Episode #97 How To Implement & Consolidate Problem Based Lessons Remotely – A Math Mentoring Moment
In this episode we chat with past mentoring moment guest Stephanie Moore from North Carolina!
We’ve brought Stephanie back on so she can share her plans for an upcoming lesson with us so she can get some feedback on the learning she’s done in our Online Workshop and Academy.
Like Stephanie, many of us are struggling to figure out what our lessons will look like while we’re teaching synchronously and/or asynchronously. Stick around while we dissect Stephanie’s lesson so she can make math moments that matter!
- How can we implement problem based lessons synchronously & asynchronously?
- What’s the difference between funnelling and focusing in your teaching?
- What does feedback look like?
- How can we consolidate lessons synchronously and asynchronously?
Episode 87: How To Teach My Class When Students Are Underprepared? – A Math Mentoring Moment
Coffee Quantity Task: https://learn.makemathmoments.com/task/coffee-quantity/
Making Math Moments Online Workshop https://makemathmoments.com/onlineworkshop
Stephanie Moore: Well, I've tried standards based grading in previous semesters. I tried to encourage it even before I learned about you guys. I tried to encourage it by saying, "You can retest as many times as you need to, to prove to me that you've got this master." And so they really liked being able to say, "Even though this is a quiz and you've got to get four out of five, right, I can do this as many times as I need to." And that sort of took the pressure off. I just have to convince them that you're not going to see grades. You're going to see complete and incomplete. Like, did you turn in the work or not?
Kyle Pearce: In this episode we chat with past mentoring moment guest, Stephanie Moore from the North Carolina. We've brought Stephanie back on so she can share her plans for an upcoming lesson with us. And so that we can help out with some feedback on the learning she's done from our online workshop and Academy.
Jon Orr: Like Stephanie, many of us are struggling to figure out what our lessons will look like while we're teaching synchronously and or asynchronously. Stick around while we dissect Stephanie's lesson, so she can make math moments that matter.
Speaker 4: Cue it up.
Kyle Pearce: Welcome to the making Math Moments That Matter podcast. I'm Kyle Pearce from tapintoteenminds.com.
Jon Orr: And I'm Jon Orr from mrorrisageek.com. We are two math teachers who together-
Kyle Pearce: With you, the community of math moment makers worldwide, who want to build and deliver math lessons, that spark curiosity-
Jon Orr: Fuel sense-making-
Kyle Pearce: And ignite your teacher moves. Welcome to another awesome math mentoring moment episode with our dear friend, Stephanie. Jon, are you ready for this?
Jon Orr: Absolutely. But before we do, we will announce some upcoming dates for our 2020 make bath moments, virtual summit. It's coming on Saturday, November 7th and Sunday, November 8th. It is now open for registration.
Kyle Pearce: You're right Jon, this is one of our favorite times of the year, because we get the honor of bringing some amazing math minds from the math education space, straight to you to all you math moment makers from around the world and we try our very best to do this, always free for you to register so that everyone can access no matter where they are around the globe.
Jon Orr: Yes, if you want some amazing math professional learning from the comfort of your couch, we encourage you to pause this episode right now and head to makemathmoments.com/summit to register for the 2020 Make Math Moments virtual summit.
Kyle Pearce: Yes, Jon that's right. We are running our second annual free online math professional development summit for K through 12 math educators. The dates again are Saturday, November 7th and Sunday, November 8th. We are so excited to bring you over 20 sessions being presented.
Jon Orr: Coolest part yet some of the sessions will be happening live over Zoom while some others are prerecorded for you to enjoy at your convenience over the weekend.
Kyle Pearce: Go ahead and register for this year's summit at makemathmoments.com/summit.
Jon Orr: Listening to this episode after this year's summit? You could still head to makemathmoments.com/summit to add your name to the wait list for the next summit.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff, Jon. Now let's head on to our discussion with Stephanie. Hey there, Stephanie, welcome back to the Making Math Moments That Matter Podcast. Ooh, you joined us not too long ago on episode 87 and this being like, where are they now episode? We are super excited to chat with you today about what you've been doing, your new learning, some of the things that you implemented along the way or are going to be implemented. But just to remind everybody about that episode, we are talking about students who are under-prepared, how to handle lesson flops, what to do next. Some of our big questions we have, you're also an online workshop participant of ours in the Making Math Moments-
Jon Orr: Yeah. A recent graduate.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, recent graduate of the program. So we are super pumped to see how things are going with you, but how are you doing?
Stephanie Moore: Well, I'm doing pretty well. We're getting ready for classes to start next Monday. And the school in general is doing one day a week face-to-face and the rest of the time online, but because of some health issues I'm doing mine all online, but I will do one synchronous meeting and the rest asynchronous every week.
Kyle Pearce: Very nice. Yeah. We just got off. We did a recording this morning for this episode. This is early morning right now. So that episode or that recording was even earlier and we're realizing as we chat with more math moment makers around the world, but for us in particular here in North America, that the dynamic, depending on where you are, obviously Canada and the US and different situations, but then also very locally different as well from district-to-district. So thanks for sharing a little bit of that background. I'm wondering, can you just briefly remind people your role where you're teaching, just for those who haven't backed up yet, and then we'll dive into some of those challenges we chatted about last time and some of the changes that you've been making as you worked your way through the online workshop.
Stephanie Moore: So I teach as an adjunct instructor, Lenoir-Rhyne University in North Carolina, which is a small private school and I'm teaching two sections of developmental math, which they call college algebra and I'm overhauling my course completely to try and fit in with what I learned in your workshop.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. We want to dive into that here today. What does that look like? How are you overhauling it? Maybe what specific things that were really hit home for you in the workshop that you're going to transition into your class, starting a new? But maybe before we get into that, what do you think is a quick win you've had over the course of your learning and maybe, a success?
Stephanie Moore: I would say, boy, gosh, I'm just overwhelmed with the amount of information that I picked up during the course. I have really, really enjoyed Marion Small's book, Uncomplicating Fractions. I'm basing a lot of my course on that because my college kids really struggle with fractions and trying to pick up how to do this three act math stuff. I've decided like you guys said, if you can't do it the whole course, that way you can gradually ease into it. So, I may not all semester down that way, but I'm definitely trying to set up the first couple of weeks that I've got set up so that it's more interactive.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome. That's fantastic and I know from the last episode and at the beginning of the online workshop, one of the things that we really loved about having you in the online workshop was you were one of those consistent voices in the online forum. You were asking questions when things weren't clear, initially you would ask those questions. Whereas, there's a lot of people that will just kind of sit back and they kind of hope that it'll be answered over time, but it was great to get into those discussions. It also helped Jon and I better understand some of the things that we want to be clear upfront with all of our students and with all of our educators that we work with. That was something that we really liked. You went into that online workshop, you dove into every lesson and participated in all the action items.
So that was awesome to see and to learn alongside you. Now I'm wondering, I really wanted to get your thinking on... You had mentioned in the previous episode through the online workshop, one of those major struggles, one of those major hurdles that you were experiencing was just students who you just felt weren't at that place that your curriculum was asking you to be teaching at. Right? We had discussed in that previous episode, teachers throughout every grade level from grade one, teachers are saying students, and when they say this, it's a group of students, right? There's obviously some students in the class that are in sort of place, but there's always a group, whether it be small or large, that isn't exactly where the curriculum is sort of telling us they "should be" in order to start our teaching.
So I'm wondering in terms of like your thinking around from back then, and then over the online workshop and where you are now, how are you feeling about that? Obviously, you know the students aren't going to change this year, if anything, it might actually be, you might notice it even more so because of the distance learning and all of the COVID things that have been going on. But how is your mindset around how you might work to address that? Not saying that it's like, "I've got this and there's going to be no struggle at all." But how are you feeling about it and how you're going to try to tackle that one piece at a time?
Stephanie Moore: So one part of your course that I did not struggle with was, should I go ahead or should I back up? Because my philosophy has been for a pretty long time, it's better to learn the basics well than to lose students. If you lose them on the first day of the course, they're gone for the rest of the course, they're not coming back. If you throw them out of the car on the first curve, then that's it, right? So I've taken the approach this semester that we're going back and I'm using a lot of fourth and fifth grade videos because in fourth and fifth grade, they're still saying, "Let's make it fun for the students." And I like watching videos that are fun, better than well, the associative property is blah, blah, blah. That puts me right to sleep.
So my kids might think, "Well, this is really beneath us." But I hope they're going to have fun with it. We're going to back up the first week or two on focusing mostly on fractions, starting with their coffee quantity task. If they're bored, then the work will be easy for them and if they're lost on fractions, which at least I expect half of them to be, then they're going to struggle. But hopefully it'll be a fun struggle for the most part.
Kyle Pearce: Nice. I'm glad you shared that coffee quantity is a task. And for those who are unaware, we'll put the link in the show notes for the coffee quantity. That's on our academy website. The task is open for folks to use and the full teacher guide and walkthroughs are for academy members. But again, folks can grab a month in the academy and give it a try and see what they like about it. But I'm glad that you articulated what you meant. So I'm picturing someone who's listening might have thought like grade five video, cartoon and cheesy music, but really you're talking about the content. So that coffee quantity task, actually, I'm going to argue that a lot of your students are going to probably not realize that it could be used in the younger grades and in middle school. I've used it in a grade eight class. I've used it in a high school class.
I found that there were very similar struggles in both of those classes, because like you were saying, it was based on fractions. Multiplicative comparison is very important in that task. And it really works out this idea, the big idea, the big question being, how much water will you need? Or how much coffee can you make from a little bit of water that's left like a fractional amount. So it really turns the task on its head. The beginning is very low floor with estimates. So I want to turn it to you, because I know that you've got this sort of thought out and you want it to sort of share some of your thinking around it and then we can kind of riff on it and see where we can work together to try to maximize how you might use that task. So I'm going to turn it back to you there, Stephanie, and tell us more about the task and what you like about it and how you hope to it in your online class.
Stephanie Moore: That has been the big challenge for me, has been to figure out how to do this online, when my kids can't really get together and discuss with a partner, would this be an appropriate time to walk you through my screen share here?
Kyle Pearce: Absolutely.
Stephanie Moore: Okay. So we use canvas I've just set up Monday is our first day of class and I give them an overview.
Kyle Pearce: So I'm looking at your overview here and I'm just kind of paraphrasing here based on what I'm seeing. You've got kind of an overview, you're explaining this idea of this three act math tasks, what it is. Then you've got kind of an explanation of how that assignment is going to go. And also even kind of a guideline of how long it might take.
Jon Orr: Yeah. I just wanted to make a... Maybe I missed it before. I know that you talked about what your dynamic looks like, but Stephanie, can you just recap for everybody again, as we get into what this lesson looks like for everybody, are you fully synchronous or was it a blend? Can you just kind of restate that for us?
Stephanie Moore: Okay. So originally it was designed to be face-to-face either Monday or Friday, depending on which half of the class you were assigned to. Then Wednesday and the other day, either Monday or Friday was going to be asynchronous online. But because of my particular circumstances, I'm teaching all online. So Mondays will be synchronous, which I just found out yesterday. So this particular day will get to be synchronous, which is good, because I really wanted to work with them through a three act test.
Kyle Pearce: Right? So you're planning a synchronous task. So they're all going to be watching you deliver this online in a video format. And let me just ask you this, the screen that you're sharing us, which is a written description of a three act math problem, what it is and what the plan is. Your plan is to go over that with them synchronously? Or is this like a note for you to remember that a note for them to look back on?
Stephanie Moore: So I haven't had a chance to actually figure out exactly how synchronously it's going to go, because I only found out yesterday. So this was designed for it to be asynchronous for at least some of the students. This is what the students will see during the module of the day's work. It'll be there for them to be able to go back and, "Oh, I didn't take notes." Or whatever. And in fact, we may not get through all of the tasks because we'll probably do things like introductions and how this is going to work.
Kyle Pearce: So let's keep on going here. We're going to give you a chance to kind of share and then we'll jot down a couple speaking points and we'll come back to different parts of the lesson, maybe discussing maybe what parts make sense more for a synchronous sort of approach and which ones maybe make more sense for an asynchronous approach. So we'll let you click ahead here. So that's kind of like an overview of the task as you're clicking ahead, almost like framing out what your intentions are for this task is sort of what I saw on that screen. What are we looking at now?
Stephanie Moore: So now we're looking at your act one intro where they're going to watch this short video clip of Kyle making a cup of coffee. The only way I could figure out to get him to share his app called Padlet so they can go out and post it. It looks like a bunch of post-it notes, stuck on a board. And so they'll be able to go out and see what other people have noticed and wondered. And I kind of seeded it with, sorry for calling you that guy, but they don't know your name.
Jon Orr: That's fine.
Kyle Pearce: I like that.
Jon Orr: We do that too. It's like, "Here's that guy again?"
Stephanie Moore: Yeah.
Kyle Pearce: And we just, sometimes kids will even go as far as say, like "That weird guy."
Jon Orr: Yeah.
Kyle Pearce: Because they're like, why is this weird guy always showing up?
Stephanie Moore: Yeah, they get to do that. So I broke it up so that they had to do that before they got to the next screen, hopefully. And then we show them the next part, the estimate part.
Jon Orr: Stephanie, I'm unfamiliar with canvas myself. So I'm just going to ask you when you're say doing this synchronously with your students, do they see the screen on their end? Do they log in to that canvas themselves or is this just a presentation software for you? And they're going to be watching this on say Zoom or Google Classroom.
Stephanie Moore: Okay. So we'll be doing a Zoom session. Canvas as a learning management system that they log into. So this is actually, they would be clicking through these screens and seeing them themselves.
Jon Orr: Okay. So your plan right now is to say, walk through the screens with them?
Stephanie Moore: Yeah. Right now.
Jon Orr: Okay.
Stephanie Moore: Because like I said, I didn't know we were going to be synchronous for Mondays until yesterday.
Jon Orr: Right.
Stephanie Moore: So I made it so they could do it hopefully without me. So they get to make their estimate. And I explained to them about the three different kinds of estimates and then they have another Padlet to post their estimates on. And I ask them to explain why they made those estimates because it's amazing. I don't know. I'm sure other teachers experience this. You go, "Explain why or tell me why." And they go, "It is not an explanation to go. Well, the question was this." I'm like, "That's a description. That's not an explanation." So I'm trying to get them lots of chances to explain their thinking.
Kyle Pearce: Now I'm curious too and we'll kind of ask you as you go through here is asking specifically for an estimate, is that something that you always had done in the past or is that something new that you kind of picked up from the curiosity path and the online workshop? Where does that kind of fit for you in terms of where your lessons were, let's say a year ago versus how you're hoping to nudge students forward now?
Stephanie Moore: A year ago. I was pretty much all lecture, but I tried to make it interactive by saying, "What do you think this graph is going to look like?" And I tried to give them interactive activities as much as possible, but that might've been three over the course of a semester. So this is really all new for me. It's been a big change. It's a big challenge and it's really stressed me, but I spent most of the summer trying to wrap my head around what were actually the course objectives and the strands, because I had never been exposed to that kind of... I mean, I knew the elementary school and high school teachers did that, but in college, you don't have to do that.
Kyle Pearce: I wanted to know because I felt like you and I and Jon would be, I would say the same in terms of when we were teaching was very different. I know that I lacked the realization of how important estimates were. But then also when I did ask students to estimate in the past, back when I was teaching and doing mostly a lecture or a gradual release of responsibility model, when I was teaching, I would ask students to estimate, but it was like, I didn't really have a method. There was no rhyme or reason to when I asked or how I asked and I always found that students didn't really want to and I'm seeing here that you have a very intentional approach to your estimates and how you're asking.
So I just want to give you that thumbs up. I feel like I'm seeing the curiosity path unfold before our eyes, which is a great, huge piece. I'm really hoping that you'll see some changes in terms of engagement and in terms of just how much students want to dig into a problem versus doing it because they have to. Right?
Stephanie Moore: Well, I really have to give you guys kudos because going to task on the Make Math Moments Academy, picking that up. I mean, you guys just laid it all out for me. I didn't have to do a lot of thinking. You'd even showed me examples of student work and the different methods they might use, which was part of the workshop, was anticipating what students were going to do. I've never done that very well. That's something I've done really weak in and so it was just all laid out. It was just a matter of transferring it to this morning management system. I mean, it still took me a huge long time to figure it out and get all the little details worked out, but it was all laid out.
Jon Orr: Yeah. We're glad that we can assist you in that way. And that's partly why we created the workshop the way it is, is so that anybody can come in and make changes in small, incremental ways that build on each other to change their classroom, to kind of make math moments for their students. I'm wondering Stephanie right now, I know that you've got a little bit to go through right now, but you brought up an interesting point that I wouldn't mind getting your thoughts on, that you said you would design this to be asynchronous because that's what you thought. But now you have to kind of go synchronous with it. So I'm wondering now you would lay this out for them to go through on their own and I think if I had to do this asynchronously on their own, I think you've laid this out nicely.
The Padlets embedded in there as a nice way to get information from your students in a nice kind of visual way. I think that's a nice thing about Padlet instead of say, just like a text box that they would type into. And also you can organize those with notices and wonders later on or while you're synchronous now. So actually that kind of brings me to my question is how do you see changing this or modifying it now that you know that you have to do some or all of this lesson synchronously live with your kids?
Stephanie Moore: Well, the good part about being synchronous is now with Zoom, I can put them in breakout rooms and ask them to share with each other. And then we can come back together as a whole class and share out our thinking. So the Padlets will be an easy way for them to type it in so that I can see what they're thinking and then when we come back, we can have a discussion over Zoom about, instead of them just reading the Padlets after the fact, we can sort of talk about it and draw out the point I want to make, from their notice and wonders and their estimates, we can sort of see, "Well, look, all the estimates are clustering around six or five or whatever they're clustering around."
Kyle Pearce: That's awesome. So kind of recapping where we are so far, the beginning of the task to kind of spark that curiosity, we're heading students down this curiosity path, just watching this supposed video of a cup of coffee being made with a Keurig machine. So an instant cup, and then we're coming in, they've made some noticing and some wondering they've shared those pieces, all awesome parts of the curiosity to drive that anticipation, to get them wondering and then finally asking them to estimate how many cops keep on going there? Stephanie, where are we going next?
Stephanie Moore: So now we show them the act two video, which ends up with there's five cups of coffee and six cups sitting there. And that there were eight. Well, that's interesting. I don't know if the link broke or what.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. I kind of skipped to the end there.
Stephanie Moore: Anyway, the six cup that's sitting there and you have to say that you can revise your first estimate or not. Oh, I guess this one just shows that there's eight cups of water in the reservoir. So you get new notice in wonders and they can revise their estimates.
Jon Orr: I really liked that. That's something that I haven't done a lot. And I know Kyle used to do this or does this a lot when he's working with his teachers is kind of constantly asked for revised estimates. I used to kind of say, let's do a too high, too low best guess estimate and then we keep moving forward. But I really like that every time we introduce something new asking for a revised estimate, I think you've done that well here. I feel like what that does for students is, and you as a teacher is by listening to those revised estimates and hearing say explanations, you hear the beginnings of problem solving and you hear the strategies that they're going to be on. You hear some great reasoning.
Kyle Pearce: Reasoning, like I'm actually like, "Does this make sense based on what I already said? And then what I see now, am I on the right track? Or does something not feel right about that?"
Stephanie Moore: Yeah. It was fun for me because coffee's a big issue in our house. We know that our coffee maker, for lucky, we get four cups out of it, but we use pretty big mugs. So it was interesting that you guys got six, but I figured your mugs were smaller than mine. So they were.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, absolutely. So you've got some revised estimates here. I'm really liking how this is progressing right now, too. We haven't talked about it, but I hope that for anyone who's listening and anyone who's familiar with this copy quantity task right now, to me, it feels like a really good beginning of the year task because we are into a notice in wonder, we're doing some estimates, we're revising estimates and everyone in the class should still feel really comfortable sitting in that math class, whether it's face-to-face online asynchronously or synchronously, everyone feels like they are still a part of this activity because the floor hasn't risen too quickly yet.
So the whole beginning here is really just based on kind of this estimate on how many mugs. And it looks like we're now on a screen where you're going to share how many mugs are made and what happens next year stuff. Because obviously we could end the task after showing how many mugs that wouldn't really fuel a whole lot of sense making. So where are we going next?
Stephanie Moore: Well, I want to piggyback on something you said, I think this coffee quantity is particularly good for college students because they're big into coffee too. So they're going to have opinions about this. It's not like they're a first grader and they don't know how many mugs are in the coffee.
Kyle Pearce: Well, I'm curious too, and I hope you let us know after you do this because adults, it doesn't matter what age you are when people dig into something and when they can throw their voice, we always talk about student voice. And sometimes I think it becomes almost like a edu-babble, like where people hear like student voices is something. Everyone says it's important, but in reality, everyone in the world wants their voice heard. That's why social media does so well. That's why there's so many arguments in the comments on a Facebook post or on newspaper articles and things along those lines.
Here I can picture how many students are going to be like, "Yeah, Keurig's the best." And some of your students that are going to be like, "I had a Keurig machine and it broke up." You might have to kind of reel them in a little bit because all of a sudden their opinions, they want their voice heard. And so far, I'm so happy that you brought that up. Stephanie, so far, you're giving everyone a voice. You're trying to make it relevant. Not just because they like coffee, but also there's like, now everybody wants their estimate to be right. Everyone wants to be known as reasonable. Right? And when it's visual, it's really easy for people to come up with a reasonable estimate and people are going to start digging those heels in. So where are we heading off to now?
Stephanie Moore: We are going to reveal to them how many cups were made and that even though it appears there are six mugs, only five are filled and the add water, eliminate it before you started to fill the six cups. So we give them a little, if your best guest is five bucks, pump your fist and shout, "Yes." So they can feel good about it.
Kyle Pearce: Even if it's asynchronous, right? Just in your house-
Stephanie Moore: That's right.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. Give it the biggest yes you've got.
Jon Orr: Yeah.
Stephanie Moore: I've done clowning, I've taken a clowning class and I enjoy clowning and I enjoy doing drama. So I always tried to provoke math fights in discussions. It's much easier to reel a class back in than it is to get some life in a class.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. I love that. That's a great quote.
Jon Orr: That's true. Yeah.
Stephanie Moore: So after we do this reveal, we go, "Oh, but, what about the leftover water?" And we show them this still shot that says how many coffees will full water tank make? One cup of water remains and there's an empty mug. So how much is that one cup of water going to fill up that mug?
Kyle Pearce: Awesome. And this is kind of where, in my mind, this is a task that I had kind of put together. And in some ways it was kind of by accident, but kind of intentional. We had a principal who wanted to buy a new coffee maker for their staff room and said, "Hey Kyle, can you do something around estimation?" That's kind of what gave me the idea here. But then when I realized, "Wow, we only have a little bit of water left in the tank. And when you can give them this fractional amount, I believe it was like one metric cup of water is left in the reservoir." And now you have everybody kind of wondering here, wait a second, we made five cups of or five... And I used the word mug intentionally. This is something we talk about in the teacher notes, is really trying to keep your units of measure in order here is very tricky.
So I say cup of waters, cups and metric cups and mugs. We had five mugs of coffee that are filled and there's only one metric cup of water remaining. And we knew there was eight cups, metric cups of water in the tank all together. All of a sudden, you now have this almost instant productive struggle that's being introduced where now they're saying, "Well, huh." Easy questions we can ask are things like, is that enough for a whole mug? Is it less? Is it more? And just to give students that opportunity to reason through, we hope they'll land on this idea that, "Well, wait a second, if seven metric cups were used to make five mugs, then we're not going to have a full mug of coffee left." That struggle continues. So tell us a little more here. Stephanie, what are you describing under this visual and what are you hoping to set your students off to get to problem solving here?
Stephanie Moore: So I just used your notice. I wonder how full that last month would be if we could force the last cup of water through the Keurig and clearly it just thought of this now, it's not enough to make a full cup or this last mug would have filled up. Right? The keurig knew there wasn't enough, so it stopped. So there's clearly not enough to make a full cup.
Kyle Pearce: Nice. And actually that's interesting because that reasoning did come out in one of the classes., I did this task in, in a grade eight class and you just had the realization now, but until that student had said it, I didn't think about that. I was thinking of it more of like a mass comparison idea, right? I'm looking at how much water went through already and it only made five mugs. So to me that seemed like the only way I could have reasoned through it yet this other student came up with the idea that, "Well, if you could have made an extra mug or more than it wouldn't have put the light on." So it seems so obvious to them, but it was so new to me. So lots of awesome stuff coming out through this opportunity to allow them to really reason improve.
Stephanie Moore: Well, never underestimate what you're going to learn from your students, because every semester I learned something from my student, a new way to think of something or a new way to do something. And I don't think students realize how valuable their voices are when they think of the teacher as the fount of knowledge, who's going to implant it into our brains.
Jon Orr: Yeah. Stephanie is that something new, you've kind of realized compared to say the way you used to teach, or is that something that you kind of always have known? It's like, "I've always listened to my kids." Or it's like, "No, you know what? Now that I... Kind of doing these types of lessons, I've been listening more and I've been learning more alongside them."
Stephanie Moore: I've always, well, not always, but for a large part of my life, taking the position that I can learn something from anybody, no matter what their position in life is. So, that I've always been open to learning from anyone. I do listen to my students, but I used to, if they were struggling with a problem, I only knew one way to solve it. I couldn't always figure out how they were thinking. So I'd just say, "Well, forget that. Let's do it this way." So I hope not to do that this semester.
Kyle Pearce: Oh, that's a big takeaway, that funneling versus focusing can be really, really hard for us to move students away from, like we tend to funnel them to our way of thinking. I'm just thinking like, imagine when a student shares their solution and we have no idea what they're doing when we funnel them to our way of thinking, I imagine they're probably just as confused as we were. Right? And unfortunately for them, we're the teacher, so it's almost like we have to be the ones willing to kind of do that heavy lifting and go, "Holy smokes, Sally. I have no idea what you did here, but it looks like some really good thinking here." Now the fun part begins where we can say, "Hey, I need you to convince me why this works." Rather than, "I like how you had mentioned that, we don't have to know everything as the teacher.
So really we get to put it in the student's hands and say, "I don't know what you did here. It looks awesome. But I need you to convince me." And just think of the great thinking and the great learning that will happen when students become confident enough to kind of do that thinking and to kind of look at their own thinking and say, "Huh, I wonder why that works." Or like, "How did I come up with this?" And really becoming able to use that metacognitive sort of process in order to unpack their own thinking and their own way of looking at things.
Stephanie Moore: This is only my fourth year of teaching. And I was very fortunate in my first, I don't remember which semester it was. I had a student raise her hand and go, "You're really confusing us, can I share the way I do that." And I went, Oh, okay. And I had her come up to the board and share. And so I've done that sum, when a student has a better way, I'm like, "Go for it because clearly you guys are relating to each other on a level that I'm not at anymore." Because, I'm not a beginning learner. And so what's obvious to me is not obvious to you. So when students have new ideas and I feel like they can explain them, I do have them come up and share well, when we get to do face-to-face. So yeah.
Jon Orr: Stephanie will keep us going here on this task. At this point, you've revealed the video, prompt the question about how many cups do or how much part of a cup can we make or a mug can we make from the remaining coffee? What is your plan after that? After they're working on their own, I noticed in your comment, it's a go forth and conquer. This is the time that students are going be engaged in work either on their paper. I noticed you said something about using braining camp. In that work time, what does that look like? Or what do you plan it to look like for your students? I guess both synchronously or asynchronously. And then what is your next move after that?
Stephanie Moore: This is where they're going to be engaging in the productive struggle. And unfortunately, unless we're synchronous, I'm not going to be able to be there to answer questions and they're just going to have to turn in what they have. So I've tried to make a point of saying, it doesn't matter if you're right or wrong, just show your work. I'm not giving tests and quizzes that are graded. In fact, they'll pick it up eventually if they don't get it on the first day, we're going strictly with standards-based grading. The only traditionally graded thing I plan to do as the final. So they're working on mastering things. And so they're going to get a lot of feedback. And so if they turn in something that's wrong, it's not a big deal, as long as they go back and figure it out with me or on their own. So hopefully if we're synchronous, then I can sort of hop around and ask students, "What are you doing now?" Or, "Let me see your paper." Or whatever, give them a chance to screenshot.
Jon Orr: And so they're going to turn in a document to you and you're going to write feedback on it and they're going to get that back?
Kyle Pearce: I guess I got a wonder here. This is not just me. We've often had this question posed to us mostly while we were all kind of learning from home back between March and June, is that struggle, Stephanie, of having kids work without saying, "This is going to be on the test." Or, "This is going to be on a quiz." And often teachers wonder like how do you convince kids to kind of learn with feedback only? What have you had success in there? Or what's your plan?
Stephanie Moore: Well, I've tried standards-based grading in previous semesters. In some classes it works well with and some of them just are so resistant, but I try to encourage it even before I learned about you guys. I tried to encourage it by saying, you can retest as many times as you need to, to prove to me that you got this mastered. And so they really liked being able to say, "Even though this is a quiz and you've got to get four out of five right, I can do this as many times as I need to." And that sort of took the pressure off. I just have to convince them that, "You're not going to see grades. You're going to see complete and incomplete. Did you turn on the work or not turn in the work?" And then you're going to get a mastery associated with it. You didn't do it or it's developing or it's pretty good mastery or you're really advancing beyond where I expected you to.
So we'll see how it goes. It's a tough slog, especially I think probably tough in high school too, because they're trying to apply to college, but once they're in college, that GPA just becomes a God to them and it's like, "Got to push them away from that." I was guilty of this in college, my first time through when my parents paid working for that grade, working for that grade and short term learning and get out of college and you forget everything you except for, then you get a job and the stuff you needed to know, you sort of remember. When I went to college for my second degree and for my masters and I was paying for it, all of a sudden I was there because I wanted to be there. I knew what I wanted and I was determined to learn. And there's a huge difference in that mindset where you're in it for the learning versus for the grades,
Kyle Pearce: Nice. Being, I guess, clear with that feedback is going to be important. So, it sounds like they're going to do this work. You had mentioned in one of the previous screens, I think it was on the overview screen, which I guess would be the first page of this lesson that you shared with students. What's great if they team up and do some of this work collaboratively in a separate breakout room or however they choose to do it, how do you look or anticipate the feedback looking like in order to give students, I guess, a good sense of where they are and what might that look like? Or what are you thinking about if let's say a student is really struggling, what might that look like or sound like in terms of the feedback?
Stephanie Moore: Boy, this is something I've not thought through well, so that's a good question. Typically, it would be something like, "I can see where you started this problem and I think you've maybe got off on the wrong foot. You were trying, but you came at it a way that wasn't going to get you an answer that you wanted. Wasn't going to make sense." So for this environment, it'll be, can we set up a phone call or a zoom call or can we text back and forth about this so I can maybe help you with your thinking. I don't want to tell them do it this way. I really liked that connection. And so I tend to want to get them on the phone or on zoom, if I can walk them through it and have them talk to me.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah. And something that's popping into my mind and maybe it's working a little bit backwards. Because John and I have just kind of jotted down our own little things. We've been talking about a lot of the things we're loving as we're going through. And then some of the wonders we have or things for us to all think about in terms of how we can run this lesson. And we always say how we can try to run this lesson without a hitch, right? Because, there's a lot more moving parts when we're trying to do a problem-based lesson. Like this make math moments, three part framework lesson than say, if I was just lecturing, right? Lecturing is pretty easy. I'm going to try to go ahead and try to hopefully anticipate any sort of questions or wonders a student might have and make sure I cover them all. That was kind of like my goal when I was lecture-based teaching.
Whereas now things are a little bit more dynamic. And when I'm thinking about this feedback piece, one part, and this is more of a maybe a statement for you and for everyone who's listening, with feedback, the one part that I worry about and I got into this rabbit hole myself, was I got too specific on my feedback and by specific, I mean, specific is good, but I think I got too long, too descriptive where if it is too long, first of all, there's kind of like two negatives that happen. The one part that's really bad is that I start to... I don't have any time to actually plan or think through my lessons, because I feel like I'm constantly on this treadmill of marking. Whether it's traditional marking or offering feedback, that could be really stressful for us as the educator, but then also sometimes with written feedback in particular, if it's too long or too descriptive, then sometimes students tend to kind of gloss over it.
So you might've spent a lot of time and effort thinking it through and trying your best to help them. But sometimes it doesn't have that goal or it doesn't hit that goal that I was after. So I'm wondering about the consolidation of this particular task and inside our teacher guides for this task and all the others that are offered in the academy, we really stress the importance of selecting and sequencing that student work from the five practices. My wonder is why at this point they can still submit to you and then if you're able to give them targeted feedback, but not feedback that's going to take you too long where you can't get it back within a day I'm picturing talking about some of the positives, maybe a part where there's a bit of a hiccup or you want them to work on.
So in a way it's like the feedback I'm picturing, you're giving is posed around purposeful questioning. So rather than it just being like a, "You did this really well, you struggled here or here's where you struggled and I'm going to like in the margin show you how to do this problem, because now we're going back to that sort of like, "I'm going to show you how to do it." I'm wondering if I focus my feedback on something they've done well and then a question for them. So using that purposeful question and when we're in a face-to-face environment that might look like me walking around the room and I'm trying to do those questions in the moment, right?
So I walk up to Stephanie's desk and I see Stephanie has a solution going, "You're spinning your wheels a little bit." I try to ask it in the moment, a question that's going to get you thinking and kind of gets you focused down a path that's going to help lead you down the path that you've already carved. So not my way of doing it, but trying to help you get to the next part of your journey. I can maybe do this through some of the feedback I do. And by doing that, you're looking at all the student work. And then as you frame your next day's lesson, whether it's synchronous or asynchronous. If it's asynchronous, you can record a little bit of a consolidation, right? Kind of like selecting and sequencing a few of those solutions you've seen.
The goal here would be that instead of me, individually providing like a page of feedback for every student in my class, maybe I'm able to give them a question that keeps them pushing along. And then my consolidation offers them this opportunity to kind of see their own thinking and then be able to kind of nudge along and better understand where they might've got hung up.
So I'm going to pause there, there was a huge mouthful about the feedback and also the consolidation. I just want to flip it back to you and get your thoughts on that. Then I know Jon has a couple of things he wanted to mention from earlier. We'll look at trying to wrap things up.
Stephanie Moore: Well, one of the books that I was fortunate enough to be in a professional development teacher circle across the disciplines and study was specifications grading by Linda Nelson. It really stresses not spending forever on grading. And so typically I am able to give very short feedbacks and gets work back to him within a day that I don't like reading. I don't like grading. So my goal is to make it short and sweet-
Kyle Pearce: And that's fantastic, yeah.
Stephanie Moore: Anyway, so they get to submit their work and then I do have a wrap up it's probably too long. I do not like to read. I don't like to read for school. I read a lot for fun, but not for school, but I went ahead and... Your task so nicely provided us with students' work. I just copied your page in there. So we have all the student work that you guys showed.
Jon Orr: What Stephanie's showing right now is a solutions that we provide in the academy on what kids and students may attempt to do and the kind of like the reasoning behind what they have attempted there. So a number of different solutions to that same problem. Stephanie, you're sharing that with your students, is the idea there that if you're asynchronous, that they're going to read through that. Is that your plan?
Stephanie Moore: That's my hope. And then I sort of summed it up. I wanted to really reiterate to them that even though they're in college, that manipulatives are a great thing to use. Then I kind of summed up, "If you didn't get it, the big takeaway here is you can find a rate of change." And then I gave him a little bit of probably more lecture than you guys would do, but that's the best I can do at this point.
Kyle Pearce: Yeah, no, this looks great. You're leveraging what we've put out there in terms of some of that student work. If it was a face-to-face class where we are live in the moment we're going to select and sequence student work. But here, this is I think, a pretty solid move for you. Ahead of time, you're sort of using these solutions as some ways to anticipate what students might do, something you might consider doing. It's just worth thinking about is that maybe where this happens do I have students submit work? And then they move on to see this like now? Or is this maybe a way that we start the next day? Maybe it's like we sort of shifted. I know in a typical classroom, I tend to try to do it the day of, but oftentimes you either run out of time. So you sort of wrap things up or consolidate the next day.
I think one of the big pieces here is this idea of revision. If we have this opportunity, if we can somehow frame that in where students can share thinking maybe with one another first, maybe before it goes to you, they share it with one another, they have to convince a couple of your colleagues or a couple of their peers in their class. So they have to go and convince them of their thinking. They can revise that work and then they can submit what they've done and sort of explain it, or maybe utilizing a consolidation prompt where there's a similar context, but different values where they can kind of take this task as sort of like trying it out. It's like the training wheels. They've experienced it. Then maybe that's not the part that you're actually assessing directly.
Maybe it's more them handing in a consolidation prompt afterwards, which is actually like an extension of the task. So it's like a different coffee maker. It's a Tassimo and here's how much water is left. How would you show that? So just some different ideas on how this might be able to be framed in your current situation, where you're doing some synchronous learning, some asynchronous learning and trying to help students nudge along the way. So I'm really liking this. I'm wondering, are there any pieces here that you still have questions about or are you feeling pretty good with what we've sort of discussed and how this might unfold once you're back in the classroom shortly?
Stephanie Moore: Oh, well actually it's going to be tough for them to work together because they're not supposed to be within six feet of each other on campus, unless they're in a roommate situation. I found last semester when we went into the quarantine mode, that I have some students that are actually supporting their families because their parents have lost their jobs. So they're just working incredible numbers of hours. It was really hard to require them to work with somebody else. So they get to read this consolidation stuff, but you guys had already set it up. You mentioned extensions. So I'm not really concerned about what they did on the task, whether the answer was right. I gave him the extension questions as homework, so they get to read the wrap up and then they get to try the different problem, like you said.
Kyle Pearce: Oh, that's awesome. That's great. So yeah, a little bit. It's almost like I anticipated what was coming without realizing, so that's awesome. It looks like you've got a really solid plan here and I know that there's still some ideas that might be up in the air in terms of like some of it you're going to probably have to feel out like how that first synchronous lesson goes. I know some of the things that kind of popped into my mind as we went through this is I see a lot of explanation along the way, describing what a three act math task is. Even on a certain slide, it says, act two. This is very common. This is something we see a lot. I wonder if you go back and you were to review all of this, if there's anything there that you could eliminate from the student facing side.
So what I mean by that is sometimes we as educators or if you're presenting or whatever it is that you're doing, we tend to put things there as notes for ourselves versus something that the audience or our students need to actually see. So a perfect example would be, we've all been in presentations where you go, you watch a presentation, there's a slide show up there. And it's almost like the bullet points are there. It's not really for us as the audience. It's there to remind the speaker of what to say next. In there, I wonder if going back, you might be able to even hide some of that stuff or maybe make a copy that's for you, if you were to like run this task yourself.
Then if you go to our website and you look at the coffee quantity task, you'll notice that very intentionally along the different tabs are spark tab. We just use single words to kind of give an idea of where in this task they are. So students, the spark is like, okay, if we're setting the context, when we get into fueling, that's like when we're going to create the productive struggle, but we don't necessarily describe to them what we're doing. We don't describe that it is a three-act math task or this awesome guy named Dan Myers, the guy who created them, or those types of things. Those aren't really important for the student. But maybe if you run this first task with your students synchronously, not asynchronously, but synchronously, you can kind of explain to them why you've done what you've done.
So rather than them having to like, understand what an act one or two is or three, you could maybe just describe it in one word. You have estimate update in brackets for one of them. You might even be able to just scrap this idea of an act. I've never mentioned three act in any classroom to any of my students. They just think that's just what math class is. Right? So it's kind of like almost like a describer, a descriptor for me and for my students, they just kind of roll along and they know we're going to make an estimate and we're going to do certain things along the way.
Stephanie Moore: That's a good idea. I totally get what you're saying about notes for me versus what they need to see. I'll have to think about that because some of it, I have to have something and that where I've got the cursor now. I have to have some titles for the assignments, certain pages in canvas in order to put it in there. But I definitely can think about what the titles are and how much description I put in.
Jon Orr: Yeah. Sometimes I'm writing title. This is the same as true when I have to, on the board, on the beginning of class, you were told or people are told or districts tell us to say, "Write the learning goal on the board." Sometimes what I like to do instead of doing that is have like Kyle suggested, action words. So like what is it that we're hoping to learn from this, but also your action words might be like seeing one of your act two, what is act two really about? It's about time to estimate or how estimates can help us achieve insights. Just kind of big idea thinking are great titles. These are the next things to do so that when you see them too, and this is helpful to write your agenda on the board or somewhere, and it also reminds you that, "Oh, that's going to be the act two." I remember it's act two. And the students are all, the students are seeing, it's a time to estimate or how estimates can help us, or what tools are we going to use to help with this reasoning? Just kind of action word type things.
Kyle Pearce: And you could even put the prompt as well, right? So for example, act one, you're asking them to notice and wonder. So you can literally put, and also another thing just to mention, you don't even have to say coffee maker or coffee quantity, because it kind of tells them where they're going. I might even just call it task and then as they go act one, I might put just, "What do you notice? What do you wonder?" So it's kind of like, oh, okay, this is what I'm going to do here. And then estimate is the next one.
Then again, even like naming the task, maybe, I know Dan Myers, something he had mentioned in a presentation. I had seen a long ways back, but he used to allow his students to actually name the tasks. So it was kind of like at the end when this like name emerged, because they had no idea, the video they were about to see is about coffee or about anything. Just ideas to think about, just to make it less for students to have to learn or understand in order to get through the process. It's almost like, "We're just going to roll through this." And as they roll through, after they do the first one, they tend to kind of go, "Oh, okay. I see what's going on here."
After a little while, as you use more and more of this style of lesson, you'll start to see like, "Huh, okay. This is how math class is going to be." And they start to anticipate those things about to happen.
Stephanie Moore: Yeah. I tried, I was just looking through the rest of it. I mean, I try to pose questions, but then you said some of it's definitely descriptive for me to help me remember what I'm looking at when they submit an assignment, I'm going to have to give it that same thought.
Jon Orr: Is this kind of a balance between, it is good for you, but also good for them?
Kyle Pearce: Stephanie, I'm wondering a couple of things here. I'm wondering, you've been through the workshop, you're now an academy member. You've done a lot of learning over the last few months. I'm wondering, what would you say is your biggest takeaway from your learning in the workshop and the Academy that you're hoping to apply or will apply in these lessons coming up?
Stephanie Moore: I think I liked the way that you laid it out all logically to spark curiosity and fuel sense making. I think it helped me. I knew I needed to question and anticipate how they would solve problems, but I just haven't taken the time to do that. And so I'm really forcing myself to go through and do the assignments that I give students and think of different ways they can fall things. That's why it's taken me so long on this first two weeks of work or setting up the first two weeks for them is because I'm going through and doing the assignment and going, "Oh my gosh, that doesn't make any sense." Or, "I told them to use this tool and that actually doesn't work here." Or, "That's just too long. This just took me eight hours." That's not how much time they want to put in.
Kyle Pearce: Right. I think just to kind of reference to, and we mentioned this in the online workshops, so often, that it's a process, right? It takes a long time and I'm actually kind of happy that you had mentioned sparking curiosity and fueling sense-making. And then the third one, which is igniting your teacher moves. That's the one that tends to take the longest to become a part of like how we design our lessons. The goal is that over time, first we want to understand these three parts of the framework. So through the workshop, we go through them in depth. Then as an academy member, you can come back to them and really revisiting different parts of the framework, I think is so important because like you had said, "This is going to take you a long time as you're trying to work through how this actually fits." Right?
When you're doing the online workshop and you were taking it in the summer months, so you didn't really have an opportunity to go and try with students every step of the way. You're kind of going in now and going like, "Okay, now that the rubber is hitting the road, maybe I've got to go back and have a look again and maybe grab one of those templates." As you're planning out your lesson. And over time, what you're going to find is that as you continue to plan lessons this way, it's going to become more automatic. Just like anything we do, right? Not to say, we want to ever get totally procedural where we're not thinking it through, but it becomes very automatic that, "All right. I want to make sure I have these elements. I'm going to set it up this way."
Then I can spend all of that energy on the students solutions, the anticipating and then trying to figure out how I connect those pieces. So it sounds to me like you are well on your way here and that's why we wanted to bring you back on now that you're done the online workshop and about to try it with students, we definitely want to stay in touch with you, Stephanie, kind of learn alongside you and work through those struggles with you. So we're definitely to want to follow up with you again in the future. So be ready for that. I'm wondering before we head off any last comments, thoughts, wonders, or takeaways, and then we'll be signing off.
Stephanie Moore: I'm very encouraged by your encouragement. And then I think that's something you guys do well. And for sure, I've got that year's membership to the academy. So I encourage people to sign up early and often for your stuff. It's really good stuff. I do go back and look at stuff and I've downloaded everything I could download. And I'm really enjoying, exploring, not just you guys, but I've been looking at other videos and other tasks that other people have done and seeing what's out there. And there's a lot of people moving in this direction of problem-based learning or interactive learning or whatever you want to call it and it's fun looking for new ideas. I always am open to new ideas when we stop learning. We may as well just roll over and die.
Jon Orr: Right. Well, thanks for saying that. And actually, maybe we'll see you or a little later today, we're having a live Q&A chat today around noon. So maybe we'll see you there.
Stephanie Moore: Well, I hope all of us get a nap between now and then.
Kyle Pearce: Awesome stuff, Stephanie. Thanks so much for joining us again. We are super excited for you to try the coffee quantity for everyone else listening. Definitely head over to the academy, makemathmoments.com/academy. Once you're over there, you can access the tasks without being a member. But those teacher guides, as Stephanie mentioned really important pieces in order to try to help piece that stuff together. So check it out and we really hope to see all of you, all of you on that Q&A coming up later today. So awesome stuff there. Stephanie, we'll chat with you.
Stephanie Moore: Alrighty, have a good day.
Kyle Pearce: As always both Jon and I learned so much from engaging in these math mentoring moment episodes, but in order to ensure we hang on to the new learning, so it doesn't wash away like footprints in the sand, we must reflect on what we've learned. An excellent way to ensure this learning sticks is to reflect and create a plan for yourself to take action on something you've learned here today.
Jon Orr: A great way to hold yourself accountable is to write it down or even better, share it with someone, a partner or colleague, your co-teacher or with a math moment maker community by commenting on the show notes page, tag us @Make Math Moments on all social media or in our free private Facebook group, Math Moment Makers K through 12.
Kyle Pearce: You're right there Jon. But before we head out of this episode, this is a quick reminder that the 2020 Make Math Moments virtual summit is coming soon. It's coming up on Saturday November 7th and Sunday, November 8th, 2020. So get yourself registered over at makemathmoments.com/summit.
Jon Orr: That's right. Our free virtual summit will feature live and prerecorded sessions for you to enjoy and catch the replays for up to a week afterwards.
Kyle Pearce: All right, we are so excited to bring over 20 speakers. And if you want to know who they are head on over to makemathmoments.com/summit. Do it now to ensure you get your access to this awesome PD from your couch event.
Jon Orr: Are you interested in joining us for an upcoming math mentoring moment episode where you two can share a big math class struggle apply over at makemathmoments.com/mentor. That's makemathmoments.com/mentor.
Kyle Pearce: In order to ensure that you don't miss out on any new episodes as they come out each week, be sure to smash, slam, slaughter that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform.
Jon Orr: Show notes and links to resources from this episode can be found at makemathmoments.com/episode97. Again, that's makemathmoments.com/episode97.
Kyle Pearce: If you haven't headed over to any of the show notes pages, note that there are transcripts there available for you to read and download. Well until next time I'm Kyle Pearce.
Jon Orr: And I'm Jon Orr.
Kyle Pearce: High fives for us.
Jon Orr: And have five for you.
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