Building Thinking Classrooms Conference Speakers

Meet the BTC Team Presenters

Peter Liljedahl

Peter Liljedahl

Dr. Peter Liljedahl is the author of Building Thinking Classrooms, a Professor of Mathematics Education in the Faculty of Education, and an associate member in the Department of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada.

Dr. Liljedahl is a former high school mathematics teacher who has kept his research interest and activities close to the classroom. His research interests are creativity, insight, and discovery in mathematics teaching and learning; the role of the affective domain on the teaching and learning of mathematics; the professional growth of mathematics teachers; mathematical problem solving; numeracy; and engaging student thinking. He consults regularly with schools, school districts, and ministries of education on issues of teaching and learning, assessment, and numeracy.

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Dr. April Strom

Dr. April Strom is a mathematics professor at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, one of 10 colleges within the Maricopa Community College District in Arizona where she has taught for 25 years. Strom has served as a member of the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction through the National Academies of Sciences, MAA Vice President, AMATYC Southwest Vice President, and ArizMATYC President. Strom currently serves as PI for the NSF-funded Teaching for Prowess project and she has served as PI and Co-PI on various NSF-funded projects focused on both research in mathematics education and professional development of K-14 instructors. Strom currently leads professional development workshops and classroom coaching for middle and high school teachers through the Arizona Mathematics Partnership. Strom co-lead the writing of the Classroom Practices chapter of the MAA Instructional Practices Guide and served on the steering committee for the AMATYC IMPACT guide. Strom received her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction (emphasis in Mathematics Education) from Arizona State University, and holds an M.A. and B.A. degree in Mathematics from Texas Tech University.

Chase Orton

Chase Orton’s unique career path has been guided by his passion for creating productive and inspired math classrooms that are engaging and fulfilling for both students and their teachers. He is the author of The Imperfect and Unfinished Math Teacher: A Journey to Reclaim Our Professional Growth (Corwin, 2022).

After graduating from Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, Chase embarked on a 12-year journey as a math teacher at three different schools: The Forman School in Litchfield, Connecticut; The Eagle Rock School and Professional Development Center in Estes Park, Colorado; and Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, California. In 2012, Chase founded Mobius Educational Consulting and ventured out as an independent collaborator with different nonprofits and school districts in California. He’s worked as an instructional coach for Los Angeles Education Partnership and the Partnership for Los Angeles Schools. He partnered with the Center for Mathematics and Teaching as lead author of MathLinks, a comprehensive middle school math curriculum. He is a Desmos Fellow and a Certified Facilitator for Illustrative Mathematics.

As an accomplished facilitator of lesson study for K–12 math teachers, Chase currently invests his professional time partnering with districts that are interested in taking a teacher-centered, teacher-directed approach to professional development, including those working to Build Thinking Classrooms.

Kimberly Rimbey

Kimberly Rimbey is a lifelong teacher and learner. Her heart’s work centers on equipping teachers and helping them fall in love with teaching and learning over and over again. Kim’s interests include high-quality professional learning models including Building Thinking Classrooms, building conceptual understanding through multiple representations and meaningful discourse, and building pedagogical content knowledge that goes beyond the theoretical and into the classroom. Always a teacher at heart, Kim has served in many teaching and leadership capacities within school districts, organizations, and the private sector.

Everything Kim has done in her career is based on what she learned during her 18 years as a mathematics coach and elementary classroom teacher. Having started her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher, she frequently says that everything she needed to know about teaching, she learned in kindergarten. Kim is National Board Certified in Early Adolescent Mathematics, and she is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching. She is the co-inventor of KP® Ten-Frame Tiles and has authored and co-authored several publications, including Meaningful Small Groups in Math, Grades K-5 (Corwin 2022), the Mastering Math Manipulatives series (Corwin 2021), The Amazing Ten Frame Series (KP Mathematics), and Math Power: Simple Solutions for Mastering Math (Rodel Foundation of Arizona, 2014). Kim earned her BA in Elementary Education and Mathematics from Grand Canyon University, her Med degrees in Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership from Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University, and her PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from Arizona State University. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona.

Jared Sliger

Jared Sliger is a 32-year veteran educator with an emphasis in middle school mathematics. He has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwest Nazarene University, and also coached collegiate volleyball for 12 years. Jared has spent the last several years teaching his own students using the Building Thinking Classrooms approach, witnessing the power of the fourteen practices in his own classroom and working to perfect his implementation. He has seen first-hand the impact of getting students out of their seats, working collaboratively at whiteboards, increasing knowledge mobility and student responsibility, and watching engagement and thinking skyrocket among his students. He is excited to share the Building Thinking Classrooms model with more teachers to help them transform their classrooms into thinking ones.

Workshops and Grassroots Sessions

Workshop Sessions

These sessions are designed to model a “Thinking Classrooms” classroom where participants will be able to immerse themselves in the same kind of learning in which we want our students to engage. Ninety minute workshops will include an introduction, a sample lesson, and a reflective debrief. Participants will play the role of a student during the lesson and the role of a teacher during the debrief.

Grassroots Sessions

These sessions are designed for presenters to share how they are implementing Building Thinking Classrooms in their classrooms and schools. Presenters will focus on one of the 14 practices, a specific toolkit, a content area outside of mathematics, instructional leadership supporting implementation, or communication with families. In these sessions, presenters will share their successes and struggles, and will provide meaningful implementation ideas to participants. These sessions will include at least 5 minutes for questions and answers.

Meet the Workshop and Grassroots Presenters

90-Minute Workshop Session

45-Minute Grassroots Session

Amanda Huffman Hayes

Handing Over the Control: Building Students’ Independence in Thinking

Amanda Ramey

How to get started BTC style

Amy Chang

Street Data from Implementing Building Thinking Classrooms in Middle School

Amy Knerr

Thinking Classrooms as an Integral Part of a Community of Learners

Amy Linkel

Amy Marsh

On Your Feet, Out of Your Seat Math For The Co-Taught Classroom

Amy Nguyen

Supporting Implementation of Building Thinking Classrooms as a Math Coach

Andrew Grismore

My Implementation Story and Hopefully Some Tips to Make Your Implementation Go Smoother

Anna Blinstein

Implementing Building Thinking Classrooms with Students with Learning Differences

Ashley Hinch

Standing Room Only: Coaching Teachers Through BTC Implementation

Beth Blissett

So, I’ve Read the Book, Now What? Tools, Tips, & Tasks to Make a Thinking Classroom Work in Your Room

Bev Sharritt

PATINS Project: a Resource for Assistive Technology in your Thinking Classroom

Brendan Scribner

5 Practices in a Thinking Classroom

Chelsea Rachiele

Tackling Curricular Content and Differentiation within a Building Thinking Classroom

Crystal Frommert

Who is doing the thinking?

Dan Shuster

Building a Thinking Classroom Culture in Schools and Districts

David Martin

Using Building Thinking Classroom Strategies for Linear Relationships & Systems of Equations

David Meyer

Integrating 3 Act Math into Thinking Classrooms : Unlocking the Power of Storytelling

Denise Van Dalen

Creating Curricular Tasks That Work for Your Students

Diann Christensen

A Guide at My Side: Coaching Teachers New to Building Thinking Classrooms

Eleanor Pusey

Middle School to Calculus: A BTC Town Hall

Elizabeth Gentil

Be The Change! My First Year With BTC and How It Changed Everything!

Ella Hereth

Building Thinking Classrooms in Action

Emily Bricker

Making Random Groups Work

Transitioning to Vertical Non-Permanent Workspaces

Eric Jenkins


Eric Strolberg

Effective Assessment in a BTC classroom.

Erica Bayley

The ups and downs of applying ‘Building Thinking Classrooms’ in a grade 12 math class.

How Building Thinking Classrooms can increase Equity

Erin McNeill

The Science of Reading Comprehension in Thinking Classrooms

Evan Roberts

Reflect and Connect: Being a student in a high school thinking classroom

Garret Schneider

The hows of Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces and Visibly Random Groups

Gerry Lewis

Inquiry-Based Mathematical Modeling using Building Thinking Classroom Principles

Gina Cherkowski

Leveraging the Thinking Classroom to Promote Inclusion and Belonging in the Classroom

What does “belonging” have to do with it?: Implementing “belonging” in a thinking classroom.

Heather Jenkins

How to Use Building Thinking Classrooms in an Elementary Setting

Jelena Byers

Creating Building Thinking Classrooms with 3-Act Math Tasks

Jennifer Blasdel

From Obstacles to Opportunity: Building Thinking Classrooms in English Language Arts Classrooms

Jennifer Massey

Where Should I Start?

Jody Vanderloo

Using a Model Classroom Structure to Build Capacity for Builidng Thinking Classrooms

John Brown

Mathematical Musings at the Museum: Using Art to Launch a Visual Pattern Task

Joshua Goodwin

Hidden Pattern Blocks for Visuospatial Reasoning

Julie Frizzell

Building and Supporting Thinking Classrooms

You CAN Build a Thinking Classroom

Julie Pottinger

Maximizing Success for Students with Learning Disabilities in a Building Thinking Classroom

Justin Brennan

Beyond Tasks, Random Groups, and Whiteboards

Kaycee Baransky

They Can’t to They Can! Supporting At-Risk Students in a Building Thinking Classroom.

Kellie Strader

All Students Should Love Math! Create Engagement Through Thinking, Talking, and Collaborating

Laura Weiss

Let’s Do Math: Giving access to grade level standards for emergent multilinguals and neurodivergent students

Lauren Sawyer

Rich Task Experience: “Lights on, Lights Off”

Leinaʻala Hall

BTC Implementation in Hawaiʻi – PRIME time! (BTC Practices not Standards)

Lisa Arnholt

Closing the Learning Gap: Promoting Equitable Teaching Practices through the Thinking Classroom

Lisa Nuguid

Hidden LEGOS

Londa Cross

Thin-Slice Your Own Journey of Success through Building Thinking Classrooms

Mary Auger

Don’t Nix It, Just Fix It! Using Your Curriculum to Create Thinking Tasks for Math Class

Melissa Bardack

Implementing Strategies for Success in a Virtual Learning Environment

Meredith Kalbfleisch

This is not your average math classroom

Michelle Vogel

Building Community and Thinking in a Thinking Classroom

Michelle Wood

Notes to My Future Forgetful Self – Setting the Stage for Independent Note-Taking

Beg, Borrow, But Do NOT Steal – Fostering Knowledge Mobility in a Thinking Classroom

Nicole Medina

Finding and Creating Thinking Tasks (K-2)

Patrick Eggleton

Getting Started … Outcomes from a Novice to “Thinking Classrooms” and his Students

Rachel Miller

Move from an instructor of your curriculum to a conductor of your classroom through standards-based thin-sliced activities.

Redawna Warner

Unmasking the Student Experience

Robin Kubasiak

Using Building Thinking Classrooms Model to Promote Thinking in an Algebra 2 Classroom

Robyn Tedesco

A Coach’s Experience Building a Thinking Classroom Lab in an Elementary School

Ryan Bowman

Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: An Experienced Teacher’s First Year with a Thinking Classroom

Ryan Flessner

Make it make sense: Using thin slicing to help educators explore meaningful mathematics

Samantha McGlennen

8th Grade Math 2.0

Sharon Rendon

Reframing a textbook lesson using Building Thinking Classroom Strategies

Sharon Soule

The Art of Thin Slicing–getting students from point A to point B

Sheila Akinleye

Making SEL Visible in the Thinking Classroom

Sophie Bresciani

Building Thinking Classrooms for Neurodivergent Learners

Stephanie Castaneda

Hide and Seek: Find the Thinking Classroom Strategies Integrated into the Tasks

Stephanie Olson

Norms in a Building Thinking Classroom

Stephanie Wicke

Starting the Year Strong in Your Middle/High School Thinking Classroom

Stephen Bodiya

How to thin-slice!! … and other curricular tasks.

Tammy McMorrow

Elementary Thin Slicing : It’s Not Just For the Big Kids

Thomas Leisten

Cruising Through Precalculus: A Project Based Approach to Teaching Modeling and Vocabulary

Tina Johnston

For the Love of Math

Tracy Zalud

Be the Change You Want to See in Math Education: Using Building Thinking Classrooms in Elementary Math Methods Courses for Pre-Service Teachers

Victoria Holt

Using Thinking Tasks in the Classroom to Foster Student Engagement

Team Focused Assessments

Wendy Perlstein

Reaching you Thinking LImits: BTC Beyond Algebra