Teacher Scholarship

Previous Recipients

2023 - Michelle Brown, Great Falls

Thank you to MCTM for supporting me with a $400 teacher scholarship to help with my

travel expenses to the National COABE conference in Nashville, TN. Networking with

professionals on a national level is so inspiring and thought provoking. I encourage all MCTM

members to attend at least one national conference in their career and more if possible. I know

travel expenses add up, but in addition to the support MCTM can offer with this teacher

scholarship there are other opportunities for support out there as well.

COABE stands for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. The students I serve in my

current position start at age 16 with no upper limit on age. My responsibilities range from

helping to prepare students for their HiSET/GED exam to preparing them for math skills needed

in the workforce to teaching college courses as they transition from their high school diploma to

college. The world of Adult Education is very diverse and tailored to individual needs.

One of my favorite sectionals that I attended while at the conference was titled “Hidden

Teachers: Stories of Adult Basic Math & Numeracy Educators in the United States”. While I

grew up knowing that I wanted to be a math teacher, many math teachers found very different

pathways to their math teaching career. The stories of these teachers modeled many of the stories

our students go through. Math teachers often find their way to math education because of math

struggles and a strong desire to teach math to students who struggle as well. We learn so much

from our struggles.

I also had the opportunity to present at this conference with my teaching team. As part of

our HiSET prep courses, we follow what is called a Fast Track Block to success. In this teaching

model, we focus on the “greatest hits” of our Career and College Readiness standards to help

students be ready for their HiSET/GED exam in a timely manner. We were happy to share our

successful teaching model with others while also learning from their questions and input in

response to what we presented.

I can’t stress enough the importance of collaboration and learning from others outside of

your own district. Whether you are networking on a state or national level, encourage yourself to

step into those conversations that push your own thinking to meet the needs of more students.

Education is not a one size fits all model, that’s for sure. The world of adult education (that really

starts with our 16-year-old dropouts) has truly opened my eyes to new and different ways to

teach math and prepare students for numerous pathways to continued education and successful

careers. I am truly grateful to MCTM for helping me attend this conference!

2023 - Corinne Thatcher 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 - Quinn Huisman, Arlee

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.\