Write for Mathematics Teaching in the Middle School

  • Departments

    Departments consist of short, focused articles along a particular theme or in a specific format. Writing for a department is a great way for teachers to see their names in print!

    Informing Practice  Download

    This department relates lessons learned from research to classroom practice for teachers. The articles written for this section should entice and invite classroom teachers to learn about aspects of research that are closely related to their classroom practice. Topics that may be of interest can include—but are by no means limited to—teaching fractions, learning through problem solving, and using representations of linear relationships.

    The article should—

    • set up a classroom problem, issue, or question that will entice readers into the research;
    • describe relevant research in a teacher’s voice;
    • incorporate examples, illustrations, and diagrams that will bring the research alive; and
    • provide specific recommendations or tips for classroom teachers.

    The manuscript should be no more than 2000 words, and figures and/or photographs should be included at the end. Send manuscripts by accessing mtms.msubmit.net. On the tab titled “Keywords, Categories, Special Sections,” select Informing Practice from the Departments/Calls section.

    Quick Reads   Download

    Short articles (1500 – 1800 words) provide an opportunity to share a single, well-developed idea. Although Quick Reads may cover a wide range of topics and interests, the Editorial Panel is particularly interested in receiving manuscripts that fit in one of the following categories:

    • Another Good Idea   
    • Action Research   
    • Promising Partnerships   
    • Teaching With Technology   

    Submissions should be made through  http://mtms.msubmit.net.

    Palette of Problems 

    The purpose of the Palette of Problems department is to provide teachers and students with a set of interesting and challenging problems that invite creative problem solving strategies. This department appears in each issue of MTMS, with an attempt to address the focus topic in the Focus Issue. Anyone can contribute problems to Palette of Problems and submissions should be sent to MTMS at mtms@nctm.org

    On My Mind

    These editorials (1200 – 1800 words) raise a significant issue or advocate a point of view about some aspect of the teaching or learning of mathematics. Anyone may submit material for a blind review. Submissions should be made through  http://mtms.msubmit.net.

    Mathematical Explorations  Download

    Readers find classroom-tested explorations that are ready for teachers to use with their middle school mathematics students. Submissions should include - reproducible activity sheets appropriate for middle grade students, a description of the exploration, including goals or objectives. Submissions should be made through http://mtms.msubmit.net.

    Readers Write

    This is an opportunity for readers to share opinions, thoughts, or a reaction to anything that they find of interest in the journal. Please send your thoughts to mtms@nctm.org.

    Cartoon Corner

    Each month, a cartoon and accompanying mathematics questions are provided on an Activity Sheet that teachers can use with students. To suggest cartoons or field-test activity sheets, contact the journal editor at  mtms@nctm.org.

    Solve It and Solve It Student Thinking

    The Solve It department provides rich questions that invoke thoughtful and innovative student responses. Try the questions with your students and submit interesting student solutions to Solve It: Student Thinking. This companion department to Solve It provides an insight into the mathematical thinking of middle school students. Ideas for Solve It problems and student solutions should be sent to the journal editor at mtms@nctm.org.

    Windows on Resources

    This department contains a review of computer software, books, and products. If you would like to review materials, or have ideas for products that could be reviewed, please contact MTMS at mtms@nctm.org

    All calls are open unless otherwise noted.


    What to Write  

    The pages of MathematicsTeaching in the Middle School are filled with examples of teacher-written articles that highlight useful aspects of their practice. If you are a classroom teacher with some ideas to share but are a little uncertain about how to proceed, the following suggestions may be helpful.  

    Writing is a process, not an event. It will take time to develop your ideas into a coherent article. Keep a notebook and jot down your ideas, successes, and concerns. The reflection on these notes can become the basis for a manuscript. Keep samples of students’ work to include in your article; readers value such examples as useful tools that help the manuscript come alive. Read past articles in the journal to help you get a sense of what makes a good manuscript.

    Contributing to a department is a great way for classroom teachers to initially participate in MTMS. Department missions and editors are listed under the Calls for Manuscripts tab. Current MTMS departments are

    • Readers Write
    • On My Mind
    • Solve It
    • Solve It: Student Thinking
    • Cartoon Corner
    • Palette of Problems 
    • Informing Practice
    • Quick Reads
    • Mathematical Explorations
    • Windows on Resources
    • Math for Real

    How to Submit  

    Submit manuscripts via http://mtms.msubmit.net using the following criteria:

    • Feature manuscripts should be about 2500 words, not including tables and figures. Only a reasonable number of tables and figures that are essential to understanding should be included. Manuscripts submitted for consideration in departments should follow the guidelines for the particular department. It may be that your ideas fall neatly into one of them. Most of the departments have an editor. If you have an idea you want to send in, check the submission instructions that accompany each department in the journal. Submitting copy for a department is an excellent way to begin your writing career.
    • • Use double spacing for all material, including quoted matter, lists, tables, notes, references, and bibliographies.
    • Leave margins of 1 inch on the sides, top, and bottom of each page.
    • Indicate a paragraph by indenting the first line rather than by including an extra space between paragraphs.
    • Provide accurate and complete bibliographical information. All references cited in the manuscript should be listed at the end of the manuscript. We recommend that you refer to recent issues for general bibliographical formatting.
    • Use the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003) for complete style guidelines.
    • Use dialogue and direct quotes sparingly.
    • Incorporate the key ideas of conversations into the text when possible.
    • If material is quoted, supply the complete source in the references and cite the page number with the quotation.
    • Do not use footnotes. Integrate this information into your manuscript.
    • Use MathType sparingly. Expressions and equations that can be typed using the keyboard, such as f(x)=3x2 should simply be typed, as you would the general text. Italicize all variables. Word allows subscripts and superscripts and simple fractions can be entered as a/b, for example. Other mathematics displays that contain characters not found on the keyboard should be set using MathType but NOT, under any circumstances, MS Word equation editor. For example, y = sqrt(x - 3) should be entered as How to submit R

      using MathType.

      No author identification should appear in the manuscript. Manuscript title and name(s) of author(s) should be in an Author Cover Letter only. Do not reference your own work or your school in a way that compromises the blind review process. Use pseudonyms for students’ or colleagues’ names and blind project or grant information, acknowledgments, and conference presentations appearing in a manuscript. Links to personal or institutional Web sites should also be blind. All blinded references can be re-inserted should your work be accepted for publication. Responses to referees/Editorial Panel member’s comments on revised manuscripts should be made through a blinded Rebuttal Letter under Object Type in the system.  

    Please proofread and spell check your manuscript before submission. Review it for grammar, completeness, mathematical correctness, and accuracy of references. Be sure to spell out all proper names, and fully identify all organizations and groups that are mentioned by initials or acronyms.

    Figures and tables should be embedded in the manuscript near their mention in the text. Should your manuscript be accepted for publication, publication staff will request that images be sent separately, but for the review process, they should be conveniently embedded in the text for easy reading by our referees.  
    Materials that have been published elsewhere or are being considered for publication by other journals, including other NCTM-affiliated group publications, should not be submitted.


    What Happens Next  

    When the reviewers and the Editorial Panel review your manuscript, they will be using the following criteria:

    • importance of topic
    • quality of ideas
    • quality of writing
    • contribution to a reader’s professional growth
    • consistency with the mathematics teaching practices as described in Principles to Actions (NCTM, 2014).


    Each manuscript is assigned three reviewers, each of whom are knowledgeable in the manuscript's subject area. The reviewers are given 4 weeks to review a manuscript and recommend that it be accepted, rejected, or revised. It is then sent to the Editorial Panel with the reviewer's recommendation. The Editorial Panel is allowed an additional 4 weeks for final dispensation. Please note that everyone involved in this process is a volunteer so the timeline is  a rule of thumb and could be longer or shorter.