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Summing Up: February 18, 2014

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February 18, 2014


journalblogsNEW: Blogs Come to NCTM Journals

NCTM is excited to announce the launch of blogs for each of our school journals: Teaching Children Mathematics, Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School, and Mathematics Teacher. Each blog focuses on a particular theme and will feature guest bloggers from within mathematics education. Discover new ideas for the classroom, explore ways to address the Common Core, and learn how math educators are connecting with other teachers. Let's strengthen our community—enter the NCTM blogosphere now!

election2014 Board of Directors Election
Do you know someone who would bring valuable experience, perspective, and judgment to the NCTM Board of Directors? Consider nominating him or her for the 2014 Board of Directors Election. Each year, NCTM’s Board makes important decisions that set the direction for the Council and mathematics education. Learn more about the qualifications and responsibilities of NCTM directors and school incentives for Board service. Submit a nomination form by March 1.

Order of Operations with Polish Notation
Students sometimes have difficulty using the order of operations when evaluating expressions. In a new Illuminations lesson, students gain a better understanding of the order of operations by converting expressions into binary expression trees before evaluating them. They also learn to represent algebraic expressions by using prefix notation, which is often called “Polish Notation,” because of the nationality of its inventor, Polish logician Jan Łukasiewicz.

elogoweekEngineering: Let’s Make a Difference
February 16–22 is Engineers Week. Engineering is a collaborative, creative process that makes a difference in all of our lives—from advances in life-saving medicines to more productive crop yields to clean drinking water. Engineering is in the spotlight right now, and math teachers need to know how to incorporate it into their STEM curriculum, what resources really work, and where to get online professional development. Check out this resource collection.

Teaching the Sochi Olympics
The 2014 Olympics have six days left! Take advantage of this learning opportunity with a clever collection of math-, science-, and health-related teaching ideas about the 2014 Winter Games from The New York Times.

Free Math Awareness Month Poster
April is Mathematics Awareness Month and the theme for the April 2014 celebration is “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery.” Order a free copy of the official poster, available while supplies last. Then, throughout April, look for 30 days of magical, mysterious, mathematical phenomena, conveyed through video, articles, and other materials.

Teaching Math to Young Children

The practice guide Teaching Math to Young Children provides five recommendations for teaching math to children in preschool, prekindergarten, and kindergarten. Each recommendation includes implementation steps and routes through common roadblocks. The recommendations also summarize and rate supporting evidence.

Spotlight Examines Common Core Assessment

The Common Core State Standards have challenged test-makers and educators to craft assessments that measure the depth of knowledge expected by the new standards. This Education Week spotlight on Common Core assessment examines early results, previews test items, and explores challenges still ahead for math and reading assessments.

Science and Engineering Indicators 2014
The National Science Foundation has released its biennial report Science and Engineering Indicators. Chapter 1 of the free report, “Elementary and Secondary Mathematics and Science Education,” focuses on student learning, student course taking, and teachers of mathematics and science; instructional technology and digital learning; and the transition to higher education. The report also includes downloadable presentation slides, appendix tables, and other supporting resources.

Tools to Help Create Your Presentation

The 2012 National Survey of Science & Mathematics Education (NSSME) Briefing Book presents 13 PowerPoint slides showing results from the 2012 NSSME in a usable form for presentations about K–12 science and mathematics education. Any questions? Send an email.

Interest in STEM Is High
The Condition of STEM 2013 reviews the 2013 graduating class in the context of STEM-related fields to determine student interest levels in specific STEM fields and readiness in math and science of those interested in STEM careers. Key findings include the following: (1) interest in STEM is high, (2) achievement levels in math and science are highest when expressed interest and measured interest match, and (3) more female than male students are interested in STEM.

tipinteractInteract for Impact
Answer questions by asking questions. Become a better listener. Don’t be afraid of silence. Give students time to think before expecting a response. Realize how much you learned by teaching the material, and give students the opportunities to do the explaining whenever possible. These ideas are part of just one of NCTM’s teaching tips about how to interact for impact.

StrogatzWhy Do Traffic Jams Occur without Any Apparent Cause?
How can a movie theater full of strangers begin to applaud in rhythm? Are we really all separated from one another by just six degrees—even Kevin Bacon? An award-winning math scholar, celebrated author, and inspiring communicator, Steven Strogatz will answer these questions in the opening keynote at the NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in New Orleans, April 9–12. Early bird registration ends March 7. Save up to $80—register today!

Calling Grades Pre-K–5 Educators
Join us in San Diego, July 10–12, for our Interactive Institute—“Connecting Number and Operations in the Classroom.” The Institute will highlight the importance of the development of a sense of number and give particular emphasis to conceptual understanding, procedural fluency, and applications. Save $40 when you register early!

SocialJustice1Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice
Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice: Conversations with Educators, released by NCTM in 2012, was recently named one of the top 75 New York Times best-selling education books of 2013! This collection of original articles launches a compelling conversation among some of the leading figures in social justice mathematics. Scholars share their perspectives with teachers and educators who have been inspired by them and who have inspiring stories of their own to tell about the intersection of education and social justice. NCTM members can save 25 percent on this and all NCTM publications by using the code SUM25; offer expires February 28.


Mention NCTM Membership and Receive Free Gifts!

By participating in the Member Referral Program, you have a chance to receive a free extended membership, gift cards, prizes, and more. It’s simple to get started—with every eligible new member you refer to NCTM, your name is entered into a drawing for one of two fantastic prizes, including a trip to Boston and an iPad, plus you receive gift certificates, and more. Get started today; the program year comes to an end June 30.

U.S. Capitol Building (small)Since the president delivered his State of the Union address in late January, NCTM and education advocates in Washington have been working hard to determine which elements of his ambitious education agenda might get some traction on Capitol Hill. It’s clear that the White House feels strongly about increased access to early childhood education, and many elected policymakers feel the same way. Capitol Report

How much time is spent on testing in American schools? Teach Plus addresses this question in a recent report on student testing, The Student and the Stopwatch: How Much Time Is Spent on Testing in American Schools? This study claims to debunk misconceptions about time spent on student testing and shows that students spend less time on standardized tests than generally perceived. Legislative Update

CSTAlogoCSTA Administrator Impact Award
The Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) has launched the 2014 CSTA Administrator Impact Award to honor administrators who have been helpful in strengthening opportunities to teach and learn computer science in K−12 schools. CSTA will pay expenses for both the nominated administrator and the nominator to attend the 2014 CSTA Annual Conference, July 14−15, in St. Charles, Illinois. The winning pair will also be encouraged to present at a dedicated session at the conference, will be recognized during a conference awards ceremony, and will be featured in an article in the CSTA Voice. Applications are due March 3. Student and Teacher of the Month
Teachers and students can also be rewarded for their computer science efforts!—the organization that hosted the “Hour of Code” campaign in December—is running competitions for exemplary students and teachers who are changing the face of computer science.

Continue Teaching Computer Science for Free
K–8 Intro to Computer Science is a free course that aims to demystify computer science and show K–8 students that computer science is fun, collaborative, and creative. The course is designed to motivate students and educators to continue learning computer science to improve real-world relationships, connections, and life. The course is self-guided, includes “unplugged” activities for students to work collaboratively in groups, and also offers online teacher professional development to help get you started. For a limited time when 15 students finish the 20-hour course, teachers will receive $750 to DonorsChoose. If seven or more of those students are girls, teachers earn an additional $250, for a total of $1,000. Sign up now to continue to help your students learn these life-changing skills!

Moody3Moody’s Mega Math Challenge
Only 17 days are left to register for Moody’s Mega Math (M³) Challenge, the Internet-based applied math competition that requires teams of students to connect sound reasoning and creative thinking with real-world issues and data to solve a math modeling problem in 14 hours. The contest is open to high school juniors and seniors in 45 states and Washington, D.C. The competition has no entrance or participation fees, and each high school may enter up to two teams of three to five students each. Winning teams will share scholarships totaling $125,000; up to 65 team awards will be given this year.