David Wees's blog

Strategies for Subtracting Numbers

A few days ago, my wife told my son that he should do some mathematics from a 2nd grade workbook we had, and told him he could choose what he worked on. My son opened up the book to near the end of the workbook and decided to try some 2 digit subtraction exercises.

Here is an example of his work.

Subtraction attempt

 

Teachers are made, not born

Teaching is a learned activity. As such, the act of teaching requires that the teacher have a mental model of what it means to teach. When teachers teach in ways which appear to an outside observer to be ineffective or poorly thought-out, it is because they are using a flawed model for understanding teaching and learning. Blaming teachers for having flawed models is like blaming students for not knowing things; it doesn't solve the problem, it may even exacerbate it.

Mathematics education research from 2013

The following are studies which were all featured in the media in 2013. I am posting them here in the hope that they will be read more widely than they are, and that educators will examine the research themselves, and think about how this may affect their current practice.

Fake World Versus Real World

Like many math teachers, I have been following Dan Meyer's discussion on "fake world" math tasks versus "real world" math tasks with interest, especially since one of my early blog posts was on this subject and one of the presentations I do for teachers is on this very topic.

[Global Math] Recording of my presentation on Teacher and Student questions

I just noticed that I can embed recordings of presentations from Big Marker, so I decided to embed my presentation for the Global Math department here. The presentation topic was "Teacher and Student Questions." You can view the slides here.

 

My son, the math teacher

My son went to a full day session to meet up with some other children around his age who are being homeschooled. During this time he had a class on engineering with Lego, and a lot of free time with which to play and socialize with the other children.

Interestingly enough, the kids decide to play the Game of School. They found a chalkboard and took turns pretending to be the teacher and explaining things to the other students. My son decided to be the math teacher, and according to him, this is what he tried to explain.

Workshop on Social Media for Students

I recently facilitated a workshop on social media for a school. I created two short videos to act as discussion starters, and then I created a workshop structure around the video clips that the school could use to facilitate the discussion with their students.

Outline of a workshop for students on social media:

Learning about shape

Picture of my son placing a shape through a hole

 

As I watched my son over the past few days learn about shape, I am struck by not only how much we need to learn to make sense of the world, but also by how even simple things cannot be taken granted as known by children.

A conversation with my son on place value

This is an excerpt from a conversation I had with my son while we were walking from the subway to the theatre.

Teaching proof

I'm currently working on creating a sample sequence of lessons for teachers to use for a geometry unit. At this stage, students will have been exposed to (but will not necessarily have learned all of) geometric transformations, constructions, and some review on geometric vocabulary.

My objective is to create a sequence of lessons which include:

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