in and trying all of the amazing things. So where are you now? You’ve felt like you were in survival mode. You were trying to figure out the flow of your room.

00:06:48:12 – 00:06:54:03
Jon Orr
You’re trying to manage everything, and now you’re I don’t know what. Fill us in how you feel now. It’s been a year later.

00:06:54:08 – 00:07:09:17
Jeremy Sarzana
So I just want to say this. My school, I’m actually really happy about this because it’s like everything that you guys talk about, our principal is aligned with it. My math coaches, the lead math teachers, and also there’s an assistant principal that’s head of the math department that they’re all on board with this whole what we call this.

00:07:09:17 – 00:07:10:20
Jon Orr
Which is good teaching.

00:07:10:22 – 00:07:13:13
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, right.

00:07:13:15 – 00:07:16:24
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, I love it. I love it.

00:07:17:01 – 00:07:22:00
Jeremy Sarzana
We’re transferring the heavy lifting to the students. Mm.

00:07:22:02 – 00:07:26:05
Kyle Pearce
That’s a great way to describe it. That’s exactly the goal, Right?

00:07:26:07 – 00:07:44:16
Jeremy Sarzana
That’s like what our school is trying to do, and we’re doing, like, this school. I think their share, which is, well, it’s just, I guess is another way to say you do y’all do we do whatever it is. Just like if you give the students think time and then you go, okay, talk to your partner, and then you have that share, which is kind of like the sequencing.

00:07:44:16 – 00:07:48:18
Jeremy Sarzana
That’s what the teachers will be doing, right? So it’s like I’m seeing some good success with that.

00:07:48:18 – 00:08:05:20
Kyle Pearce
I love it that one move, that one protocol. I remember the first time I heard it think pair share and in my head as the educator, like I didn’t know what it looked like in action, but I had heard about it. We learned about it probably in like some sort of staff pre This is very early in my journey.

00:08:05:22 – 00:08:38:18
Kyle Pearce
I have no idea how I would use that and I just never really knew. And then through this journey, that’s essentially what we were doing. I didn’t even necessarily recognize it as that because I don’t necessarily say it that way to my students, although some people do. But the reality is when we give those students just a little bit of time and when you let the room actually go silent and just allow everybody to just allow their thoughts to happen and take some time to sort of think if they choose and some students may not, some students may just sit right.

00:08:38:18 – 00:09:02:09
Kyle Pearce
And that’s hard to we want to nudge them along as well. But then we give them that opportunity to now turn and talk and say, hey, what’s going on? What do you think? As soon as someone talks and as soon as that one person says something relevant, if it’s different than what the other person was thinking, there’s this sort of natural sort of human response to sort of like, share your thoughts, right?

00:09:02:09 – 00:09:22:03
Kyle Pearce
Share your opinion, and then it just makes everyone feel so much more comfortable to be able to like, I’ve been validated by my partner. Right. Or if maybe the partner wasn’t a great partner and maybe they didn’t validate what I said, or maybe they helped me to see something I was missing. Then I might actually now have an opportunity to rethink.

00:09:22:05 – 00:09:49:24
Kyle Pearce
And maybe I do change my perspective on that. Right. And it just gives everybody just a little opportunity to kind of get their thoughts going, to throw it out there at a small level, be it one or maybe it’s a small group and then, hey, I’ve got some confidence here now, maybe even if I’m not necessarily super excited to share in front of a group, maybe I might be willing to because, hey, I’ve, I know that multiple people have my back here.

00:09:50:01 – 00:10:11:19
Jon Orr
I know. And Jeremy, I want to hear your thoughts on this, too. But I know that if I wanted a whole class discussion and I did not do a think pair share first, there’s no way that I was getting the same level of engagement and discussion happening at the whole group level if they didn’t already do what you just said and engage in the think first and then the share with the elbow partner to get the validation.

00:10:11:19 – 00:10:16:18
Jon Orr
But I don’t know. Jeremy, what do you think? You said you’re having success with that. What does it look like for you?

00:10:16:20 – 00:10:31:03
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, first of all, you guys said that same time. It’s just I love the idea of helping students see that there’s something they can bring to the table. What can you do with this and what can you do with this information? We have strategies for that. We have to like the three reads or can you draw a picture?

00:10:31:03 – 00:10:42:21
Jeremy Sarzana
What’s the important information? So that’s to help students. We’re just going to try and I just like sit there and do nothing. So we’re trying to draw a picture. So and just I love that idea of just like letting them try something on their own and build that.

00:10:43:02 – 00:11:07:10
Kyle Pearce
100%. Yeah, 100% something that I think it does. And it might be easy to miss. But I’ve also noticed this like when we actually do take in, we’re intentional about it. So it’s like we’re going to take a couple of minutes here. So again, is it 45 seconds to think on your own? Is it a minute? At first I think we’re hesitant because when the classroom gets quiet, it’s almost like feels awkward a little bit.

00:11:07:11 – 00:11:30:01
Kyle Pearce
But when it becomes a habit, right, where it’s like, this is how we do things in our classroom, it slows down the pace a little bit, right? So it’s like we’re not just I am the type of person when I have we talk about intentionality on this podcast. I’ve always been this way as an educator. When I wanted to do this, this, this and this, I was making sure I got through it to be able to pause.

00:11:30:03 – 00:11:48:24
Kyle Pearce
The students are pausing and thinking, but think about the effect that it has on us as the educator. It gives you an opportunity, whether I don’t know if I realized this early in that journey, but when I have that time to look and observe, to see who appears to be thinking, I don’t know if they are or not, because it’s all happening upstairs, but who seems to be in it?

00:11:48:24 – 00:12:12:13
Kyle Pearce
But then it also lets me reframe Where do I want to take this next What was the question I wanted to ask to kind of draw that? So these are really important moves that not only help the students, but it helps us to pause, reflect, maybe even take a quick glance. If I have a little point form note of where I wanted to go next or things that I really thought were important for the lesson, it’s like, Oh, okay, I know where I’m going.

00:12:12:15 – 00:12:33:00
Kyle Pearce
I’m back. All right, let’s bring it back and let’s let these kids talk. So I love that. So I’m wondering, let’s keep on cruising here. It sounds like you said you’ve had some gradual we’ll call it, progression towards this classroom that you’re envisioning. So talk to us a little bit about that. And then where would you say is your current pebble?

00:12:33:00 – 00:12:49:09
Kyle Pearce
Because we always say when we take a pebble out, it’s like you you realize there’s way more in there, right? Like you take this one out and you’re like, Oh, that one was bugging me. I move it, and then you go, Oh, shoot, there’s another one there now. So what’s going on in your classroom right now? What’s on your mind lately that we can kind of unpack together?

00:12:49:11 – 00:13:09:02
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah. And I just want to say one last thing about my takeaway from last time I was on the podcast. At one point I was talking about classroom discussions. This year, as the students are talking to each other, I am sequencing. And so and I do tell us when I’m like, I’m going to have you share first. So it’s like when it’s time, okay, I’m going to have a class discussion that I’m like, okay, Chris, you set us off.

00:13:09:02 – 00:13:26:06
Jeremy Sarzana
What did you do first? So it’s like I find that working so well. I mean, it’s not perfect, but it’s just like, so he’ll kind of walk me through it and then I would be like, Now I want to talk. Then I had like a second kid lined up. And so then I’ll talk to the other student. But it’s like, as this is happening, students are starting to ask questions.

00:13:26:07 – 00:13:29:06
Jeremy Sarzana
So it’s not perfect, but it’s going much better.

00:13:29:08 – 00:13:50:16
Kyle Pearce
I love Assam and the one thing I noticed as soon as we got on the call today and before we sort of turn this episode on hit that record button was just this idea that you’re seeing things gradually improving and again, just highlighting this, giving ourselves grace that it’s not an overnight thing and that it does take practice.

00:13:50:16 – 00:14:12:13
Kyle Pearce
And I like it this way. I didn’t like how that part happened. There’s constant tweaking, which I think is actually what makes this such a really awesome career, right where you get to be there and you get to it’s not like just doing the same thing over and over again. It’s actually by every single time I do something, I get to play with it just a little bit to try to get it a little bit better.

00:14:12:13 – 00:14:19:22
Kyle Pearce
So where would you say you are at in that journey and where is that current pebble kicking around for you?

00:14:19:24 – 00:14:36:18
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, I was really trying to because I had so many I was trying to think about, but I guess it all kind of led to student engagement. One thing I got critiqued on was it seems like Mr. Samson is doing most of the heavy lifting in the class. What I just talked about was, I should say my honors class has been going really well with the thing per share.

00:14:36:21 – 00:14:52:22
Jeremy Sarzana
But I’m saying, like the general class is a lot of times will do the quiet time and they’ll just go on their phone or just check out. And I’m wondering, is it because there’s not that low or enough? Because sometimes they do the exact same stuff I’m doing in my honors class with my Gen Z classes for the honors class?

00:14:53:00 – 00:14:56:16
Jeremy Sarzana
It just it goes great. And then I’m wondering, is it because there’s not a lot of good.

00:14:56:22 – 00:15:19:08
Jon Orr
I’m imagining with that. I think people listening as well. I’ve been there. I tried this year and I had no problem with engagement over here. It’s not working the way I thought it was going to be, and especially with when you say I think pair share and getting them to do that, think, I wonder makes me kind of wonder a few things about what typically happens at the beginning of class and then then also the middle of the class and at the end of the class.

00:15:19:08 – 00:15:36:22
Jon Orr
So pay me a picture. What do you feel is the main difference right now between the two classes? Let’s say your honors class and right now your kids who are checking out? And what does the structure say of your lesson look like the beginning, the middle of the end?

00:15:36:24 – 00:15:53:18
Jeremy Sarzana
Nine times out of ten, we do like a notice and wonder. It’s like they come in, they take the paper and they and they’re forced to notice one. And so they they write down three things that they notice and wonder or something like that In 5 minutes. And then I’m walking around and then I just basically have everybody share something.

00:15:53:20 – 00:16:13:10
Jeremy Sarzana
But I guess what I’m trying to think is that’s nine times out of ten that happens. That’s always great. I mean, it’s like in some of my classes that there’s less engagement. That’s the best part of the day for me, really, because it’s like now I’m finally like hearing their own thoughts, what’s going on in their heads, you know, because sometimes it will be like, Oh, I see the area up there and they will be like alluding to the radius of a circle or something.

00:16:13:12 – 00:16:28:01
Jeremy Sarzana
And like, I don’t say anything. I’m just like, okay. And then I’ll be like, I’ll write it on the board, you know what I mean? And then I’ll go, okay. Because I’ve learned not to be like, No, that’s not the area, That’s this. I’ve learned to like, just leave it there and hopefully, maybe a student will say something to me.

00:16:28:03 – 00:16:50:14
Jeremy Sarzana
But I just leave it there and then they go on to the next student and like because in the curriculum that we’re using, we have it’s talks about notice the wonders, but it basically just says if something someone says something about the whatever, they’ll say, I see the radius is five you kind of like market like oh yeah you annotated right so you pointed out there but then it’s just basically when you do the wonders and then the trigger that we have is just basically like is there anything else anybody is wondering?

00:16:50:14 – 00:16:56:20
Jeremy Sarzana
You say that at the end. Well, I mean, at least they’re following that and just not doing anything more than that. Go ahead.

00:16:56:22 – 00:17:00:21
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, John, I’m wondering, you’re looking sideways so I can tell you’re thinking, John.

00:17:00:21 – 00:17:02:01
Jon Orr
And you’re going like my head tilt.

00:17:02:06 – 00:17:12:09
Kyle Pearce
Yeah. Yeah. Because I feel like there’s so many different nuances to how you can engage a group in a notice and wonder. Is that where you’re going? John I think it is.

00:17:12:11 – 00:17:38:14
Jon Orr
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I have some thoughts on what I think I heard and what maybe we could do for sure to kind of like, get at that. And I’m trying to get at the real issue here. So you’re engaging in a notice, in wondering or and you’re engaging in kind of that protocol and you’re not seeing the engagement or you are seeing the engagement because I was getting it like I heard kids are saying stuff and you’re writing it down and I’m imagining what that looks like in my class and the way I do it.

00:17:38:14 – 00:17:50:06
Jon Orr
So I’m wondering where the real issue is here. Or it’s like you’re only getting maybe a couple of kids are saying stuff and it’s not going the way it goes in the other room. Fill me in on where the real issue is here.

00:17:50:12 – 00:18:07:06
Jeremy Sarzana
The engagement is great with that. And as I said, like that’s my favorite part of the day sometimes, as I said, is that I’m hearing as soon it’s own thoughts. So that’s great. But I guess after we do the notice wonder, it’s like then we start doing the think per share. And it did bring a lesson because I wanted to bring something specific.

00:18:07:12 – 00:18:27:07
Jeremy Sarzana
So as I said, this one grade with my honors class, but then I did it with my other students. So it was basically we’re talking about circles now in this day. We didn’t do a notice on one, so I’ll start that off as basically this is a do now and they’re given the few circles with like we’re leading them into like talking about area of sectors, what portion of the circle is what is the area of that portion of the survey.

00:18:27:09 – 00:18:42:14
Jeremy Sarzana
So the first question is just we put the formulas for them. Area of a circle is this radius squared times pi. So it is on the paper for them right? And then there’s like a circle and you can see the first one is like half shaded in the second one like three quarters of the shaded. So this is supposed to be like independent.

00:18:42:17 – 00:18:45:14
Jeremy Sarzana
I don’t see it’s kind of hard to see what like a visual, but yeah.

00:18:45:14 – 00:18:48:15
Jon Orr
Yeah, I look up and I’m imagining So keep it going. Yeah. Yeah.

00:18:48:18 – 00:19:06:12
Jeremy Sarzana
As a department, we modify the curriculum, we take the curriculum and we kind of do our own tweaks. And that’s like the lesson that we came up with, which is give the student and will give them the area, form the first circle. And then the final question is what is it specifically says Find the area of the shaded sector of the circle.

00:19:06:15 – 00:19:27:20
Kyle Pearce
So what I’m hearing, based on what you’re saying and again, these are all just ideas because when we’re sharing, there’s never a way unless we’re there to be able to say, Oh yeah, absolutely this or absolutely that. But some of the things I’m hearing make me wonder if it’s almost like when it comes to that notice in wonder protocol.

00:19:27:22 – 00:20:01:24
Kyle Pearce
One of the ways that I tried to treat that notice wonder protocol is I actually try to treat it as really loose. I try to keep it very, very loose, meaning I’m actually trying to get students to truly share anything and everything they notice and wonder. So that’s one thing. But then in order for that to be successful, if I’m struggling in that spot, then where I start to go is, is the problem curious enough out of the bag for a student to actually be interested in that noticing wonder?

00:20:01:24 – 00:20:24:12
Kyle Pearce
And it’s a hard thing because it’s not every problem’s going to just be super ultra curious, right? Especially when I’m in geometry, for example. It could be something I work towards in my classroom culture where it’s like, Hey, we can now find very curious things. But I wonder about when I’m doing a problem and we like to call that a problem based lesson.

00:20:24:14 – 00:20:42:18
Kyle Pearce
We think about what is sort of the surprise that I’m trying to get them towards. Dan Meyer calls that the mathematical surprise. So it’s like, why are we doing this problem? They don’t need to know why yet, by the way. But me in my mind, I go at some point, they need to want to know something about this thing.

00:20:42:22 – 00:21:05:14
Kyle Pearce
And I’m going to try to breadcrumb them along. And that initial notice in wonder can be helpful, but sometimes it can be difficult in certain cases. So then I’ve got to start almost think of like what’s going to be the wonder if, let’s say, the notice in wonder flops and kids are just not interested in engaging. That’s where I think I’ve done.

00:21:05:14 – 00:21:24:24
Kyle Pearce
When you were talking about you doing the heavy lifting or the kids doing the heavy lifting, it’s like I think the heaviest lifting we do is before the lesson when we try to anticipate what might happen and then even more so, what am I going to do if that thing doesn’t happen the way I wanted it to? Right?

00:21:24:24 – 00:21:42:13
Kyle Pearce
Like in a perfect world, I walk in, I always talk about my first year teaching. I thought walking in to a classroom, the kids are all going to love it. They were going to love everything I had to share about math, and it turned out that they did it. The problem I had was that I didn’t spend any time thinking about that possibility.

00:21:42:15 – 00:22:18:03
Kyle Pearce
So now I’m going, okay, if it’s a notice in wonder and let’s see the notice and wonder go short. They share a couple of things and I’m like, okay, I can tell that we’ve kind of lost or I’m not getting the engagement from the notice and wonder. Now that’s where I can go. You know what I’m wondering? And then you posed the question, and even though it’s not their wonder, but it’s like a good juicy question that opens that door for some sort of estimate, some sort of prediction, some sort of kanji lecture, where now you can utilize that structure that you’re already becoming.

00:22:18:03 – 00:22:38:16
Kyle Pearce
I’m going to call you expert in to think pair share when you go based on blank and I don’t even know we talking radius in circles so I’m picturing it’s a geometry problem of some type and you go how many units do you think if you know that it’s this many units from here to here, I want you to look at this line right here.

00:22:38:16 – 00:22:58:03
Kyle Pearce
We haven’t even defined it. We haven’t defined it as a corridor or whatever term that we talked about. We’re just like, I want you to look here and I want you to tell me, knowing what you know now, because you’ve noticed the radius, you notice this, you notice that I’m wondering, make a guess. Turn to your neighbor and tell them how many units.

00:22:58:05 – 00:23:28:00
Kyle Pearce
And why do you think so? And that turn in to happens, and all of a sudden, it’s like my notice in wonder may not have happened the way I would have out of the textbook, done it or out of the curriculum, the way that the curriculum said we were going to lead this. But it’s like I saved the day with a good curious question, which is a good curious wonder that nobody else wandered in the room but you had already thought of as like, you’re this is where I’m going to get them.

00:23:28:02 – 00:23:49:14
Kyle Pearce
Now, I know we’re speaking in general terms here because we don’t even know what this question actually is, But I see you nodding over there. So it makes me I’m curious to hear, like, what’s resonating about that or do you see how there might be something there where you might be able to kind of latch on to it and maybe take that curiosity a little bit further?

00:23:49:16 – 00:24:09:12
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah. I mean, I was just going to say that like it basically comes down to what fraction of the circle is like shaded, I think you can say could have been estimated if you in your estimate explanation what fraction of the circle and then maybe we went to pass. Obviously maybe it would be like some angle that’s like not obvious, but maybe they give an estimate totally.

00:24:09:14 – 00:24:38:14
Kyle Pearce
If you think about having that prompt ready to go, like something that’s going to give them a little bit, but not give them enough information where they can actually calculate it or come to the actual answer to your wonder. That is sort of the magic land we like to call it the sunk cost territory, right? And if you read up on the sunk cost fallacy, it’s this idea that the more you put into something, the more you want to stick with it.

00:24:38:16 – 00:24:56:14
Kyle Pearce
So it’s like the kids now are looking into it. They don’t have enough information. That lack of information, the open loop that’s there, right? They’re like, Oh, I wonder what that is. And even the students, even have half the students don’t even give it a good prediction and they’re just sitting there. I always laugh because you get that student.

00:24:56:14 – 00:25:16:05
Kyle Pearce
Everyone has the student. That’s a little too cool for school during class, and they’re like, I’m not participating. They like, have that stance about them, right? And they’re sitting there and you can tell they’re not even looking at it. And then somebody says, I think it’s blank long or I think it’s this fraction of the circle. And then you see that student do one of these like a double take.

00:25:16:05 – 00:25:33:22
Kyle Pearce
Like it’s like they look up and like, how do you think it could be a quarter? That’s impossible. And all of a sudden they’re in now. So they were trying to hold their arms and say, I’m not going to predict and blah, blah, blah. But it’s like they kind of almost naturally did in their mind. And then somebody else said something different and now they’re like, all in.

00:25:33:24 – 00:25:58:09
Kyle Pearce
And we’ve had so much success both when we work with adults in educator workshops and any of our presentations are keynotes that we’ve done, but also with students all the way through high school and we’ll call it the cool grades, right when kids start hitting that age where they’re just too cool for school and it’s like we can give them that awesome prompt that doesn’t have enough information.

00:25:58:11 – 00:26:18:18
Kyle Pearce
What you start to see is people start to go, You know what? It’s an even playing field here because nobody has the trick on me. You know, no one has the quick algorithm yet. It’s like we can all contribute here. And when you get to that point, everyone thinks that they’re God’s gift at that point, right? They’re like, Oh, it’s got to be what I think right?

00:26:18:18 – 00:26:21:16
Kyle Pearce
That’s what my quick thinking brain is resorting to.

00:26:21:18 – 00:26:32:23
Jon Orr
I want to speak a little bit to timing, especially in the difference between, say, an honors class and say you have a name for your other classes. We have different names. They’re not going to be the same as yours.

00:26:33:00 – 00:26:34:20
Jeremy Sarzana
I would call it just a general education.

00:26:34:23 – 00:27:01:02
Jon Orr
Yeah, right. So what I mean by that is, is that when I say do any of these prompts cause talking about the modifying the prompt to be engaging and allow that kind of sinking of teeth in, which is really important. But when I think about my classrooms that I’ve had, say those you said general kind of stream versus honors stream, is that when I’m doing the honors stream class, I have the luxury because you’re not battling typically, you’re not battling with a behavioral engagement, right?

00:27:01:02 – 00:27:23:00
Jon Orr
So it’s like you can give off, you can be more relaxed with timing in that case, because we know that if you’re not filling dead space, you’re not trying to keep the things moving, you know that they’ll soon as you start talking again or whenever that focus needs to come back, they will do it. Whereas when you’re with the other class, the timing is really important to the get right because you could lose them, right?

00:27:23:03 – 00:27:49:14
Jon Orr
All of a sudden you’ve lost the group. And I find that when I am doing the beginning protocol, the notice and wonder, you know, the estimation, I’m a lot quicker to make sure that we get the thinking in, but we move fast in that stage. And I want the thinking in. I want them to share their thoughts, but I don’t leave a lot of time to get those in, especially in the beginning with these classes, I’m moving around the room and it’s like, What’s your noise?

00:27:49:14 – 00:28:03:18
Jon Orr
And want to give me a notice or want to give me notice a wonder. And it’s like they throw it out at me sometimes just to keep things moving quick. I don’t write them down because I know I need to kind of keep this moving, otherwise I’m going to lose them. And it’s like, Get it in here, get it in here.

00:28:03:18 – 00:28:21:14
Jon Orr
It’s like you might write a quick one down. You get those notice in wonders. Oh, quick. And then it’s like, given that next bit, what’s that next piece that kind of unfolds a quick Kyle is saying is like you’re holding back as much as you can and then it’s what the next is. Then it’s like, well, now all of a sudden maybe the think pair share shares happened, but you’re short on time on their turn and talk.

00:28:21:14 – 00:28:40:22
Jon Orr
You got 30 seconds like I used to use time in that just to keep that engagement high so they didn’t have time to like, pull out their phone because it was like short snip bursts of think moments because you wanted to make sure that they kept their thinking going. And soon as you start noticing that there’s like drop off, it’s like, something’s got to be different.

00:28:40:22 – 00:28:58:22
Jon Orr
I got to change something. So it’s noticing that time. You have to be really quick with that to go like keep things moving. And then when you want them to do that turn hit the boards, that’s when you can like allow that board work to happen. Now you got into it. Now the task is presented, Now I’m moving, I’m bouncing around.

00:28:58:22 – 00:29:14:02
Jon Orr
It’s like, okay, everybody come to have a check. Let’s look at this board right here. Let’s talk about this. All right. Go back to the board. You know, back out to the boards. That timing, that cadence is a lot different because when I’m doing an honors class, I don’t sound like what I just did. I’m a little bit more relaxed.

00:29:14:04 – 00:29:30:01
Jon Orr
You feel like you can talk about this over because you don’t feel like you have to kind of like compete with drop off attention. You we have to like, act a little bit and try to keep this thing moving like it’s fast paced. What’s a fast paced movement here that we have to. I find it works better when you’re in, say, a general level class.

00:29:30:01 – 00:29:35:07
Jon Orr
When I’m doing those moves, it’s the same lesson. It’s just the timing’s different. Does that make sense?

00:29:35:07 – 00:30:00:11
Kyle Pearce
Jeremy Yeah, it’s like your audience is different, right? So it’s like I’ve got to get and the hard part is, is that we as educators, I think most educators in most places anywhere, would say it’s easier to teach the students in, say, honors class setting right or whatever pathway we came out of. Right. Math teachers in particular is like you probably came out of something similar.

00:30:00:11 – 00:30:19:10
Kyle Pearce
Most likely not everyone, but a lot of time. So it’s like it just seems easier to do and then all of a sudden you’re like, it’s a different path or it’s a different stream or however these classes are organized, it’s a different group, and that can be really interesting. Now, for those who are listening to this, you missed out.

00:30:19:11 – 00:30:53:01
Kyle Pearce
You were, John, getting excited, but you didn’t see him getting excited because his arms were also very involved in that lesson. And that’s what he or what he does. If you’ve ever see him presenting, he does the same thing as well. But let’s flip it back to you there, Jeremy. Based on what John saying, does that idea of like cadence and timing and looking at that audience and almost like trying to this is where like sometimes creativity is so important and knowing yourself because what John just did works for John, But that might not work for Jeremy, right?

00:30:53:02 – 00:31:16:20
Kyle Pearce
It’s like knowing yourself and kind of knowing what am I going to use in order to draw that attention in? And it doesn’t have to look the same, even though it might be like John in that group of students. I know that’s what John would have looked like, but Jeremy might look different and you could still have a really favorable response, maybe even a more favorable response based on however you choose.

00:31:16:22 – 00:31:27:04
Kyle Pearce
But I’m curious to hear we see some head nodding there. But where’s your head at? What’s resonating and is there anything still circling around based on what we’ve been discussing here?

00:31:27:06 – 00:31:38:06
Jeremy Sarzana
I think that that is just a nail on the head because I think I had it reversed. I think I was like, oh, this underscores the need more time because they’re going to really go deep into it. In my other students, I think.

00:31:38:06 – 00:31:40:14
Kyle Pearce
You’re like, I’m going to get to the point. Move them along.

00:31:40:15 – 00:31:59:09
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, actually, yeah, yeah. Know, I’m sorry. I was so I got confused and I was thinking my honors class, I thought they needed less time. Right, Right. I’ll get a real quick then. With my other class, I was like, I got to give them more time with my general education because it makes me think of this time when my math coach was she was came in to observe me and she kind of jumped into, which was great.

00:31:59:09 – 00:32:12:22
Jeremy Sarzana
But this is with a general education class. We spent the whole period on like basically like to do. Now he was pulling teeth, especially for the students, I would say. So that speed up the process is like, I think that’s going to be huge.

00:32:12:24 – 00:32:34:06
Kyle Pearce
And you know what I think too is like, you know, based on that after this episode, after we’re done and we hit the stop button, takes some time to like jot down we’re going to give you a think pair share. But no. Well, have you actually just independently jot down some of these ideas? Because the hard part is, is that you’re going to have to play with it a little bit.

00:32:34:06 – 00:32:48:07
Kyle Pearce
Right. Because that’s the part about timing and cadence. It’s not like when John and I started doing this process. I remember times where it was like I was zipping through and I was like, Oh, that’s not working. And then there was other times where I gave way too much time and it was like, Oh shoot, that’s an hour ago.

00:32:48:09 – 00:33:01:05
Kyle Pearce
There was times where I was like, I’m going to every single notice and wonder. I’m going to start and only do all the notices first. And then after a while I was like, What am I doing? I’m like, I should just leave it wide open. You got to notice you give me a notice. You got to wonder, give me a wander.

00:33:01:05 – 00:33:19:20
Kyle Pearce
You got to this, you got to that. You have something aimless to contribute. I’m okay with that too. I’m not going to shut that down because I was like, I just want energy when I feed off the energy in that room. And if I can see them getting excited, no. What naturally happens to us as the facilitator, we start to feel like what we’re saying matters right.

00:33:19:20 – 00:33:38:01
Kyle Pearce
That this lesson that I spent a lot of time thinking about and planning actually matters. And then you start to get into it. And when kids see you get into it, right, whether it’s I have a colleague, I’m picturing he’s a very calm, very quiet talker. But you can tell when he’s excited. You can hear it in the inflection in his voice.

00:33:38:01 – 00:33:57:19
Kyle Pearce
You know, it doesn’t matter what the personality is. It’s like knowing who you are, but getting that energy going, whatever that looks like and sounds like it doesn’t have to be loud energy. But just like the vibe in the room, you can feel the energy’s rising in terms of the engagement and the thinking that’s taking place.

00:33:57:21 – 00:34:16:24
Jon Orr
The framework, right, the framework or the routines will only get you so far because they’re just structures. It’s how we read our audience, how we interpret how they’re responding to the prompts and what we do next. That really makes the art of teaching and getting it to the students what they need, right? Like, who’s in front of us?

00:34:17:01 – 00:34:43:13
Jon Orr
Because I’ve seen the same lesson presented to two different groups by two different teachers. And one goes, Great, one doesn’t. And it’s mostly because one, it’s not because of personality. It’s about reading who’s in front of you and modifying in the moment of what’s needed to make sure you still hit your learning target and keep the forefront of what you value in the room, which is maybe you’re thinking or you discussions and reasoning proving like thinking about the practice standards, right?

00:34:43:13 – 00:34:58:14
Jon Orr
Like we want those to come out. This is just a structure to help us get there easier, but we definitely have to read our audience and make sure we’re giving our audience what they need to allow those things to come out In art. It takes some time to develop and it’s it’s a trial and error type of thing.

00:34:58:16 – 00:35:02:05
Jon Orr
All right, Jeremy, what do you think is your big takeaway from today?

00:35:02:07 – 00:35:20:04
Jeremy Sarzana
I’m going to say just what you just said. You have to read the room now. It’s time to start speeding things up or even like, you know, as I saying, with a general education class, if they’re really getting into it, then just, okay, let’s give them more time. Let’s keep going with it. So it’s like I want to be open to just kind of being able to read the room.

00:35:20:06 – 00:35:23:05
Jeremy Sarzana
But just keep in mind when they said, okay, I got to pick things up.

00:35:23:07 – 00:35:42:00
Kyle Pearce
That is a huge takeaway and I would argue a huge amount of work too, right? Yeah. Sounds like you are well aware of it based on, you know, our conversations from the past, that it does take time, but I’m kind of seeing it more for the other listeners to go. If it was easy to read a room, that expression wouldn’t exist, right?

00:35:42:00 – 00:36:02:01
Kyle Pearce
Like everyone’s been in that scenario, we’re going like, Wow, did that person not read the room? And it’s like, No, they didn’t because they were thinking about something else. And as facilitators, we have so much we need to be thinking about, right? Like we’re thinking about like what comes next. We’re thinking about, Oh my gosh, there’s fire drill at 937 and I got to make sure I get the class to this point.

00:36:02:01 – 00:36:31:22
Kyle Pearce
There’s so many things going on in our mind that it can be really, really challenging in order to kind of get that. But I also want you to think about and don’t forget about the tool that you’re already putting into it. Use that think pair share framework. And again, whether you call that, whether you run it exactly like a think pair share, but using structures like that to help you pause and when they’re doing their thinking now you’re doing, Oh, I want to look around.

00:36:31:24 – 00:36:53:12
Kyle Pearce
I want to try to see did I look over in that corner of the room yet? Like maybe I didn’t look over there yet. Like, are they involved? And taking those times for yourself to kind of get at, it’s really just taking a temperature on the room for engagement. We’re taking temperature at all times. I understood landing where there’s so many different metrics that were trying to make sense of in the moment.

00:36:53:14 – 00:37:18:15
Kyle Pearce
It’s an incredibly challenging job, and I would argue too, if you reflect back to your role when you were doing the work as a special educator, right in the classroom, you probably had more opportunity and you probably were more aware of what was going on in that room than the teacher at all times, because that teacher’s juggling all these ideas and the flow of the lesson and the this and that.

00:37:18:15 – 00:37:36:07
Kyle Pearce
And you’re they’re able to kind of think with low stress, right? Because like as a teacher, when you facilitate in front of kids, adults, I don’t care who it is. You’re in front of a group, all of a sudden you have stressors in your brain blocking your thinking, you know, and blocking some of the obvious things going on.

00:37:36:07 – 00:37:56:08
Kyle Pearce
So if you’re kind of visualize that perspective and go like, how can I create more of an environment through my lesson to give me the opportunity to take a step back, right? Or zoom out from the classroom in a way to go, All right, where we at? Things are going well. Awesome. Okay, come back in now. I’m back on track.

00:37:56:08 – 00:38:13:04
Kyle Pearce
How can I get that habit going so that I’m constantly doing it? Because I’ll tell you, I used to do hours were 75 minute periods. I was like 75 minutes would go by. It, be like where the time go so much was going on and I know that I missed a ton at the same time as well.

00:38:13:06 – 00:38:24:13
Jeremy Sarzana
I mean, I just want to say one last thing that I think that you just made me realize that that is what’s going better this year, is that my awareness of what’s going on in the room is I can feel it getting better as well. The last year, I just kind of had my head down.

00:38:24:16 – 00:38:26:01
Jon Orr
Right here in survival.

00:38:26:06 – 00:38:31:14
Jeremy Sarzana
Yeah, but now it’s natural. My awareness have gone up and that’s just a little bit.

00:38:31:20 – 00:38:34:11
Jon Orr
I love the beauty of your awareness, you know, that.

00:38:34:17 – 00:38:53:18
Kyle Pearce
I was just going to say because the beauty is it only gets better. It’s like we don’t hit a place where we’re like, I’m fully aware of everything. You’ll never be fully aware, but by every year you’re going to be like, I feel a little more that confidence happens, right? And as you get more confident, you’re less worried about some of the other things that were clouding your mind like last year.

00:38:53:18 – 00:39:15:16
Kyle Pearce
Lots of things clouding your mind, though. Some of those are gone. And as you do this work and as things become automatic as well. So think about that. There’s going to be a time where, as you’re working through this, it’s hard work in the moment, but as you figure it out, you start to automate some of these things, like your brain starts to automate ties and systematize this to go like, you know what?

00:39:15:18 – 00:39:39:10
Kyle Pearce
When student responses are blank, you just automatically have a solution. It’s almost like you triggered that algorithm in your brain to kind of take over. So you’re still in that sort of like exploration mode right now We’re like in the inquiry process of a problem based lesson and we’re trying to work our way through to get to more efficient methods along the way.

00:39:39:12 – 00:40:02:20
Kyle Pearce
But we can’t get to those methods, and so we kind of figure it out. Once you figure it out, then it’s like, Oh, you’re going to be like, Well, that’s obvious now, or it’ll just happen. You don’t even recognize it’s happening and you just start getting better at it. So Jeremy, I so appreciate you coming back on. We’ve got a number of people on the podcast now that are really on James Stanton’s Tail.

00:40:02:22 – 00:40:23:05
Kyle Pearce
So this is a call out to anyone and everyone out there in the math community. When you see James Stanton, tell him we’ve been talking smack about him and that he’s going to lose his lead pretty soon. So hopefully he’ll be joining us for another episode at some time in the near future. But Jeremy, we appreciate you. We’re wishing you all the best.

00:40:23:05 – 00:40:46:01
Kyle Pearce
You’ve got some great takeaways. We always have really respected how reflective you are as an educator and your willingness to continue not only being vulnerable here on the show and sharing some of these challenges along the way, but also the fact that you’re actually you go and you do the work, which I think is fantastic. You do it and you let that practice and those reps sort of take over.

00:40:46:01 – 00:40:53:09
Kyle Pearce
So good on you, my friend. Awesome math moment maker and we’re excited to have another chat with you and 9 to 12 months again.

00:40:53:11 – 00:40:57:01
Jeremy Sarzana
I was just going to say I want to see James 1010 more on the show.

00:40:57:03 – 00:40:58:24
Kyle Pearce
Yeah, there you go.

00:40:59:01 – 00:41:00:03
Jeremy Sarzana
And then want to catch him on.

00:41:00:09 – 00:41:02:22
Jon Orr
Come back, we’ll get him back there.

00:41:02:22 – 00:41:03:04
Kyle Pearce

00:41:03:04 – 00:41:04:03
Jon Orr
Thanks, Jeremy.

00:41:04:05 – 00:41:04:22
Jeremy Sarzana
I thank you.

00:41:05:01 – 00:41:06:19
Kyle Pearce
Take care. Have a great one.

00:41:06:21 – 00:41:10:04
Jeremy Sarzana
You too.

00:41:10:06 – 00:41:31:11
Jon Orr
Okay, so I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Jeremy. And Jeremy’s been on the show a few times where we’ve kind of first met him when he was beginning teaching that first kind of classroom and trying to grapple with classroom management. That’s now turned into the support around getting flow in the classroom. That was the thing that we talked about, and this time we’re talking about what little nuance changes do we need to make.

00:41:31:11 – 00:41:54:01
Jon Orr
And I think that’s we think about our trees, we think about the classroom tree. The branches of the tree typically are classroom moves. What is it that we’re doing on a pedagogical move? What are the teacher decisions that we make on a regular basis around delivering the content or engaging our students in that content, or getting students to think around the content of our standards.

00:41:54:03 – 00:42:17:02
Jon Orr
And we talked about that move here today of thinking about what’s different about this group, What kind of timing do I need to consider when engaging my students? And my big takeaway is I think what I shared with Jeremy is that sometimes we think that the timing should be the same and you want to keep it in time with, say, another section of a course or another group or maybe last year’s group, but it just sometimes doesn’t go that way.

00:42:17:02 – 00:42:30:06
Jon Orr
We have to kind of read the room. We have to kind of look at cues of the students that are with us and go, what is going to work and what is not going to work. So a big takeaway here is when we think about the branches of our tree, our moves, what is the game plan going into the lesson like?

00:42:30:06 – 00:42:59:21
Jon Orr
What are some of those adjustments that I do need to make? Like sometimes we just pick up the book from where we left off and jump into class and not think about it, anticipate how our students are going to engage with the moves, the content, the ideas, the structures, and we need to take a pause there, even if it’s just a few minutes at the beginning of class, just to kind of plan out how we see this lesson unfolding to engage, but also get that sense making happening in our rooms and make sure that students see the nationality and the goals or rights to light.

00:43:00:00 – 00:43:28:01
Jon Orr
And they’ve got that clear. Next step of this is what the learning was so all about today, I think the branches of our tree and the teacher moves that go into the work that we do. Folks, this was episode 284. I would make Math Moments That Matter podcast and we talked with Jeremy and Jeremy reach out to us originally and the second time and the third time through our Mentoring Moment page where you could join us for a call just like this and ask a question.

00:43:28:03 – 00:43:53:09
Jon Orr
Together we can just brainstorm How to Overcome your pebble that you’re kind of rattling around in your shoe. And I know that lots of people who reach out to us think that the pebble that is in their shoe isn’t in other people’s shoe. It’s too unique. It’s not going to be useful to share here on the podcast, but I want to put that out of your mind because you’re going to talk with Kyle and I and it’s just going be the three of us and we’re going to kind of rattle your pebble around and see if we can shake it loose.

00:43:53:11 – 00:44:08:10
Jon Orr
And we’re only concerned about you. We want to make sure that you kind of benefit from this. And then we’re going to share that because every time that we’ve shared one of these mentoring moment episodes, we share to the wider audience. And there’s always other people, there’s always other teachers going through the same pebble you are and that’s comforting.

00:44:08:10 – 00:44:23:12
Jon Orr
That’s comforting to hear it as an educator going. That teacher I just heard on the podcast is going through the same thing as I am, and I’m so glad that they spoke up to talk with John and Kyle to kind of shake it loose because it really helped me in my classroom here today. And I think that’s what we all are after in our community.

00:44:23:12 – 00:44:36:03
Jon Orr
You know, to make mouth moments. Community is about sharing and helping and growing together. And we can do that with each other. And that’s what the mentoring movement episodes are all about. So head on over to make math walmart.com for such mentor build form. Let us know your pebble and let’s talk soon.

00:44:36:09 – 00:44:40:24
Kyle Pearce
Well, until next time my math moment Maker friends. I’m Kyle Pearce.

00:44:40:24 – 00:44:42:00
Jon Orr
And I am Jon Orr.

00:44:42:04 – 00:44:44:17
Kyle Pearce
High fives for us.

00:44:44:19 – 00:44:49:17
Jon Orr
And then the high five for you.

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The Making Math Moments That Matter Podcast with Kyle Pearce & Jon Orr
Weekly interviews, strategy, and advice for building a math classroom that you wish you were in.


Download the 2-page printable 3 Act Math Tip Sheet to ensure that you have the best start to your journey using 3 Act math Tasks to spark curiosity and fuel sense making in your math classroom!

3 Act Math Tip Sheet


Each lesson consists of:

Each Make Math Moments Problem Based Lesson consists of a Teacher Guide to lead you step-by-step through the planning process to ensure your lesson runs without a hitch!

Each Teacher Guide consists of:

  • Intentionality of the lesson;
  • A step-by-step walk through of each phase of the lesson;
  • Visuals, animations, and videos unpacking big ideas, strategies, and models we intend to emerge during the lesson;
  • Sample student approaches to assist in anticipating what your students might do;
  • Resources and downloads including Keynote, Powerpoint, Media Files, and Teacher Guide printable PDF; and,
  • Much more!

Each Make Math Moments Problem Based Lesson begins with a story, visual, video, or other method to Spark Curiosity through context.

Students will often Notice and Wonder before making an estimate to draw them in and invest in the problem.

After student voice has been heard and acknowledged, we will set students off on a Productive Struggle via a prompt related to the Spark context.

These prompts are given each lesson with the following conditions:

  • No calculators are to be used; and,
  • Students are to focus on how they can convince their math community that their solution is valid.

Students are left to engage in a productive struggle as the facilitator circulates to observe and engage in conversation as a means of assessing formatively.

The facilitator is instructed through the Teacher Guide on what specific strategies and models could be used to make connections and consolidate the learning from the lesson.

Often times, animations and walk through videos are provided in the Teacher Guide to assist with planning and delivering the consolidation.

A review image, video, or animation is provided as a conclusion to the task from the lesson.

While this might feel like a natural ending to the context students have been exploring, it is just the beginning as we look to leverage this context via extensions and additional lessons to dig deeper.

At the end of each lesson, consolidation prompts and/or extensions are crafted for students to purposefully practice and demonstrate their current understanding. 

Facilitators are encouraged to collect these consolidation prompts as a means to engage in the assessment process and inform next moves for instruction.

In multi-day units of study, Math Talks are crafted to help build on the thinking from the previous day and build towards the next step in the developmental progression of the concept(s) we are exploring.

Each Math Talk is constructed as a string of related problems that build with intentionality to emerge specific big ideas, strategies, and mathematical models. 

Make Math Moments Problem Based Lessons and Day 1 Teacher Guides are openly available for you to leverage and use with your students without becoming a Make Math Moments Academy Member.

Use our OPEN ACCESS multi-day problem based units!

Make Math Moments Problem Based Lessons and Day 1 Teacher Guides are openly available for you to leverage and use with your students without becoming a Make Math Moments Academy Member.

MMM Unit - Snack Time Fractions Unit


Partitive Division Resulting in a Fraction

Shot Put Multi Day Problem Based Unit - Algebraic Substitution


Equivalence and Algebraic Substitution

Wooly Worm Race - Representing and Adding Fractions


Fractions and Metric Units


Scavenger Hunt - Data Management and Finding The Mean


Represent Categorical Data & Explore Mean

Downloadable resources including blackline mastershandouts, printable Tips Sheetsslide shows, and media files do require a Make Math Moments Academy Membership.


Pedagogically aligned for teachers of K through Grade 12 with content specific examples from Grades 3 through Grade 10.

In our self-paced, 12-week Online Workshop, you'll learn how to craft new and transform your current lessons to Spark Curiosity, Fuel Sense Making, and Ignite Your Teacher Moves to promote resilient problem solvers.