Registration for my next six-week online Empowered Problem Solving workshop opens January 22, 2021 at 8 am PDT. This $297 workshop begins on February 8, 2021 and ends on March 19, 2021. You have access to the workshop content for an additional ten weeks until May 28, 2021.
If you need more flexibility, please email me at [email protected]
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Module 1: Why Is Problem Solving So Important?
How will this help me? I'll begin by taking you through a problem-based lesson where I break down the experience from both the student and teacher perspectives.
What will I learn?
Module 2: How Would It Work With My Students?
How will this help me? Next, I'll help you envision what this would look like with elementary, middle, and high school students by using videos of the lessons in action.
What will I learn?
Module 3: How Do I Prepare To Teach A Lesson?
How will this help me? Now, it's time to talk about practical implementation, so we'll discuss how to prepare for success so that you feel confident and ready-to-go.
What will I learn?
Module 4: What If It Doesn't Go As Planned?
How will this help me? I won't avoid the reality that lessons rarely go exactly as we plan. So, in this module you'll learn what to do when these issues happen.
What will I learn?
Module 5: How Can I Help Students Better Understand Math Concepts?
How will this help me? Students can also learn procedural skills and conceptual understanding through problem-solving, so we'll use Open Middle problems to make it happen.
What will I learn?
Module 6: How Do I Merge This With What I’m Already Doing?
How will this help me? We'll wrap up the workshop by making sure you feel comfortable integrating these ideas with your current workflow.
What will I learn?
I estimate an average of ~3 hours of work each week for the six-week workshop. You have access to the workshop content for 16 weeks. If you need more time than that, just ask.
My workshop will be an engaging mix of actionable ideas, thought-provoking reflections, and kinda funny jokes.
My Empowered Problem Solving workshop is compatible with any device.
About Me Hi, I’m Robert. I’ve been an educator since 2003 as a classroom teacher, teacher specialist for Downey Unified School District, instructor for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and presenter at conferences around the world. I’m also the author of Open Middle Math: Problems That Unlock Student Thinking and creator of the #ObserveMe movement.
“I felt confident this online workshop would be a solid, useful, and enjoyable experience. I wasn’t disappointed. The interactive format, readily applicable strategies and material, sharp production value, and the ability to hit ‘replay’ whenever I wanted, made Robert’s Empowered Problem Solving workshop a worthwhile professional development choice.” – Carole Seubert, Math Instructional Lead Teacher in Upper Marlboro, MD
"Often in a workshop, I hear 1 or 2 things that resonate with me, and, because I teach in a small, private school that has unique characteristics such as no grading, most of it does not apply to me. But every segment of this workshop had moments that resonated with me as a teacher and as a person. Your ideas can be implemented not just in Common Core states, which Virginia is not, not just in public schools, which mine is not, not just in certain types of classrooms, but in any classroom, for any teacher who wants to do a better job reaching and teaching students. You have expanded my sense of what’s possible and what’s necessary for problem-based learning." – Katrien Vance, Teacher in Afton, Virginia
"This workshop is excellent. I worked on Three Act Tasks and I practiced anticipating outcomes and ordering work. I now use Open Middle Problems with all of my students. I appreciated your feedback and quick email responses. The site was also very easy to navigate and I did it on a cell phone on my commute." – Christina Howard, Teacher in Jackson Heights, NY
“I’ve been doing a lot of problem based lessons over the course of my career, but it has been really great to see how this workshop is organized in a much more structured and comprehensive manner, where the vast majority of predictable scenarios have been examined and planned for.” – Richard Blatherwick, Teacher in Brooklyn, NY
"Great job with the sound quality and captions. The audio was crisp and clear. The captions were fantastic. I especially loved how you made sure the audience comments were closed captioned and they had the microphone too! You, also, repeated back the audience comments when we could not hear what they said. These little details really help the Deaf and Hard of Hearing!" – Stephanie Disrude, Teacher in Crescent City, CA
"This is truly the most relevant and useful workshop I have taken. You have carefully thought through all we need to implement problem based lessons. You did a great job in making sense of the levels of Depth of Knowledge. I don’t think I’ve seen a better explanation. For me, this has been transforming. It's exciting and I have revamped the way I do things for my adult learners." – Dee Mallie, Teacher in Elgin, IL
"Robert is always one of my favorite presenters I like to go see at any conference I attend. He does not disappoint with Empowered Problem Solving. You get to learn from Robert in the comfort of your home and get practical strategies and classroom ideas to help you empower your students to become problem solvers, not just answer getters."
– Christina Tondevold, Online Math PD Facilitator
"Robert’s workshops are some of the most engaging, useful, and well designed math professional development I’ve ever been in. His workshops are ‘low floor, high ceiling’ math pd. They’re accessible to all math educators and allow us to productively struggle with new strategies and activities in order for us to shift our pedagogy and provide a fun, open, and challenging environment for our students."
– Ed Campos Jr., Educator, National Presenter
"Robert understands the teaching skills necessary to help students learn challenging mathematics, as well as how to help teachers develop that exact same skillset. Robert is easygoing, empathetic, and he'll challenge you to become the best teacher you can be."
– Dan Meyer, TEDx speaker, Chief Academic Officer at Desmos
"Robert makes problem-based learning accessible. He accomplishes this by viewing the world through the lens of a problem solver. He is able to use social media in a way that makes it a valuable tool for teachers at all grade levels. I enjoy his unique perspectives and his ability to connect with teachers in meaningful ways."
– Juli K. Dixon, Ph.D., Mathematics Educator, @thestrokeofluck
"Robert is an exceptionally dedicated educator, a thoughtful listener, and an powerful builder of community. He understands the challenges that math teachers face every day. Instead of hand-waving or confusing ed-speak, Robert offers teachers and admins concrete strategies for engaging students in meaningful ways. Robert is a math teacher through-and-through, and is one of my favorite people to learn with and learn from."
– Karim Ani, Founder of Mathalicious
Live Question and Answer Chat on 11/3/20 at 5 pm PDT
While I regularly reply to workshop participants on the message board, I'll also have a live chat that's free to everyone who registers. This will be your chance to ask any other questions you have. I'll also give you a way to ask questions early and I'll record it if you can't be there live.
Problem-Based Lesson Planning Checklist
If you wanted to use a problem-based lesson with your students tomorrow, would you know what’s essential to get done so you’re ready to go, or what would be very helpful to do if you have more time? I’ll break down everything you need to do in a two-page PDF you can have handy when you need it.
Problem-Based Lesson Troubleshooting Guide
I’ve made a problem-based lesson troubleshooting guide for the eleven most common worst case scenarios when using a problem-based lesson. I realize that in those situations, you’re not going to want to look back at your workshop notes. So, it breaks down the issues that happen before students start working on their own and the ones that happen after they start working on their own.
Empowered Problem Solving Workshop Overview
After the workshop's done, you're probably going to want to refer back to what you've learned. So, I've made an overview that has links to all the resources, blog posts, lessons, and videos we'll talk about.
Empowered Problem Solving Executive Summary
I’ve made an executive summary that breaks down the big ideas of what we covered so that you can share it with administrators or colleagues who want you to explain what you learned during the workshop.
Hybrid Implementation Guide
If you’re planning on having educators watch the workshop videos on their own and then discuss the workshop together, then this guide is for you!
I include three facilitation options, general best practices, and the lessons I'd prioritize if you have limited time. It also comes with discussion questions you can ask to get conversations going.
The answer to both questions is yes. What I'm sharing works both in person and remotely and I'll show you what it looks like. I recently added two new lessons to my workshop that incorporate video from two lessons I taught remotely.
For one lesson I used Desmos Activity Builder with a real world problem and for the other lesson I used Google Slides and Pear Deck with an Open Middle problem.
I recorded both of my computer's monitors simultaneously so you can see what the teacher sees on the left side and what the students see on the right side. My goal was to give you a much clearer picture of what's possible and how you can do the same with your students.
That's a fair question, so here are my thoughts. Think back to when you used your first real world lesson or Open Middle problem with your students. How did it go? If you're like me, you may have had some good moments but also things you wish went differently. I imagine that as you've used them more often, things have gotten better. Maybe kids are more engaged, conversations are richer, and misconceptions are easier to spot.
What's worth realizing is that the lessons and problems you're using haven't changed, but your facilitation skills have likely grown. My workshop is all about helping build these facilitation skills so that you feel like you've taught a lesson three or four times before you've even used it once.
So while my workshop may not introduce you to many new ideas, it should help you take the ones you're already familiar with and help you implement them even better.
When I was a new teacher and still earning credits to move over on the pay scale, I took two classes with universities that offered online courses. While it was convenient to take a course without leaving my house, I didn't feel like what I was learning was current and relevant to what I wanted to do with my students. I didn't know who the instructor was or if the instructor knew his or her content well.
So with my online workshop, I hope that you have a much better idea of what you are getting and can see that the learning is current and relevant. I hope you believe that I am able to help you implement the strategies you are looking for.
Registration opens January 21, 2021 at 8 am PDT. The workshop begins on February 8, 2021 and ends on March 19, 2021 You have access to the workshop content for an additional ten weeks until May 28, 2021. If for any reason you need more time, just reach email me at [email protected] and we can talk about an extension.
My workshop is about strategies you can use to help students deeply understand and make sense of mathematics. The focus is not on the content standards but rather the strategies we can use to teach them. These strategies help all students learn, from kindergarten through high school and beyond.
Previous online workshop participants have spanned the grade levels from early elementary school though middle school, high school, and college. I've got video from lessons with students from kindergarten, eighth grade, and pre-calculus. So, if you're concerned that this workshop won't have strategies you can use at your grade level, don't worry. I guarantee it will and will give you a full refund if you complete the workshop and disagree.
If you're curious because you are less comfortable with math outside your grade level and wonder if my workshop will be a good fit, the problems I use as examples are from the upper elementary and middle school range. Please email me at [email protected] if you want to talk about this in more detail.
This is an online workshop, so you need to have an Internet connected device and feel comfortable browsing websites. Most devices including computers, tablets (such as iPads), and phones should have no problem using the site.
You will need to have the ability to watch videos and some school districts block websites that play videos. If you can see the video at the top of the page, you're probably going to be fine.
Also, please ensure that emails from [email protected] will be received and not go to your SPAM folder.
Yes. Download the flyer here and feel free to share it with others.
My Empowered Problem Solving workshop costs $297.
To register using a purchase order, click on one of the "Yes, I want to register!!" buttons and continue through the checkout process. Choose the "Purchase Order" payment option, list who Grassroots Workshops should follow up with for payment, and then complete the checkout process.
The person you list as the follow up person should receive an email with a receipt soon afterwards. That person can use the link in the email to submit the purchase order number or pay via check or credit card.
Checks should be made payable to Grassroots Workshops and sent to:
703 Pier Ave
Hermosa Beach, CA 90254
I totally get that a two-week window makes registering for my workshop challenging when it takes a long time to get approval from your administrators or school district. In most cases, we can usually find a way to make this work. Email me at [email protected] about your situation and we can take it from there.
All you'll need for this are the email addresses for everyone you want to register. Begin by clicking on a "Yes, I want to register!!" button. Then, in the "Order Summary" section, adjust the number of registrations from 1 to the amount you want. Next, enter your "Contact Information" and click on the "Continue" button.
In the next step, you'll have an opportunity to enter the people you'd like to register. Here you can type or copy and paste the email addresses. They can be separated by commas, spaces, semicolons, or returns.
Then just complete the registration process like normal.
I want this workshop to be accessible to everyone. So, please email me at [email protected], explain your situation, and we'll see what we can work out.
You should receive two emails shortly after you register. One email will be your receipt from Grassroots Workshops, where the workshop is hosted. Another email will be from me and will have all the information you'll need to get started. At the bottom of that email will be a button you can click to get started.
If you already have a Grassroots Workshops account, you'll be able to log in. Otherwise you'll get to set up your account and then log in. There you'll be able to check out the welcome video, download the resources including the bonuses, and get ready for when the workshop officially begins.
This is not a workshop where you never hear from the instructor after you sign up. In addition to sending out emails and videos about what to expect, I will be very engaged on the message board and interact with posted questions and comments. Please email me at [email protected] at any time if you are not receiving the attention you need.
Yes, all videos used in this workshop have closed captions entered by hand. I have reviewed every minute of it to ensure that the captions are correct.
No. This workshop is set up so that you can do it at any time of the day or night. The only exception is the optional live chat which will be recorded and uploaded for you to watch later if you can't join it live.
There are just under five hours of video to watch over the six-week workshop. Remember that even though the workshop is six weeks long, you have access to the content for sixteen weeks.
My personal estimates are:
While there is no homework or extra assignments associated with this workshop, I provide several math problems that are very valuable to do. We explore these problems in terms of how students experience them and how teachers facilitate them. There is also an article to read, some activities to do on your own or with colleagues, and a message board you can interact with others on. There are no papers, reports, essays, or other written documents you must do as a part of this workshop.
The only exception is if you sign up to earn graduate level professional development credits. In that case, any work you do will be submitted directly to Brandman University.
You can earn two to four graduate level professional development credits through Brandman University, part of the Chapman University System. You must register for EDTU 9020: Empowered Problem Solving to earn the credits. Please check with your school or district to determine whether these credits are accepted. Note that these credits require additional fees ($80 per credit) and follow-up assignments.
If you need professional development for your teaching credential/license/certificate, my workshop might be able to help you out. Just go to Grassroots Workshops and check out the information for where you live.
Yes. After the workshop is over, participants will be able to download an electronic certificate of participation (or certificate of completion if you complete the workshop). It will list the date, the number of professional development hours you earned, your name, my workshop's name, and my name. If you need any other information on your certificate, just email [email protected] and explain what you need to have added.
If you complete my workshop and do not learn anything you can use with your students, email me at [email protected] within 10 business days of the workshop ending and I will give you a full refund.