How to Set Up Your Math Classroom to Foster Engagement, Collaboration and Problem Solving

students working
Date: January 1, 0001
Presenter: Jay Meadows and Jessica Alstete
Time: 12:00pm to 12:00pm
Cost: Free
Location: Remote Webinar

Watch On-Demand

Creating a learning environment that is exciting and engaging for students takes more than a good curriculum. How can teachers establish a classroom environment that helps students successfully learn mathematics while enjoying the process?   

Hit the ground running this school year with effective ideas for establishing a classroom culture that inspires deep learning and gets students excited.  

In this session, you’ll learn:

  • How your walls and classroom setup can help stimulate engagement while supporting your learning goals.

  • What kinds of math tasks and problems should you be asking your students to work on?

  • How to arrange desks to stimulate collaborative mathematical investigations and discourse.

  • How to inspire students to construct their own understanding versus simply giving them algorithms?  

  • How to arrange your classroom so that mathematical resources are readily accessible.

  • How to establish a safe culture for sharing ideas and developing a growth mindset during the first few weeks of school?  

  • Questioning strategies to keep students thinking when they struggle.

Join Jay Meadows and Jessica Alstete as they explore powerful research-based best practices and draw on their extensive years of experience in creating engaging and thriving math classrooms. 

About the Presenters

Jay Portrait

Jay Meadows serves as Exemplars’ Chief Executive Officer. He is a former middle school math and science teacher and has been working in education for more than two decades. Jay holds a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Vermont and a Masters in Mathematical Pedagogy from Southern New Hampshire University.

Jay is also one of Exemplars primary performance task writers and professional development consultants for the middle level. Leading sessions throughout the United States, Jay works with teachers to integrate performance tasks and research based best practices into their curriculum. Through Exemplars, Jay dreams of teaching a generation of students to become powerful problem solvers.

Prior to his career in education, Jay coordinated delegations from the former Soviet Union through U.S. State Department grants. Jay has also worked alongside a number of international non-profits and is a former Peace Corps volunteer.



Jessica Alstete is certified in Elementary/Special Education and has been a classroom teacher for seven years. Jessica has a MS in Teaching from Iona College in New York. She currently teaches fourth grade in New Jersey while always seeking to improve her teaching practices.

Jessica has been using Exemplars in her classroom for years and finds that the researched-based system has helped her students to improve their mathematical thinking. Jessica runs a teacher-focused business called Sunflower Scaffolds. She coaches new teachers in areas including lesson planning and classroom management. Jessica creates resources for educators to help them simplify their preparation time and improve their classroom environments.


About the Moderator


Alaina Cioffi is Sales Director at Exemplars. Before working with Exemplars, she was a middle school math and social studies teacher for almost a decade. Prior to that, she worked in financial planning. Alaina has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and a Master’s in Teaching, both from the University of Vermont.