OMG! What the What is Going on Here?

January 28, 2020

Do you ever walk into a math class and this is your first thought?  It regularly happens when the Math Coordinators and Principals I work with take me on the first walk through to “see their teachers in action.” I feel these frustrated, overwhelmed administrators cringing with the inescapable realization that this is why their math scores are dipping so low:

  • Students are staring blankly as the teacher drones on and on.
  • Some have their heads down about ready to snore.  Zzzzzz…
  • Others are fidgeting, or worse, up out of their seats and disrupting other students.
  • “Same Student,” sitting in the front, answers every question.

The teacher finally ends the fifth example and asks if there are any questions. (You want to ask a couple like, “Do you notice what’s happening here? Could you make this any more boring, painful and disengaging?  

(Spoiler alert: I have a system that’s guaranteed to make teachers love teaching and students love learning!  Read to the end!!)

No one responds.

The teacher gives the assignment for “practice.”

That’s when the hands go up.  

  • Can I go to the bathroom?
  • I need to see the counselor, nurse, another teacher?
  • What page did you say? 
  • I don’t get it.
  • How do I do this?
  • Ugh…I hate this class.

Then the bell rings and the class makes a mass exit, leaving notes, doodles and homework papers scattered on the floor and desks.

The embarrassed administrator looks at me and shakes their head, but it’s no surprise to me. 

This is what they called me in to fix. 

I’ve seen this in classrooms soooo many times over the past 16 years. At first sight, you might feel it is hopeless. But once you relax and put on your coaching hat, you begin to notice a pattern that can be corrected. I’ve done this so many times that I now have a system for analyzing the problem and delivering the solution. I love doing this because it’s fun, transformational, and reaps amazing results for teachers and students….and achievement!

Would you like to know the system and how it works? 

I’ll bet you do because you know the way things are now is not acceptable and instruction should and could be way better in your math classrooms. Reading this probably makes you want to get started immediately fixing what’s wrong. 

I am here to help you. Even if we never meet face to face or even talk on the phone, I’m going to let you in on the “RED Hot Secret Sauce” that turns your overwhelmed frustrated staff into Mighty Master Math Teachers who transform their little math haters and strugglers into Math Loving Achievers.  Yes, I’m sharing with you right now the step by step system in this letter. Here are the steps I follow: 

STEPS to move Math Instruction from “OMG How Boring” to WOW I Love Math!!

  1. Observe the class unannounced.
  2. Debrief with the teacher using the 3 magic questions and schedule another observation.
  3. Observe the teacher again. (This time it is scheduled!)
  4. Debrief around the *3 Magic Questions and the teacher identifies a key area of personal improvement related to your school goals. 
  5. Give the teacher Professional Development and coaching on the key area of improvement.
  6. Allow the teacher to practice new skills and strategies.
  7. Rinse and repeat steps 3 through 7.

*The 3 Magic Questions pinpoint with undeniable clarity the exact part of instruction that teachers need to work on. (You won’t even have to tell them!)

So….Here they are…

*The 3 Magic Questions

  1. What do you want the students to learn in this lesson?
  2. How will you engage them in learning?
  3. How will you know what they have learned?  (Using exit tickets is super recommended!)


There are variations in implementing the 7 steps to address different circumstances in your school. For example, what if you do not have time to personally carry out these steps? Involve your instructional coaches. Do you want all teachers to focus on the same skills and strategies? Set up lesson study groups. Do you want teachers to work in pairs or groups? Pair strategically.  Do you have a limited budget for professional development? Contact Linda for the money solution! What if classroom management is a problem? Engaging students with rigorous meaningful tasks actually cuts discipline problems by up to 90%!

This system works regardless of the circumstances. If you think this system will turn around math instruction in your school, it will.  Contact Linda and get the Math Makeover Conversation started!

Contact Linda

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