Sign-up for Summer 2017 PD with Sara VDW

Hello Friends!  I am happy to announce I am offering four 1/2 day Professional Development Sessions in June 2017.  The information and links to sign up for the courses I am offering are located below.  First a bit of information:


All teachers who work with mathematics who can find their way to South Minneapolis in June are invited to attend.  I only have space for 40 each session, but beyond that all are invited.


I am doing these PD sessions because I love connecting with teachers. No one is paying me.  If you feel like you would like to contribute to the work I do, here are 2 ways you can do that.  I am open to any amount $0 to ????   Thank you in advance.

  •  Gift Card in any amount.  I love coffee places in Minneapolis. (My closest one is a Caribou – but any are great).  Target, Cub, Kowalski’s, Lunds&Byerelys, Trader Joes or any Restaurant you love in Minneapolis or St. Paul. Amazon gift cards work great too.
  • Donate classroom supplies (I know weird, right? – but this would be a big win for me). For each session you attend, please bring $10-$20 of school supplies.  My favorites are Kleenex, Paper Towels, disinfectant Wipes, Glue Sticks (I use these a lot), Markers, Colored Pencils, Cardstock – 8.5×11 inch – any color, and really anything else you want to bring.


Location TBD, but somewhere in Minneapolis.


The dates for the 4 sessions are listed below.  All sessions will start promptly at 9:00am.  I will be there on or before 8:30am, so feel free to arrive early.  We will end on or before 12:30pm.   After each session there will be an optional lunch opportunity if you want to continue the conversation at a nearby restaurant – most likely from 1-2:30pm.

What to bring?

  • Computer or iPad – though not necessary except for the Desmos session.
  • Writing Utensil
  • Anything that will make you comfortable – food/beverage/pillow to sit on …..
  • Feel free to bring your child (children) if you like – just give me a heads up so I have enough space.
  • Memory Stick (optional) if you want to steal any of my stuff.


I am doing this because I love leading PD and I have been asked by many people to share some of the things I am passionate about.  In future summers I will most likely charge much more money if I offer sessions, but for Summer 2017 the costs continue to be low .

Signing up:

To register for one of the Summer 2017 sessions, click the yellow links below and fill out the google form it brings you to.  I will send a follow up email letting you know I got your registration within a week (or two) and also send reminder emails the week prior to summer trainings.  PLEASE let me know if you plan to cancel your attendance.

Session Information

  1. Tuesday, June 20, 2017  Engaging Students with 5 Simple Tweaks. It is possible to engage all students in the learning of mathematics no matter how diverse the needs of your students are.  5 practical ways to increase engagement will be modeled with time given for participants to practice & create.  Ideas for reviewing curriculum, having students rely on other students and how to empower students to find information for themselves will be shared.  Every idea is easy to implement in any mathematics classroom.
  2. Wednesday, June 21, 2017  Desmos Work Session –  This session will be a time for teachers to come and work to build activities on Desmos using Activity Builder.  Attendees can be new to Desmos or highly experienced.  There will be a short amount of instruction on Activity Builder will be followed by lots of time to create activities for your classroom with support to help you get past any challenges you come across.  Exemplary Desmos activities already created will also be shared.  2017-18 will be the year Desmos becomes your go to place to help students visualize mathematics.  Desmos is not just for Algebra and graphing.  The possibilities are endless.
  3. Tuesday, June 27, 2017  ELL Strategies for the Secondary Math Classroom.  How do you engage ELL students (and all students with limited academic vocabulary) in mathematics and classroom discourse.  Practical tips for helping all students succeed in your classroom will be modeled.  Participants will practice each strategies and build resources connected to the level of mathematics they teach.
    • Click HERE to REGISTER for June 27th, ELL Strategies for the Secondary Mathematics Classroom.
  4. Wednesday, June 28, 2017 Helping Students See Mathematical Structure. Do your students see the number 49 and immediately think ‘seven squared’? How do you cultivate wonder and curiosity in your students that will engage them in the learning of mathematics?  Practical tips for helping all students see what teachers see when we look at numbers, shapes, graphs, variables, expressions, & equations will be shared.  Simple tweaks any teacher can implement into their lesson design will be modeled.
    • Click HERE to REGISTER for June 28th, Helping Students See Mathematical Structure.
  5. TBA – I am looking at adding 1-2 other sessions.  If I do I will post by mid-May.  If there is something you would like me to present on, please let me know at  (I’m looking at possibly doing a session on movement in the classroom, number talks (again), Clothesline math (google it)…among others)

I hope to see you this summer at one of my sessions.  After each session I will add a few resources to my blog.  Feel free to check out what you missed there if you are unable to attend.  If you have questions, tweet me @saravdwerf or email me at  Enjoy the end of school and your summer.

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.

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