Twitter Tasting Menu – November 2020

Each month I share a selection of articles, blog posts, and/or videos that caught my attention over the past month. If a resource resonates with you, all I ask is that you share it with at least one other colleague. Help spread the learning!

Breakout Rooms for Teaching Math

If you’re teaching remotely, getting students to collaborate and communicate can be a challenge. In this Global Math Department webinar, Theresa Wills shares a gradual release model to help students learn to engage with one another safely and productively using breakout rooms. In order to access the webinar, you’ll need to create a FREE account on Big Marker. Once your account is made, you can watch the webinar.

If you’re unfamiliar with Theresa Wills, she has been a synchronous online teacher for ten years. Not only does she share what she’s learned from her experience in this webinar, but she also has lots of FREE resources on her website,

If you’re unfamiliar with Global Math Department, it’s an organization that provides FREE weekly webinars as well as a FREE weekly newsletter. You can browse and watch all previously recorded webinars here. You can (and should!) subscribe to their weekly newsletter here.

10 Favorite Online Teaching Tools Used by Educators This Year

In this post from EdWeek, three educators (including Theresa Wills!) were asked, “What are your ‘go-to’ online tools this year?” While you may already be using some of these tools yourself, I appreciate how each contributor shared examples of how they are specifically using these tools which may give you some new ideas.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:


Playing the Long Game

My colleague Zak Champagne recently gave this talk at the virtual Florida Council of Teachers of Mathematics conference. In it, he shares a personal story about his relationship with his son and how that currently parallels with his thinking about teaching. It’s a very powerful talk. If you have the time, I high recommend checking it out.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

In this talk, Zak shares his core teaching beliefs. Putting them in a list doesn’t do them justice, but since they’re just meant to be a teaser, I hope they make you curious to hear Zak talk more about them in his presentation.

  • It’s okay to walk away from a math problem.
  • It’s okay to not be finished when class ends.
  • Your wonderings are important.
  • You have important mathematical ideas.

Making Sense of Story Problems

In this blog post, Illustrative Mathematics curriculum writer Deborah Peart addresses the important question, “How can we support ‘sense-making’ of stories in math class?” She shares how the Illustrative Mathematics curriculum writing team developed consistent supports for story problems across grade levels:

  1. providing relevant contexts and images with which students can engage
  2. supporting reading comprehension with routines and instructional practices, like Act it Out and Three Reads
  3. encouraging students to use visual representations to support sense-making
  4. inviting students to write their own math stories and ask questions that can be answered by them

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“While students are often encouraged to integrate social studies and language arts, mathematics is more frequently taught in isolation. In order for students to see math in the world around them, we must consider all the ways in which we can bring mathematics to life through stories.”

Two Truths and a Lie

Teachers’ time is precious. If you’re going to learn a new instructional strategy, it’s well worth your limited time when it can be adapted to multiple content areas. In this blog post, Abigail Lund shares how she uses the Two Truths and a Lie activity to create rich opportunities for students to write and practice providing evidence in multiple content areas.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“In math, evidence can be presented in many different “ways”, but the reasoning behind our “why” has to be embedded with provable data. This is just another activity and example of how to get our students to give their why by proving they are the expert.”

Dena Simmons: Without Context, Social-Emotional Learning Can Backfire

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) has been become a buzzword in education, particularly as we consider how to support students during the pandemic. I appreciate this summary of a conversation with Dena Simmons that cautions us to think closely about how SEL is being done in our schools. Just because we think we’re doing good, doesn’t mean we aren’t unintentionally doing harm.

Excerpt to whet your appetite:

“People’s lives are at stake and so we have to approach anything we do with them—SEL, project-based learning, any of the sort of big names or trendy things—we just have to do it responsibly. We just can’t do it for the sake of doing it,” she states, later adding, “I worry that sometimes because of the trend, we do it for the sake of doing it and not because it could enhance people’s lives.”

Challenge Beyond Bloom’s

In my work as a Curriculum Coordinator, we have been working recently on writing learning targets to include in our curriculum materials. As part of this work, we are talking about Bloom’s Taxonomy. I’ll be honest that in my many years as an educator, I’ve never felt particularly satisfied with Bloom’s Taxonomy. Thankfully I recently came across this blog post from Adam Boxer that helps put into words my concerns. Throughout his post, he shares pairs of questions that could be posed to students and asks, “Which of the two is more challenging?” and “Is the question more challenging because of where the command word falls within the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy?”


Excerpt to whet your appetite:


“If the top bit is high, challenge is high. If the bottom bit is low, challenge is high.

Vice versa: top bit low: challenge low, bottom bit high: challenge low.”

That’s it for this month’s Twitter Tasting Menu. If one or more of these resources resonated with you, please share the learning with colleagues at your campus or beyond. I am sure there are others who will appreciate it as much as you did. We are all better together!

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