Wow it was a great few days in Boston for NCTM 2015. I was thankful for a great crowd for our 8 a.m. presentation and hope all the participants went home with some great strategies for reaching their struggling learners. I was able to meet some AMAZING and INSPIRING teachers that I have tweeted and blogged with over the last year. Mainly I came home excited to get back with my students and implement some of the great ideas and strategies that I heard. Here are my final thoughts on the sessions I was able to attend this year:
The Math Practices Have to Be Our Foundation
I have written posts before about how I ignorantly blew off the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practices when we first implemented the Common Core. In my mind I thought they were secondary to the standards. Throughout the last 4 years it has become very apparent that the opposite is in fact true. If you start with the Math Practices as your foundation the standards will come naturally. That seemed to be the theme of lots of presentations this year from Dan Meyer to Steve Leinwand everyone was focused on how teachers could be more intentional and deliberate about making the practices the focus of their classrooms. As teachers if we are going to truly help our students become mathematicians we must bring the 8 Practices to the forefront of every class. Although I feel like I have come a long way in implementing the practices I think this year’s NCTM made it even more clear that I have to do an even better job making them the focus of my classroom.
The #MTBoS is the Place to Be
I thought it was AMAZING that the #MTBoS had it’s own booth this year at NCTM. A huge thank you and shout out to Justin Lanier and Tina Cardone for all the amazing work they did to organize it. I had so much fun manning the booth for a while on Thursday and got to talk to so many fun people who stopped by. Last year when I went to NCTM Nola I had no idea about blogging and was a Twitter minimalist. It is crazy how much that has changed in the last year. I was intimidated when I first got started by al the big names and long time participants but I am so glad I braved it out and found my place. It was so evident this year at NCTM the reach that this group of people has had. It is hands down the best PLC, professional development and support group I have ever been apart of. I hope their reach continues to grow after this year’s conference. It is an honor to be a part of such a fabulous group of teachers.
Jo Boaler Rocks
I was so excited to see Jo Boaler on the program for this year. She has been the biggest difference maker in my class this year with her How to Learn Math for Students course. Jo was as inspirational as I thought she would be. In my opinion her research is a game changer in math education. The most exciting news I thought she delivered was that How to Learn Math for Students would have Spanish subtitles available before the 2015 school year…how amazing is that for my ELL students?!
Mathalicious is the Greatest Teaching Resource of My Time
I realize the above title is just a matter of opinion but I truly have never had a resource quite as good as Mathalicious. I loved Karim’s presentation this year which focused on the topic of “Why Math?”. He made the point that when kids whine about homework and math class the question they are really asking is “why math?”. I loved the points he made about checking to see if your lesson was about content or application and it made me reflect upon what my class is about each day. His recommendation was to ask yourself every day what class was really about. If the answer was math then that wasn’t an application lesson. I don’t know how that Mathalicious crew has cranked out lessons as quickly as they have this spring but it is loaded down with amazing new lessons and NCTM was just one more reminder of how lucky we are that they have taken their application idea and run with it.
Steve Leinwand Drops the Mic
Per usual Steve Leinwand killed it. He always gives the most hilarious and thought provoking presentations to me. His focus like many others was on the math practices and the need for us to help kids become mathematicians. I think I tweeted every other word out of his mouth but what most stuck out to me was his declaration that every class needed a “convince me, show me, explain, why, and how do you know” mantra. Isn’t that what the math practices and us at teachers are trying to get at?
I tried to tweet my most favorite blurbs of the week mainly for myself but in case you don’t follow me on Twitter these are the tweets I thought that were most note worthy.
“Rigorous math is equal time on procedures, concepts, and applications” Karim Kai Ani
“I do, we do, you do is not modeling” Dan Meyer
“If the text book says it is modeling it probably isn’t” Dan Meyer
“Kids have instant access to math facts. Doesn’t that mean we need to change the way we teach?” Steve Leinwand