Monthly Archives: August 2022

More Good Questions #MTBoSBlaugust Post 1


This summer I have spent a lot of time reviewing old ideas, blog posts, books. I want to be that reflective teacher again, now that I don’t feel the need of survival from the past two years. Last year was my first “semi” full implementation of Building Thinking Classrooms. One of my challenges was creating/finding what I felt were good quality tasks. Though I love the idea of non-curricular, at the end of the day, I have to be intentional with content – it is Algebra I.

I’m not sure when I read this book. But have used excerpts through the years. In March 2018, our department used the Algebra section for discussion during an NTI Day. These were our prompts we used asynchronously in our PLC. After Reading – we were asked to reflect and complete the task #4 outlined below on another document, share link here OR email a picture of your hand written questions.

  1. * Sentence/Phrase/Word – Share a quote (& page #) that is meaningful, engaging, or thought provoking to you from your reading.
  2. Connect – How do these ideas connect to what you already know?
  3. Extend – What new ideas extend or push your thinking in a new direction?
  4. Challenge – How Might We Make Connections to Our Current Teaching Practices?  What now is a challenge for you? What will you try? (you may wish to collaborate with like courses.
  5. I used to think… Now I think…

I feel like our department needs to go back and review some of these old PLCs – there were some very thoughtful ideas shared.

What I like most about this book, it is split into different domains – algebra, geometry, number/operations, measurement, data analysis/probability. Within each, there are fantastic teacher tips as well as ideas and examples from 6-8 and 9-12 grade levels. My take away from this book – it is not about reinventing the wheel, but taking what you do, making small adjustments to create either Open Questions or Parallel Tasks. I agree this is more easily accomplished while bonncing ideas off with others. But it is a task that is doable and you end up with better questions in the end.

Which leads me to the file that made me ponder looking at this book again over the summer. I am not sure which TMC this was – but mornings with @marybourassa and @sheriwalker72 were fantastic! So many great conversations. It was one of my first true experiences of Building Thinking Classrooms from student perspective. Here is a copy of the shared document for Algebra and Function tasks.

When implementing the tasks – especially with BTC structure, you will find knowledge of Five-Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematical Discussions (Smith & Stein) VERY helpful. I’ll share about this awesome book in another #MTBoSBlaugust post!

Again – More Good Questions is so worth your time. Grab a couple of colleagues to go through it together. I am always up for another chat with it!

If you’ve used the ideas from Small and Lin’s book – please share, again we are our own best resources!