Explorations In Math

Several members of the Explorations in Math team and four of our scholarship recipients headed to Indianapolis in April to attend the annual National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) conference.  Over four days they soaked up wisdom form several leaders in math education and brought home new ideas and tools to bring to the classroom.  Read below for stories from the sponsored teachers that were able to attend the conference.

From Left – Lara Francisco, Dave Gardner, Monica Adair, Alison Underdahl, Andy McRea, Tammie Schacher, Hien Pham

Lara Francisco, Math Club Teacher, Coe Elementary

“I noticed a common theme running through the majority of the lectures that I attended: Problem Solving activities are highly effective if they are meaningful to the students, are open-ended, and have multiple entry points. One benefit to this is that students are then able to use their natural problem solving skills to find the answers.  They are able to use what they KNOW. This was mentioned in almost every class that I took even though each class was using problem solving in different ways.  My interest at the beginning of this adventure was to learn how to enrich the math community at our school.  I definitely discovered some new and exciting things revolving around this:  Math Pen Pals, Math Camps, Take-Home Parent Bags, and math related things that could be painted on the playground.  I am incredibly thankful for having had this experience through Explorations in Math.   Not only was attending the conference a huge learning opportunity, but spending the time with the other sponsored teachers was rewarding as well.  It was really interesting to talk with each other and to share how we are teaching math in our various settings.”

Hien Pham, Dearborn Park Elementary

“This was my first time ever attending a big national conference such as NCTM, so it was a bit overwhelming for me.  However, I learned so much from the sessions I attended.  One of my favorite sessions was the “Integrating Geometry with Children’s Literature and Art.”  It engaged us in many hands-on activities the whole time.  We read books, created different objects from geometry shapes, and wrote rhyming poems from assigned numbers.  I will definitely make plans to integrate math with literature and arts in my math lessons with our ELL students.  I also liked the strategies presented from “Math-Zoo-Matics” session which used real world things to help students connect with mathematics.  Since the real world things would be the best ways to provide a more meaningful learning experience for children to capture the math concepts, especially for our ELL students.  My goal is to team up with our school math coach to provide mini lessons on how to implement the strategies and games learned from the conference in our math lessons. Thank you Explorations in Math for giving us the opportunity to see the world in different ways.”

Monica Adair, 3rd Grade Teacher, AG Bell Elementary

“One of the best sessions I attended was about making math more fun by providing “real world” context.  The session talked about different ways to teach concepts such as the slope of a line through an analysis of the pricing of iPads.   One of the plans I have for implementing in my classroom is really about integration between content areas.   Some of those areas include art, reading, science, and writing.  I am excited to incorporate these types of stations in my classroom, but also to provide my students with an understanding that math is everywhere and in everything.  I plan on sharing these integration tips with my staff and also sharing some of the particular activities that I saw at the conference.  I also picked up some resources to share with the staff.  I am thankful for the opportunity to attend the conference this year and I am positive that my teaching and the student’s learning will benefit from it.”