November 19, 2013
Turkey and Math: Both on the Menu for Thanksgiving!
Looking for something different for the short week before Thanksgiving break? From the mathematics behind “Native American Star Quilts” to “Turkey Bingo,” we've got something for every grade level! Spice up your lessons with these seasonally themed ideas for your classroom.
Louisville Regional Recap
Nearly 2,500 attendees gathered November 6–8 in Derby City for the 2013 Louisville Regional Conference and Exposition. To kick off the conference, NCTM President Linda Gojak observed and shared in teaching a math lesson at Engelhard Elementary and Noe Middle Schools in Jefferson County. Check out some of our favorite tweets during this three-day conference filled with more than 200 sessions and workshops. Thanks to everyone who joined us!
What Are Your Students Thinking?
Pose this month’s Solve It! task in Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School to your students, and then let us take a look at their work. For November, this rich task involves mixing lemonade and iced tea. The fractions and models that your students use might prove to be quite informative. Send your most interesting and surprising student work by December 15, and you could see your name and their work in the journal next fall. Read more.
Activities for Students
Do you have a mathematics activity filled with delight and enrichment? Are you part of an instructional team that can boast about a rich task? Do you have a colleague who mesmerizes students with a lesson? Then you should be writing for NCTM’s Mathematics Teacher! Learn more.
Math Scores Higher than Ever: 2013 NAEP Results
The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as the “Nation’s Report Card,” shows students in grades 4 and 8 making progress in mathematics and the highest math scores since the assessment began in 1990. There were increases of one point in both grades 4 and 8. Nineteen states had more students score at the “proficient” level or higher than the national average. Forty-two percent of students at grade 4 and 36 percent of students at grade 8 were in the “proficient” range. The new NAEP website includes interactive graphics and charts, downloadable data, and sample questions. Learn more about the results and explore today!
Stereotypes about Math That Hold Americans Back
Speed doesn’t matter, and there’s no such thing as a “math person.” Jo Boaler discusses how the Common Core’s approach to mathematics could correct these misperceptions. “The new Common Core curriculum gives more time for depth and exploration than the curricula it has replaced,” she says. The Atlantic
Do You Have a Great Idea for an App?
Student teams nationwide have a special incentive to come up with an idea for a mobile app in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. Eight winning teams will be chosen. Students will learn how to build their app, bring it to market, and retain the property rights themselves. Isn’t that an amazing opportunity for young entrepreneurs? It’s easy to get started: Gather your team. Dream up your idea. Design your app. Win big! Enter by December 17. Verizon Innovative App Challenge
Computer Science Education Week
The Hour of Code is almost here! NCTM is supporting this unprecedented movement to help 10 million students try computer science during Dec. 9–15, and we’re asking you to join us. This is an opportunity to help your students not just consume the technologies of tomorrow, but build them. Code.org will provide tutorials that work on any browser, tablet, or smartphone, or with no computer at all. No prep or experience needed. Check out the tutorials, and get started today!
PARCC Releases More Sample Items
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers has released new sample test items. With this release, PARCC has now made public exemplar test items across the grades in both mathematics and English language arts (ELA)/literacy. These sample items are designed to help teachers, students, and parents get a better sense of how PARCC will measure student learning. The new assessments are aligned with the Common Core State Standards.
New Practice Guide: Teaching Math to Young Children
Preschool and kindergarten teachers, don’t miss this newest practice guide, “Teaching Math to Young Children.” This practice guide from the What Works Clearinghouse provides five recommendations for teaching math to children in preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and solutions to common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence. This guide is geared to teachers, administrators, and other educators who want to build a strong foundation for later math learning.
Implement CCSS through Problem Solving, Grades 6–8
Connect the process of problem solving with the content of the Common Core. Mathematics educators have long worked to help students to develop problem-solving skills. More recently, they have sought to provide students with the knowledge in CCSS. Implementing the Common Core State Standards through Mathematical Problem Solving, Grades 6–8 is the third volume in a series from NCTM that equips classroom teachers with targeted, highly effective problems for achieving both goals at once. For every mathematics educator, the books in this series will illuminate a crucial link between problem solving and CCSS. Learn more.
Beginning Algebra: Teaching Key Concepts
How can all students learn the key concepts of beginning algebra? Through the study of algebra, students learn to think abstractly, apply various representations, communicate mathematically, and develop the habits of mind that they need to use mathematics and become lifelong learners. Read more about this in the special 2013 Focus Issue of Mathematics Teacher. Check out the free preview article or order your own copy.
2014 Annual Meeting & Exposition Online Conference Planner
The Online Conference Planner for the 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition is now available. Search the complete program for presentations by grade level, speaker, topic, or day to find everything you need to plan a rewarding conference experience. Take advantage of discounted rates—register early!
Philanthropy at a Glance
The Mathematics Education Trust (MET) depends solely on the philanthropy and dedication of donors for its grants, scholarships, and awards, which support prospective and current mathematics teachers, pre-K–grade 12, and teacher educators. This support is provided through grants and awards for courses, professional development, and projects. MET also recognizes the lifetime achievement of leaders in mathematics education. We extend many thanks to everyone who donated in this past fiscal year or throughout the years. Learn how you can support the improvement of mathematics education.
Four Weeks of Giving
NCTM is having its “4 Weeks of Giving” event again this holiday season! Each week, we will be offering discounts on membership, conference registration, and more. Keep your eyes open in the next week for the initial e-mail with the first of four great offers!
Education policy announcements usually come without glitz or don’t generate much interest in the general public, but recently actress Jennifer Garner joined Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Representative George Miller (D-Calif.), and Representative Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.) to tout the need for more and better early childhood education for the country’s youngest students. Read more in the Capitol Report.
Last week, the Center for American Progress presented a new report that emphasizes the need to expand the availability of exemplary educators to all students and concentrates on extending the reach of excellent teachers. It asserts the value of the teaching profession, advocating rewarding superb educators with higher pay, and refocusing formula grants to include higher eligibility standards and greater accountability requirements. Read more in the Legislative Update.
Albert Einstein Fellowship: Call for Peer Reviewers Extended
Triangle Coalition for STEM Education is seeking individuals to assist in the peer review of the 2014–15 candidate applications for the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program. The fellowship brings experienced and distinguished K–12 educators in STEM fields to serve an 11-month appointment in a federal agency or U.S. congressional office. Selected fellows bring their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to inform federal STEM education programs or STEM education policy. Apply by November 22. More info
Webinar: Effective Instruction in ELL Math
The U.S. Department of Education and Jobs for the Future will present a webinar, “Effective Instruction in ELL Math,” on November 21. Teachers will develop new ideas for increasing academic engagement for ELL students by applying sheltered instruction principles to secondary math classes. Topics will include vocabulary development, cooperative learning, hands-on activities, visuals, and the use of a variety of tools, including manipulative materials and technology. Register for the webinar; an archived recording will be available five days after the event.
National Science Foundation Seeking Program Director
The division of mathematical sciences of the National Science Foundation is seeking mathematical sciences professionals to fill program director positions. Applicants should have a Ph.D. or equivalent training in a field of the mathematical sciences, a broad knowledge of one of the relevant disciplinary areas of the division of mathematical sciences, a knowledge of the general scientific community, skill in written communication and preparation of technical reports, an ability to communicate orally, and at least six years of successful independent research normally expected for the academic rank of associate professor or higher. Learn more.
STEM Talent Expansion Program
The National Science Foundation’s STEM Talent Expansion Program (STEP) is no longer accepting proposals for the December 3 deadline. However, a broader funding opportunity supports projects that address immediate challenges and opportunities facing undergraduate STEM education, as well as those that anticipate new structures and functions of the undergraduate STEM learning and teaching enterprise. To accomplish the goals of the STEP project that you have in mind, submit proposals to the program description “Improving Undergraduate STEM Education,” available here.