Montana Council of Teachers

of Mathematics

2023 Teacher Scholarship 

Ms. Corinne Day, Plenty Coups

Thank you to MCTM for the Teacher Scholarship to help me attend NCTM’s 2024 Regional Conference in Seattle, WA! One of my favorite sessions was by a team of teachers who integrated baseball analytics into their classrooms. I attended the session because I wanted to glean ideas for incorporating basketball analytics into my classes. Last year I had a March Madness challenge that my students liked enough to request I do it again this year, but I didn’t want to do the exact same mathematics again (which mostly emphasized reviewing and applying percentages and probabilities). From the presentation, I got the idea to use basketball statistics to develop and study box plots and histograms along with other graphical representations of data. 

I also enjoyed two sessions by Brad Fulton from Teacher to Teacher Press (tttpress.com). He demonstrated a myriad of ways to utilize a hundreds chart to develop algebraic reasoning in students from upper elementary through high school. The number of activities and challenges he has developed from a hundreds chart blew my mind. Many of the approaches were designed specifically with reluctant and lower-performing students in mind and are disguised as games so that students are motivated to want to learn the algebraic shortcuts. He also showed how a multiplication chart can be used to simplify fractions and find missing values in proportional ratios. Check out his website for videos and resources you can utilize in your classroom. I plan to utilize several of his hundreds chart activities as soon as I return!

Another tidbit for those of you who are NCTM members is from my own presentation called “Math in Action: Using an NCTM Career-Oriented Toolkit in Your Classroom.” A group of four teachers from Billings Public Schools and I, along with the IT guru and a number of pre-service teachers from MSU-Billings, developed the toolkit to answer the question, “When will I ever use this?” The toolkit consists of 10 sets of career-oriented 3-Act Tasks, each of which builds off a video interview with a professional discussing the ways in which they use math in their careers. The lessons are for grades 2-6, but the video interviews mention math that is applicable all the way up to Algebra II (especially the military operations specialist video – check it out!). To find them, go to NCTM.org, click on the “Classroom Resources” drop-down menu, then select “Designing Innovative Lessons and Activities.” The lessons are organized by career and the videos are embedded in the lessons, so if you just want the videos and not the lessons, you’ll have to open one of the associated lessons to get to the video link.

2023 Teacher Scholarship 

Mr. Quinn Huisman, Arlee High School

WOW! I had a fantastic time at the Seattle Regional Math conference. 

 

Although most sessions felt like sales pitches from upstart companies created by former teachers, it was still amazing to learn on a grand scale what other schools, especially high school districts, are doing in math education. 

 

My favorite session was "Increase Student Agency by Healing Math Trauma" (pictured below) by a high school teacher out of California and strategies on how to deal with it. You can't fix math trauma without first addressing it. Once you have addressed it, you basically need the student to laugh at how silly it was. For example, if their third grade teacher told them they would never be good at math because they had a bad day in class, make them realize that they are literally in a math class doing higher level math. It takes much more time than it might seem, but the main idea is to make it a commonly used term and try to get kids to talk openly about it. Very fascinating lecture! 

 

I also attended a session on "Leveraging Technology to Unleash the Potential of Peer Tutoring in Math Education". It is based on this program created by a middle school math teacher turned Stanford educational professor, Soren Rosier. His company is called PeerTeach. Basically, this program is like a video game for students and what it does is test students at the beginning of each week on a skill. It records the data and then uses that info to assign students a partner for the week. What the students don't know off the bat is that it's pairing students who excelled at that topic with students who struggled. Professor Soren stated that kids will pick up on who is typically better at math than the others, but if the struggling students do well a couple times and get to teach other students, that feeling of satisfaction is enough to keep them going. Very interesting program! 

 

My final favorite lecture was "Student-Created Videos: Using Technology to Increase Student Ownership and Validate Student Voice" from a middle school math teacher out of Bend, Oregon. He and his partner were showing this idea of "Student Created Videos" which was a brainchild of theirs back in the Covid Days. Since our students are mostly on tik tok, snapchat and instagram watching short videos, they decided to not reinvent the wheel, but just make it work for math. So for assessments, their students get to pick from a bank of problems from that week's standard or concept, and then using these nifty 3-sided-stand-things with a hole cut out for their phone to record, they record themselves on a white board solving this problem that they chose and then submit it. The teacher found that since this video was going to be seen by other people, the students practiced really hard so they wouldn't screw up, and in turn, had more motivation to learn the math than if they were just taking another test that only the teacher ever sees. I think they are turning it into a company but now when I try to find it on the internet I am not having any luck. 

 

I think every math teacher, new or tenured, should check out a NCTM conference at some point in their career, the sooner the better. I still look forward to our MCTM conference because it is so personal and we learn from other Montana teachers who deal with the same problems we do. But the NCTM conference really opens your eyes to their fullest extent when it comes to the possibilities of the world of mathematics and education. 

 

If this is too much information, just let me know what you want it narrowed down to and I will make it happen! 

 

Thank you again so much for this amazing opportunity, I don't know if I would have been able to go if I didn't have in mind the scholarships financial help.

MCTM Newsletter - January 2024