Fostering Empathy and Resilience in Math Classrooms Through Differentiation and Performance Tasks

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Date: December 15, 2021
Presenter: Jay Meadows, Exemplars CEO & Lisa Westman, President Lisa Westman Consulting
Time: 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Cost: Free
Location: Remote Webinar

Watch On-Demand

In the post-COVID classroom, how do we get students excited to learn math again? As educators we are working to get our students re-engaged in learning while trying to meet the varying needs of every student. Now more than ever, the students in our classrooms demonstrate an extremely vast range of understanding, engagement, and abilities. How then can educators focus on the grade-level learning standards while also ensuring our students are inspired, curious, and challenged?

Lisa Westman is a world-renowned educator, author, and consultant. She brings years of experience in differentiation to this edWebinar on how rich math tasks, authentic context, and intentional structures can help every student be successful.

To achieve success with your students, we will discuss the importance of:

  • Offering empathy to our students so we can provide additional assistance based on their readiness level
  • Being clear with yourself and your students about learning targets and success criteria
  • Hooking every student with tasks that provide engaging context and various possible solution strategies that allow for rich conversations and rich problem solving
  • Using formative assessment to regularly inform your instruction
  • Utilizing cooperative group work with intentional structures that allow every student to engage and stretch towards new learning

This edWebinar will be of interest to teachers and school and district leaders of the PreK through middle school levels. There will be time for questions at the end of the presentation.

The recording will be posted on this page after the live session. Closed captioning will be added to the recording within 2 weeks of the live presentation. Get a CE Certificate for this edWebinar.

About the Presenters

Jay Portrait

Jay Meadows serves as Exemplars’ Chief Education Officer and 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.

In addition to his dual role as CEO, Jay is one of Exemplars’ primary performance task writers and professional development consultants for the middle level. Leading sessions throughout the United States, he works with teachers to integrate performance tasks into their curricula. Through Exemplars, Jay dreams of teaching a generation of kids to become effective problem solvers. Prior to his career in education, Jay coordinated delegations from the former Soviet Union through U.S. State Department grants. He has also worked alongside a number of international non-profits and is a former Peace Corps volunteer.


Suzanne Portrait

Lisa Westman is an author, speaker, and consultant who regularly works with school systems internationally to provide professional learning on student-driven differentiation, empathy as the foundation of our instructional practices, standards-based learning, and implementing instructional coaching programs. Before becoming a consultant, Lisa taught sixth, seventh, and eighth grade (gifted humanities, English language arts, social studies) and was an instructional coach specializing in differentiation in Skokie, IL.

Her publications include Student-Driven Differentiation: 8 Steps to Harmonize Learning in the Classroom (Corwin Press, 2018), Teaching with Empathy: How to Transform Your Practice by Understanding Your Learners (ASCD, August 2021), and frequent contributions to Education Update (ASCD), Education Week, Education Week Teacher, and Edutopia.

Lisa is married to an educator, is the parent of a sixth grader, a ninth grader, an eight-year-old Pomeranian rat terrier, and an 18-month-old border collie. She enjoys the Bar Method, music, and the City of Chicago!


About the Moderator

Jim Portrait


Jim McVety is Managing Partner of First Step Advisors. A lifelong advocate for innovation in education, Jim brings with him 20+ years of research and analysis experience. Jim has hosted numerous webinars, expert panels, and keynote presentations during his career, and his focus is on building the capacity of service organizations to better support educators and students.