Developing Powerful Problem Solvers

PD Courses

The authors of Powerful Problem Solving are leading this new professional development course, making use of Powerful Problem Solving and the companion website,, and its growing collection of classroom videos, student handouts, and resources. Each week will include reading a chapter, watching selected video clips and/or looking at student work, and tasks or projects using the skills from that chapter. This is the first course in a two-course sequence, the second course being Nurturing Powerful Problem Solvers.

Download syllabus [PDF].

This moderated course will be led by Max Ray-Riek, the main author of Powerful Problem Solving, with Suzanne Alejandre, Annie Fetter, and Steve Weimar. It will take place online using Canvas. The only technical requirements are a web browser and Internet access.

Who: teachers of grades 3-8

Participation requires separate purchase of the book, Powerful Problem Solving available from Heinemann or


When we have the specific dates, we'll post them here.


      Register now!


Week 1: Intro
why problem solving?
introduce yourself
read intro
watch some video clips
anticipate: surprises, predictions
Week 2: Communication
read Chapter 2
try a communication activity and tell the story OR
share a task you could add a communication component to, plan: 1) audience, 2) purpose, 3) plan for revisions
pb&j video?
Week 3: Listening
read Chapter 3
try a listening activity and tell the story OR
tell a story about shifts in your listening/facilitation
video from Suz's workshops about not repeating?
Week 4: Noticing and Wondering
read Chapter 4
lots of video clips to choose from! watch one from your grade level and notice and wonder about it for the rest of us
try a noticing and wondering activity and tell the story
Week 5: Representations
read Chapter 5
watch video of kids acting out and illustrating problems
try having your kids act out, paraphrase, or draw problems from your curriculum and share results OR
choose one of the videos and tell what you learned about students' understanding of the story from their representations
Week 6: Guessing
read Chapter 6
watch video of guessing routine
try a guessing activity and share the story OR
pick something from the companion website for Chapter 6 and teach us about how you might use it

Please email me with any questions.

Max Ray-Riek, Project Manager

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