Creating “Buy-In” For Effective Math Teaching

Plans only go so far.

You can make the most detailed, carefully designed goals that have clear objectives and key results that are measurable,

but ….

… that can feel like it all falls flat if we can’t engage our teachers in the work.

Working with teachers who do not want to change their teaching practices is one of the most frustrating and challenging parts of your job.

“How do I help a teacher engage in effective teaching practices when they keep pushing me away?”

Enter in Stage 3: Building Capacity of our 4-Stage process for an improved math PD program in 2024-2025.

How To Create Teacher Buy-In

Building a teacher’s capacity is the secret sauce to obtaining “teacher buy-in” in mathematics.

Engaging more teachers to “get onboard” is developed by these three components:

  • Relational Trust (Psychological Safety)
  • System Alignment (Team & Vision Thinking)
  • Moments of Epiphanies (Intimate Knowledge & Psychological Ownership)

Focusing On Stage 3: Building Capacity will Create Teacher Engagement.

The more you focus on creating mathematical epiphanies with your teachers the more your teachers will swing from “Nope, I don’t have time” towards “wow, I didn’t know I could do it like that”.

Have you helped your teachers create epiphanies this year with:

These are just some of the epiphanies we need to make with our teachers in the math they are required to teach.

How many teacher interactions or touch points have you had where you solely focused on strengthening the teacher’s math content knowledge from a conceptual underpinning?

Leader Training On Creating Buy-In For Math Teachers

How To Create Teacher Buy-In Part 1. This video is a recording from a monthly district leader training for district partners of the Make Math Moments District Improvement Program.

How To Create Teacher Buy-In Part 2. This video is a recording from a monthly district leader training for district partners of the Make Math Moments District Improvement Program.

When you help a teacher shift their own mathematics strategies you will not only create “teacher buy-in” for more but you will start to see students shifts soon follow.

Success Story:

Morgan Siler from West Carrollton School District

After Morgan started focusing on helping teachers use models and strategies for their thinking it showed up in classrooms naturally.

“Our students are actually thinking about the problems and reasoning if their answer makes sense. We are no longer just looking for “key words” and preforming an operation without thinking about what is actually happening in the problem.– Morgan Siler

Morgan Siler

Math Coach | Coordinator, West Carrollton School District

Getting Started

Follow our step-by-step plan inside our workbook so you can not only create an aligned vision for mathematics but start gaining traction with engaging ALL your teachers .

Are you prepared to go another 180 days without a clear measurable focus that creates alignment, change, and improved student results?

A Guide Can Help

If you are struggling to carve out the time or to find the ability to focus on the work (the work is hard, we know), consider grabbing a spot in our calendar so we can help you get started.

Your drive to help more educators provide accessible and equitable mathematics learning opportunities for all students is highly motivating!

Focus Your Math Professional Development On What Matters


Free Training + Planning Workbook


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.

Use our OPEN ACCESS multi-day problem based units!