June 14, 2020

Agent JoAnna Castellano (Conceptual Math)

Your lesson, should you choose to accept it, is to explore how to increase engagement, lessen anxiety, and create real-world connections by teaching math through a Conceptual Based Instructional Model. The special agent assigned to help you with this task is JoAnna Castellano of New Brunswick, New Jersey.

A transcript is available for this episode.

In this episode we discuss:

  • JoAnna’s path to teaching
  • Her pedagogical perspective: student agency, productive struggle, teacher as facilitator, providing real-world context
  • An example question using the Pythagorean theorem with Benjamin Watson’s tackle saving touchdown
  • How to differentiate in the conceptual model
  • Walking through a lesson from idea to assessment: ratio and proportions using Mayan ruins
  • Her biggest success: lessening math anxiety; her biggest struggle: getting teachers to buy in initially
  • How she has transferred this model online for distance learning
  • Who to check out for math teaching inspiration
  • JoAnna’s ideal curriculum: expanding on her work with NBPS’ Summer Bridge Program
  • The value of movement and interaction (ex. Sara Vanderwerf’s ‘stand and talks’)


Links to check out:


If you want to find out more about what innovative educators are doing around the world, check out www.lessonimpossible.com. And if you like the podcast, please consider rating, reviewing and subscribing or forwarding it to a colleague. You can also follow Lesson: Impossible on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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