David Wees's blog

1 minute summary: Why do we teach math?

Here is a one minute summary of a post I wrote about why we teach math.

I created this summary video as part of an application for TED@NYC. I think my odds of being accepted are improbably slim, but the opportunity cost is low.


What is good teaching?

What constitutes "good teaching" is not a well defined term. My evidence for this claim is that so many organizations appear to use very different exemplars of good teaching when sharing their work.

For example, this is considered good teaching by the Whole Brain Teaching institute.

Using Rich Math Tasks for Formative Assessment

This is the presentation proposal I submitted last Thursday to the NCTM conference committee. Would you attend this workshop?



Effective mathematics teaching is more than just teaching procedures; students must have opportunities to grapple with rich mathematics. In this workshop we will collaboratively investigate using rich math tasks to explore students’ use of the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice as part of formative assessment for learning.


Why I support Common Core Math

I'm not an expert on standards by any means, but I know that the standards in British Columbia (where I was trained to teach) were coherent and made sense. You could follow the threads through the years and understand why they had been designed that way. I know that the Common Core content standards in Math have the same level of coherence.

What is strategic inquiry?

tl;dr: Strategic inquiry is a lesson study structure.


One of my roles in my current job is to help facilitate team meetings for two schools. In these team meetings, our objective is to collaboratively study our individual impact on student learning, and work together to design instructional strategies for improving the learning outcomes of students.

Five minute formative assessment strategy

First, give an exit slip to your students based on a particularly important concept (PIC) for which you want to check for understanding.

Next, sort the exit slips into piles based on the method students chose to use (whether they used it perfectly or not). Choose two examples from the student work that highlight one or two probably misconceptions students still have on the chosen PIC.

Introducing people to social media using analogies

The objective of my presentation at NCTM in New Orleans was to introduce participants to social media, which was made difficult because participants did not have Internet access. As it turns out, this ended up forcing me into a couple of activities which were pivotal experiences for participants.

Here are my slides from my presentation.

Black and White

Everything in education these days is black and white, with no possible shades of grey.

Network Improvement Communities

I recently read an essay published by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching called "Getting Ideas into Action: Building Networked Improvement Communities in Education." The basic argument of the essay is that while traditional research can be effective for finding out what works in specific circumstances, it frequently is too far away from practice to be useful

Pause and rewind this until you get it

Watch this video. Every time you feel you are confused, just pause and rewind the video and rewatch it. Do this until the video makes sense.


Can't do it can you? It doesn't matter how much you pause and rewind a video, if it doesn't make any sense to you, watching it again isn't going to suddenly change the video so it makes sense.


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