PLVPS implements "Math Studio" project

Kelli Roehrig
Kelli Roehrig

In October and December, teachers and administrators in the Papillion-La Vista school district came together to observe first grade teachers and Primarily Math Cohort 2 graduates Kelli Roehrig and Alysia Augustus plan and teach a math lessons. Each three-part "studio cycle" consisted of the following:

• Kelli and Alysia met with Dr. Ruth Heaton and graduate student Mary Alice Carlson to discuss an upcoming lesson.
• Kelli and Alysia taught the lesson. Observers were invited to interact with students as appropriate and note evidence of student learning. Dr. Heaton, Kelli and Alysia sought opportunities to share in-the-moment decision making with observers.
• Dr. Heaton led a debriefing session in which participants shared observations and examined student work.

Based on Linda Foreman’s Mathematics Studio Program (see, studio work has been a powerful learning opportunity for Primarily Math graduates and their colleagues. Participants had opportunities to think about what it means to teach in ways that are responsive to students’ ideas and promote deep mathematical understanding.

Kelli Roehrig noted that the planning sessions have impacted her instruction. "Being forced to think about every decision I make has proven to be extremely powerful and purposeful. My questioning has become very intentional and I have become more reflective at my practice."

Participant and Primarily Math graduate Jeani Guenther also commented on the impact of thoughtful team planning. "It is so great to see a group of teachers having a dialogue about what will have the greatest impact and how we can implement a lesson in our classrooms that is unique to our students."

During the lessons, students engaged in mathematical tasks and eagerly shared their strategies with observers. Participants noted how Kelli and Alysia intentionally incorporated "Talk Moves" to develop mathematical ideas. They also noted how Kelli and Alysia monitored and adapted instruction based on children’s mathematical understanding.

The debriefing sessions have been significant learning experiences for the observers and studio teachers alike. Alysia Augustus shared, "The debriefing sessions have allowed me to gain a deeper knowledge about my students and the importance of reflecting on the choices you make as a teacher throughout the lesson."

Finally, the studio work has helped Primarily Math graduates think about their work with other teachers. Third grade teacher and building coach Elizabeth Scheppers reflected, "I have also learned how to debrief with teachers about student work and teaching so it is not critical, but constructive."

Three more studio cycles will take place in February and April. A special thanks goes out to Alysia and Kelli who have graciously opened their classrooms and made this experience possible. For more information on the Studio Project in Papillion, contact Mary Alice Carlson: