Remote Level 1

Unpacking the Problem-Solving Process

Do you spend the majority of your class time working on calculations and algorithms? Are your students applying their mathematical understanding to solve authentic problems or developing conceptual understanding by using hands-on/digital manipulatives and mathematical representations? Do you strive to create an environment where math talks serve as the foundation for student learning?

This first Zoom session in the series introduces educators to expectations for moving their students beyond “answer getting.” Participants will learn effective techniques that encourage students to solve complex problems, communicate strategies, and use representations and formal math language to clearly show their mathematical thinking and reasoning. 

Participants will also explore specific strategies to help students unpack problem-solving tasks while learning to anticipate student challenges and possible solutions. Classroom-tested methods are offered for leading collaborative student groups that inspire learners to engage in rich, real-world mathematics.

Broad Agenda

Agenda items may include:

  • What does Exemplars problem solving look like in my classroom?
  • What is the difference between performance tasks and word problems?  
  • How is a solution different from an answer?  
  • Allowing educators to solve rich tasks and show their thinking.
  • Strategies for teachers to get students engaged and excited to start.
  • Introduction to the Exemplars Problem Solving Procedure.
  • Understanding the Three Reads protocol for unpacking problem solving tasks.
  • Utilizing manipulatives and representations to develop conceptual understanding.
  • Supporting students with their mathematical thinking.
  • Shifting mindsets in the classroom.


This was amazing! Very very enjoyable because it is just what I am trying to do. It provided the next steps, it helped to guide me and confirm what I am doing, how I can improve. Loved being able to ask questions to clarify my thinking. I appreciated the patience and positivity and the willingness to share resources.

Carol Smith, Math and Science Teacher

I want to say that the professional learning session was fantastic yesterday. She was clear, the pacing was perfect and it was interactive as well. 

L. Alfano, NYC Principal