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Teaching Math at a Distance, Grades K-12

Teaching Math at a Distance, Grades K-12
A Practical Guide to Rich Remote Instruction

January 2021 | 280 pages | Corwin
Make Rich Math Instruction Come to Life Online

In an age when distance learning has become part of the “new normal,” educators know that rich remote math teaching involves more than direct instruction, online videos, and endless practice problems on virtual worksheets.

Using both personal experience and those of teachers in real K-12 online classrooms, distance learning mathematics veteran Theresa Wills translates all we know about research-based, equitable, rigorous face-to-face mathematics instruction into an online venue.

This powerful guide equips math teachers to:

Build students’ agency, identity, and strong math communities
  • Promote mathematical thinking, collaboration, and discourse
  • Incorporate rich mathematics tasks and assign meaningful homework and practice
  • Facilitate engaging online math instruction using virtual manipulatives and other concrete learning tools
  • Recognize and address equity and inclusion challenges associated with distance learning
  • Assess mathematics learning from a distance
With examples across the grades, links to tutorials and templates, and space to reflect and plan, Teaching Math at a Distance offers the support, clarity, and inspiration needed to guide teachers through teaching math remotely without sacrificing deep learning and academic growth.

About the Author



Part I: Getting Ready
Chapter 1: Setting the Stage for the Virtual Math Classroom

Chapter 2: Setting Norms for the Virtual Math Classroom

Chapter 3: Incorporating Manipulatives in the Virtual Math Classroom

Chapter 4: Selecting Activities for the Virtual Math Classroom

Part II: Facilitating Instruction
Chapter 5: Strategies to Build Strong Math Communities

Chapter 6: Strategies to Promote Student Thinking

Chapter 7: Strategies to Facilitate Routines Online

Chapter 8: Facilitating Mathematical Discourse Online Through Rich Tasks

Chapter 9: Learning Stations

Part III: Consolidating and Assessing Learning
Chapter 10: Assessment

Chapter 11: Strategies for Effective Homework

Conclusion: Go and Make a Difference

References Cited


Theresa Wills offers so many practical ideas for distance learning along with clever tips from her many years of experience. The cornerstone of Theresa’s work is creating space for student voice and student choice, and this book is a gold mine of ideas and strategies. Theresa’s work has profoundly influenced my teaching practices in so many ways that make learning more enjoyable for teachers and students.”

Molly Rawding, Mathematics Coach/Specialist
Lexington Public Schools

If you feel hopeless and helpless about teaching mathematics online, stop now and read this book. Theresa Wills shares the benefits that come from online teaching and coaches you through the challenging parts. Learn to transfer what is best about your classroom environment into the online world and get to know your students and their learning even more than ever.

Kimberly Morrow-Leong, Mathematics Education Specialist
George Mason University

As much of the country has been thrust into online learning with little preparation or professional development, Teaching Math at a Distance is just what our educators need. Dr. Theresa Wills’s wealth of experience and anecdotes provide an easy-to-read road map for distance learning. Even though I have been teaching for 18 years, I have discovered so many techniques in this book that I am excited to try within my new virtual classes.”

Melanie Dash, Mathematics Teacher
Hayfield Secondary School

This book is a must-have! It provides wonderful ideas of how to teach math in a virtual setting and is practical and applicable to a wide range of grades. Many of the ideas can be utilized in face-to-face settings as well to help engage each and every student through the use of technology.

Kevin Dykema, Eighth-Grade Mathematics Teacher
Mattawan Middle School

As a mathematics educator doing distance learning, I am continually searching for the best practices and tools for teaching and learning in this setting . . . and there are always too many tabs open. It’s time to close the tabs and open Dr. Theresa Wills’s book. Full of practical strategies and written with a ‘can-do’ attitude about engaging students remotely in rich mathematics instruction, this is a must-read for any math teacher who seeks to promote student agency, to make thinking visible, and to continue to reach all learners even at a distance.

Beth Terry, Mathematics Coach
Riffa Views International School

What a remarkable resource! It provides guidance on everything from how to be more effective and efficient at setting norms and managing the logistics of using microphones and video, to much more complex concerns around student access, agency, and equity! It’s beautiful to see through Theresa Wills’s work that all of the characteristics of quality math instruction can live in the virtual math classroom.

Jennifer Lempp
Author of Math Workshop: Five Steps to Implementing Guided Math, Learning Stations, Reflection, and More

Theresa Wills provides clear, concrete, research-based practices that will help any teacher engage students in distance learning settings! This book provides easy-to-use practices and frameworks that keep the focus on mathematical sense-making and rich problem solving. Whether you are new with distance learning or an experienced veteran, Teaching Math at a Distance will expand your math distance teaching vocabulary in productive ways!

Michael D. Steele, Professor, Mathematics Education
University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

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ISBN: 9781071837139