Abstract: Allowing space for productive struggle is a way to engage learners in problem solving and build perseverance (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2014). In this session we will explore the teacher’s role in developing student agency. Participants will see how stepping back, creating contextual lessons with multiple entry points, and strategic questioning can build student agency and move learners to productive struggle. With increased agency, learners are able to develop robust problem solving sets. They build communication skills to construct viable arguments and, in articulating their developing understanding, learners have an opportunity to use both domain specific vocabulary and the academic vocabulary needed to skillfully negotiate their way through a process.