So, it has been 3 weeks since the HIVE conference by Open Up Resources, so this recap post is long overdue. I feel like I put it off because I didn’t want it to be a subpar description of an extraordinary experience. As we say in #MTBoS though, sometimes you need to just write it and #pushsend.
Some background: the year before last we officially piloted 1 unit at all grade levels of Open Up Resources 6-8 Math and some of us piloted multiple units. Our staff overwhelmingly voted to adopt it over CPM.
Last year I taught a full year of the curriculum to one section of Grade 6 and 4 sections of Grade 8. Last summer I was hired to be a “guru” for Open Up Resources which entails weekly twitter chats (Monday at 5:30 PST, follow #OpenUpMath), monthly grade level PLC meetings over Zoom, book chats, Facebook group discussions, and much more.
The school year culminated with Open Up Resources hosting their very first conference in Atlanta called the HIVE from June 17-19. We were generously brought out to facilitate 2 days of PD in the “Community Pathway” where we had 2 sessions each day. We would open as a group for 20 to 30 minutes, break out into grade levels for 2-3 hours, and synthesize as a whole group the last 30 minutes. There were other pathways run by “Better Lesson” which I would love to hear more about from anyone willing to blog about it.
On the flight over on Sunday evening, I peered out the window as we got closer and I noticed something very familiar: the irrigation fields from the 7th grade Unit 3 on circles!
I was also amazed at how the outskirts of Atlanta appeared to be in the middle of a forest.
Coincidentally, I ran into Phil Daro, one of the writers of the Common Core and a member of the Open Up Resources board. We chatted about my school year and role with Open Up and shared a Lyft to the Omni Hotel when we arrived.
Here I am jet lagged at the hotel. I was so excited Sunday night that I tossed and turned and didn’t sleep much at all. When I did fall asleep it put me in a deep sleep that made me snooze through my first alarm but luckily I jumped to it and was on time for the end of the keynotes and the start of Session 1 of our community pathway.
In session 1, Morgan Stipe launched with personality coordinates. It’s basically 4 points on a first quadrant graph and you fill out the axis labels based on the commonalities amongst your group members. I joined a group with Melynee (@MNmMath) and we had fun getting to know each other. Here’s what we came up with: Graph
In grade level groups we made the distinction between instructional routines and MLR’s (Mathematical Language Routines) with a card sort and discussions. At first the routines we sorted by your own created categories which produced some very interesting results.
For 6th grade we focused on the MLR Info Gap with an example from Unit 8 statistics. To warm everyone’s brains up, we established the prior knowledge students would / should have at that later point in the unit. I shared an interesting idea I saw someone share on twitter of tracing your hand print to represent the 5 number summary of a box plot and we established that with those numbers we could also find the range and IQR (Interquartile Range).
Small groups were assigned a routine to dig further into and then present to the group. We did a gallery walk before the presentation to give feedback to each other.
For Session 2 after lunch we were lead by Sara Vaughn on a deep dive into Synthesis. Also, we used Flippity to randomize groupings and pairs as well as a spreadsheet to create random partners. In addition, we are all big believers in Name Tents by Sara Vanderwerf so at the end of each session we collected name tents after everyone had a chance to give a comment, feedback, or ask a question. This really helped us a lot. One of the biggest pieces of productive feedback I got was to have less teacher (facilitator) talk and more time to discuss. This also meant I needed to give clear instructions and check for feedback. Silly me that I do this in my classroom (Who can tell me what we are about to do? No one? OK I better repeat the instructions and I expect to see multiple people raise their hand) and forgot to do it in PD!
In the picture below you can see participants matching learning goals, synthesis, and lesson titles. These were pretty challenging and created some great discussions!
We also gave a card sort and then handed out a role playing info gap activity where people had to ask their partner for essential elements about the lesson to figure out how they are going to synthesize the activity or lesson when emergencies happen like a shortened period from a fire alarm, etc. People started to realize how important the synthesis is. It reminds me of what Phil Daro has said: go fast in the beginning of the lesson, so you can go slow at the end during the synthesis. Also, it’s perfectly acceptable to cut an activity short to synthesize it and move on for your pacing. This makes sense because when you go over something, you can’t expect everyone to be done or else students might be bored and get off task.
After Session 2 we did an Ed camp style session where we split off into 3 groups: students with disabilities, standards based grading, and 1 more. I joined the students with disabilities discussion to see how other teachers were modifying the materials. Melynee shared how she identified the essential standards over grades 6-8 and focused more time on those lessons. I love that idea. I can’t wait to hear more about it.
Monday night we had Marian Dingle for her keynote. This was live tweeted heavily under the #OURHive hashtag, so I suggest you search for her Twitter handle (@DingleTeach) and that hashtag to get quotes from it. It was also live streamed. Afterwards we did our weekly Twitter chat in the same room which was a unique experience that got more people on the best platform for Math PD!
Marian’s talk was called “Time is Up.” You could tell she did SOOO much research about time, music, to set the stage for her message of it being time to listen and do your homework on issues of social justice to increase equity in the classroom. I took this picture because it struck home because I love talking to kids at the park about analog clocks, and there’s rich opportunities to discuss math in it, but it is an outdated form of telling time that students aren’t using as much.
Marian talked about the math involved in music and gave us samples of music that had different beats than the standard 4/4. She counted along to the music to show us where the beat came from. One very familiar beat was the Mission Impossible theme song which had a unique beat that was not 4/4 or 3/4.
I snapped a picture of this slide because the authors of March, the graphic novel about the life of John Lewis came to speak to our 8th graders after they read the first book in the series, pictured here. It’s a great way to teach students about civil rights in a format that many like: graphic novels. She also talked about how students wanting to grow up and be a professional YouTuber is actually realistic because many people are making careers out of video logging (vlog) their life and topics they are passionate about.
Marian shouted out the Blog posting series that’s linked up at 31daysIBPOC.wordpress.com that celebrates the teacher voices of Indigenous, Black, and people of color.
I took this photo because I haven’t watched “13” on Netflix yet but plan to.
Here are some hashtags to educate ourselves with.
This is a bulletin board at Marian’s school that was not up just for Black History month, but all year.
All in all Marian’s talk was magnificent. She prepared really well from it and was well received!
Here is a link to a great sketch note from from someone that was also there: Sketch note.
Here’s a video of the thunderstorm that happened right before the twitter chat:
So on Day 2, we launched with Session 3 which focused on the 5 practices. I lead the warm-up where I showed how I use my phone and Google Drive app to collect and display student work and did a quick overview of the 5 Practices to Orchestrate Mathematical Discussions. I also asked everyone to brainstorm strategies and representations used in your classroom and the curriculum to aid students in problem solving. Here’s what we came up with:
The check marks represent what they used that day when we wrapped it up in the synthesis.
We went into more depth with a video introduction by Dr. Kristopher Childs, which is worth a watch.
In grade level groups facilitators lead an activity that was designated as the 5 practices. In 6th grade we dug into the activity Two Containers from Unit 4 Lesson 9. We had some student work samples and a Monitoring Sheet where we looked at the lesson plan to see how you would sequence the responses. I also took pictures of these examples from what participants did:
I used some chart paper to synthesize the main idea of the method above. Keep in mind that this lesson is before the standard algorithm of dividing by a fraction is introduced so it’s laying more conceptual groundwork to understand. Hopefully kids later see that dividing by 2 then multiplying by 5 is the same thing as multiplying by 5/2, which is the reciprocal of 2/5.
After this participants teamed up to select their own activity to solve in as many ways as possible (anticipate), and then fill in their monitoring sheet with those methods, then share their ideas with another partnership and hear what the other partnership came up with. Below in bold are the lessons that we did as examples and partners selected lessons containing 5 practices lessons to investigate. They were also on chart paper so they could cross them off so no one doubled up and did the same one.
A key concept was coming up with pocket questions for those students who had trouble starting with a task. Also, next to the method students used on the monitoring sheet, you write probing question to further students thinking or to connect their thinking to other representations in preparation for your synthesis discussion. (Update: here’s a link to the blank 5 practices monitoring sheet that we filled out)
In Session 4 Brooke Powers, our Community Manager, shared her Open Up Resources story with the awesome standardized test results her students achieved as a result. She discussed much much more and everyone appreciated her humor and was able to relate to her story.
We then finished up with another Ed camp style discussion where all of us tried our best to answer questions off the Parking Lot and ask questions to the group to get different perspectives. We then did the same activity we did at the conclusion of our 5 Practices book study, and created a meme to describe a takeaway from HIVE. Here’s mine:
And here’s the one that Megan made:
Day 3 was the major keynotes. Fawn Nguyen started it off, followed by a panel with Tashima Price and John Stevens. Then we heard from Caroline Hill who shared some powerful stories about a student who passed away on her watch and about the school she designed and helped run.
In summary, HIVE 2019 was a blast. The nerves of preparing to facilitate sessions were real, but meeting my colleagues Brooke, Morgan, Sara, and Jen in real life who I have had plenty of Zoom and Twitter chats over the past year truly was special. I also got to meet many of the people from our national PLC and look forward to more amazing learning together. There is much more I could have said in this blog post, and I feel it’s impossible to cover every detail. Thank you Open Up Resources for your generosity!
Actionable Steps for Classroom:
- implement expectation that no student is allowed to write “IDK” on their cool down. They must brain storm everything they think they learned on the paper. Early finishers must work on practice problems to maximize time and let everyone else finish
- Observe my colleagues (#ObserveMe) and work on implementing the 5×8 card observation tool from SERP
- Post Synthesis questions on board at beginning of class knowing that we will be discussing them in depth at end of class to keep myself and students accountable
- Make anchor charts for difficult MLR’s to aid myself and students and videotape myself doing them
- Having students sign their name on their work or labeling it myself. Participants really felt great when I mentioned their name to the room, and of course students love it too.
- Educate myself to actively be anti-racist and make sure all voices are heard in my classroom
And one last photo…the dream team!
Omg. This picture means the world to me. @LBrookePowers created the fantastic 4 of @mrsstipemath @Vaughn_trapped @jenarberg and myself to guide our national PLC to success and be a sounding board. At #ourhive we strengthened our bonds and collaborated together. #MTBoS pic.twitter.com/92JFux4Ear
— Martin Joyce (@martinsean) June 23, 2019