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Summing Up: May 6, 2014

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Diane J. Briars, NCTM PresidentMoving Ahead: Opportunities and Priorities
As I begin my term as NCTM President, I’m struck by both the challenges currently facing the mathematics education community and the opportunities for systemic improvement in mathematics teaching and learning that addressing these challenges affords. One of our major challenges is, of course, addressing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM)—facilitating large-scale, effective implementation; preparing for more rigorous, aligned assessments in spring 2015; and supporting the standards themselves.

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USA Science & Engineering Festival 
NCTM was part of the celebration and fun at the 3rd USA Science & Engineering Festival, the largest STEM education event of its kind in the United States! The NCTM booth engaged kids, parents, and teachers in a wide range of activities at the three-day event. Whether building a better boat, creating tetrahedron sculptures out of envelopes, learning about math apps, or building 3-D sculptures, everyone was engaged in experiencing, thinking about, and talking about math. It was truly a place to do math and learn about a wide range of STEM activities. View photos.

Making STEM Stick in the Middle School
Middle school is a critical time to engage students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics because this is the stage at which students often decide whether these fields are for them. Educators at the recent U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Washington, D.C., discussed what works when trying to spark student interest in STEM fields, as well as the challenges of doing so, during a breakout session, “Making STEM Stick in Middle School.” Featured speakers included NCTM past president Linda Gojak and NCTM Board member Peg Cagle.

Algebraic Thinking and Reasoning
Two new NCTM Research Briefs explore algebraic thinking and reasoning. Algebraic Thinking in Arithmetic explores research on three ways in which K–8 mathematics can be transformed and extended toward algebraic thinking. Algebraic Reasoning in School Algebra examines algebraic reasoning in secondary school mathematics. Algebra problem solving, conjecturing, and proving are discussed in light of current classroom research.

Pondering Patterns
In the latest post on the Math Tasks to Talk About blog, “Pondering Patterns,” Ralph Connelly ventures away from “classic problem” tasks, but sticks with something that previous blog tasks had in common—namely, looking for patterns. “This is such a powerful problem-solving strategy that it warrants a lot of attention,” says Connelly. This month, he challenges readers with three tasks; join him in the NCTM blogosphere to accept his patterning challenge!

Calculation Nation
Have you played all 12 Calculation Nation games yet? Play games while learning math! And don’t forget about the supplementary lesson plans, designed to optimize the learning in your classroom.

APME 2015: Call for Chapters
The topic for Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education (APME) 2015 will be “Assessment to Enhance Learning and Teaching.” If you missed the March 1 Intention to Submit deadline but are still interested in submitting a chapter, contact Chris Suurtamm. Please note that because of tight timelines, chapters must be submitted by May 15; this deadline will not be extended.

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Parents Should Brace for Frustration
When parents see their kids frustrated by math homework, their first reaction is to step in and help. It’s natural for them to teach the step-by-step ways that they learned to solve problems. “They don’t need to teach the math,” says NCTM President Diane Briars. “What they need to help their children do is figure out ‘What is the problem asking you?’” Vox.com 

NCTM’s President Discusses Priorities
NCTM President Diane Briars recently chatted with Larry Jacobs, host of Education Talk Radio, about her plans for her presidency, including supporting Principles to Actions, the Common Core State Standards, and more. Education Talk Radio 

Dividers_SU_Other News 

Teacher Appreciation Day
National Teacher Appreciation Day is Tuesday, May 6! There’s no doubt that teachers deserve a special week and day, but our appreciation and support for teachers needs to be a year-round effort. At the Department of Education, one of its top priorities is to continue to strengthen the teaching profession. Learn more about the Obama Administration’s plan to improve teacher preparation, leading from the classroom through Teach to Lead, and the RESPECT proposal to elevate teaching and leading so that all of our students are prepared to meet the demands of the 21st century. Today you can thank a teacher who has inspired you. Download your #ThankATeacher sign, fill it out, and post your picture on social media, using the hashtag #ThankATeacher.

Spotlight Shines on Secondary Math Instruction
A new Education Week Spotlight on Secondary Math Instruction focuses on ways that high schools are using transitional coursework to equip students for college math, challenges facing math educators in implementing the Common Core State Standards, ways of varying the coursetaking path for students in Algebra 2, preparations for the Common Core assessments in math, and techniques for building statistical and data literacy inside classrooms.

Fulbright Launched in New Zealand
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and New Zealand Minister of Education Hekia Parata recently announced the establishment of the Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program in New Zealand. This program provides an intensive three-to-four-month professional development opportunity for accomplished primary- and secondary-level teachers from the United States and 11 other countries. The program is sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Global Teacher Programs Division at the Institute of International Education.

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Principles to Actions Free for Institute Attendees
\NCTM’s newest publication, Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All, will serve as a resource for sessions at NCTM’s Interactive Institutes and will be provided free of charge to all attendees in San Diego and Chicago this summer. This landmark new title defines and describes the principles and actions, including specific teaching practices, that are essential for a high-quality mathematics education for all students. Register for NCTM’s Interactive Institutes to learn more about this unparalleled educational resource.

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Using Research to Improve Instruction
The 2014 issue of Annual Perspectives in Mathematics Education (APME), Using Research to Improve Instruction, focuses on the core of NCTM’s mission since its inception: supporting teachers to improve instruction through research-based approaches. The 24 chapters, written by leading mathematics educators and researchers, are grouped into five topic areas: change; problem solving; reasoning, explaining, and discourse; seeing structure and generalizing; and assessment for teaching and learning.

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Teacher Appreciation Week
It’s Teacher Appreciation Week—an ideal time to celebrate the contributions of all teachers. NCTM recognizes the essential role that teachers play in ensuring mathematics learning of the highest quality for all students. As a token of our appreciation, we’re offering teachers 25% off all NCTM publications, May 5–10! Use promo code TEACH25 at checkout to receive the discount. Offer expires May 10, 2014.

Member Referral Program
Don’t forget to participate in the Member Referral Program, which ends on June 30. Your very first referral (and every one thereafter) enters your name in our prize drawing for a free trip to NCTM’s 2015 annual meeting in Boston or an Apple iPad. With your second referral, you’ll receive $5 in NCTM bucks to spend on resources, conferences, or membership renewal from NCTM; accumulate more bucks with every two referrals! It’s easy!

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The next few weeks will see a great deal of activity on Capitol Hill. The so-called appropriations season will be in full swing, and advocates for every cause will be pleading for federal dollars. NCTM and other associations will continue to emphasize the importance of certain investments in professional development for classroom, as well as STEM education programs across the federal agencies.

The Center for American Progress (CAP) and the American Institutes for Research hosted an event, “Equitable Access: Assuring That All Children Have a Great Teacher.” Melissa Lazarin, managing director for education policy at CAP, began by asserting that the achievement gap will not be closed without first fixing the accessibility of effective teachers. She called the issue of access “the root of the problem.”

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Grant Competitions in Education Research
The Institute of Education Sciences has released FY 2015 funding announcements for two grant competitions in education research. The National Center for Education Research competition is Education Research Grants (84.305A). The National Center for Special Education Research competition is Special Education Research Grants (84.324A). View the FY 2015 request for applications for each competition; you can also refer to the Federal Register notice for more information.

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