Finding Resources * June 14 PD

Note:  This is a partial post (about 1/4 to 1/2 complete)  I will update with everything from our day together later this week.

Listed below are links and information from a PD session I did with MN teachers on June 14, 2016 on how I find resources for my classroom.  The methods I use most often are #5 and #6 – I like these so much I colored them yellow to highlight their importance in my life.  

Before I tell you my favorite ways to find resources & you begin searching for resources – I recommend stopping and asking yourself the following questions…

#1:What are your core values that guide how you lesson plan?      Before you look for anything – you must first spend time brainstorming what you value so you can differentiate between the good stuff out there and the fluff.  DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP/QUESTION.  Too often in education we plan so quickly we settle for what is easiest to find when what our students need is only a few minutes away in search.  I also believe that finding one things of value is better than finding lots of things.   If you want to see my list of values that guide me as I lesson plan, scroll to the very bottom of this post for my list.

#2:What kind of resources are you looking for?     Again, before you begin searching, make sure you clearly define what you are looking for – it helps in the search process and really is related to what you value (from question 1).  If you want to see what I am look for when I search scroll to the very bottom of this post for my list.

My favorite 6 favorite ways to find math resources:
  1. GOOGLE.  Some great key words to add to your google search are: (coming soon)
  3. Subscribe to people who publish their top math finds of the week.  One you can do by email is Ontario Math Resources.  Each week they will send you an email with great stuff.  I highly recommend it.  One I follow on twitter is Resourceaholic from Jo Morgan@mathsjem, out of the UK (click on the ‘Gems’ tab).
  4. (This is great summer work) Searching the top 20 websites & Blogs for resources. I probably have more than 20 sites to recommend to you – but here are a few to start with….         Favorite Sites:


  5. Search Twitter.  Some
  6. Custom Search Engne.  SomeMy Personal Math (MTBoS) Resource Search Engine – Use as you like!If you want to make your own custom search engine – CLICK HERE for the directions I used from google.Before I made my own search engine (that I could easily add more sites to when I wanted) I used the following resources (thank you to all of you) that are still great resources today:


Here are the handouts/presentation materials from our session.  Use as you like.

Finding Resources Cover Sheet


Sara VDW’s Core Values in Lesson Planning (in no particular order)  

  • Math is the study of patterns.
  • Mathematicians Notice, Describe and Generalize Patterns.
  • Use COLOR intentionally
  • Convince me! -students justfying their thinking (& explaining…)
  • Students need to talk more than I do.
  • Notice/Wonder
  • Teach Concepts before Skills
  • Model Everything.
  • Use 5 representations of a function.
  • High expectations for all.
  • Read the standards – this is our curriculum.
  • social justice in math ideas
  • Use Rich tasks with multiple entry points.

The types of resources Sara VDW is looking for in 2016.

  • pictures/visuals
  • video clips & GIFs
  • warm-up ideas
  • Professional Development
  • desmos activities
  • projects
  • ideas for teaching concepts versus skills
  • homework/practice
  • ‘choice assignments’ (easy & hard problems)
  • current data & articles to build problems around
  • rich tasks with multiple entry points (high ceiling/low floor)
  • social justice in math ideas
  • ideas for reviewing
  • tasks/problems that promote justificatin & proof
Sara VanDerWerf

I am Sara Van Der Werf, a 24-year mathematics teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools. I have taught math in grades 7-12 as well as spent several years leading mathematics at the district office. I currently teach Advanced Algebra at South High School and I'm also the current President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). I am passionate about encouraging and connecting with mathematics teachers. I'd love to connect via twitter.  Join the community.  Tweet me @saravdwerf.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 4 comments