Great teaching is more than putting good tasks in front of students because a good task enacted with terrible pedagogy is still terrible teaching. While I think hardly any teachers are terrible, every teacher can be better than they are.
I see a lot of sharing of tasks, games, and activities via Twitter and blogs, but I see much less sharing of pedagogical strategies teachers would use with those tasks, games, and activities, which means a lot of people are losing potential opportunities to learn about pedagogy.
Often people share routines like Which One Doesn’t Belong or Connecting Representations which on the surface look like pedagogical strategies, but while the names themselves are somewhat descriptive, they aren’t sufficient to understand the routines they describe.
That’s part of the reason we created videos of the two main instructional routines embedded in our curriculum, Contemplate then Calculate and Connecting Representations.
Here is a (compressed) video of Kit Golan enacting Connecting Representations with his 6th grade students.
We also created slides, a pre-planner, a lesson plan, and a description of the routine to go along with these videos.
A new project we are working on is to share the instructional components that make up the routines. Here is a video showing different talk moves that can be used by teachers, either within the routines or whenever they are needed.
Here is another video showing Kit that focuses on the annotation he did while another student restated the strategy of another student, showing that these different instructional strategies can be used together and towards specific instructional goals.
It is important that explanations in the math classroom are clear and complete so that all students can follow the mathematical arguments presented. Here is one of our teachers describing how she supported students in creating clear mathematical arguments for each other to follow.
Are videos like these helpful? Would more videos sharing some of these strategies be helpful (if so, which)? And can we share more math pedagogy with each other?
Susan Jones says:
I really appreciate seeing it all *in action* with students and commentary, and ponder the challenge of sharing our knowledge more deeply (as opposed to “here’s a cool lesson plan!” which also has value and which I actually have time to do sometimes…)
December 10, 2018 — 2:49 pm
David Wees says:
Yeah, making videos like this is non-trivial, but my guess is that narrative descriptions would also be useful. Eg. “Today, I had this [teaching dilemma] and here is how I solved it. What might you have done?”
December 10, 2018 — 7:00 pm
Kug Math says:
Yes! Super helpful and I’d love to see more (carefully curated and condensed) video of real teachers and real teaching in action.
December 10, 2018 — 6:23 pm
David Wees says:
Thank you! One of my projects this year is to do exactly that. We have a lot of footage we collected last year and published here. This year I am looking at this footage and finding other ways to splice it together to showcase some of the different instructional strategies embedded within the instructional routines we filmed.
December 10, 2018 — 6:49 pm
Love this and will try this! Would love to see how a lower elementary teacher does this! It’s very hard to simplify the language but not the concept; the students don’t have the vocabulary to accurately express their thinking and they need to be independent (to transfer) as well!
Thank you for posting this.
December 12, 2018 — 10:22 am
David Wees says:
We have video of a 5th grade classroom using Connecting Representations. The task is different but other than that the routine is essentially the same. I’ve used the routine with children in 2nd grade before without too much challenge. Some of the instructions are a bit different but mostly I ran the routine as is.
December 12, 2018 — 2:31 pm