2017: Goals and Resolutions

Happy New Year! To launch into 2017, we asked the Desmos Fellows to share a New Year’s resolution or question to explore for their teaching practice this semester. The range of responses reflects the complex nature of teaching, full of opportunities for reflection and growth. Here are some areas of focus for the first half of 2017.

Mathematical Knowledge

  • Dan Meyer and Linda Saeta both have plans to increase their content knowledge in 2017. Dan plans to keep an eye on Brilliant, the PCMI sets, and others, do some of that work, and write about it each month. Linda is interested in improving her graphing skills by recreating graphs posted by the fellows (sample: Desmos Potluck), and using these skills to build new activities.


  • Heather Kohn’s resolution is to read one book per month, and choose at least one idea/strategy from each to implement in her teaching practice. Books on Heather’s list include Crucial Conversations, Making Number Talks Matter, Make It Stick, Intentional Talk, Make Just One Change, Mathematical Mindsets, A More Beautiful Question, and Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You’d Had.
  • Bob Lochel’s school is going 1 to 1 in the fall, making his resolution to become a stronger advocate within his department for promoting technology as a tool for mathematical thinking.
  • Anna Scholl and Heather Bolur are both focusing on talking less, offering specific strategies they’ve tried in the past to make the classroom more student centered.
  • Scott Miller’s resolution is to increase student discussion, and Shelley Carranza wants to be more intentional in planning for class conversations. She found the Fellow’s blogpost about using the teacher dashboard to be really helpful in thinking about types of conversations that may take place at various points in a lesson.
  • Adam Poetzel would like to be more intentional in writing down some of his reflections about lessons so that when he plans the same classes next year, he doesn’t forget ideas to improve them!

Assessing Student Learning

  • Nick Corley is interested in exploring Standards based grading. Nick see the value in Standards based grading with keep the focus on learning rather than grades.
  • Michael Fenton’s question to explore is about how we can help students and teachers with the all-important closure part of an activity.
  • Dave Sabol’s resolution is to work on note taking and archiving with his students, especially as it pertains to reflecting on Desmos Activities.

Environments that Support Student Learning

  • Suzanne von Oy resolves to be less perfectionistic and also to nurture math curiosity in her students.
  • Paul Jorgen’s continued resolution is to keep at the forefront of every decision the achievement gap and historically underrepresented minority students and students from disadvantaged circumstances. Lessons, assessment, grading, homework, technology use, placement, grouping … everything needs to go through that filter.
  • Stephanie Blair hopes to continue to focus on a related question: How do we have equitable representation in our advanced/accelerated math classes? And once students are there - how do we support (academically, emotionally, and socially) them in those classes?
  • Lisa Bejarano asks, “How can I revise my precalculus curriculum to make the best use of class time while keeping the content rigorous, relevant and engaging?” with a goal of working this summer to develop a planning guide, similar to what she has done for Geometry.

Professional Learning

  • As Jenn Vadnais’ role supporting teachers evolves to include leading more workshops, Jenn wants to improve her presentation skills in 2017.
  • Nolan Doyle has been supporting his PLC in using Desmos activities this year, and in 2017 he hopes to help support teachers after the activity in reflecting and making adjustments for the next class or activity.


  • Christopher Danielson’s goal is to be more conscious about his time, to be aware of the choices that he makes in how he uses it, and to be present and appreciate the moments that good time management can create.
  • Kendra Lockman is also looking to be more conscious about how she spends her time, and to really focus on what she is doing in the classes that she is teaching this semester. Along with that, she is hoping to build in time to do some photography and practice ukulele at least once every week.