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NCTM Reflects on 2012 Regional Conferences

With more than 3,000 attendees at the NCTM Regional Conferences and Expositions in Dallas and Hartford and almost 5,000 in Chicago, this fall proved to be an exciting time in mathematics education. Thanks to everyone who joined NCTM in Dallas, Hartford, and Chicago for our 2012 Regional Conferences. 

Dallas, October 10–12  

dallas gojakTo kick off the first 2012 Regional Conference in Big D, NCTM President Linda Gojak visited Dale B. Davis Elementary School in Carrollton, Texas, where she led a number talk with students in Janna Holthofer’s third-grade class. Students also engaged in a lesson about measurement, which involved measuring the classroom and determining how far a third grader can jump.   

Keynote speaker Scott Flansburg presented the Opening Session at the Dallas Convention Center, astonishing attendees with his math skills—he currently holds the Guinness World Record for adding the same number to itself more times in 15 seconds than a person can do by using a calculator!  

The three-day conference was jam-packed with more than 200 sessions and workshops covering topics about pressing issues in math education, such as response to intervention, reasoning and sense making, and technology. Also on Friday, a highlight unique to this regional conference and a Texas tradition was Math-a-Rama. Teachers of students in kindergarten through grade 5 attended short sessions built around rich classroom activities that focused on operations and algebraic reasoning. 

Hartford, October 24–26  

hartford centerJust over a week after the Dallas Regional Conference came to a close, the Insurance Capital of the World was gearing up for a regional conference of its own. Linda Gojak shared in teaching a math lesson at Fred D. Wish Elementary School in Sherri Ziplow’s sixth-grade class. Students played the tax collector in a classroom activity and lesson about how taxes are computed. As part of the tax collector math game, students shared their fluency in using fractions, greatest common factors, and other math skills in an effort to outsmart the tax collector. 

Opening Session keynote speaker Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab and author of Infinite Reality, explored how virtual reality transforms curricula, assessment, and the very nature of teacher-student relationship. 

Hundreds of the latest education products were on display in the Exhibit Hall of the Connecticut Convention Center. The conference included sessions and workshops on various topics, covering all levels, pre-K–grade 12. A couple of interactive workshops offered tips for new and preservice teachers on how to manage classrooms, work with parents, and handle homework. 

The 25th annual Richard Balomenos Memorial Lecture—a highlight unique to this regional conference—honored one of New England’s most dedicated mathematics educators. Charlene Tate Nichols of the Connecticut State Department of Education examined Balomenos’s approach to mathematics education, which sparked attendees to think carefully about improving mathematics education.  

Chicago, November 28–30 

Just days after NCTM members spent time with family and friends over Thanksgiving, many made a visit to the Windy City for the final 2012 Regional Conference. 

Teaching math in context was among the strategies employed during Linda Gojak’s visit to Augustus H. Burley School on Chicago’s North Side. This classroom visit to Catherine Ditto’s sixth-grade class, along with the other two school visits, gave Gojak an important perspective to support of NCTM’s national dialogue with policymakers, administrators, and other constituencies committed to high-quality mathematics education.

Keynote speaker Sarah J. Greenwald, a professor of mathematics at Appalachian State University, explored the mathematical content and educational value of some favorite moments in the popular television shows The Simpsons and Futurama during the Opening Session. 

With the impressive turnout of attendees at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, many of the sessions and workshops were presented to jam-packed rooms. One of the many sessions where members were lined up to secure a seat was Gojak’s “Cutting to the Core with the Standards for Mathematical Practice,” in which she discussed rich mathematical tasks that encourage the development of the eight Standards for Mathematical Practice identified in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics.

The usefulness of social media was on display throughout all of the 2012 Regional Conferences. Some attendees relied on it to receive minute-by-minute conferences updates. Others used it as a way to connect with others and share their experience. Whether you were in attendance yourself, or following those in attendance, NCTM social media kept you informed and gave followers a sense of what was happening.

Be sure to visit the Dallas, Hartford, and Chicago Regional Conference pages for access to quick resources from each meeting, including available presentation handouts and program books. We hope that you had a great conference experience, and we look forward to seeing you next year at our 2013 Annual Meeting or one of our three 2013 Regional Conferences in the fall.

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