The Math Forum

National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics (NCSM)
44th Annual Conference, Philadelphia, PA, April 23-25, 2012

"Life, Liberty, and Mathematics for All:
NCSM Leads the Way"

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Click on the day/time to view details about that session:

Monday 2:45 - 3:45
Session 156: Developing the Mathematical Practices for Productive Student Math Talk
Tuesday 2:45 - 3:45
Session 240: I Tweet, Therefore I Learn
Wednesday 4:00 - 5:00
Session 360: Supporting Teachers to Implement a School-wide Focus on the Mathematical Practices

Developing the Mathematical Practices for Productive Student Math Talk

NCSM: Session 156
Stephen Weimar
Jim Dooley

Monday, April 23, 2012
2:45 - 3:45
Convention Center: Room 113B



Description: Students are talking but is it productive? Are they improving conceptual understanding and developing procedural fluency? Are they accountable to rigor and community? An external coach and a district supervisor explore their use of the mathematical practices of the Common Core State Standards as a platform for developing effective talk.

Detailed Description:
We will demonstrate the activities and progression used successfully in districts to develop accountable talk in the math classroom including the use of technologies from dynamic math software to hardware devices such as document cameras, smartboards, and flip cams. The progression will feature the development of problem solving strategies and mathematical communication, along with student ownership and leadership of the inquiry process in the classroom.

We will focus on topics covered in year 1 of a high school integrated math curriculum. The activities of the workshop will be samples of the classroom lessons done with students. Participants will have hands-on experience with the development of the Mathematical Practices of the Common Core and the use of some of the technologies that are practical in the conference context.

This work is based on the research and implementation experience of the Math Forum over the last 10 years.


I Tweet, Therefore I Learn

NCSM: Session 240
Max Ray

Tuesday, April 24, 2012
2:45 - 3:45
Convention Center: Room 103C


Description: Heard all the hype about Twitter? Wondering how it's helped math leaders improve their practice? Thinking about developing your own personal learning network or helping teachers develop theirs? In this workshop I'll share stories and tips on using Twitter to build a community to support math professional development.

Detailed Description:
People discuss math and math education on Twitter every day! Whether it's a teacher in rural Canada collecting instant weather data from around the world, a teacher new to problem-based learning asking for tips and thoughts on her planned lesson, or students learning about polling techniques by asking questions through Twitter and Google Docs, or the questions, numbers, and math facts of the day shared by organizations like NCTM, there's a lot of content in the Twitter-verse. We'll look at examples of math shared on Twitter as well as how Twitter has enhanced teachers' lessons and content knowledge.

Math leaders, from coaches to curriculum developers, are prolific Tweeters, and new movements in math education are being shaped by Twitter. Have you heard of Dan Meyer's "What Can You Do With This?" series? It's spread like wildfire through Twitter, with new math teachers and leaders adding their own ideas to the mix every day!

In this workshop we'll explore the variety of experiences Twitter has to offer math leaders from:

  • examples of math problems and topics shared on Twitter
  • examples of teachers supporting each other to improve teaching
  • examples of math leaders supporting each other to improve math education
  • tips about who to follow, how to engage in Twitter conversations, and some of the Twitter lingo so you can tweet like a pro from day one.

We will also discuss other social media technologies and other ways to build a virtual personal learning network for yourself as a math leader. We'll also talk about helping math teachers expand what they think professional development can be by helping them join the Twitter community.

Finally, we'll discuss ways students might benefit from using Twitter.


Supporting Teachers to Implement a School-wide Focus on the Mathematical Practices

NCSM: Session 360
Suzanne Alejandre
Erin Igo

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
4:00 - 5:00
Convention Center: Room 103B



Description: Examine a Math Forum model of professional development that supports building a classroom environment that moves away from listening "for" student responses to focus on listening "to" student thinking. Leave the session with activities a teacher leader can use with members of their mathematics department to implement these strategies school-wide.

Detailed Description:
This session is grounded in the ongoing teacher development activities of the Math Forum @ Drexel. Since 1992, the Math Forum has been developing mathematical communication and problem solving skills. We encourage teachers to work with their students to make sense, persevere, generalize, apply, reason and critique, build mathematical models, use strategies, and look for patterns and structure.

Since September, 2010, we have been mentoring teachers onsite at two middle schools in New Castle, Delaware and modeling classroom strategies that support a more student-centered environment.

During this session the math department chairperson at McCullough Middle School and a Math Forum staffperson will tell their stories of how they worked together to:

  • develop questioning techniques that use students' responses to help inform the next steps of classroom instruction,
  • maximize each student's "talk time" by using pairs and groups and targeted tasks,
  • make the most of student accountability by encouraging students to engage in viable arguments and discuss their reasoning with others.

The collaborative model we used during the 2010-11 year revealed that moving from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered instruction is best approached as a process. Valuing, building trust, and being willing to talk openly from each vantage point led to an agreed plan of action. During the 2011-2012 school year the math department chairperson took the next step. She applied this model to her department. The strategies she modeled helped teachers address these standards, in particular, for Mathematical Practice:

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.

Participants will leave this session with problem solving and communication activities for the middle school classroom. The activities could also be adapted to use in upper elementary and/or high school level math classrooms.

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