Do our students know the 8 Mathematical Practices? Can they use these practices to take their learning from the knowledge recall level to the application rigor? We started noticing that the practices were not something that our students truly knew and understood. Even as teachers we still didn't fully understand how to best integrate these into our daily teaching and language.
I started reading and talking to other educators in the area. These three books were recommended and therefore, I dove in.
I started with Putting the Practices Into Action by Susan O'Conell and John SanGiovanni. This provided specific details on the Math Common Core State Standards, as well as the practices. Each mathematical practice had a focus on the why, understanding the standard and how do we get there. By going through each of the practices one by one and understanding the why, the standard and the how, it became evident that there were pieces we were missing with teaching these practices to our students.
The other two books: Elementary and Middle School Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally and The Elementary Mathematics Specialist's Handbook are both great resources. These are great resources to pull when coaching or for teachers when planning their math lessons.
This semester we have started our professional development with our staff. Recently we became connected with Margaret Bangerter from Northwest Missouri State University and she has recently led a half-day professional development day with all staff and then has done follow-up professional development with grade level teachers. During this time I believe my learning was evident in supporting the conversations and next steps we have identified. As we go through this semester we will also be starting a book study using Putting the Practices Into Action. These are all components of how I have made my learning visible and how I will continue to do so as I learn more and more about teaching the 8 Mathematical Practices.
Our next steps are developing posters for our K-5 classrooms on the 8 Mathematical Practices, providing students with talking stems centered around each practice and developing lessons and language that teaches these practices to our students on a daily basis to become strong problem solvers.
Jessica Broadbent, Westview Elementary, Instructional Coach
Linda Haskell, Westview Elementary, 1st Grade Teacher
Move Your Bus
Imagine your school or organization as a bus with feet instead of wheels. Imagine a school bus propelled forward in Fred Flintstone footwork fashion. The bus has four types of occupants and a driver. Now consider all staff members to be occupants of the bus and the administrator as the driver. The categories of occupants on the bus include: the runners, the joggers, the walkers, and the riders. What kind of participant are you?
Riders traveling on the bus typically offer no power to the bus. They complain about most everything but offer no help to improve a situation. If the bus breaks down, they watch the others work on it, and then complain about not getting anywhere. Riders are typically deadweight and have a negative impact on the success of an organization.
Walkers are those staff members that pace themselves to get the job done, but really offer no extra power or advancing value. Sometimes they tend to spread negative energy about their organization or school, and consequently pull others around them down to their speed. They tend to focus on themselves, present themselves as victims, and feel they receive unfair treatment compared to other staff members that are doing more than just ‘riding’ the proverbial bus.
Joggers can get the bus rolling. They are dependable, steady, meet basic expectations, and accelerate when necessary. When assigned a responsibility, they are meticulous and get the work done. Joggers need praise and recognition for the work they do and want validation for their efforts. Joggers absorb energy from those around them whether it is high or low energy. Joggers tend to have a good balance between their work and personal lives.
Runners on the bus are a driving force for the bus. They don’t mind carrying the load to if it gets the bus to the destination of success. They have professional excellence and pride in their work, and they seek system-wide success. To achieve that success they work endless hours, neglect their personal life, but shine at work. It is also important the driver does not let his runners “burn out”, because they will. It is their nature. Runners are those people always volunteering to do the things others won’t volunteer to do. They are ambitious, creative, do what it takes to get things done. They are leaders.
Drivers of the bus, a.k.a. the administrators and leaders, ultimately can determine the mix of the staff, thus the success of the organization and ultimately success in student achievement. They should seek and motivate staff to be runners or at minimum joggers. To do this they need to know how to read and understand people. To keep runners running, they should not kill the runners’ spirit by focusing or pointing out and focusing on the mistakes. Runners do a lot and mistakes can happen when the load is heavy; accept that and know the runners hate the mistakes and will avoid making them again. Drivers should have good vision and know how to avoid problems. Drivers and managers have to deal with conflicts, communicate expectations clearly, and find ways to lift employees up.
Without people, energy, and fuel, an organization will go nowhere. There must be acceleration if there is to be excellence. People intrinsically want to be part of something special. In order to have something special, people of an organization have to have the motivation, training, attitude, and willingness to do what it takes to move forward. Move the Bus author, Ron Clark, talks about the miracle of expectations. Often times we get what we expect –good or bad.
Clark, R. (2015). Move Your Bus. New York, NY: Touchstone.
Teresa Berry | Adult Education
To help further my education as a PE teacher, I chose to read the book Nice Bike for my flex day. This book was a nice read as it lead me to think about how I teach and my relationships with my students. After reading this, I see some room for improvement. Acknowledge, Honor and Connect are the 3 key points that I want to mention.
When thinking about Acknowledge, I now I see I could be doing better and will do better moving forward. The book talks about having more of a concern for all students and community members. I want to be even more active in my community. After reading this book, I have looked beyond people and students, when I shouldn’t have. I want to make better connections moving forward.
While talking about Honor, the book talks about knowing about what’s important to others. I need to do a better job of knowing what others values and priorities are. After reading this book, I can now differ what might be important to someone else but not for me. By taking an initiative into a student’s skills or experiences, I feel I can now honor them in a better way.
Connections are huge as a teacher, no matter how small or large. I have a student, whose behavior was not the best this year, but I have tried very hard to make a connection with her and I have seen a huge improvement. I have created a lasting relationship that will be a great meaningful connection for the next 6 years.
Overall, I would suggest this book to anyone and any teacher to read as it has changed my perspective on many things. I am now reminded how much kindness and love I can give to any student each and every day.
Richie Marsh, Westview Elementary, Physical Education
Tracy Llewelleyn | Special Education | Lewis Elementary
Over the summer, my para and I attended a 5 day BIST training. Training with my para has made our working relationship stronger, created common understanding of goals, and brought common language to our classroom.
During our training, we learned:
This is a resource build by the ESSD40 staff for to aid in transforming teaching and learning.
Inspire. Empower. Challenge.
Learning Out loud