Friday, November 18, 2016

NSTA 16 Conference Recap

NSTA16 Portland, Oregon
November 10-12, 2016
Conference Recap

As the Math TOSA in our district, I've been included in planning for implementing NGSS. When I heard a national conference was coming to Portland, I figured I should go. I'm so glad I did!

This conference happened at the end of a weird election week and our town filled with protesters each evening. Welcome to Portland! I was able to drive in and out without much trouble, but I heard some horror stories from people from out of town.

I was able to attend lots of great sessions (sometimes more than one in a time slot...). Here are some highlights and links:

Donna Knoell
Consultant from Kansas
I was hoping to get a feeling for the progressions of NGSS at elementary from this session, but the focus was on more general shifts in science education and sharing resources. My favorite quote was "differentiation doesn't mean expect less, but that we expect different." She also emphasized that students what to know why and we need to give them experiences where they can think, talk, write, and DO. Another quote: "our questions can make people think, or NOT."
A bunch of books were recommended for engaging student interest in science (links to Amazon):
Neo Leo and Now and Ben
If: A Mind-bending Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers

Michael DiSpezio (@mdispezio)
Substitute Keynote
We did an observation activity where we turned away from a partner and changed 5 things about our appearance and then had to notice what our partner changed. He then described how NGSS is a change from traditional teaching to students engaged in science and engineering practices, engineering design, and a project based learning approach. He said "this isn't as easy as me telling them what to do." He also shared a free tool: Google Earth Pro.

Lauren Brodsky
Amplify, Laurence Hall of Science
She shared ideas on using embedded assessment during science instruction. A model of evidence-centered design was shared. Questions were posed about feedback: at what grain size? for the individuals or the group? what's the threshold for full class action? is it aligned to student goals? Many of these ideas reminded me of Feedback by Jane Pollack. The best part of this session was the conversation when it ended with a special education teacher from Hawaii and a science teacher from Prineville. We talked about the election and how topics of equity can be addressed.

Karen Ostlund
Activity available for $4.65 on the presenter's web site. This was a fun activity for later in the afternoon. We watched videos (Russia and Weather Channel) of roofs blowing off of buildings and then tested different roofs and designed a solution to keep them on.

STEM in the Primary Classroom
Jen Gutierrez (Arizona Dept. of Education: Phoenix, AZ, @jengutierrez18), Jennifer Thompson (Harborview Elementary School: Juneau, AK, @jenjuneau)

I caught the end of this fun session on STEM in the Primary Classroom. The presenters share the NTSA position statement on science for young children (PDF). They talked about how important it is for science instruction to be based on inquiry, be place-based, and for students to DO the practices. Real experiences are motivating. They shared a link to They outlined Fundamentals of Learning from West Ed: Making Meaning, Collaborating, and Learning Characteristics. Did you know the engineering design process can be used for behavior management, too? They also recommended the Brookes STEM Toolkit as a resource.

Deena Pierott (@deenapierott)
Implicit Bias and Its Effect on Youth of Color
This was a timely session that started with reflections on the election. What are your areas of concern? What gives us hope - what can we influence? Deena founded a program called iUrbanTeen in multiple cities. More info at She talked about unconscious bias: "if you have a brain, you have bias." We need to be able to see racism without the racist and recognize that we all want to be heard. She shared resources for continuing our equity work: and Cracking the Codes included a great video of African American male students sharing their experiences in public schools. We are Human First.

Elementary NGSS 
A group of Oregon Science Leaders led this session. They led us through an activity to create "Comeback Machines." They also described STEM as a rope with multiple strands and needing all the strands to DO the work of solving problems (more at this blog post).  They also shared the NGSS Playbook that we worked on last year:

I was lucky to spot one of our 3rd grade teachers and work with her on the activity. We had lunch together after and shared ideas about how to move science education forward in our district. 

Flavio Mendez
NSTA Resources from NSTA Learning Center
This presenter had ice cream. He shared the different sites that NSTA provides: for Conference and Membership information for PD resources (some free content, more if you are a member) for NGSS resources
He described how we need to think about PD in Tsunami Mode - we need after shocks!
USDOE recommends blended learning for teachers. 

Phillip Bell (@philiplbell) and Shelley Stromholt from UW (you can sign up for email updates)
We analyzed assessments for representing the 3 dimensions of the science standards: Disciplinary Core Ideas, Science and Engineering Practices, and Cross Cutting Concepts. It was a nice activity that allowed good discussion. The also shared some great resources for writing assessments that address the practices. 

Holly Neill, Beaverton
This was another fun end of the day activity. We build straw rockets and launched them in the hall. Lots of opportunity for math connections in this activity. 

Randy Bell, Oregon State University
Scientific Modeling
I made it back early Saturday morning to learn more about scientific modeling. We use the word model in lots of disciplines and contexts. I knew it was different in science, but I needed more clarification. This session helped. 

Scientific Modeling is when STUDENTS create representations to predict or EXPLAIN phenomena.

This is different from pedagogical modeling, which is not a bad thing. It's the difference between recreation and creation of models. Pedagogical models help students learn scientific ideas, but don't allow them to experience the nature of science. We did a Mystery Tube activity that allowed us to create models. 

Ted Willard
We explored the Science and Engineering Practices:
What are the key elements? 
How do they support the Disciplinary Core Ideas? 
How do you make them happen in instruction/?

Goldilocks Unit
Jamerson School
This was a great activity to end the conference. Two teachers from Florida shared their STEM activity connected to Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The described school wide Engineering Expo activities. They shared the "unplugged" resources from at  The "Goldilocks an engineer?" article was published in an NCTM magazine.

This was a great conference for making connections with other teachers and diving deeper into science instruction. If only there had been free wifi... this blog post would have been written sooner.

Update - links from the exhibitors:
Roadtrip Challenge for iPad:
Fisheries Facts:
Minerals Education Coalition:
Rain measuring project:
CornellLab of Ornithology Resources for Educators:
Newton's Laws on Scooters:
The Martian Classroom Edition Teacher's Guide: email
UW Research and Practice Collaboratory: @rpcollaboratory
The Big Eclipse (8/21/17):
NASA Space Place:  @nasaspaceplace
Bright Schools Competition Submissions Due 2/6:
OSTA Conference October 13-14, 2017: #OSTA17
Gizmos and Reflex:
Vernier Thermal Analysis App:
STEM Solutions:
Digiscoping phone holder:

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Number Talks and #ObserveMe

At #TMC15, a math coach told us about modeling Number Talks in all of her classrooms. It took me a year to set it up and give it a try, but as of mid-October, I've done almost 100 Number Talks. I've got a few more scheduled and should be done by the end of November.

I read about the #ObserveMe movement through Robert Kaplinsky's posts on Twitter (original post: So I wanted to merge the two ideas and have teachers observe me doing Number Talks. I created a template for teachers to record the strategies that students use and the questions that I ask. 

My first Number Talk debrief meetings had me asking "How do we get past compliments?" So I reached out on Twitter and asked this question. David Wees and Robert (and Michael Pershan) offered some thoughts. Their advice and my takeaway was that it really depends on the questions that we ask. I started by asking for Evidence of how I support language learning. This felt too much like our evaluation system. Teachers told me "I liked it," "good job," or "you did very well." These comments felt good, but didn't help me improve.  David Wees responded to the post below with great comments in my Google Doc. He affirmed my instincts and offered suggestions. This all happened within minutes of the tweet and in time for me to adjust before heading out to try it. I so appreciate the #MTBoS for the support and push to improve.

My new #ObserveMe Questions:
How could I better support language learning?
How could I better record student ideas?

These questions improved the feedback. A few teachers made suggestions that I incorporated:

  • Leave the sentence frame up so they can use it when responding.
  • After the pair share, have them tap their chin if they had a chance to talk and tap ear if they had a chance to listen.
  • Be careful with hand signals. Don't introduce too many at once. Now, I do thumbs up and thumbs sideways at the beginning and add the "same sign" when we need it. I was using a "same sign" that actually meant "yellow" in sign language. A teacher let me know and demonstrated the sign for "me, too" in ASL and I've switched it. 
  • Another coach noticed that I was modeling Sheltered Instruction strategies and building a culture of equity. 

One Teacher's Notes:

Questioning: This teacher recorded nine "questions" that I asked. I notice that three of them are actually commands. Two of the questions are yes/no questions (asked at the end for some quick closure - could have been statements instead). Two of the questions were to probe into student thinking. One of them was to compare and contrast. Two more were about choosing efficient strategies for them. 

Hand Signals: I had the opportunity to hear Ruth Parker talk about Number Talks at the Northwest Mathematics Conference. She cautioned against asking students to use hand signals if they used the same strategy. It's important to make sure all students feel comfortable sharing and aren't discouraged if others don't agree. But, I am also concerned about student engagement during Number Talks. 

Pair Share: She also cautioned against using a turn and talk because it forces students to share before they are ready. I don't want to let go of the chance for students to rehearse their responses. But I think I'll be careful about pressuring students to share if they aren't ready. Again, I think the turn and talk opportunity increases student engagement and supports language learning. It also helps younger students have a chance to share. Otherwise it's hard for them to sit and listen to others when they have an idea to share.

Student Names: Before each student shares, I ask them to spell their names (and you can see I don't always get it right). Student names are such an important part of their identity. Writing their names with each strategy shows student ownership of the mathematics. This set of student responses reminded me of a "Which One Doesn't Belong?" (

The Debrief Meetings:

Questions I ask in the debrief meetings (these have evolved and I like these best today):
What did you notice about how your students responded?
What did I do that is similar to what you do?
What did I do that is different to what you do and that you might try?
I also make connections to our curriculum and where they could do Number Talks or facilitate Math Talk in this way.

I had a great opportunity with another coach from my district for her to observe one of my debrief meetings. I knew we had limited time, so I started with the second two questions all at once. We had a nice discussion, but it wasn't very focused. Afterwards, we stood in the parking lot and she coached me! She asked great reflective questions: how did you feel about that? What was your goal? Did it work? I was able to realize that (just like in classrooms) when rushed, we don't get as deeply into ideas as when we do less with focus. Hmm... 

Some responses from teachers:

An email:

Some notes on the feedback sheet:

***I'm still curious about how other teachers maintain and ensure engagement during Number Talks. What do you do? (please share in the comments)

55th NWMC Recap

55th Northwest Mathematics Conference

October 21-23, 2016

After an easy drive through the Columbia River Gorge and into Yakima Valley, we arrived at the Howard Johnson in Yakima. The first conference event was a Maker Space Showcase of students and programs from this area in Washington.

After that chance to mingle, we went out for a "Tweet Up." El Mirador had handmade tortillas and spicy salsa! Great conversations. Go #MTBoS. Thanks to Chris Shore and Molly Daley for joining us!

Saturday Sessions (October 22, 2016)

Letting Go: Using Number Talks to Transform Our Practice
Ruth Parker (@DrRuthParker)
"Which answer are you defending?"
This is a question I need to incorporate into my number talks. I frequently assume they are defending the right answer (which they usually are), but clarifying would help.
In the third grade example, lots of students are using number lines to describe their strategies.
One question: how do you ensure 100% engagement during number talks?
"Would you tell US?" Answers are for the group, not teacher.
Respond with appropriate language - don't make a big deal about things like "minused."
Don't recommend using = sign in posing problem. 81 - 26 is better than "81-26 ="
Allow lots of WAIT TIME!
"Can you help us understand why..."
Model teacher curiosity
"Graduated pressing" - press softly when students aren't used to this type of activity, but press more as students are comfortable. Understanding their thinking is the ultimate goal.
Not a time for fixing mistakes during a Number Talk. It's a time for kids to fix their own thinking.
Never put them on the spot.
Build an environment that creates curiosity and engagement.
Students don't have to talk - they want to talk.
Number talks are about Educating, not Training. Train means to drag behind. Educe is to draw forth.
Number talks are about expecting and TRUSTING students to have mathematical ideas.
Number talks are about developing mathematics about sense making.
It's just 15 minutes that can deeply change our practice.
Finishing students thoughts can take agency away from them.

Doesn't think hand signals of agreement belong in number talks. Hmm... Again, I have an engagement question...
Doesn't think turn and talk belongs in number talks either. Hmm... Again, I think this helps engagement and providing a sentence frame can make it less painful. "Let anyone who wants to share, share." Don't pressure kids that aren't ready.
Don't rescue students.

Number Talks are the Mathematical Practices in Action

"It's time to bring joy back into mathematics and the teaching of mathematics!"

(I'm modeling Number Talks in all of my K-5 classrooms - blog to come...)

Using Problem Strings to Promote Discourse and Access Big Mathematical Ideas
Karen Prigodich (@karenprigodich)
I arrived late, but enjoyed the fun problem strings for doubling and halving! We made conjectures and talked about big math ideas. Karen is always fun to watch facilitate. I picked up a new question - "how did you see it in your mind's eye?"
Problem Strings resources: (Cathy Fosnot)

Math Coaching Matters
Cynthia Hockman Chupp (Gervais School District)
Coaches wear many hats. Coaches can be in isolation. We're often the only ones in our roles in our districts.
Course for coaches - reflect on successful coaching, set goals, support for teachers, collaborate with admin, and identify district needs
What makes a successful math coach? What qualities and behaviors?
Books: Building Teacher's Capacity for Success and The Mathematics Coaching Handbook
Article: "Being a Successful Math Coach: Ten Guiding Principles" by Chris Confer
Understanding group work
Also recommended: Mathematical Mindsets by Jo Boaler and Small Steps, Big Changes by Chris Confer (What if we spent 80% of time on things that matter most? And 20% on things that won't make a difference in student achievement?) article - Anyone Can Learn to High Levels
One-to-one collaboration - continuum of self-reflection (unaware, conscious, action, refinement); lesson modeling with pre- and post-conferencing
Pre and post conferencing is something I need to work on. I am pushing for the post-conference, but I haven't pushed for time before a lot of my model lessons or observations.
Questions for pre conference:
   What is the lesson about?
   What instructional strategies will be modeled?
   What should they be looking for? Count "turn and talks," record questions, etc.
   Clarify who will deal with management
Post Conference questions:
   What did you see?
Collaborating with Administrators - what are the classroom look-fors? Clarify non-evaluative role. Share goals - what are admin priorities?
Accuracy, Efficiency, and Flexibility - the dimensions of fluency
Sharing Graham Fletcher's first Ignite on Fact Fluency
Public recognition after seeing things in classrooms - Tip of the Week (with pacing reminder)
Celebrate out loud on a regular basis (a little concerned about evaluative implications...)

How Teachers Support Productive Struggle in the Classroom
Melinda Knapp (@KnappMelinda)
Shares NCTMP2A Teaching Practices - Principles to Actions Book
Effort to make sense of mathematics
What are the observable actions of teachers and of students that show productive struggle?
Vicious cycle of helping students too soon, students become dependent, teacher becomes the only authority in the room, and teacher helps more.
We over scaffold with the best of intentions.
How do we break this cycle?
What does productive struggle look like with the students you work with (or should it look like)?
What has been challenging for you about supporting productive struggle?
How do we do this work on a larger scale? Kids get better at struggling if it happens beyond our own classroom.
Productive struggle is essential to learning - teachers must believe this.
Students' perceptions of themselves are important to increasing productive struggle.
What are the routines and strategies in class for students to experience productive struggle? (sociomathematical norms)
Students need to be taught to ask good questions to move through struggles.
Warshauer (2015) suggests 4 strategies to encourage productive struggle -
   Teachers acknowledge that struggle is part of learning
   Teachers give time and avoid stepping in too soon.
   Teachers encourage reflecting on work and not just in getting correct answers.
   Teachers ask questions that help students focus on their thinking and encourage them to look at other approaches to problems.
Math Labs or Math Studio experiences can help teachers learn about encouraging productive struggle.
High cognitive demand in necessary - or there won't be productive struggle.
Student-to-student discourse supports productive struggle.
We're questioning to find out what they're thinking, not just their answer.
Purposeful Questions to encourage productive struggle
   What do you already know? What do you need to know?
   What do you understand, so far?
   What makes sense to you? What does not make sense to you?
   I wonder how we can decide which one makes more sense?
   What are some math ideas that might help you?
   Or math focussing questions
Students should say "she's going to ask us..." Build up the norms that math work makes sense and everyone should question.
Math Studio or Learning Walks can be a place for teachers to learn about supporting productive struggle.
Productive struggle can be a them for co-planning and co-teaching.
Productive struggle can arise from purposeful questions and increasing discourse.
Teachers had to be comfortable experiencing productive struggle.

Students (and teachers) have to re-imagine themselves as students and mathematicians.

Reflections on Making Number Talks Matter: Things I Wish We Had Said
Ruth Parker (@DrRuthParker)
Mind blowing back and forth between Ruth and Steve Leinwand were a biproduct of this session on Number Talks.
Some quotes:
What was an efficient strategy FOR YOU?
Anticipating how students will solve problems is valuable for teachers
"If the goal is for the lesson of the day, you are creating illusions of learning"
"Math ought to be okay and joyful!"I also met a person that had been my tweeting twin in the morning. Meeting #MTBoS people in person is a fun part of going to conferences.

MATH CENTERS For Maximizing Math Minutes
Marcy Cook (@MarcyCookApp)
I was able to sneak in for a few minutes and play a math game with tiles. Always fun to hear how Marcy facilitates games and math learning.

Learning, Planning, and Teaching Together: Designing Job-Embedded Professional Development
Kendra Lomax and Becca Lewis (University of Washington)
(@KendraLomax and @lewisbecca)
Instructional activities on to give teachers common routines to then discuss across classrooms
Routines for Reasoning (secondary version of Intentional Talk...)
Learning Cycle: Introduce, Prepare, Enact, Analyze
We often Introduce, but then don't allow or monitor teachers work around the ideas.
We can analyze what was learned about content, student thinking, pedagogical moves, and teaching practices.
Math Labs include active observers - engaged in listening to students and then analyzing together.
"Teaching is so complex. Lots and lots of things can come up in the debrief."
What do you notice about the students?
How does the teacher orient students to each other's thinking?
Choral count by 200s - start at 5000
When we do this, we are looking for patterns in numbers
Restate Ss; If you agree, thumbs on chest; asks "what place value"
How does the teacher highlight the mathematics that is happening in this task?
(I had to sneak out early to meet with the Yakima committee - bummed to miss the end!)

Insights and To-dos Drawn from 1000 Classroom Observations since 2010
Steve Leinwand (@steve_leinwand)
We have guidance now - what math? what is really essential? (the math practices) how? (NCTMP2A)
We have support now - PLCs, coaching, assessments with performance tasks
We have made progress.
"What an amazing time to be teaching mathematics!"
9 most important words - "Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others."
2.5 years after NCTMP2A - there's agreement
Look to our North and South - but need to look to East and West - look to our colleagues.
Video our teaching and take to staff meetings - look under publications for list of resources
Number string, math workshop task, exit ticket - lesson structure
Observing a room - he doesn't sit in the back like an evaluator - sit on the side to engage
Story problems - they should care about "Jan."
Honor students ability to make sense of mathematics
I love student friendly objectives - not performance objectives, but what students will learn about.
How big is the book? Name 6 ways to measure it.
What does it mean to MEASURE something?
Put in every lesson "What did you learn today?"
"I always call on the special ed kids because no one else does."
I loved it when Steve noticed an error in his presentation and stopped to edit the PowerPoint. Modeling fixing our mistakes.
"We are charged with making math work for a much greater proportion of students."
"You have ever right to feel overloaded when you don't have the support, the coaching, etc."
"This is different, difficult to do, requires time and risk-taking"
This takes, collaboration, coaching, and high-quality aligned assessments.
Our typical classrooms have not made these shifts. We make excuses.
No one can do it all, but you can pick two and start making some changes. It's about the kids.
From 1994 - "It is unreasonable and unprofessional to expect professionals to change by much more than 10% a year, but it is just as unreasonable and unprofessional for professionals, in this era of change, to be changing by much less than 10% a year."
You can't do math class justice in less than 60 minutes.
Daily, cumulative review at the beginning of each lesson is necessary.
2-4-2 Homework idea - 2 on the new skill, 4 on prerequisites for tomorrow, 2 deeper problems asking for explanation
Too many of our questions are DOK 1.
I, We, You is so wrong for mathematics. You, We, I is what we need to do.

What begins our to-do list?

  • more on going cumulative review
  • fewer mindless worksheets
  • rational homework
  • daily exit slips
  • higher order questions
  • discourse
  • more productive struggle
  • more technology
  • more collaboration

When the rate of change inside an institution is much less than the rate of change outside an institution, the end is near.
Steve Leinwand

Sunday Sessions (October 23, 2016)

I spent some time Sunday morning driving Chris Shore to the airport (returning a #TMC16 favor). I also talked with some exhibitors and made plans with the Yakima committee for promoting the Portland conference. I did attend one session before the closing keynote. And I got to meet Ryan Adams!

Helping Teachers Grow: Supporting the Transformation of Classroom Instructional Practice
Karen Prigodich (@karenprigodich)
How can we impact our sphere of influence?
What elements support teachers' readiness to transform their instructional practice?
How can we nurture these elements in our work with teachers?
Research/What to DO
Transformative PD: changes in deeply held beliefs, knowledge, and habits of practice
   create cognitive dissonance
   allow time and support to wrestle with dissonance
   embed learning in their situations/practice
   respond to new learning with a new repertoire
I will email Karen for the PowerPoint of research - too much to capture!
A few highlights -
Gains in achievement happened only with making conjectures and explaining strategies, sharing multiple perspectives, and building conceptual understanding from discussion of mathematics.
Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching (Deborah Ball)
Teaching cannot be broken down into manageable and achievable pieces. It's too complex.
Theoretical Framework - Mezirow's theory. We have a need to integrate new learning into what we already know. Tools for working with adult educators: Critical Reflection, Discourse, and Reflective Action.
What are the beliefs in the way of making a change?
WOOP - wish, outcome, obstacle, plan

Closing Keynote:
Michael Stevens (@tweetsauce)
VSauce Youtube Channel:
Youtube allows him to perform and explain.
"You should watch my videos because then I get a view."
But really, you should watch his videos because they include some cool mathematical and scientific ideas.

Thank you to the conference organizers and program committee! I love attending the Northwest Mathematics Conference when someone else plans it. I'm looking forward to next fall in Portland, Oregon! Details:

Sunday, August 7, 2016

#OML16 Recap

Oregon Math Leaders, August 5-7, 2016, Salem, Oregon
#OML16 Recap

Friday, August 5th

Mingle Math 
Foldable puzzles broke the ice between conference attendees:

Concave World - keynote
Steve Wyborney's keynote promotes connections through twitter and seeing challenges as opportunities! We can capture and share our moments to interact with each other. Big conference question: what happens after we go back home?
 (photo credits to @janeoz)

Session 1: Random Acts of Math and Science

Area Meetings
We picked dates for regional events around the state (Pizza, Pop, and Problems!), reviewed OCTM mission and events, etc. Dates for all area events will be at

We played "Never have I ever..." at the social. Lots of stories of classroom adventures. 

Saturday, August 6th

State of the State: Instruction (Mark Freed)
2020 Vision: What could math education look like?
Desmos Marble Slides: to play - to create/run
How is Marble Slides different from the way we learned math? (using True Math framework:
Learning can be focused on significant mathematics
Math is more than computation (careful - K-5 is about a lot of computation)
Increased emphasis on Mathematical Modeling (recommended book: Mathematical Modeling and Modeling Mathematics - not the same thing!)
"We need to get in the sense making business for our students!"
"I would love more math teachers engaged in STEM work in our state."
Lots of grants and projects happening in the state and in line with a vision of making math more real for our students!

(photo credits to myself this time)

Session 2: Culturally Relevant Math Teaching
Cynthia Townsend from Hermiston High School
Resources available from
Culturally relevant to poverty - her goal!
Routines - warm ups, daily goals
Accessing Funds of Knowledge - like prior knowledge, but includes experience, background, beliefs
Language (reading, speaking, listening, writing)
Relevant Curriculum + Culturally Responsive Instruction = Culturally Relevant Math Teaching
Relevant categories: future, science, art, technology, engineering, current events, pop culture and sports
We brainstormed engaging contexts for students - 

(photo credits to @janeoz again)
Cindy shared lots of examples from her classroom - most high school, but a few could work with middle school.
(left image from @janeoz, right by me)
Brainstormed lesson/project ideas - "How much should @MissVanceMath charge her students for wasting tape (per inch) in the classroom?)
3 things learned: difference between responsive/relevant, clarification of funds of knowledge, ideas for projects/problems
2 things interesting: diverse level of experience in the room, opportunity to network
1 question: How does this fit with "fidelity to curriculum?" I believe there are opportunities to choose problems in curriculum that will be relevant to your students - sometimes a minor modification (their names or a shift in context) that make things relevant.

State of the State: Assessment
Bryan Toller
ESSA updates - Oregon is engaging stakeholders and waiting for federal guidance
Big News - Desmos will be the calculator for Smarter Balanced (practice calculators should be available in November) - grades 6-12. Accessibility features with Braille. 
Some updated Accessibility Features - as usual teachers must READ the Oregon Accessibility Manual: ODE page - it's preliminary now, but should be updated in the fall.

Session 3: Effective Reflective Practices for Teaching Mathematics
Francie Bostwick from Southern Oregon University (
Dispositions of Effective Teachers: Reflective, Persistent, Curious
Francie shared a reflection guide for teachers to use to reflect on math teaching. It is divided into 5 parts and includes a featured instructional strategy (Number Talks!). The five parts are 
  1. The Practice of Teaching Mathematics
  2. How Teacher's Knowledge Affects Teaching and Impacts Student Learning
  3. Math Anxiety (gives teachers a chance to consider their own anxiety and that of kids)
  4. Motivating Students
  5. What Does Effective Teaching Look Like? (consider effective practices and how to improve)
We had some nice discussions around each of the areas. This guide could be used be individuals or be a great tool for PLC conversations.

Share Your Ideas
I attended the 3-5 session. We shared the curriculum used in each district. Resources were shared on the following topics:
Number Talks:
Math Language Supports:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Partners for taking turns
Talking chips (give everyone two or more depending on the activity)
TOMT writing opportunity - contact the editors if you have a lesson idea or article to share:
Cheri Clausen, Co-editor TOMT, Ontario School District (
Marie Cramer, Co-editor TOMT, retired, Salem-Keizer School District (
Number sense games:
Estimation180: (side note that I shared this on twitter and tagged the creator - @mr_stadel. He responded to give the teacher a high five. I found her later and did. She said "that shouldn't feel so cool! My students are going to be impressed!" So fun!)

Sunday, August 7th

Area Meetings
We shared some take-aways and ideas for improving the conference. 

Fun with Standards K-2
This was supposed to be Theresa Trotter, but she was ill, so Dana Domenigoni and I stepped up to facilitate. We shared Theresa's presentation of games, played some card games, and facilitated conversations about playing games. Lots of suggestions for differentiation and raising the strategic thinking experiences were shared. Some resources that we talked about: (includes link to Pinterest page) - from my K-3 session in my district last spring
Link to Acing Math card game file:
Kim Sutton's resources and workshops:

STEM Panel
A group shared their experiences and suggestions for STEM programs.

Steve Wyborney - Keynote
Sharing pictures - Willamette campus, "Proudest moment" rock - an evidence producer...
Growth mindset - power of "yet"
Steve encourages us to visit other classrooms - "Supercharge your teaching by watching another teacher!"
Don't forget your why!

This is my favorite conference for the connections we make. I met a teacher that will have 26 K-8 students for math next year in two groups. Wow! I met other math TOSAs that I can collaborate with this year. I hope this is the beginning of these connections. Steve Wyborney talked about making the world more concave. OML makes Oregon more concave. We're connected and working for the same goals - improve math education for our students and their families. 

Thanks to the conference organizers and OCTM and ODE and everyone that helped. Great fun!

Friday, August 5, 2016

Random Acts of Math and Science Resources

Random Acts of Math And Science
Presented at Oregon Math Leaders Conference
August 5, 2016

Instructional Strategies:
Notice and Wonder (#noticewonder)
Number Talks
Which One Doesn't Belong?

Number Talks Book

Intentional Talk book and Twitter discussion #intenttalk

What are other resources for quick experiences for K-2 students in math and science?