In previous years I attended breakout sessions that focused on Lesson Study. Palo Alto Unified School District had quite a large group of teachers attend the institute that worked collaboratively on Lesson Study and Number Talks. I really enjoyed those summers and the impact the things I learned had on me, my teaching, and, ultimately, my students.
This summer I had an equally inspiring experience. This summer, as I began my new role as a match coach/TOSA, I attended the "Content Coaching" breakout group. It was great to be with other math coaches all around the Bay Area to explore the intricacies and nuances of coaching structures, communication styles, and mindsets.
Some highlights from this year's institute include:
-The activities with the Problem of the Month(s) were, as always, powerful, enlightening, and challenging. Participants of the institute got to work on the new POMs of 2015 titled, "Get to the Point" and "Ride Around." I heard similar comments from people who were familiar with POM and those who were new to those types of problems and the format suggested for POM. "Each level provides challenge for all students at all levels." "I really appreciate the gallery walk experience." "The chance to make a status poster was really freeing. It helped give us a chance to show what we know right now and not worry about having the problem solved with an explanation yet."
-Language matters. In our whole-group gatherings, we explored the importance of language for all students. Are we using language in our speech, directions, and/or word problems that are accessible for ALL students? Are we mindful of the intricacies and nuances of our language and idioms that often leads to misunderstandings and misconceptions in our students?
-Mindsets. No matter how much anyone has explored mindsets it's always powerful to examine mindsets again (even if you're Carol Dweck because she's most likely continuing her research on mindset). In the whole-group gatherings, we discussed language and The Power of Yet. This is a link to Carol Dweck's TEDx Talk in November 2014. The following is the embedded video from YouTube.
Asking students to restate someone else's thinking
Do you agree or disagree and why?
Would someone like to add on?
Using wait time.
-Language coaches can use that encourages reflection.
-Analysis of the roles of a coach as a collaborator, a mentor, and a leader.
If you have never attended a SVMI Coaching Institute, I highly recommend it. It is a very powerful professional development opportunity.