What does great math PD look like? Here's one great way...

Our school (@ConcordiaSH) hosted math education change agent, Steve Leinwand, this week. I first met with Steve on Monday afternoon for two powerful hours of professional development. Here's how it went down...

We gathered for about 25 minutes to set a vision for our time together. We pre-briefed our scheduled classroom visit. Steve would be the co-teacher, teaching “finding the area of a rectangle" alongside one of our teachers, Mr. De Koker (Tweeting here: @dekokera). Steve encouraged us to take videos and photos and jot notes during the classroom visit. 

The classroom visit (45 minutes)
This was my funnest classroom visit in a while. I recorded video clips, snapped photos, and jotted notes.

Watching other teachers teach and their students learn is always a very energizing experience. As teachers and instructional leaders, this is what we should whole-heartedly strive to do more frequently.

The debrief (30 minutes)
Like any great instructional leader, Steve first accentuated the positives of the classroom visit. "Let’s celebrate the magic we just saw in that Grade 4 classroom." Praise was focused towards Mr. De Koker and his students. We worked through these four questions during the debrief:
  1. What was impressive? 
  2. What was interesting? 
  3. What questions do you have? 
  4. What changes might you make based on what you observed?

These are relevant discussion questions after any classroom observation, peer observation or otherwise.

In closing
What we observed in the classroom and the rich conversations, before and after the classroom visit, about moving our students from being good mathematicians to great mathematicians was some knock-down good math PD.

To end the week, my wife, kids, and I hung out with “Uncle Steve” a.k.a. “Mr. Math” before he left for the airport. A glass of white wine, pizza, and good conversation. A great week of learning and growing.

Steve tweets here: @steve_leinwand

His website: steveleinwand.com