Tag Archives: Professional Learning

#T3Learns Slow-Chat Book Study: 5 Practices for Orchestrating

Book Study 0 5-Practices-Both.jpg

After the success of the slow-chat book study on Embedding Formative Assessment we plan to engage in another slow chat book study.

A few years ago, as we embraced focusing our classrooms on the Standards for Mathematical Practice, a number of our community began reading and using the book by Margaret S. Smith and Mary Kay Stein, 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions.

This book has been transformational to many educators, and there is also a companion book focused on the science classroom, 5 Practices for Orchestrating Task-Based Discussions in Science, by Jennifer Cartier and Margaret S. Smith.

Both books are also available in pdf format and NCTM offers them together as a bundle.

Simultaneous Study
: As our community works with both math and science educators, we are going to try something unique in reading the books simultaneously and sharing ideas using the same hashtag.

We know that reading these books, with the emphasis on classroom practices, will be worth our time. In addition to encouraging those who have not read them, we expect that those who have read them previously will find it beneficial to re-read and share with educators around the world.

Slow Chat Book Study
: For those new to this idea of a “slow chat book study”, we will use Twitter to share our thoughts with each other, using the hashtag #T3Learns.

With a slow chat book study you are not required to be online at any set time. Instead, share and respond to others’ thoughts as you can. Great conversations will unfold – just at a slower pace.

When you have more to say than 140 characters, we encourage you to link to blog posts, pictures, or other documents. There is no need to sign up for the study – just use your Twitter account and the hashtag #T3Learns when you post your comments.

Don’t forget to search for others’ comments using the hashtag #T3Learns.

Need to set up a Twitter account? Start here.

If you need help once we start, contact us (see below).

Book Study Schedule
: We have established the following schedule and daily prompts to help with sharing and discussion. This will allow us to wrap up in early June.

The content of the Math and Science versions line up fairly well, with the exception of the chapters being off by one.

Book Study 1.png

Daily Prompts

Book Study 2

Contact Information

Moderators will be Jill Gough, Kim Thomas, and Jennifer Wilson.

Please contact if you have any questions.

-Kevin Spry



[Cross-posted on T^3 Learns]

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Posted by on April 17, 2016 in Professional Learning & Pedagogy


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Changing Our Practice, Slowly

I am enjoying our slow book chat on Dylan Wiliam’s Embedding Formative Assessment. (You can download the first chapter here, if you are interested.)

Chapter 2 is Your Professional Learning.

Wiliam says, “A far more likely reason for the slowness of teacher change is that it is genuinely difficult.” (page 17)

I second this with a resounding yes!

How many professional development sessions have you attended where the goal of the presenter was to “save the teacher”?

The presenter has all of the answers for how teachers should be teaching students mathematics, and those still in the classroom have none of the answers.

When are we going to believe that those teachers who are still sitting around the table have the best interest of students’ learning at heart?

When are we going to realize that over the past few years teachers have been making efforts to change their classroom instruction from students “sitting and getting” to students actively engaging in the mathematics?

And that changing our practice is good, hard, slow work.

We certainly aren’t completely “there” yet, but we are closer than we were a few years ago, and we need to acknowledge that progress instead of pretending that it’s nonexistent.

Wiliam says, “…we have to accept that teacher learning is slow. In particular, for changes in practice – as opposed to knowledge – to be lasting, it must be integrated into a teacher’s existing routines, and this takes time.” (page 18)

Most of the teachers I know are doing good work.

Even so, “All teachers need to improve their practice; not because they are not good enough, but because they can be better.” (page 20)

Can we, as PD presenters teachers of teachers, recognize that it’s not our job to “save” the teachers in our care?

Can we, as PD participants lifelong learners, recognize that we can all improve our practice?

Is there something you’ve wanted to do differently in your classroom but haven’t had the time to try it yet? Do you keep meaning to give your students a challenge from Estimation 180 or Which One Doesn’t Belong but just haven’t [yet] taken the time? Do you keep meaning to have your students tweet what they are learning? Do you want to incorporate short-cycle formative assessment into your lessons?

A new semester has started (or will start soon, depending on your school calendar). Matt Cutts suggests that we should try something new for 30 days to help make it a habit.

Wiliam suggests teachers need to take small steps as we change our practice. We need accountability, and we need support.

What practice will you change for the next 30 days? Who will serve as your “supportive accountability” partner?

Together, we can do even better work to effect student learning and understanding of mathematics.


Cross posted on The Slow Math Movement.

Wiliam, Dylan, and Siobhán Leahy. Embedding Formative Assessment: Practical Techniques for F-12 Classrooms. West Palm Beach, FL: Learning Sciences, 2015. Print.


Posted by on January 11, 2016 in Professional Learning & Pedagogy


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