Resources mentioned in this episode:

Watch the Virtual Math Summit sessions

Become a member of the Build Math Minds PD site

Welcome fellow Recovering Traditionalists to Episode 70.  Today we are Implementing Ideas from the Virtual Math Summit.

Christina:  Well this past week was the virtual math summit. I wanted to let you all know that we recently extended the free access period to August 12th due to the storms here in the United States and so many people who are without power. And you can watch all the sessions over at the virtual summit main page, which is for virtual math summit, 20. So /vms20.

Christina:  All right, now, every single session of the Virtual Math Summit was full of ideas and inspiration. But during this challenging time in education with teaching during COVID, everyone’s situation is different. Some teachers are fully online, some are going back face to face, but have social distancing guidelines and safety things to consider when planning lessons. Some are doing a hybrid where they have to design lessons for both face to face and online, and many teachers still just don’t know what their district is going to do. All of these wonderful sessions and amazing ideas from the summit can actually be a bit overwhelming when placed on top of everything educators have to plan and prepare for this coming year.

Christina:  So at the end of each day of the summit, I hopped on live with a few members of the Build Math Minds PD site and asked them their big takeaways from the summit and how they plan to implement the ideas this coming school year. You can watch all the implementation chats over at that main page for the virtual math summit. Well, at the very end of these implementation chats, I asked each educator to share one thing that they think is very important to them that they implement this coming year, and in today’s episode, I’m going to share the clips of them talking about their one thing. Okay, let’s get into it.

Christina:  But if there’s one thing that you really want the teachers to be able to try to implement, either in that virtual setting, when it’s hybrid, if you’re able to come back face to face, what is the one thing that you think really can make a big difference in mathematical learning?

Robin White:  Well, the biggest difference that we can make. So I am actually looking at my notes because I wrote so many things down today. So Bea Luchin, did I say her name right? She has a book that I’m going to research on the seven sins of memory that she spoke on, and she talked about all of these R’s. So reaching, reflecting, recoding, and it’s a lot of things that we’ve learned, we know, but sometimes it’s really good to just hear it again and bring that forward into what we do. And I know that a lot of times we have a hard time or we forget to give the students that little bit of time to reflect.

Robin White:  So for teachers and what I would like to know, she focused on four different of her R’s in that book of 7. So I would like to take those four back and just in a quick little, I know we know this, but let’s bring this back forward again with our teaching, is how do we engage our kids and to get our kids to be interested, or just to be tuned in to what we’re teaching. Because even though schools that go back to school face to face in the beginning of the school year, it’s going to look different than it did beforehand. Our kids are not going to be able to partner the way that they used to. We’re not going to have our group work the way that we use to, small groups. A lot of things are going to have to change.

Robin White:  So how do we engage our children when our district tells us that that the desks needed to be separated 6 feet? We need to be up front and away. And it almost looks like the classroom that I went to school in where there was desks, rows and columns, and you were separated from everyone, and you sat like this and you just repeated what the teacher said. I don’t want us to go to that, so we have to find a way to merge.

Christina:  Yeah, that’s a really good point. Physically, even if you are going back in a school, that is a concern for me is that we have all these rules about kids not interacting, but kids still need that interaction. So Bea’s session was all about making the learning stick and having ways to engage kids. So if you are in that, whether it is face to face or online, you know that’s a challenge in an online setting too. How do you engage kids and get them to want to show up to a zoom meeting or whatever you’re using, to come into the Google classroom, to do something on Flipgrid. Were going to have to use all of those tools that we can get it from anywhere to help us with ideas on how to do that. Yeah.

Robin White:  Challenge, it’s going to be a challenge this year. Every challenge we learn from, so I’m not worried about the challenge, because I think that after we get past this, we’re going to be so much better.

Christina:  So if there was one thing, that’s what I asked Robin to end with, that as you move forward, because there is so many things that you’re going to be grappling with this coming school year, what is the one thing that is on your mind? If you could put a little poster on your wall to remind you every day, do this one thing, what is that one thing that you plan on doing moving forward?

Taylor Wall:  I just think once again, kind of like I said from John’s talk is just, okay, make it relevant. How are you going to make this content relevant and connect with them? And I think that builds in the equity piece in everything that we’re talking about too. Valuing our students, unique backgrounds and what they come with and how can I translate that into my mathematical instruction, which then will make them engage. So if I’m looking for ways to make it relevant, I feel like that is huge for me, that’s the next step for me.

Christina:  There it is, there’s your little poster. Make it relevant.

Taylor Wall:  Yeah.

Christina:  And that helps everything. I mean, you just tied this whole thread together from a lot of the sessions today, but if you make it relevant, you’re engaging kids, you’re helping the learning stick and you’re helping kids have access and an equitable educational experience for our students. So I love it. That’s awesome.

Cara Morelos:  Well for me, it’ll be to really get across that message of math is the joy of patterns and relationships. And so if we always remember that and let kids build that, so when we’re designing tasks this year, start with that and put up things that are going to allow them to see patterns and relationships and talk about those things. And then the #2 thing would be not to have a deficit thinking mindset going into this year. To really, truly listen to kids and start where they are, celebrate their strengths and move forward from there and think about what kinds of questioning and tasks you can put in front of them to challenge their thinking. Moving them forward, but not focusing on deficits or whether things are correct or incorrect.

Christina:  Awesome, that’s a good one. Good two, actually.

Cara Morelos:  Sorry.

Christina:  That’s all right.

Lynette White:  I think for me, it’s going to be the power of choice. And I really enjoyed watching her do the parallel tasks and the open tasks and presenting it in such a way so children don’t think, “Oh, I’m on the lower level so she gave me this worksheet, or I’m on the higher level so she gave me this worksheet.” Just they’re all presented with the same thing, but they get the choice to do which problems they want to do, what they feel comfortable doing, what they know how to do and then from there you can make it, as a teacher, you can say, “Okay, I want you to choose two hard ones and two easy ones.” But the most important thing about the power of choice is for them to justify and explain their thinking.

Lynette White:  And that as a teacher, especially for me online, is my assessment piece. Yeah, I can’t give them a paper and they can turn it in, but it’s only going to give me the grade. If they miss two or if they miss three and hopefully they’ll get them all right, because their parents are there. But then-

Christina:  Is that a true evaluation?

Lynette White:  Is it true? But if they can get back with me and when I say, “How did you figure that out?” That’s my true assessment right there. And that’s going to be the one thing that I’m going to focus on is choice. They probably won’t be able to regurgitate their parent’s thinking because they may or may not understand their parent’s thinking, but they can definitely explain their thinking and that’s going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to that.

Kris Hemstetter:  And if I had to say, “Take an action,” and as I speak to my teachers, I know that message is going to be, students need to own their learning. Try to find that way to unlock their thinking and find that key into their thinking. Just listen to your students, no matter what environment you are in. That human interaction may not be physical, but even if it’s at a screen, what’s going to be the same is the conversation that you can have, and really listening to your students, and then that’s going to be assessment piece of it you can get, you can differentiate. There’s everything about that, as long as they are owning their learning and you are building that trust up and that risk taken, then I think that the learning and the teaching will be meaningful.

Christina:  Absolutely.

Chantelle Rance:  A lot of our problems are word problems or story problems. So I think the way they proceed with what comes next, I bet you this happens. I can’t think of what we called it. But I think just breaking it down line by line. What do you think is going to happen next? And having them look at it as separately. I did that before and I would circle important numbers, underline key information, but I think just having them only see one line at a time will really help, especially getting them to interact and talk with each other and form their thoughts of why do you think that’s going to happen? And what is your reason for that?

Christina:  And that numberless word problem of Brian’s that then, there’s no numbers in there and you give it a line at a time, kids can’t just go straight to computation. They really do have to think through the problem and make sense of it.

Christina:  If each of you has one thing that you are really excited to be focusing on or try or whatever comes to mind when you’re like, math for this coming year, do you have a one thing in mind? And I won’t put you on the spot yet, so if one of you has it go ahead and talk.

Maria McKinnon:  Okay, I’ll go. The one thing that came to my mind is actually from yesterday with Sarah and her, “What else?” So when you’re questioning the students, don’t let up. When you think you’re good and everybody knows what they’re doing, keep asking, “What else, what else, what else?” That’s my big one.

Sheandra Brown:  My one thing would be the equity and making it accessible to every student so that everybody’s opinion, even though their answer may not be the correct answer, but it’s respected and it’s valued. And so just making it so that the lessons are not so difficult, but making it so that everybody has an opportunity to engage in a list.

Christina:  I’m going to get this wrong, but Pam’s poster, respected, inspected, and there was a third one and I can’t remember it now. Now that I’m on the spot, she had this wonderful poster, these three things that she talked about, and I’m sure somebody’s probably going to do it in the comments and tell me, I can’t believe you didn’t remember this, but respected, inspected and can’t remember the other one. Too much information in these past two days, right? And we still have one day to go. Melissa, you’re muted though.

Melissa Ertsgaard:  Yes, sorry. I know you have to say I can’t remember either and it’s hung in my classroom for two years. Mistakes are respected, inspected, there’s a third one, and then correct it. Yeah. I don’t remember off the top of my head. My one takeaway though is the anticipation. I think that that just the anticipation of the thinking is going to help me with those two things, the access and the equity.

Christina:  Yep, awesome. Now I’m going to go back and re-watch Pam session so I know what those are. Or I’m going to look in the comments. Oh, okay. Oh, somebody got it. Kelly told me it and Kelly, because you were the first one that I see here, I’m going to give you one of the gift cards. I haven’t given out, the last person to get the gift card. It is expected, respected, inspected, and corrected. That was it. Awesome, okay.

Christina:  Well again, thank you ladies so much. I really appreciate the time that you have taken out there watching the sessions and then being willing to come and share your ideas and give enough inspiration and information to everybody out there who’s watching this.

Christina:  Well, I hope these clips have sparked your interest in a session or two. We have 24 sessions plus these implementation chats. You can watch them all or just one. Remember it is completely free and you can watch them at any time, but only through August 12th. After that, all the sessions go inside the Build Math Minds PD site for the members, like these ladies, to have access to. Which, if you’d like to become a member like these educators, go on over to, that stands for build math minds, because enrollment in the PD site is open now, but only until August 14th. 

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As you start off the school year, I want you to keep in mind what is really important as we're trying to teach mathematics to our students.