Author Archives: David Wees

Why Instructional Routines?

In our project, we organized our work this past year around the use of instructional routines (née instructional activities) with teachers. Our curriculum work has been largely focused on instructional routines, our professional development activities have been focused on instructional routines, our school-based work in some cases has shifted to focus on supporting teams using instructional […]

Teaching Problems or Teaching Mathematics

  On the day before I first started teaching, the district coordinator came to me and handed me a piece of paper with twenty questions on it. “Here’s what you have to teach, David. If your students can answer all twenty of these questions by the end of the year, you will be fine.” Needless […]

Planning Lessons

When I first started planning lessons, each lesson took ages to plan. I don’t really remember exactly what I wrote except that usually the lessons were based on choosing example problems to go over, producing a worksheet for students to work on, and assigning homework questions. Eventually I finally had some textbooks for students and […]

What is Ambitious Teaching?

A recent analysis by David Blazar has stirred up some interest about Ambitious Teaching. But what exactly is Ambitious Teaching?   According to Elham Kazemi, Megan Franke, and Magdalene Lampert: “Ambitious teaching requires that teachers teach in response to what students do as they engage in problem solving performances, all while holding students accountable to […]

Participation in math class

Nothing you can do can guarantee that every child actively participates in your math class but there are some things you can do to increase the odds. In a typical classroom a teacher asks a question, a student responds, the teacher indicates whether the response is incorrect or correct, and this is repeated until the […]

Why is it important for students to talk to each other in math class?

Why should students talk to each other in math class anyway? I was asked this question recently and I’m trying to avoid a tautological answer (eg. it’s important because it’s important). In a classroom where students speak to each other about mathematics, the ideas of those students are valued instead of ignored or potentially marginalized. […]

Coherent conversations about teaching

Imagine four teachers each of whom teaches in different schools in a different context. Even if they all teach the same course, their individual teaching looks different. If these four people come to talk together, they will find it challenging to have a conversation since the way they are teaching is so different from each […]

Apps for the math classroom

Here is an incomplete list of companies making apps for the math classroom. As far as I know, every application made by these people is fantastic. The NY Hall of Science has recently published a series of science and math apps for the iPad. Motion Math has some great low-cost math apps. DragonBox has 4 […]

Working differently

This summer I’ve been doing a lot of task-based curriculum development on a series of fairly short activities. We are trying to develop resources for use with an instructional activity created by Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta called Contemplate then Calculate. A key part of this instructional activity is surfacing the kinds of things people […]

Four blog posts about using student ideas

I wrote four blog posts for NCTM’s Mathematics in the Middle School blog on using student work to understand and plan around student ideas. Each post is about using student work to make inferences about how they understand mathematical ideas and then using those inferences to help you plan. Note that these posts are actually […]