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Ep 26. Cognitive load theory in math class with David Morkunas

This transcript was created with speech-to-text software.  It was reviewed before posting but may contain errors. Credit to Jazmin Boisclair.

You can listen to the episode here: Chalk & Talk Podcast.

Ep 26. Cognitive load theory in math class with David Morkunas


[00:00:00] Anna Stokke: Welcome to Chalk and Talk, a podcast about education and math. I'm Anna Stokke, a math professor and your host. 


You are listening to episode 26 of Chalk Talk. My guest in this episode is David Morkunas. He is a teacher and numeracy learning specialist in Australia. Our conversation is all about applying cognitive load theory and explicit instruction for teaching math. We discuss his role in overseeing a primary math program. 


He details how cognitive science principles are incorporated into daily math reviews at his school. We have a passionate discussion about standard algorithms and explore David's strategies for teaching them. We talk about the role of manipulatives, we talk about math anxiety, and we discuss fostering motivation in math class.


I also asked David to give some recommendations or resources for teachers who are keen on learning more about explicit instruction and cognitive load theory, and I will provide a link to those on the resource page. This episode is packed with concrete advice for teaching math, especially in the primary grades.


David's infectious passion for math and his skill in applying effective teaching methods make this an invaluable episode for any teacher or math education enthusiast. It was a delight to talk to him, and I hope you enjoy the conversation as much as I did. Now, without further ado, let's get started.


I am pleased to introduce David Morkunas today, and he is joining me from Melbourne, Australia. He is a math teacher and learning specialist in numeracy at Brandon Park Primary School. Before becoming a teacher, he worked as an accountant. He regularly gives presentations to teachers on teaching math. For example, he's given presentations for ResearchEd, Learning Difficulties Australia, Think Forward Educators and many others. 


He is very experienced in incorporating cognitive load theory and explicit instruction into teaching primary math, and I am really looking forward to hearing all about that today.


Welcome, David. Welcome to my podcast.


[00:02:33] David Morkunas: Thanks so much, Anna. Before we start, I just want to acknowledge that I am coming to you from the lands of the Boonwurrung people and I'd like to pay respects to Elders past, present, and emerging. But yeah, thank you so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to the chat. 


[00:02:46] Anna Stokke: Yeah, me too. So before we get into math and teaching, let's talk a bit about your background. So you were an accountant and you made a career change. So why did you decide to become a teacher?


[00:02:59] David Morkunas: Yeah, so I was, I was a financial auditor for one of the big four accounting firms in Melbourne. To be perfectly honest, just didn't really like doing it. Yeah, it was a job that related to numbers and I've loved math since I was a kid but wasn't really digging it. So, I wanted a job that was a bit more altruistic, and that's no judgment to people who choose a corporate life.


Just for me, personally, I wanted something that I was helping people in. I just had enough people over the years say, “Hey David, you'd make a good teacher.” So I thought, well, let's try teaching. Also the holidays are pretty sweet as well. Yeah.


[00:03:33] Anna Stokke: So, how long have you been teaching?


[00:03:35] David Morkunas: About eight, nine years or so. I think 2016 was my first full year.


[00:03:40] Anna Stokke: Are you glad you made the switch?


[00:03:43] David Morkunas: Oh yeah, I haven't regretted it for a moment. Love what I do. It's, it's a ton of fun, really rewarding. It's nice to know that you're making a, a difference in, you know, the lives of wonderful young people.


[00:03:52] Anna Stokke: Oh, that's great. So, what grades have you taught?


[00:03:56] David Morkunas: My role actually requires that I teach across every grade. So I do a lot of modelling and observation. So I do teach every year level, but in terms of the year levels that, I've taught the most in would be sort of four and five to about a nine to 11 year olds is where my specialty is.


[00:04:13] Anna Stokke: Okay, yeah, and those are really important grades. What about your current role? So you're a numeracy specialist, or a learning specialist, is that right? So can you tell us a bit about that?


[00:04:23] David Morkunas: Yeah. So the, the learning specialist role in, in Victoria, which is the state I live in, it's basically a role that sits, if you're looking at like an org chart, I suppose it's just kind of above the teachers, but below the principal class. It's a role that is, given to teachers that have some experience that want to essentially impart that knowledge and help grow the collective efficacy of their teachers and, you know, improve the outcomes of their students.


So yeah, in a nutshell, I run the math program at my school. So, I make the decisions related to curriculum and pedagogy as well. And I run a lot of staff professional development during our after-school meetings, but most of my job is improving our teacher efficacy. So coaching our teachers is a really important part of it.


So that's a lot of meetings with teams and with teachers and then tons and tons of modelling in the classroom.


[00:05:10] Anna Stokke: Okay, sounds great. just for context, because a lot of our listeners won't be familiar with the Australian education system. So let's talk a little bit about that. Does Australia have a national curriculum or in US, they'll often call that a set of standards. So in other words, document that says at what grades teachers should have cover particular topics.


Is there a document like that that you have to follow in Australia?


[00:05:40] David Morkunas: Yes, there is. There's not a lot of oversight as to schools being checked for how closely it's being followed, I would say but yes, it is. A bit confusing because we have an Australian curriculum, but in Victoria, we also have a Victorian curriculum that does diverge very slightly. But yeah, it's essentially a document that goes from, prep, which is what we call our first year of school in Victoria, up to year 12.


And it tells you essentially what is expected to be covered in each subject area for each year. For example, it might be that we're expected to introduce halves and quarters in grade one. And then, you know, introduce, standard division in sort of grade four or so.


[00:06:16] Anna Stokke: Just for context, is there a requirement for children to say, memorize times tables?


[00:06:23] David Morkunas: There's, there's no explicit mention of it in our curriculum. I was listening recently to, I think it was Ben Jensen was doing an episode on Ollie Lovell's podcast. And he actually spoke about the Canadian science curriculum and how rigorous it is. And I suspect if your maths curriculum is as rigorous as that, it probably does a lot better than ours does.


Yeah. I don't want to stick the boot in too much, but we don't actually have a requirement as far as I can tell, and I do skim-read, so I might have missed it, Anna, but there's no explicit mention of, hey, we expect every student to memorize their multiplication facts by a particular age. So that's something we've instituted at my school.


So we do expect our students to do it. We've set the very lofty target at the end of grade three, but that's sort of still in the early days. So we're hoping within the next couple of years. Our kids will mostly be there by the end of three.


[00:07:13] Anna Stokke: I think the end of three sounds good. So, here in Canada, it varies by province, at one point, in my province, there wasn't an expectation for children to memorize their times tables. That was changed within the last ten years or so, and the requirement is now at grade five. So it's very late. I think that in the U.S., Common Core, I think it actually is grade three, if I remember correctly. Okay, so let me ask one more question about that. So how about adding fractions? What year would that be covered at?


[00:07:42] David Morkunas: Yeah, I think so adding fractions with the same denominator I think is grade five and with related and unrelated denominators would be grade six. So we do teach it earlier though. So we would teach same denominator in grade four probably and then start looking at unrelated and related in grade five.


[00:08:02] Anna Stokke: Okay, that, that's good. So ours would be, grade seven, in my province.


[00:08:07] David Morkunas: Really? 


[00:08:08] Anna Stokke: We do not have a great math curriculum, right? Maybe the science curriculum's good, I don't know, but the math curriculum is pretty slow. Next, I'm wondering about your school and math is taught every day, is that correct?


[00:08:24] David Morkunas: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So, every day for at least an hour. So my school prior to this was actually every day for 90 minutes, which was amazing. But we have a couple of timetable challenges at my school, so the most we can, or the minimum we can guarantee is an hour, but yeah, it's expected that every single class does at least an hour of maths a day.


[00:08:43] Anna Stokke: So, an hour a day. Okay, and that's probably pretty standard I would think in Canada too. So that's at least similar. All right, so let's get into it. So I understand that at your school, the basic approach to teaching math is informed by cognitive load theory and explicit instruction. So, can you briefly give an overview of cognitive load theory for a general audience?


[00:09:09] David Morkunas: No pressure, no pressure. All right, I recently I spoke at a conference a few weeks ago and I had to speak after John Sweller. So for your listeners benefit, he is essentially the grandfather of cognitive load theory. It was terrifying, but yes. Cognitive load theory, essentially it's a set of instructional guidelines to help teachers manage cognitive load and working memory, essentially. 


So, we split it into two categories. We talk about intrinsic load, which is sort of the cognitive load that's sort of inherently tied to the lesson or the task and sort of the difficulty that's natural to what's being taught, and then extraneous load, which is essentially all the, I almost call it noise, all the stuff that gets in the way of the teaching. It's everything from having too many posters at the front of your room to noise bleed from a different classroom if you're in an open plan environment, to the way that you're even structuring the sentences that you're speaking, I suppose, in your teaching.


Cognitive load theory just gives us some guidelines of, of sort of, “Hey, you should probably present this material in this particular way to manage your students working memory and, you know, give them the best possible chance to retain as much as they can.”


[00:10:19] Anna Stokke: Okay, so essentially keeping working memory in mind, trying to reduce extraneous load where possible, and that sort of thing, right? 


[00:10:28] David Morkunas: Yeah. 


[00:10:29] Anna Stokke: Now how about explicit instruction? So what's the basic idea behind explicit instruction?


[00:10:35] David Morkunas: Yeah. So explicit instruction is probably the opposite of the idea of like guide on the side or inquiry-based methods. So it assumes that the teacher is the expert in the room and it's a gradual release of responsibility model. So there, there are a few different, if you talk about explicit instruction as an umbrella term, there are a few different, specific pedagogies that can sit underneath that you've got, you know, Engelmann's really scripted direct instruction, and you've got stuff that's a bit more loose.


The model that we use is called explicit direct instruction or EDI, and it was popularized by Ybarra and Hollingsworth, and it's a seven or eight step process in a lesson. Your listeners might know it as like I do, we do, you do. You know, so teacher modelling, then students working with support, and then students working independently.


That's the basic tenet, but what EDI does really well is the idea of constantly checking for understanding. So not just assuming that students know it, constantly checking every minute or two to see that students are on the same page as you and reteaching if they're not. So actually pulling the trigger and saying, “Hey, we need to take a step back, we haven't quite got this. Let's do another example.”


And yeah, just releasing information, or giving them information in small chunks, and scaffolding where possible.


[00:11:42] Anna Stokke: Okay. And so if you're checking for understanding quite frequently, how do you do that? Are you using sort of like some of the formative assessment techniques that say Dylan Wiliam talks about?


[00:11:53] David Morkunas: Absolutely, yeah. So the, the most important. piece of kit, especially in the math classroom. I mean, mini whiteboards. So they're just they're, they're incredible. I was quoted a few years ago in an interview and I literally said, “You can take them from my cold dead hands.” That's how, that's how important they are. 


So because we do so many worked examples and things like that in our maths program, they're hugely powerful. You know, a teacher can model a question, do the think aloud and talk about how they're actually solving that and then give the students a near identical program problem and say, “All right, go,” work on their whiteboards, after a couple of minutes the teacher will call an attention signal. 


The students will pin their whiteboards. So they'll place their whiteboards under their chin. Teacher can scan all 25 answers at the same time and tell very quickly whether things have gone well or, you know, whether it's a dumpster fire and we need to reteach.


So, for that reason mini whiteboards are just probably the most effective and efficient form of formative assessment I know of.


[00:12:51] Anna Stokke: Okay, that makes a lot of sense. So we'll come back to this and we'll talk about maybe teaching some specific things like, say, standard algorithms. So first, let's talk about your daily reviews. So I understand that these daily reviews are a central component of the math program at your school.


So can you tell us a bit about those?


[00:13:14] David Morkunas: Yeah, they certainly are. So they're a non-negotiable across every year level. So, a daily review is effectively a quick sort of 15 to 20 minute session where we go through topics and concepts and skills that students have already learned. So we know from cognitive psychology and from the architecture of the brain that just teaching a student something once won't lead to them actually learning it.


So one exposure is not enough for a change in long-term memory. I use the same definition as Kirschner, Sweller and Clark, Dylan Wiliam in your episode recently said the same thing, learning is a change in long-term memory. So we know that our students need multiple exposures and the reviews are the vehicle through which we do that.


So if I give you a grade four example, in a 20-minute maths review, we might cover we might do one of the fives tables, we might do the sevens facts. We might do some vertical subtraction, some long division practice in the number space, then we might do perhaps some expanded form place value work.


Then from there we might do some perimeter and area, some angles in the measurement space, a few probability questions, and then end with some sort of problem-solving component. And so we would do all of that within about a 20-minute session. We're teaching a lot quicker than we would during a lesson.


So we're not necessarily going through the rigmarole of a full EDI lesson as we would the first time we've done it, taught something. It's assumed that the students know some of this. We're reintroducing the concept. We might do a quick worked example if we think the students need the scaffolding.


Otherwise often it'll just be, “All right, here's something that you've done before, go.” It's trying to get them to do as much as possible in that time period. And we find that that is the vehicle through which the learning happens. So it's important to get the lesson right, but without the review they simply won't retain that knowledge.


[00:14:57] Anna Stokke: So the idea is to recall things that they've been taught previously even though it might be the case that when they were taught that and they did a lot of practice, maybe it seemed like they got it then, right? But we know that that doesn't mean that they're actually going to remember it two weeks later.


So the idea is to kind of bring that stuff back and have them reviewing it at the beginning of class. So are you incorporating, say, interleaved practice and spaced practice into your daily reviews?


[00:15:31] David Morkunas: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, so space practice in that we are not doing a review that is just on multiplication, for example, you know, where we're going to be like, “All right, I'm going to give you subtraction, then I might give you subtraction again in a week and then perhaps in a couple of weeks and then maybe in a few more weeks.”


So we're spacing that out. It's interleaved in that we are chopping and changing topics very frequently. So within 15 to 20 minutes, we might go through as many as 10 or 12 different topics. So space and interleaved practice are kind of fundamental components of a review. And of course, the main thing is the retrieval practice.


So it's having them retrieve information from their long-term into their working memory which we know the research says sort of makes memories more durable. And that, you know, hopefully leads to better retention and learning.


[00:16:02] Anna Stokke: That's a really great idea. That's sort of the best way to kind of use some of those techniques from cognitive science, right? Interleaved practice, spaced practice, retrieval practice. That's how you kind of make it stick, right? So are your daily reviews effective?


[00:16:28] David Morkunas: I certainly hope so. Yes, I would say they definitely are. So when we started doing them at my last school, we noticed pretty quick uptick in our results. But more than that, like with a lot of students commenting and say, “Hey, I remember this now I can. I can do this, you know, with the extra practice,” and that sort of thing.


We've had some fairly decent results in standardized testing recently over the last few years. And I would attribute it to that, I don't have like an RCT that I can point to and say, “Here's the data from it,” but I would contribute most of that growth to the changes in our review program.


So just simply giving the kids the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge is hugely powerful.


[00:17:06] Anna Stokke: Just taking that extra time to review at the beginning of class to do retrieval practice you accomplish more than you would otherwise, right? Because the idea is to move information to long term memory.


[00:17:17] David Morkunas: Yeah, I think a lot of people in Australia say that our curriculums are overcluttered. And that, that kind of baffles me because I don't agree, especially in the math space. A lot of schools will do like huge blocks of lessons on the same thing. Like most schools, the default would be, all right, we're going to do a week or two weeks on addition.


And so the students are getting lots of practice, but then after that two weeks, they're kind of not touching that again for the rest of the year. So our curriculum is a bit different. We will teach something once, so we'll do one lesson on it and it goes straight into our review program. That's not unless the kids absolutely bomb it, that we would consider retaking.


And that frees up a lot of time that we can use on review. But yeah, as I said, absolute non-negotiable. So I do tell some of my teams, you know, we have a swimming program in Australia because that's in fact, part of our curriculum. Every student in Australia is required to swim 50 meters unassisted by the end of grade six because we are a land girt by sea, that's a line from our anthem in fact. 


And we get two weeks of swimming lessons that kind of ruins our timetable. I had to speak to teams last year and say, “Hey, I don't want you to do any new lessons. Instead,  just keep doing your reviews” because teams were worried that they would not finish the curriculum, and yeah, it's not actually the case.


There's not that much there if you use your time wisely.


[00:18:32] Anna Stokke: And just to sort of remind listeners, we've talked a little bit about this sort of thing on past episodes, but if someone's just tuning in for the first time, say, so blocked practice, that would be when you're practicing the same type of thing over and over, right? The same, the same topic. So you mentioned addition.


Spaced practice would be if you brought back another topic from previously. So maybe you were covering area or something like that and then you bring that in to practice along with the addition. Does that sound right? 


[00:19:02] David Morkunas: Yeah, sounds perfect.


[00:19:04] Anna Stokke: And interleaved practice on the other hand, the topic can be kind of similar, right? So the idea with interleaved practice is that students have to differentiate to determine, you know, what type of strategy they would use to solve that particular problem, right?


[00:19:19] David Morkunas: Yeah, it can be harder in the short term. So it might be, a classic example in primary would be perimeter and area. So sort of, rapidly switching between the two which students can, can struggle with because they often conflate them. But leads to better long term growth and outcomes.


[00:19:35] Anna Stokke: Right. And both of those things are really important. Actually, often in math, I think that it's very common to teach in blocks and not do space practice. Even at the university level, we have this problem with textbooks too. And so we have to incorporate that in, bring things back to sort of review, do that retrieval practice. Okay, about these daily reviews, do you design them all for the teachers?


[00:20:00] David Morkunas: I started doing it in my grade four team a few years back, and that was effectively my only role in the team that year. So, not just in the math space, also for literacy. So we had a spelling and an English review as well. Cause I don't know, I think in Canada it's the same. Your primary school teachers are generalists, so they teach every subject. 


So same, same in most parts of Australia. But yeah, so I, I designed most of them from scratch. But my teachers build them now, so I can't build them for every team. Cause that would be a one-way ticket to burnout, Anna. So instead, I give them sort of the basics of like, “Hey, here are a few things to get you started,” and the idea is that they use a lot of their worked examples from their lessons and that becomes part of their review deck.


So I can essentially use the same materials over and over again.


[00:20:45] Anna Stokke: This is a great program. what you're describing sounds just phenomenal. So I think it's really great that you're doing and doing that. I hope, you know, more people hear about this and, try to incorporate this into their daily instruction as well, but I have to ask about basic facts.


So, would basic fact fluency be part of your daily reviews?


[00:21:07] David Morkunas: Absolutely. Yeah, it's a non-negotiable. So they're in, they're in every single time we do a review. Not the same facts, obviously, but a different set of them every day. And that would look different depending on the year level. By, you know, in grade four or five, it's mostly going to be multiplication practice, whereas grades one and two, they'll still be doing their addition and subtraction facts.


But yes, they're in every single day. Quick, short, and sharp. We'll give them a number sentence and they’ll just - chanting the answers orally, so they're still computing. So they're not simply just reading a completed number sentence off the board, which is something I used to do until I realized there's actually no active thinking happening there.


So it might be, as an example, we might have in grade one, it might just be three plus five equals. Give them a couple of seconds of thinking time. They just say “eight” and we move on and we might do a dozen of those a day.


[00:21:52] Anna Stokke: And they all say it at the same time.


[00:21:55] David Morkunas: Yeah, so we queue them. That's, that's a part of EDI queuing responses in unison and that sort of thing. What I'll normally do is I'll hold my hand up and then when I lower my hand, that's when it's time to answer. So giving them some thinking time. 


[00:22:07] Anna Stokke: Okay, so every student has to, gets a chance to think about it and then you lower your hand. And so you try and get it, get them going faster and faster. Is that the idea?


[00:22:16] David Morkunas: Yeah, exactly right. And it depends on the fact, of course, as well. So we use some teacher judgment there. If it's three plus one, I'm going to give them half a second. If it's eight plus nine, I'll give them a bit more time because that one's trickier. 


[00:22:27] Anna Stokke: Do you include timed activities at all?


[00:22:30] David Morkunas: We do, absolutely. So we do multipication grids from about grade three upwards. That's sort of a quick two or three-minute thing. It's about 50 questions. They're only required to write the answers. And yeah, they're done under time conditions. We're looking at doing the same for addition and subtraction later this year.


[00:22:38] Anna Stokke: Okay, that sounds fantastic. 


[00:22:50] David Morkunas: There's a lot of, a lot of robust discussion about time tests at the moment, I think. They're completely low stakes. They're zero stakes, in fact. And they're completely normalized throughout our school. So you won't find students getting anxious about them. Just a normal part of the maths block. 


It's really important to, you know, look after your classroom culture and tell the students, “Hey, you're not competing with anyone here. The only person you're really competing with is your past self.” Just try and improve a bit every day. And they've been instrumental in helping our students learn their multiplication facts.


I had a student who, who knew next to none of them in grade five last year and we started doing the grids. They did a bit of practice at home and they'd learnt them within a term and a half just because they were so keen to get as many of them done as they could.


[00:22:36] Anna Stokke: Wonderful. So yeah, I mean, if you don't make a big deal of it and it's part of your daily culture, it's not going to stress the students out as much, right? It just becomes normal. Yeah. And they get better and then they feel good, right? Like you feel good when you get better at things, right?


[00:23:50] David Morkunas: Absolutely.


[00:23:51] Anna Stokke: Let's shift a bit to arithmetic. So let's talk about standard algorithms. 


[00:23:58] David Morkunas: I'm so ready. 


[00:24:00] Anna Stokke: I hear that you like standard algorithms, and I like standard algorithms too, so this is going to be a fun conversation. So, why do you think it's important to teach standard algorithms? Or maybe you don't think that. 


[00:24:13] David Morkunas: I certainly do, Anna, I certainly do. I say, yeah, it's, it's something I'm extremely passionate about. I do conference talks about them and speak about them at length. I do not need an excuse to talk about standard algorithms for a long period of time. Yeah, they represent the collective wisdom of the people that have come before us, you know, they've been developed over hundreds of years, they're extremely efficient, they're straightforward to teach, they're scalable. 


You know, you can really increase the complexity from introducing addition, vertical addition in the first year of school, all the way up to multiple addends with decimals in the upper year levels. They work regardless based on the same set of principles. Yeah, they're, they're incredible. Like I really bristle when people advocate for the idea of letting students invent their own strategies.


It comes off to me as an extremely ableist attitude, and it really, really upsets me because I just, I've worked with lots of wonderful students that struggle in maths, and the idea of saying to that student, “Well, I'm not going to give you this tool that I know you could use. Instead, I'm going to let you, you know, smack your head against something for weeks and weeks. It's going to ruin your self-esteem, it's likely going to trigger some sort of anxiety in maths. When in fact in one decent lesson, I could teach you this, and it'll work every time.”


They're hugely powerful and I think the the one thing in my old life as an accountant that has influenced my teaching is sort of thinking a bit about behavioral economics and stuff like opportunity cost. We don't have tons and tons of time with these students, we can't afford to spend weeks just so giving them this, like, choose your own adventure idea. Instead, we are the experts. 


We're the ones that, that have the training. We need to be giving the students the most efficient and effective ways of solving these problems. There you go. That's my, that's my soapbox. 


[00:26:06] Anna Stokke: I completely agree with you. And definitely they're the, they're the most efficient algorithm, they were developed over centuries, right? They're called standard for a reason. And yeah, I completely agree. I'm curious about something though. So here in Canada, there seems to be an expectation that teachers are supposed to teach multiple strategies, right?


So, honestly, at one point, the standard algorithms were banned here in my province, and so teachers weren't allowed to teach them, and students were not allowed to use them in school. 


[00:26:42] David Morkunas: That's baffling. Why? What, what was the reasoning behind that, Anna? 


[00:26:49] Anna Stokke: Well, because, there are certain educators who claim that they're harmful. They're harmful to students development of place value, with understanding. Which is absurd, right? Because they, they reinforce place value.


[00:27:01] David Morkunas: They certainly do, yeah. 


[00:27:03] Anna Stokke: Right, you line up the digits by place value and whether you regroup, all determined by place value, right? Yeah, so, so that had happened here. And then, that got changed, but sort of the compromise was students should learn many different strategies for arithmetic, which is very time-consuming and oftentimes, students aren't getting enough practice with any one strategy, so they don't become good at the standard algorithm. 


So I'm curious about that. So you don't have to worry about the multiple strategies there?


[00:27:39] David Morkunas: No, so the curriculum is it's, it's fairly woolly in this regard. It says things like efficient mental and written strategies, but that's the kind of the only mention that we get in Australia. So it really is left up to the individual schools and in some cases the individual teachers to decide how they're going to do it, which you can, you can understand is probably, you know, not ideal.


So even within a particular school, you might have a grade two teacher that is teaching the standard algorithms and one who is not. Which is a bit of a worry. More guidance on this would be great, as long as it's the right kind of guidance. Yeah, so we do, look, we lean very heavily on the standard algorithms.


We do teach strategies for, but it's mostly for mental computation. So we'll teach things like, you know, split strategies and stuff like that, but it's mostly assumed and you know, partitioning and multiplication, it's assumed that students use those mentally. Whenever they're doing any kind of written work we steer them towards the algorithm as much as possible.


[00:28:33] Anna Stokke: And I'm certainly in favour of some of those mental math strategies, those are important too. And the standard algorithms using them actually, it gets you practicing your number facts too.


[00:28:44] David Morkunas: Absolutely, yeah.


[00:28:46] Anna Stokke: I think we've convinced everybody that standard algorithms are important. At least I hope so. 


Okay. So let's, let's talk about how you teach them. So first of all, what prerequisite knowledge do you think students need before learning standard algorithms?


[00:29:02] David Morkunas: No, look, not a lot because you can probably develop that in tandem with the algorithm, but you do want them to have a sort of a rudimentary knowledge of what each operation is and its function, I guess. So you want some very kid-friendly definitions of, you know, addition, even if it's something like, hey, “addition is joining two numbers together,” just to begin with in prep.


And then you'd probably do some, some number stories. You know, “I had three apples, and Anna had two apples, how many apples altogether?” and linking those to addition. If you can and this is, this is something where we're still working on at my school, is it's good to get some part-whole representations in as well, because then you can link, you know, addition to those and it helps when you get into problem solving.


But yeah, you don't need a ton of prerequisite knowledge. By the end of our first year at my school, our students are solving vertical addition problems, just single digit. For the first sort of lesson, probably answers that are less than 10 as well. So there's no renaming happening. but yeah, not a ton.


[00:30:01] Anna Stokke: What about conceptual understanding? You asked me about why the standard algorithms were banned here for a bit, and that was another reason I was given, was that they, they work against conceptual understanding. I'm curious what you think about that.


[00:30:16] David Morkunas: That's, that's baffling to me. They actually promote and help with conceptual understanding, especially if you use them in conjunction with concrete materials, which you should absolutely be doing in the younger years. 


It's weird to me, because if you're going to give them this sort of smorgasbord of other strategies, a lot of those strategies have nothing to do with conceptual understanding. Do you know, like, the Chinese lattice method of multiplication?


[00:30:42] Anna Stokke: Yes, I do. Yeah, I've seen that.


[00:30:44] David Morkunas: You teach a kid, teach a kid to do that, and they can, yeah, they can multiply three-digit numbers any day of the week. Ask them what's happening, and just watch their face turn blank. Like, it doesn't teach, it doesn't teach the slightest bit of conceptual understanding.


But you can absolutely incorporate that into good, explicit lessons on the algorithms. Yeah, if you're doing long-form multiplication, you're explaining, well, right, “Well, we're multiplying by ones here, so our answer will be expressed in ones. Our next row, we're multiplying by tens. That's why the placeholder zero is in there, because when we multiply by a whole number by tens, the answer will end in a zero.”


So you can absolutely promote conceptual understanding. So yeah, so I reject that idea wholeheartedly, that the standard algorithms somehow don't.


[00:31:22] Anna Stokke: So how, how do you teach standard algorithms? So pick your favourite operation and maybe you can kind of walk me through it if it's possible, because we're just recording audio, if you don't mind. 


[00:31:35] David Morkunas: No, absolutely. So, cause it's audio, the simplest ones probably just to stick with addition. It's not my favorite though. And I'm, I'm a long division devotee. I love long division. 


[00:31:43] Anna Stokke: Me too.


[00:31:44] David Morkunas: Yeah. But long division absolutely rules. But let's, let's pretend we're doing addition. And so, our prerequisites will be that we assume the students have some sort of basic fact knowledge. So, we're hoping that they have some of their addition facts. 


This, just as a tangent, this is something that also relates to cognitive load theory, and especially optimising intrinsic load. Teachers need to be really, really careful which digits they use in their practice problems. You really need to consider what the output, what the answer is and consider whether students actually have the number facts to solve that particular problem.


So, for our example, we'll do two digits plus two digits. And so, I have, actually, I prepared, listeners can't see that, it's 28 plus 14 is what we're going to do. And so I would actually, at the beginning, I'd actually even tell my students the answer. So I'm going to say, the answer is going to be 42.


And the reason I do that is I'm going to have some high flyers in my class that can probably solve this mentally. And if I throw up 28 plus 14 on a board, They're not going to listen to a word I say afterwards. They're just going to try and solve it in their head. And it's great. Look, I like that they can solve that kind of stuff in their head.


But eventually in, you know, four or five years, I want them to be able to add six and seven and eight-digit numbers in their head, which they won't be able to do. So I want them focused on the process. So the first thing I do, because I'm a Grinch, is I spoil the answer. And then we go into the standard language for addition.


So I'll tell my students that we always start in the ones column, right, and then in the older years I'll say, well, we always start in the smallest place value because we're doing tens and hundreds. But the language is this. So if your listeners can imagine 28 plus 14, the language is eight ones plus four ones equals 12 ones.


Rename as one ten and two ones, and as I'm saying ones, I'm recording the one above the tens column and the two in the ones column below where the answer goes. And then I say we move to the tens column. One ten plus two tens is three tens. Plus one ten equals four tens. And my answer is 42.


[00:33:44] Anna Stokke: Perfect. 


[00:33:45] David Morkunas: So just simple, simple, as that, yeah. So I should say as well, because I don't like taking credit for other people's ideas, and as I like to say, good teachers create and great teachers steal.


The language that we use, it all comes from George Booker's work. He's an Australian mathematics professor, and he wrote a book called Teaching Primary Mathematics that's basically the gold standard in Australia. So all this stuff has come from him.


[00:34:06] Anna Stokke: Nice. And so that's what we mean by reinforcing place value. The way that you describe that is just, it really does reinforce place value for students, right? It doesn't work against place value. So yeah, you did a great job of that. 


[00:34:21] David Morkunas: Thank you so much. 


[00:34:23] Anna Stokke: So you also teach long division, and that's at what grade?


[00:34:28] David Morkunas: Well, so we actually started teaching that now in grade three. So it was, it was grade four until the end of last year, but we decided to increase the rigour a bit. And I actually taught those lessons last term. So I went into all of our grade three classrooms and did that. And yeah, it was a resounding success.


They're definitely capable of it. Those students who perhaps don't have a good grasp of their multiplication facts yet, we'll give them a grid. It's the same with long-form multiplication. If the lesson, if the focus of the lesson is, I want you to solve long division, I don't want them to have to worry about “Oh I don't know what three sixes are so I'm gonna have to spend two minutes deriving that.”


Instead, I'm give them a grid, or even just tell them, hey, that's 18, and let them focus on the recording in the process. But yeah, so grade three, and then by grade five, it's, you know, the, all the grisly ones, you know, double-digit divisors and, decimal remainders and all the fun stuff.


[00:35:15] Anna Stokke: And you teach short division too. I saw that in your slides. I love short division. But not everybody knows how to do it. I learned it as a kid in my school, and actually I use it all the time. Like when I'm just doing calculations for various things, I just jot it down and use short division.


But a lot of people don't know how to use it.


[00:35:35] David Morkunas: That's, funnily enough, I had the opposite issue when I first arrived at the school. I had some year levels who were doing short, but not long division, and I like to say, well, we're gonna pump the brakes a second. I love short division as well. It is significantly more difficult and far more taxing on working memory though, just because the multiplication and subtract steps are done entirely mentally.


So we, we absolutely teach short division at my school, but not until long division is is concrete though. But yeah, some kids, once you show them short division, they're off to the races, man. They love it. And you can it's so quick. But I like to say that you know, mathematicians, we're efficient, but we like to be lazy as well.


We like the quickest possible way of getting a solution, and so, yeah, once they're comfortable and they know their, their multiplication facts, you can type a 15 digit question up there and they'll solve it almost as quickly as you can write it.


[00:36:18] Anna Stokke: Yes. And you are right. Mathematicians do like to be efficient, I'm glad you mentioned that. So how about long division? Do you explain the reasoning behind long division? Why long division works the way it is? You don't have to do this. I'm just asking if you, if you do it. 


[00:36:33] David Morkunas: Thank goodness. We do rely a bit on a memory hook for long division because it is more complex. So I, I have my students actually write the symbols for the steps. So they write a division symbol, then a multiplication symbol, a subtract, and then a downwards facing arrow.


So essentially divide, multiply, subtract, bring down and rename. I do try and, tell them what's happening place value wise, and sort of say, all right, you know, “I have 13 ones. Can I share them among four?” You know, “Is there enough for each to get to get at least one?”


It's a bit trickier in, in long division. That's when some of the conceptual understanding stuff starts to break down. If you, if you held a gun to my head and said, “Which one's more important, which one do you care mostly about?” I do care more about the procedural fluency. Ultimately, I want them to be able to do the maths if they can't explain the minutia of what's happening under the hood, that's not necessarily a deal breaker. 


It's important for the basics, place value, and that sort of thing, but if they can't describe to a beautiful level what's happening under the hood in long division, I don't, I'm not as worried about it. So we do give them the language, and we still use that place value language.


So you said, like I said before, it's never 13 divided by four. It's always, I have 13 ones, can I share 13 among four? You know, so we still use that language, but yeah. Conceptual understanding is a bit harder. It starts to get more complex at that level.


[00:37:46] Anna Stokke: I always think it's just important to get the point across that, here, I've explained it to you. This is how it works, this is why it works. In math, everything has an explanation and a reason. But at the end of the day, you do really want to be good with the skill. Because if you're not good with the skill, like that's what's going to hold you back later.


[00:38:05] David Morkunas: Yeah, exactly right. And I realize I've made a bit of a hypocrite of myself because I was ragging on the Chinese lattice method. But we of course do build conceptual understanding and division before we get to the long division process. So a lot of work on arrays and sharing in the younger years. But yeah, long division is a bit of a trickier one. Great fun though. 


[00:38:21] Anna Stokke: So let's talk a little bit about math anxiety because you mentioned timed activities. And as you said, this is sort of controversial thing that everybody's talking about right now. Have you experienced kids with math anxiety?


[00:38:35] David Morkunas: Yeah, you know, I've worked with students who are anxious about maths. My thoughts on it are informed a bit by Bruno Reddy who runs, Times Tables Rockstars in the UK. He's a friend of mine. He once said to me, look, “No student enters school with maths anxiety, which tells me that it's a problem of practice.”


And it's perhaps that we're not giving the students the tools they need to succeed in maths might be the trigger of their anxiety. I said on Brendan Lee's podcast last year, like I have year 12 German anxiety because I didn't study German at all, Anna. So if you parachuted me into a year 12 German class, I would feel quite anxious because I wouldn't know what I'm doing.


And I suspect the same is largely true for our students. If we can sort of give them the support they need and teach them at they, at their point of need and give them success, I've had great success myself with reducing negative feelings and negative attitudes towards math by just helping my students achieve.


[00:39:35] Anna Stokke: I think you're likely right. So if you get better at math and if someone helps you get better at math, that probably is going to reduce your anxiety, right? Is that kind of what you're saying?


[00:39:47] David Morkunas: Yeah, that's the main thrust.


[00:39:49] Anna Stokke: Okay, got it. So you think achievement and, and working towards getting students to achieve in mathematics and do better in math is, is the way to go with that.


[00:39:58] David Morkunas: Yeah, that's the motivation equation as well, is I think that a lot of the discourse gets motivation backwards. I think the achievement needs to come first that creates a beautiful positive feedback loop. I'm proud of myself because I've gotten something correct and my teacher's proud of me.


That's going to make me more likely and more motivated to try harder material to chase the same feeling.


[00:40:16] Anna Stokke: I have another question, it sounds like the explicit instruction you use, it's whole-class instruction, So you must have students in your class that are at different skill levels. And how do you deal with that?


[00:40:30] David Morkunas: That's a great question. So, probably the first question I get asked every time I give a conference talk is, “Well, what do you do for the lower-achieving students and the highers?” So we differentiate our independent practice and a lot of our worked examples as well, but the students fundamentally get access to the same curriculum.


If you don't, there's probably an argument that in high school things are different and the gap is wide enough that, you know, you can talk about streaming and that sort of thing. but in primary school, if we're streaming our math grades and, you know, splitting up into high, medium and low, for example, you're just perpetuating the Matthew effects and you're robbing those lower students of the chance to expose - you're robbing them of the exposure to the wonderful work and the wonderful curriculum in maths, right?


So we, of course, work one-on-one and in small groups with our lower students during independent practice. So, while the rest of the class is working independently, students who need extra help will get it, but we also have those supports built into the lesson. So for a worked example, if I'm doing, let's talk about that addition example again, if I'm doing an addition lesson with my grade ones for example, I'll expect every student to attempt the first question.


So, the first question might be that 28 plus 14 that we did, but then I will have three or four more questions on the screen or on the board ready for my high students to do. They might range up to a four- or five-digit problem. The students aren't expected to solve them all, so we just expect every student to give it their best effort.


The same with the reviews. The reviews always have multiple questions as well to cater for a range of ability levels. The expectation is never that every kid finishes every slide or every question. So just do your best. When the teacher's happy that you've given it a go, we move on.


[00:42:07] Anna Stokke: So do you have in mind then that there's sort of a minimum amount that you would want every student to do when you put up these problems? But then there are extra problems that the faster students could do? Is that the idea?


[00:42:20] David Morkunas: Yeah, exactly right. So look, my minimum expected effort is that you attempt the first question. And some students may not even finish the first question but long as they're giving it a go and I'm supporting those students who need the help, then I'm happy. Yeah, the key is to get enough material to cater towards those, those high ability students.


Because then if you don't and you're working one-on-one with someone, then, you know, those kids are done in 15 seconds. That's when you're often going to get behavioural problems, because they're sitting around for two minutes with nothing to do.


[00:42:49] Anna Stokke: You would have to have a lot of practice problems prepared, right, for all the, different groups of students in the class. But they're not working on a different topic though. It's like the same topic, but just more complicated problems. 


[00:43:02] David Morkunas: Yeah. Yeah. So we might do like an area lesson in grade four, for example. And the, the goal is to just do areas of squares and rectangles, but we might put some compound shapes in for the, for the high ability students, you know, where they need to actually segment it into two separate rectangles and then add up the areas at the end.


So something a lot more rigorous, but still the same basic skill.


[00:43:22] Anna Stokke: That makes a lot of sense. So you, you have extra challenge for the students who, really are excelling. And then with those other students who are struggling during independent time or independent work time, you work with them and help them get caught up. 


[00:43:35] David Morkunas: Exactly. 


[00:43:37] Anna Stokke: Okay. So what about manipulatives? Do you use manipulatives when you're teaching things like the standard algorithms?


[00:43:45] David Morkunas: Yeah, we, we absolutely do. So, we use them as I suspect most schools do mostly in the younger years. So we do try and get them moving to abstract representations as soon as we can. But yeah, so we, we start with manipulatives in in our first year of school, we represent numbers on a 10 frame with counters.


We do a lot of that in the first couple of terms, and then we very quickly moved to bundling sticks. So, if you're listening to this, just imagine, we call them icy pole sticks in Australia, I don't think that will play in Canada.


[00:44:15] Anna Stokke: Popsicle sticks? 


[00:44:16] David Morkunas: Yeah, there you go. Popsicle sticks, there we go. So we use, bundles of those.


And so a single stick is one and then you take 10 of them and you wrap them with, an elastic band becomes your 10. So we use those. They're really, really useful, especially for renaming or regrouping because they're a unit of 10, take the band off, bang, they're all of a sudden 10 ones. So once our students are comfortable with making 10s and things like that, we'll use bundling sticks to support the algorithm. So the first time our students will see standard addition, they will see it with bundling sticks. 


And then eventually we will do problems where we have the bundling sticks and the digits, or the numerals side by side. Students will work on them with sticks, eventually work on them with the sticks and the numerals, and then eventually just the numerals.


[00:45:00] Anna Stokke: You start with the manipulatives and then you bring the manipulatives with the numbers. So concrete, pictorial, abstract or something like that. 


[00:45:09] David Morkunas: More or less, yes. Yeah. that's the pathway. 


[00:45:12] Anna Stokke: With the goal being that you want to be working with the abstract. That's the, the end goal.


[00:45:16] David Morkunas: Yeah, and it depends, it depends heavily on the topic. Because, you know, we'll use manipulatives for other stuff in the older years. you know, something a bit more advanced. We might use manipulatives for fraction representations, for example. But then eventually the end goal for all of this stuff is to get too abstract when we can.


[00:45:34] Anna Stokke: So I wanted to ask something about the teacher qualifications in Australia. So, say in elementary school, how much mathematics would a teacher have to know, say?


[00:45:47] David Morkunas: So we're talking about content knowledge, yeah? 


[00:45:50] Anna Stokke: Yeah, that's right.


[00:45:51] David Morkunas: So, the year after I graduated, the Australian government introduced this test called the LANTITE, which is, it's a test of literacy and numeracy skills that is a prerequisite for graduating with a teaching degree in Australia. That tests them on, I think it's year 9 equivalent skills.


So, the, the teachers in Australia have to have passed a test that relates to year nine maths. To be honest though, there's, there's no check of, of like, “All right, you need to be able to do everything in the primary curriculum to be a primary teacher.” For example, so we find, I don't know if this is the same in Canada, Anna, but we do find that there are issues with teachers in their content knowledge.


There are, there are pretty significant gaps and there are a lot of teachers in Australia that are uncomfortable moving up to the older years in primary school because they're concerned that they lack the knowledge. Is that pretty similar to you guys?


[00:46:40] Anna Stokke: I think it is similar, yeah. There are sometimes these gaps in knowledge, particularly in the elementary years. But in a lot of cases, I don't think that teachers have good resources to work with either, which just, you know, isn't helpful. So what I wanted to ask about, so say, a teacher has to teach the standard algorithms, probably knows how to use the standard algorithms, but then sometimes the criticism would be that you're not teaching them with understanding. 


And maybe the teacher isn't sure how to teach the standard algorithm with understanding, particularly like the long division algorithms, quite complicated. How could they find out how to teach those with understanding?


[00:47:23] David Morkunas: Yeah, so my, my suggestion in Australia is that people pick up the, the book I mentioned earlier, so Teaching Primary Mathematics. That's a really good resource, but you're right, there aren't a lot of great resources. I don't know of, I'd be thrilled to be proven wrong here. I don't know of a single Australian university that is really teaching maths to their pre-service teachers in this sort of way. 


I certainly was not taught standard algorithms or anything of the sort when I did my maths training at university. So yeah, like I'd love to be able to point to a uni and say, “Hey, you should do this.” I know that La Trobe in Australia is doing incredible things in the literacy space and they're probably looking to do something similar in the future in maths. But beyond that, it's probably just leaning on things like textbooks and yeah, Bookers is world-class, I'd say. It's a lot of work that I do with my teachers is upskilling them and getting them the content knowledge that they need.


[00:48:10] Anna Stokke: And you're using cognitive load theory and you're using explicit instruction in your school. Is that happening in a lot of other schools in Australia?


[00:48:20] David Morkunas: More skills than were doing it five years ago. So we're in the middle of a bit of a groundswell when it comes to explicit teaching and sort of evidence-based practice here. So organizations that you mentioned in my bio things like Think Forward Educators and Learning Difficulties Australia, Sharing Best Practice is another one in Australia that are sort of really promoting this stuff from the grassroots level.


When I was at my last school, we were more or less one of only two or three schools in Victoria doing this kind of stuff. Now there are probably 50 or 60. So the, the change is happening. It's not quite happening at a system level or at the university level yet. But there are, there are encouraging signs, yeah.


[00:49:00] Anna Stokke: So send it to Canada. I want to just follow up on another thing you mentioned about what you were taught when you were in university learning to become a teacher, and you must have received some courses on how to teach math. 


And so what happened in those courses?


[00:49:19] David Morkunas: Anna, I can barely remember to be perfectly frank. The most vivid memory I have in my university time was being given a piece of like A5 paper and said, “All right, I want you to fold it into elevenths.” And that was the focus of one of our math sessions. And I somehow fluked it and, and nailed perfect elevenths.


And like, that's my overarching memory from, from university. We, we talked a lot about manipulatives. We talked a lot about the early years and number sense. But there was little to no discussion on the four operations. And no discussion on, you know, basic number facts and things like that either.


So, not ideal.


[00:49:54] Anna Stokke: Okay. And so were you taught about using explicit instruction that that might be one of the better ways to teach?


[00:50:02] David Morkunas: Not at all. No, a lot of it was quite investigation based, a lot of games, and for the record, I'm a big supporter of games in the younger years when they have a purpose and they're leading to, to good understanding. But yeah, there's a lot of, you know, we want to guide the students to help them develop their own understanding.


Essentially, you know, like, you shouldn't surprise anyone, like, just a ton of constructivism, really.


[00:50:25] Anna Stokke: I would say that's likely fairly common in North America. Okay, so you were an accountant, do you use your knowledge of accounting or anything like that to motivate students? Do you think you need to do things like that?


[00:59:39] David Morkunas: No, no, definitely not. No, it's the only things as I said before, I just use some behavioural economics stuff. Mostly not the students, but mostly the teachers talking about opportunity costs. And then a lot of like some cost fallacy stuff, you know, a lot of schools will be like, “Well, we spent all this money on these resources, so we have to use them.”


And, you know, me pushing back and being like, “Oh, you don't like that money's gone regardless.” 


[00:51:00] Anna Stokke: And so when you're, teaching students, you don't have to provide motivation to get them working?


[00:51:06] David Morkunas: No, I think like, It sounds like, it sounds a bit contrite to say, it's very Instagrammable what I'm about to say, but like, I also stole this from an ex-colleague. You know, teachers are the weather in their classroom. I think your attitude and your motivation towards maths has a huge, influence on how your students view it.


At the risk of tooting my own horn, when I'm in the maths classroom, like, I'm excited, I'm jazzed to be there, you know. I get to work with students from across the school, I get to teach them things that I am really passionate about, that I really enjoy, and I kind of feed off, you know, their energy as well as them doing the same with me.


So yeah, I that's my motivation piece, I guess. Like, I teach them effectively, I give them success. I present it in a way that is, you know, highly engaging. A lot of people criticize explicit teaching for being lecture-driven. I think those people just never have never seen explicit instruction done well.


It's highly interactive super engaging as a result, you know, kids experience a great deal of success.


[00:52:06] Anna Stokke: I mean, I think the key with an explicit instruction is first of all, you actually teach, right? So you actually explain things, but there's a lot of, you mentioned earlier, a lot of checking for understanding, providing feedback, using things like those daily reviews, which are, you know, just excellent.


It's just an excellent idea. The retrieval practice, the interleaving, the space practice, those are all really important components of explicit instruction. Are there any specific books that you would recommend for teachers who want to learn more about cognitive load theory or explicit instruction?


[00:52:45] David Morkunas: Absolutely. So in the cognitive load theory space I'm holding up for Anna's benefit, I'm holding up Oliver Lovell's Cognitive Load Theory in Action and just full disclosure, Ollie and I are good friends. But I've not read a book that, that I've not read anything in this space that does a better job of explaining it.


It was written by a teacher for teachers. It's extremely accessible. It's nice and thin as well. So it doesn't take too long to get through. Yeah, couldn't recommend that more highly enough. He also has a short course as well. If anyone's interested where you can go through the, the tenets of, of CLT as well.


[00:53:18] Anna Stokke: Oh, he has a short course?


[00:53:20] David Morkunas: He does. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's through his website. It's like, I think eight hours in Australia. I think it qualifies as, cause we have to do a certain number of PD hours a year, I think it's eligible for that kind of stuff as well. So we'd highly recommend that for anyone who's interested.


And in the explicit instruction space, the main book that I use is Ybarra and Hollingsworth's Explicit Direct Instruction (EDI). It's in its second edition and that is sort of the perfect place for anyone who wants to start using explicit instruction in their classroom.


[00:53:51] Anna Stokke: And I'm going to link to those on the resource page, as well as the other book that you mentioned earlier a couple of times about teaching math, so that people can look them up. So last question, what advice would you give new teachers?


[00:54:07] David Morkunas: Depends about what I guess. It's, it's a, look, it's a wonderful profession. It's not without its challenges though. The advice I'd give is probably to triage your work. Teaching is one of those professions where if you want, you can pull a hundred hour weeks and there'll always be something to do still.


So just being really careful with your work life balance and realizing that not everything needs to be done when it comes to you. So sort of being kind and looking after yourself in that respect. In the content knowledge space, I'd find someone, like the classic advice that I give anyone in any industry, really, find someone who's doing something really well and copy them. 


Find the, if you're interested in maths, find the best maths teacher at your school, ask to observe them, pick their brain apart and ask them where they learnt their stuff from. So find someone who's really good and yeah, just rip them off and basically.


[00:54:55] Anna Stokke: That's great advice. that's what I've done. I just pay attention to what my colleagues are doing who are, doing things really well and lots of conversations, right. It really helps a lot. 


[00:55:04] David Morkunas: Yeah. 


[00:55:06] Anna Stokke: I loved talking to you today and thank you so much for coming on. Lots of useful stuff and I'm sure teachers will really appreciate it. So thank you so much.


[00:55:15] David Morkunas: A pleasure to connect with you. I hope listeners find some value out of what we've talked about. My pleasure. 


[00:55:22] Anna Stokke: As always, we've included a resource page for this episode that has links to books mentioned in the episode. I'll have another great episode coming out on May 24th.


If you enjoy this podcast, please consider showing your support by leaving a five-star review on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. Chalk and Talk is produced by me, Anna Stokke, transcript and resource page by Jazmin Boisclair, social media images by Nicole Maylem Gutierrez.


Subscribe on your favourite podcast app to get new episodes delivered as they become available. You can follow me on X for notifications or check out my website,, for more information. This podcast received funding through a University of Winnipeg Knowledge Mobilization and Community Impact grant funded through the Anthony Swaity Knowledge Impact Fund.

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