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In Your Own Words - Quotes from NCTM Annual Meeting 2011

 NCTM’s Annual Meeting 2011 brought thousands of math educators to Indianapolis where attendees met up with old colleagues, talked with exhibitors and presenters, and even made new friends. Conversations buzzed in every hall and corner of the convention center. Here are just a few comments NCTM gathered from attendees throughout the busy week:


About the Opening Session with Jeffrey Travis, director of the 3-D movie Flatland 

“I’m really excited. I want to take a field trip with my class to see the movie.” - Andrea Kowalchik, Wilmette, Illinois

“I’d like to read the book with my class as the first experience. Then we can watch the movie with our geometry unit. It’s a great way to hook on geometry.” - Jennifer Wood, Wilmette, Illinois

“[The opening session] was a great way to start the week especially since you don’t get to see 3-D films that often. My favorite part was listening to the actors from the movie.” - Megan Snow, Nova Scotia.

“It encourages me to have my students read more. I read Flatland long ago, but I haven’t read it since I became a math teacher. I should have my students read Flatland.” - Bradford Burkman, Natchitoches, Louisiana


About the New Member and First Timer's Orientation 

“I’m hoping to take back ideas on project-based learning because our school is switching to block scheduling. Also, I would like to learn anything that would be considered unconventional such as using movies and non-math books to teach. Our school system is introducing netbooks to the classroom and new technology-based ideas would really be helpful.” - Andrew Gatza, Indianapolis, Indiana

“I learned so much in college that I wish I would have learned sooner such as different ways to solve fractions and hands-on ways of understanding equations. As a new teacher, I want to introduce these new methods to my students because we don’t all learn the same— the more methods I have, the more students I can reach.” - Chelsey Price, Louisville, Kentucky

“I have spent the majority of my teaching career in science where hands-on experiments are readily available and allow students an exciting means for understanding most concepts. Now that I am teaching math, it is apparent that the manipulatives just aren’t as abundant.  I want to learn new ways of getting my students to trust their ability to solve problems without the calculator and instead rely on themselves or new techniques.” - Jeff Zigray, Kingwood, West Virginia

“As a kindergarten teacher, I want to learn ways to make an impact on my students early without overwhelming them. Sessions on new technologies and hands-on strategies would be good and I’m looking forward to attending one panel in particular, 'The Power of Five.'” - Jenniffer Valentin, Puerto Rico


About the New Teacher Strand 

“I’m near the end of my student teaching, I’m looking for better ways to motivate students and organize my time.”  Don Byrd, student-teacher at Crispus Attucks High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

“I’m looking for things I can implement in a diverse classroom, which I will be working in.” Tina Helding, student at Millikin University, Decatur, Illinois

“It was really helpful to talk to other teachers who have the same issues and struggles and see what practices they use to deal with them.” Kristen Zack, South Lyon, Michigan.

“I found the classroom management discussion helpful. I’m assuming a lot of new teachers struggle with that.”  Rachel Eschenbacher, Saginaw, Michigan.


About the Exhibit Hall 

“I’m looking for freebies that I can take away with me and implement immediately in the classroom.  I want new and unique ideas, especially ones that focus on students needing remediation.” - Karen Heffelmire. Anderson Community Schools, Tipton, Indiana

“I teach K-8 so I am always in search of new manipulatives and hands-on activities that will get students excited about learning math.” - William Pass, Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, Illinois

“I think they have a great selection of items, but I was hoping for more things that I could buy directly off the show floor and take back with me to use immediately for instruction.” - Linda Perkins, National Science Foundation, Avon, Indiana

“I am very impressed with the amount of new and innovative technology I’m seeing this year.  The amount of forethought that has gone into much of the hands-on tools, such as calculators, is really exciting.” - Steve Reid, Oklahoma City Public Schools, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

“I am looking for new and exciting technology-based programs for my fifth and sixth grade classes.  Also, effective computer learning tools that help with problem solving skills.” - Margaret Goldsmith, South Bend Community Schools, South Bend, Indiana

 “I have been searching for funny t-shirts— I saw one booth with a few but I can always use more.  They are such a fun way to promote education because they allow students to see math as something funny and useful instead of rigid and boring.” - Lynette Babin Rankin, Whycocomagh Education Center, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia


 About the Bookstore: What are you looking for? What items are you purchasing?

“Budget is huge for us right now so anything that addresses classroom assessment is important. I am also looking for books that focus on algebra instruction for lower grades because it seems like there is now more emphasis on that subject at an earlier age.”  Valeria Byrnes, Eastern Nevada Regional Professional Development, Elko, Nevada

“Marcia Tate, [a national educational consultant,] says to use humor and music as a teaching tool. I’m looking for ways to integrate those into my classroom. I’ve been teaching for 26 years and anything that helps to keep the curriculum fresh and new is helpful.”  Gwen Simmons, Sublette Middle School, Sublette, Kansas

“Anything that addresses common core state standards; our state has recently adopted the curriculum so books that focus on integrating those measures are really helpful.” Terri Faitel, Dearborn Public Schools, Dearborn, Michigan

“I’m not currently in the classroom with students but instead teaching training courses for math tutors so I am looking for best practices and resources that concentrate on how to be an effective instructor.”  Juliet Pearnan, Bermuda Math Educators Network, Bermuda

“Students get frustrated easily so I am looking for books that help make sense of algebra and ways that help them develop understanding of the subject sooner. The earlier they understand, the more fun learning the subject will be because it isn’t fun when it doesn’t make sense.”  Jacques Bouffard, St-Prosper Quebec, Canada

“I utilize a lot of hands-on equations so I’m looking for books that support or lean towards that teaching method; and of course core-competencies because that is a big issue right now.”  Deb Lanning, Stanton County Schools, Johnson, Kansas


 What session or speaker did you enjoy most? 

“I enjoyed Dancing the Dance: Special Educators as Dance Partners in Mathematics. The speaker was very engaging and gave co-teaching ideas that actually work. I liked the idea of being a facilitator of the classroom and allowing the students to grasp the concepts themselves instead of giving them the solutions.”  Glendora Franklin, Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.

Fortifying the First Five: Five-Minute, Period-Opening Activities was useful because they had some great ideas for how to grab students’ attention right away and they gave some good ideas that I can take back to my class immediately.”  Michael Padlo, Grosse Ile High School, Grosse Ile, Michigan

“I really enjoyed Experiencing Symmetry: Geometric Transformations in Art, Music, and Dance because of the speaker and the way he integrated mathematics into the arts.”  Heather Jones, Perry Hall High School, Baltimore, Maryland

“I have two that really made an impact: Making Mathematics Accessible: The Singapore Method and A Mathematical Journey through Contemporary Children’s Literature.  Both had great examples and resources.”  Beverly Collins, West Palm Beach Public School, West Palm Beach, Florida

Knowing the Vocabulary: A Key to Understanding in College Algebra was very useful and they had lots of data to back up their points. I also really enjoyed Math Lessons from Research because the presenter was very engaging and energetic which made the presentation fun.”  Scott Johanningmeier, Iowa City Public School, Iowa City, Iowa

“I try to use more project based learning in my classroom and the panel Make Math Count: Financial Literacy for a Technological World fit right into that method by providing great resources for me to take back to the classroom.”  Kevin Gill, Edgewood Junior High School, Bloomington, Indiana

Classroom-Level Assessment That Determines and Meets Individual Students’ Needs was my favorite. I like his take on differentiation and how he doesn’t rely on the same approach and methodology for classroom instruction every day. He makes on-the-fly decisions that work for each lesson.”  Michael Manor, Hiram Johnson High School, Davis, California

Using Financial Algebra to Drive Your Third- or Fourth-Year Math Course because we have students that aren’t college bound and we need fresh ways to integrate everyday math skills as well as pre-calculus topics.  The applications such as car loan calculations, stocks, and banking were all excellent examples of how to do this.”  Peggy Edwards-Jones, Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.

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