Modifying Problems for Workshop – a PD Session

Today I found a post on  Drawing on Math  by  Tina Cardone (here) .  Talk about timing!  She was talking about getting ready for a PD presentation she did in July and asked twitter  what they liked and didn’t like about PD.  Yes! Yes! and YES!

I’m presenting 4 sessions next Tuesday (August 10th), 50 minutes long for our district about how to make textbook problems less sucky for students. The real title is Modifying Problems for Workshop. As I was working on this I really tried to keep things I hate about PD in mind. I have my aaughfactors indicated 1 – 5, 5 is  the W.O.R.S.T!

Pet-peeve number 1 — someone reading the slide to me. Dang it! I’m an adult, I learned to read a L O N G time ago. You read to me, I’m not thinking about what you’re saying anymore – I’m thinking about #1 where I’m getting lunch, #2 who I’m going to get lunch with, #3 what I need to get done in my classroom  and #4 my lessons, INB ideas, or working on a math problem I’m thinking about using.  Yes, in that order.  aaughfactor 5.

No, I am not going to read the slides. I have copious notes on talking points about each slides – but I’m not going to read those suckers.

Pet-peeve number 2 — get up and … . I’ll do it, but I don’t like it. I’ll speak but only as much as I absolutely have to.  (Unless I know you, then we’ll talk about the topic and then about what we want). Presenters usually give too much time for this. They say a minute – but it’s usually 3 minutes. (Yep, I can tell time too!)  aaughfactor 3.

Truth be known, I WAS going to have my participants get up and move to another group but I took it out. Teachers will come in a sit with their friends, people they recognize. That will be good enough.

Pet-peeve number 3  — Think-Pair-Share.  If I’m sitting with people I don’t know, again, I do the minimum.  If I’m sitting with friends (same course or not) and I think the question you’re asking us to talk about is good – we’ll discuss it, if not – we’ll talk about what we want.  Yes, it is obvious when presenter’s just throw a semi-related question in there to have a Think-Pair-Share.   aaughfactor 3.

Pet-peeve number 4— Work on the math. If I’m sitting with people I don’t know – I’m really intimidated (I know my math and I shouldn’t be, but I am).  If I’m sitting with friends – I have no problem working on the math, asking questions and for help — zero intimidation. aaughfactor 2.

I have two times where teachers will be working on changing a  problem to be less sucky. They have 3 choices of problems (7th/8th grade math, algebra and geometry). I don’t care if they work on their own or with their friends and neighbors. That’s their choice too.

I have one place where I want them to Think-Pair-Share but I’m going to tell them to “talk to their paper or to their neighbor.”  Give participants a choice!

I am going to have them share out what they came up with (1 from each grade level) to wrap up the session.

I have a slide that has resources I think are important such as MTBoS, Global Math and others, because I want them to join in the fun! The presentation and other documents used will be in Google Drive shared by a

I think I’ve taken care of most of the aaugh factors in my session. I’ll see what the feedback is next Tuesday. Wish me luck!






4 thoughts on “Modifying Problems for Workshop – a PD Session

  1. Now I have to go back and check my presentation! I am having them do some math, but on their own first and then share out. I hope we aren’t presenting at the same time! I want to come see yours.


  2. What’s your presentation on? I’ll come see what you’re up to. And this is how I get better– I read something and go make changes to what I’m doing…. Always changing…


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