Tuesday, May 3, 2016


May 2016

Inside this edition:

  • President's Message
  • VCTM Fall Conference:  Call for Proposals
  • NCTM National Conference San Francisco Overview
  • ATMNE Update
  • Upcoming Professional Opportunities
  • Feature Article:  "Math Education:  A Messy Problem" The current state of math education in America is certainly not ideal but mathematicians, researchers, policy makers and others are working on it -- and it is definitely a problem worth working on by Gizem Karaali, Pomona College  
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Presidents' Message

Aaahhhh… spring. We’ve made it through the mud, and there are flowers blooming here in Washington County. As we push through the final weeks of teaching and testing, keep in mind that VCTM is here to build our community of math educators by facilitating conversation and sharing resources. We are very excited about our new website and its potential to fulfill our Mission here in Vermont. As always, if you have ideas or would like to join the Board of Directors, please reach out to us—we would love to have you help support our work.

Christine Latulippe and Kate McCann, VCTM Co-Presidents
vctmpresident@gmail.com


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VCTM Fall Conference:  Call for Proposals

Do you have something to share with your colleagues?  Do you have an idea or methodology that would benefit others?  Have you developed a something in Common Core or Proficiency Based Grading that other teachers could use?

The Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics (VCTM) will be hosting its annual conference on Friday, October 14, 2016 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph, VT. The title of the conference is "Making Math Meaningful," with presentations focused on instructional strategies to promote the Common Core Math Practices and Content Standards, growth mindset, proficiency-based learning, and multi-tiered systems of support.  
  • Sessions are available as 30 bursts, 60 minute sessions, or 90 minute workshops
  • The deadline for submitting proposals is July 15, 2016. Speakers will be notified by August 15, 2016. Please complete the form below.
  • If you have questions, please contact Patty Kelly at pkelly@ssdvt.org
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NCTM National Conference 2016- by Patty Kelly, VT NCTM Representative 
         
The 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition was held from April 13-16 in San Francisco, California. As a math leader in my district, I knew the value of attending this conference, and the opportunity that I would have to share my new learning and impact the instructional practices of teachers in my district.

As the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics representative at NCTM, I was excited to meet with New England math leaders and discuss issues facing our local affiliates.  My time at NCTM began with attending the Eastern Regional Caucus. The initial portion of this meeting drew attention to the resources that NCTM provides for its members and affiliates. Their online resources are being constantly updated, such as professional development resources that accompany NCTM’s Principles to Actions. NCTM President Diane Briars spoke about a new resource available on the NCTM web-site focusing on focus, rigor, and coherence. These lessons and activities are available at www.nctm.org/ARCs/ . The representatives for the eastern region then met to discuss ways in which we can build strong memberships within our affiliates by supporting new teachers to become members.

The following day began with the Delegate Assembly. There were no resolutions this year. This allowed us to network with affiliate representatives and gain ideas and insights into the successes and struggles of math educators and math organizations nationwide.

The rest of the week was spent attending dynamic presentations by the country’s leading math educators. In a session with Jo Boaler about the latest brain research, she discussed changing the way we assign homework and de-tracking students. Some of the most interesting research that she presented included research about finger counting. Her work shows that we often push kids towards not using their fingers, but that we should actually encourage students to use finger representations as a physical support for learning arithmetic problems.

I’m looking forward to using the tools and resources that I gained from the conference and thank VCTM for supporting our learning as math professionals in Vermont.

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ATMNE News by Sue Abrams

Christine Latulippe, VCTM Co-President, and Sue Abrams, ATMNE Representative, recently attended the spring meeting of the ATMNE Board of Directors. Much of their time was spent drafting revisions to the ATMNE constitution and by-laws, which will be voted on by the affiliates like VCTM.
The Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England is a consortium of affiliates of all the New England states. One purpose is to secure improvements in the teaching of mathematics and establish close relations among teachers of mathematics. See the ATMNE website for more information about ATMNE:  http://www.atmne.net/. To that end there is an annual ATMNE mathematics conference and there are some publications worth noting.
This year the ATMNE annual conference - Vote with Math! - will take place in Manchester, NH, on October 20-21st. See the NHVCTM website for more information: http://www.nhmathteachers.org/ATMNE-2016.

For VCTM members: Don’t forget that one of the benefits of joining VCTM is that you automatically become a member of ATMNE! As an ATMNE member you receive two annual newsletters and the New England Mathematics Journal (NEMJ), which is published every spring and fall. All ATMNE publications have gone GREEN so make sure you keep your email up to date. Soon you will receive information from VCTM about how to access the New England Mathematics Journal.

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Upcoming Professional Opportunities

1. Vermont Mathematics Initiative (VMI) Conference “Mathematics Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century”. This one-day conference will be held at UVM’s Davis Center on Saturday May 7. The Keynote speaker is Steven Leinwand, and breakout session topics include formative assessment, instruction for struggling students, and leadership in mathematics education. 

2. The Dynamic Landscapes Conference, hosted at Champlain College in Burlington, May 23 and 24. If you want to explore classroom technology, maker spaces, creative scheduling, and even innovations in teaching mathematics, consider attending. Registration fees include 1-day and 2-day options. 

It’s never too early to plan ahead for some exciting professional development beyond the close of the school year.  Start marking your calendar for the following opportunities:

  • NEW Cubed Summer Conference, June 27-29 in New Rochelle, NY. The “NEW Cubed” is because this is a joint conference of NCTM Affiliates New York, New Jersey, and New England. The theme is Coming Together for Learning, Teaching, and Students. Registration is open now, and Steven Leinwand will be there, too…
  • VCTM’s Fall Conference, October 14, 2016—Look for more details in this newsletter!
  • The Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England (ATMNE), Fall 2016 conference in Manchester, NH, October 20 and 21. As a member of VCTM, you are automatically a member of ATMNE. This year’s theme is “Vote with Math! Developing Informed Citizens through Mathematics”.
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Math Education: A Messy Problem
Editors note:  The following article first appeared in Inside Higher Ed on May 2, 2016 and is reprinted with permission.
The current state of math education in America is certainly not ideal, writes Gizem Karaali, but mathematicians, researchers, policy makers and others are working on it -- and it is definitely a problem worth working on.

Andrew Hacker’s The Math Myth and Other STEM Delusions simply continues to promote the misguided path he got on several years ago, and it’s difficult to see how it could lead us anywhere productive. Hacker started the business of attacking school mathematics in a New York Times op-ed  where he argued, in sync with gimmicky T-shirts claiming the same, that algebra was unnecessary, or perhaps even detrimental to our future. In a national scene where mathphobia is rampant and most people’s memories of school mathematics remain unpleasant at best, he struck a chord. Then, of course, come book contracts and even more adulation.
Thoughtful people have already responded authoritatively to the various errors in Hacker’s argument -- see here for another scathing review. A short and quick reply is here. For this audience of college and university educators, some of whom might be tempted by Hacker’s bravado and wonder about implications for higher education, I’d like to also point out that Hacker seems to forget why we educate our young. Even if as students years ago we may have had difficulty in certain subjects, as parents we want to ensure that our children go beyond what we ourselves have achieved. We expect that what they learn will be beneficial to their growth and future opportunities. We also hope that they will gain certain personal characteristics that, together with their knowledge and skills, will help them build a better future for our society and the world.

The Western tradition starts this conversation in ancient Greece with Socrates arguing that virtue is central to the education of the young. Aristotle teaches us that the ultimate goal of education should be happiness -- the durable contentment of a creative and intellectual life. St. Augustine shows us that we should not depend on teachers to teach us everything, that there is much to be learned from the internal wisdom of the heart, which itself is cultivated by our moral compass. Rousseau argues that children need to be exposed to the world as they grow to learn to live within the society to which they belong. Locke and Mill teach us that education should be well-rounded, cultivating an intellectually capable mind aware of the complexities of the world.

Mathematics educators agree. We know that in mathematics, as in any other knowledge system that builds on itself, the procedures that work so well are only part of the package. That in the center is the student, but always situated in the midst of a society that is constantly evolving. That students learn best when encouraged and supported by knowledgeable teachers who help them explore and understand underlying concepts. That intellectual stimulation and growth are possible and enjoyable for all children. That in our classrooms, we can help students sharpen their ability to persist in the face of apparent failure. That today’s students need to learn to tackle complex and ill-defined problems requiring both individual and collaborative effort.

And to these ends, we have been working to improve what we do. Mathematics teachers, mathematics education researchers and mathematicians are working together in classrooms, in math circles, in conferences and workshops, in curricular reform efforts and in policy discussions. We are working to create meaningful mathematical experiences for students to encourage critical thinking, foster creative reasoning and enhance problem-solving abilities. (See here and here for two collections of mathematics lesson plans and modules that were developed by or in collaboration with researchers. See here for a college-level initiative for revamping the mathematics curriculum.)
We are working to engender the sense of wonder and accomplishment that mathematics -- when done right -- naturally inspires. We are working to develop and support a coherent set of curricular standards that will help tomorrow’s adults live up to the expectations of this nation from its children. We are working to discover and share with parents, teachers and educators what works well in the classroom even if it is not typical, and what doesn’t work even if it “just makes sense” and “it’s the way I learned things.” (How many people believe that the point of multiplication tables is to torture students till they can recite them at the speed of light? Linda Gojak, past president of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, is one among many educators speaking out about fluency in mathematics and how it is no longer acceptable to equate it with “fast and accurate.”)

Admittedly, we mathematics instructors don’t always help our own cause. People remember how their middle school math teacher made them feel, and I don’t need to tell you that it’s generally not a good memory. (I was lucky -- mine made me feel like there wasn’t a problem I couldn’t solve if I put in the time and effort.) But dropping mathematics from the required K-12 curriculum would be a perfect example of the cliché of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. (While I myself have argued elsewhere that we might just do that, my tongue was decidedly set in my cheek, and my concern was the essence of what is lost in most mainstream experiences of school mathematics. Now, can I get a book contract, too?)

The current state of mathematics education in the United States is certainly not ideal. Yet the fact is that teachers, parents, mathematicians, mathematics education researchers and policy makers are working on it. Furthermore, this is definitely a problem worth working on. It is tough, it is messy and there are many nuances to the issue and many implications to any avenue of resolution.
Hacker writes of high school graduates unable to perform simple numeracy tasks. I’d venture to guess that more than a handful of high school grads are also incapable of understanding IRS publications, may occasionally be unable to interpret correctly the user manuals of their DVD players and can’t foresee all repercussions of a ballot measure they are willing to vote for or against. But we do not blame all of these insufficiencies on K-12 English teachers. Nor do we suggest replacing English courses with courses on reading ballot measures or user manuals. What do we do? We demand that English Language Arts curricula be developed that are more sensitive to the range of literacy demands of our daily lives.

Hacker gets it right at least in one instance; quantitative literacy is crucial in today’s society. And it should be one of the essential outcomes we expect from our education system, as I argue elsewhere. However, the role of mathematics in our education system goes beyond quantitative literacy. (And conversely, quantitative literacy as a goal itself should not be limited to the mathematics classroom. Most science and social studies classrooms offer excellent contexts for quantitative literacy.)
During this election year, I offer you another analogy. Today there are many, including some reading this, who worry that the American democratic machine is not producing the results they would like. So shall we give up on democracy? I’d like to believe that the overwhelming majority would agree with me when I say no. Instead, we continue working to improve our system; we continue to fight for broader access; we continue to work to further political and social justice.
Mathematics education is perhaps not on the same level of importance and urgency, but the solutions are the same. We must work to improve the system. We must fight for broader access. And we must work to further political and social justice.

Today mathematics acts as a gateway (or a gatekeeper, depending on your perspective) in terms of who has access to the lucrative STEM jobs that many aspire to. Students who learn mathematics as far as their school contexts allow have many more opportunities open to them when they graduate from high school. Knowing the fundamental building blocks of mathematics today leads well-prepared high school graduates to a range of rigorous paths of college-level study in many disciplines. And those are also the students who will become the adults who will create the new mathematical, statistical and computational tools we will need in the future.

What would happen if we dropped mathematics? Which schools and school districts would not be offering those “now optional” advanced mathematics courses? Which students would be deprived of the opportunity to learn, and, can I suggest, find meaning, confidence and opportunity through advanced mathematics? And which students would be able to move forward with those STEM careers that many parents dream of?

People can succeed without mathematics in their lives. You can also choose to never try sushi, to vacation only within the continental United States despite being able to afford international travel, to never wear flip-flops or learn to ride a bike, and still lead a happy and productive life. But nobody’s job prospects are affected by their decision to avoid sushi (unless you want to be a sushi chef, which would be odd if you didn’t like sushi to start with). And having the choice to decline comes out of privilege. Can this nation afford to make such a decision for all its children? When people choose to drop mathematics later in their academic paths, we can say they made a decision knowing their options and the opportunities they are letting go. But do we want to make these decisions ahead of time for all students?

The American education system differs from many of the nations that are touted as high performers. In most of those countries, students are channeled into various tracks early on. This nation does not regiment its schoolchildren, because we believe that all children have potential and that they can make choices once they are old enough to know what is out there.
And the American education system is still one of the best in the world. I know the international test scores and rankings, but I also know to read the fine print. Therein you learn that once you restrict to schools where less than 50 percent of the class is in the free lunch program, the performance of students is in par with those high-performing nations. The schools that are “failing” are the ones that have 75 percent or more of their students in free lunch programs. So our schools are not failing our students; it is our society that is failing them. As most education researchers (and teachers in classrooms across the nation) will agree, the problem of public education in the United States is one of poverty. And that problem is not going to get solved by dropping the mathematics requirement in the K-12 curriculum.

In fact mathematics can help. Here is where Plato’s virtue and St. Augustine’s moral compass come back into school mathematics. Brazilian mathematician Ubiratan D’Ambrosio has been telling us for years that it is mathematics that will help our children solve the varied problems of today and tomorrow -- if we can teach them to see the inherent mathematics involved. Mathematics, historian Judith Grabinerpoints out, has evolved precisely to describe social, environmental and political, as well as industrial and scientific, problems that a society happens to confront. And it remains, to this day, our most successful method to seek out creative and productive solutions for them. (Readers perplexed by my inclusion of social, environmental and political problems above might like to google “mathematics for social justice” or “mathematics of sustainability.”)

I write this with the hope that some good may come out of Hacker’s simplistic recommendations. Students reciting their multiplication tables as fast as a bullet train are not the desired outcome of mathematics education. We want students to understand the power and limitations of the mathematics they are learning. We want students to move flexibly from one specific model of a situation to another. We want students to be able to find unexpected and novel solutions to problems that are ever-growing in their complexity.

Mathematics is where we can train young minds to do all these things. Mathematics is where we can teach that critical ability to reason analytically. Mathematics is also where we can encourage creative exploration of the multitude of options a problem solver invariably has. As college and university educators, these are points we must not forget when the next cycle of general education debates begins to shake things up on our campuses.

Gizem Karaali is an associate professor of mathematics at Pomona College, editor of the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics, associate editor of Mathematical Intelligencer and associate editor of Numeracy. Follow her on Twitter @GizemKaraali_

Saturday, February 6, 2016

VCTM February 2016 eNews

February 2016

Comments....we'd love to see them!  This edition of the VCTM eNewsletter contains some articles that should inspire some thoughts or comments.  We would like to hear what other schools and districts are doing with regard to these topics.  How are things going for you?  Let us know your observations or opinions!  The comment bar is at the bottom of the post.

Inside this edition:

  • Presidents' Message
  • Last Chance....Proposals for ATMNE Fall Conference
  • 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco: Building a Bridge to Student Success
  • Heterogeneously Grouped Mathematics Classes at Montpelier High School-  Sue Abrams, PLC Leader
  • The Intersection of Philosophies:  Middle School Common Core Math and Heterogeneous Grouping
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Resource:  EXPII 
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Presidents' Message

Happy 2016!  As educators, we are so fortunate to have multiple opportunities to start fresh—new school year, new semester, new calendar year! It’s time to try something new, but be cautious not to overdo it. Some great advice regarding how much to consider changing in your professional life comes from Steve Leinwand in his 1994 article from NCTM’s Mathematics Teacher (http://steveleinwand.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/FourPostulatesforChange.pdf). Leinwand’s suggestion? 10% per year.

VCTM’s volunteer WebMaster Sean Sullivan is hard at work developing a new and improved website. We are so excited, and will encourage you to visit as soon as it is up and running. If there is information you would like to be able to find on the VCTM website that will help us to better serve teachers and learners of mathematics in Vermont, feel free to email Sean at ssullivan@ssdvt.org. We welcome your ideas.

Are you lucky enough to get to attend the 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco April 13-16? Remember that the Early-Bird Registration deadline is March 4. Closer to home this spring is the New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics (NHTM) Annual Spring Conference on March 18 at Keene State College, followed by the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts (ATMIM) 2016 Spring Conference on Saturday March 19 in Marlboro, MA. And the Rhode Island Mathematics Teacher Association (RIMTA) will be hosting Dan Meyer for dinner on May 5 in Warwick, RI at their spring meeting! If you’d rather participate in some summer professional development, consider the the first New3 Math Conference organized by AMTNYS (New York), AMTNJ (New Jersey) and ATMNE (New England) taking place this summer at Iona College June 27-29.  The conference will feature an exciting program drawing on outstanding mathematics educators from the northeast.  Narrow Grade Band Workshops are being scheduled for PreK-K, 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, and high school during each session time.  Featured Speakers include Steve Leinwand, Jenny Tsankova, Eric Milou, Mary Behr Altieri and Jim Rubillo.  In addition to being affordable in a community atmosphere and not necessitating sub plans, a STEM Camp for participants’ children grades 1-8 is being planned as well as some exciting extra-curricular activities in New York City.  We hope you have the chance to visit one of our neighboring NCTM affiliates to enjoy some math professional development between now and VCTM’s October 2016 conference.

Happy New Year,
Christine Latulippe (Norwich University) and Kate McCann (U-32 High School)
VCTM co-Presidents
vctmpresident@gmail.com

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ATMNE Fall Conference Proposals

Present Your ideas at the 2016 ATMNE Conference

The 2016 ATMNE conference will be held October 20 and 21, 2016 in Manchester, NH, with a theme of “Vote with Math! Developing Informed Citizens through Mathematics”.  ATMNESpeakerProposals are due February 8, 2016. Whether by yourself, or with a colleague or two, please consider sharing your ideas with math educators throughout New England at this fabulous regional conference.


Remember that when you join VCTM, you automatically become a member of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England (ATMNE).  ATMNE members receive two annual newsletters, the New England Mathematics Journal (NEMJ), invitations to regional conferences and more. All ATMNE publications have gone GREEN so make sure you keep your email up to date.

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2016 NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco: Building a Bridge to Student Success


Registration is well underway for the 2016 NCTM Annual Meeting and Exposition in San Francisco, California April 13-16! More than 9,000 math educators from across the country attend this event every year to engage in professional development workshops that provide teachers with a wealth of new ideas and learning opportunities. Collaborate with fellow math educators, learn about movements in mathematics education and come back home re-energized with new tools to teach your students.

Along with many other Vermont mathematics educators, I attended the NCTM Annual Meeting in 2015 and can’t imagine not attending every year into the future. The workshops I attended and people I met transformed the work that I do and provided me with quality resources to share with the teachers I work with.


Register now at: http://www.nctm.org/Conferences-and-Professional-Development/Annual-Meeting-and-Exposition/ and come meet Jo Boaler, Dan Meyer and many more! The website link also has a downloadable resource to help you gain financial support from your school district. 
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Heterogeneously Grouped Mathematics Classes at Montpelier High School-  Sue Abrams, PLC Leader

A few high schools in Vermont do not track their mathematics classes into separate classrooms. Montpelier High School is one of them.  This is the third year that Montpelier High School has discontinued running separate classes for Geometry Honors and regular Geometry. While we still offer an honors level geometry, we teach both levels within the same classroom. The same is true for Algebra II and Algebra II Honors. Even our chemistry teacher has chosen to follow suit and offers the choice to her students.

Here is how we do this. First, we put all students into the honors level class unless they have specifically said they do not want to take the honors level. Then we give them the first quarter to decide which level they want to take for the rest of the year. Instruction is the same for both levels, but what differs are the homework assignments, the assessments, some of the projects, problem solving tasks, and the problems students choose to do when there are problem solving “stations” within the classroom.

The result? Surprisingly, the majority of students have chosen to remain in the honors level of our classes rather than switch to the regular level. Because there are no “lower” level classes anymore, there are no longer classes where a significant portion of the class is not hard-working. Often times, in our tracked regular geometry and algebra II classes of the past, many students in those levels were placed there more because of a work ethic than true difficulty in learning mathematics.
So why do they stay at the honors level? We can only guess. One reason could be that once they realize they can do honors level work, they don’t shy away from it. Another might be a source of pride. Since they are in the same class as their peers of both levels, maybe it’s cool to choose the honors classes.

Teachers are very careful not to distinguish who is in which level. They never say anything aloud about it nor do they do things like have one color for honors and a different one for regular. When we hand out tests, we are careful not to let students know who is getting which level assessment.

There have been some distinct advantages, but a few disadvantages with our heterogeneously grouped classes. The good news is that we have not slowed down the pace, more students are choosing honors geometry, and more are continuing into upper level math. Although we don’t know whether this is just a coincidence, MHS juniors last year (our first group under this system) had nearly the highest SBAC scores in Vermont, with 67% proficient.

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The Intersection of Philosophies:  Middle School Common Core Math and Heterogeneous Grouping

There is now much discussion about not teaching a full Algebra I curriculum in the Middle Schools to allow all students to progress through the Common Core Standards in a traditional fashion, rather than allowing a smaller percentage of students progress through a compression of grades 6-8 in grades 6 and 7, with grade 8 having Algebra I taught.  While teaching all students heterogeneously in Middle Schools in all subjects is the curricular ideal, is this the mathematical ideal for all students? From a high school perspective, this creates a situation, for some students, to 'double-up' in math in high school to be able to take calculus before entering college.  

We'd like to know your thoughts or comments on how your district is handling this issue so that others can know how your district has worked with this issue. 
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Rookie of the Year Nominations


Do you have a rising star in your school or district in the field of mathematics who deserves recognition?  VCTM Rookie of the year is going to be presented to three outstanding and well-deserving rising stars in math education within Vermont one in each of the grade levels (Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8) and High School.)  Awardees will be given a cash prize and plaque, a year's membership to VCTM, and be expected to share their experiences with the VT math community in its eNewsletter and be invited to present the following year at the VCTM fall conference.  To qualify, the nominees must be in the first three calendar years of their teaching (either part or full-time), and be nominated by a VCTM member.  The nomination form has room for your nomination letter to be cut/pasted, or if you prefer, it can be emailed in as well (details are in the nomination form).  Nominations are open until June 1, 2016.
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Resource:  EXPII 


Michelle Newstadt is the Director of Education with a new Educational Technology startup, Expii.com. It is a free, interactive website where students, teachers, tutors, and enthusiasts are encouraged to add their voices and learning approaches to the canon of lessons and explanations that are hosted on the site. Currently, they are reaching out to educators and education thought leaders regarding a new feature on our site, Expii Solve.

Expii Solve is a free weekly set of five thought-provoking, interactive, and challenging math problems composed by Po-Shen Loh, a math professor at Carnegie Mellon University and coach of the US International Math Olympiad team. These problems vary in difficulty, beginning with the most accessible to the almost impossible. It is intended to show an interesting side of math, with often a surprising answer.   If you like what you see, you can join the site and  contribute and comment to others on their ideas, plans and problems.



Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 2015

The Fall has seemingly flown by, and the VCTM Board has been busy at work looking at ways to connect the math community statewide.  The first new initiative is the Rookie of the Year honorees, and other opportunities will be rolling out this spring, including a new and improved VCTM website- so stay tuned!

Inside this edition:
  • Presidents' Message
  • Rookie of the Year
  • Presidential Award Winners
  • Two Great T^3 Opportunities
  • NCTM and ATMNE Conference News!
  • Technology in Math Education Survey
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Presidents' Message

Greetings from Washington County!

Your VCTM Board of Directors held a retreat in Randolph, VT in November, getting lots of business taken care of and organizing ourselves for a great future. We are so fortunate to have dedicated Board Members volunteering their time to help build a math educators community throughout the state of Vermont—THANK YOU! If you have interest in serving on the VCTM Board in any capacity big or small, please let us know. Many hands make light work.

October’s 2015 Annual VCTM Conference was a huge success, and we were excited to see many of you there, sharing time and resources with colleagues and drinking in copious amounts of delicious mathematics! If you would like to help out with the 2016 VCTM Conference please email the Conference Chair, Patty Kelly at pkelly@ssdvt.org —it’s never too early to begin planning a great event! You can also reach out to us (vctmpresident@gmail.com) or your Zone Representative whenever you have ideas and input about how VCTM can better serve teachers and learners of mathematics in Vermont.

Thinking of conferences, and great opportunities for Professional Development, have you ever considered sharing YOUR ideas with colleagues? The 2016 ATMNE conference will be held October 20 and 21, 2016 in Manchester, NH, with a theme of “Vote with Math! Developing Informed Citizens through Mathematics”.  ATMNE SpeakerProposals are due February 8, 2016 
Remember that when you join VCTM, you automatically become a member of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in New England (ATMNE).  ATMNE members receive two annual newsletters, the New England Mathematics Journal (NEMJ), invitations to regional conferences and more. All ATMNE publications have gone GREEN so make sure you keep your email up to date.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.  Please be in touch,
Christine Latulippe (Norwich University) and Kate McCann (U-32 High School)
VCTM co-Presidents
vctmpresident@gmail.com

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Rookie of the Year

Do you have a rising star in your school or district in the field of mathematics who deserves recognition?  VCTM Rookie of the year is going to be presented to three outstanding and well-deserving rising stars in math education within Vermont one in each of the grade levels (Elementary (K-5), Middle (6-8) and High School.)  Awardees will be given a cash prize and plaque, a year's membership to VCTM, and be expected to share their experiences with the VT math community in its eNewsletter and be invited to present the following year at the VCTM fall conference.  To qualify, the nominees must be in the first three calendar years of their teaching (either part or full-time), and be nominated by a VCTM member.  The nomination form has room for your nomination letter to be cut/pasted, or if you prefer, it can be emailed in as well (details are in the nomination form).  Nominations are open until June 1, 2016.

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Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching

Congratulations go out to Sue Abrams from Montpelier (math) and Stewart Williamson from Peoples Academy (science) as the 2013 PAEMST awardees from Vermont.  After an agonizing nearly two-year wait, both were named winners in July and attended festivities in the nation's capital, including a visit to the White House and meeting President Obama!  Oh yeah, they each also received a $10,000 prize as well!  

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Two Great T^3 Opportunities from Jean McKenny 

As a T^3 National Instructor I have the opportunity to apply to host T^3 Training in Vermont.  If you are interested in being a host school for either a TI-84 + CE or a TI-Nspire CX training this summer contact me immediately as I have a very short time frame (early December) for requesting summer 1, 2, or 3 day workshops for Vermont.  These workshop descriptions are available at education.ti.com.  Host schools get handhelds (calculators) for each participating teacher as well as software for computer labs in the host school.  Contact me asap if you might be interested.

This year the T^3 International Conference will take place February 26-28, 2016 in Orlando, FL. This is a wonderful conference for mathematics and science educators.  More information about the conference can be found at education.ti.com.  Because I am a T^3 National Instructor, this year for the first time, I am able to give teachers attending a registration discount.  The regular on-site price is $195.  The early bird price is $165. If you contact me for a registration code I can obtain a $100 price for you.  Just e-mail me at jmckenny@together.net if you are planning on attending, and I will give you the code.  T^3 International is a wonderful conference and if you have never attended this special might be just what you were waiting for.

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NCTM and ATMNE Conference News!

VCTM held their annual conference on October 15, 2015. Thank you to Shawn Towle, NCTM Affiliate Services Committee Chair and Eastern 1 Representative, for attending and presenting with VCTM's NCTM representative Patty Kelly about NCTM's Principles to Actions toolkit.  NCTM Past president, MikeShaughnessy delivered the keynote and it was, of course, excellent. 

As well, just before Halloween, the ATMNE (New England) conference took place in Portland, ME hosted by ATOMIM and ATMNE.  That conference had nearly 600 attendees who got to experience wonderful presentations from other math teachers from throughout New England and there were packed rooms for sessions and keynotes led by Diane Briars, Don Balka, Greg Tang and Dan Meyer. Next years' ATMNE conference will be hosted by NHTM (New Hampshire) and will be held in Manchester, NH on October 20-21, 2016.  Keynotes planned include Peg Smith, Tom Reardon and NCTM President-elect Matt Larsen.  

Registration is also now open for the NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in San Francisco, CA. Come join us for an amazing NCTM experience April 13-16, 2016!


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Technology in Math Education Survey

The following request is from Caroline Caswell from Rhode Island College

Being a mathematician and an educator for more than twenty-five years, I have an interest in how teachers are using technology both for the planning of mathematics instruction and delivery. To what end are teachers equipped to implement technology effectively? Do they have the physical tools and skill set necessary to be successful? As an assistant professor at Rhode Island College, I am asking you to participate in a research study about the technology practices of mathematics teachers. To answer these some of these questions, I have created a survey to assess mathematics teachers (elementary and secondary) technology practices. I have included a link to the survey.  Before completing the survey, you may have some questions. The following questions and answers are provided for your as you consider whether you would like to participate in the study. 

What do I have to do to participate? The tools you need to participate are: thirty minutes of time, a computer with internet access, and the link above. By taking the survey, you are agreeing to participate. 
How will my responses be protected? All results will be compiled as group data only. There is no identifiable information collected, meaning the survey does not request your name or your school’s. How will I benefit from completing the survey? Although there are no tangible benefits from participating, you will add to the body of knowledge of math teacher practices. Your voice will be heard. What are the potential drawbacks to participating in the survey? The only thing you risk is time. It will take you about 15-20 minutes to complete. If you have any questions regarding the survey or it’s promulgation, please feel free to contact me, 401-829-1168.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

VCTM Fall Conference: Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals

Volunteer to present at the Fall VCTM conference on Friday, October 16 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph and share your ideas with colleagues from across the state in a 60-minute session. Sessions traditionally involve a speaker or speakers relating ideas to an audience, and often include handouts and audience participation. Presentations might also take the form of a panel discussion where multiple teachers share ideas and experiences on a particular topic; VCTM welcomes groups of teachers to present their ideas together.

All presenters are encouraged to share and utilize manipulatives, curricula, and effective pedagogical strategies during their presentations. However, conference presentations are not intended to be commercials or promotions of particular products by individuals who may benefit financially from sale of the products.

The deadline for proposals is July 15, 2015. Speakers will be notified by August 15, 2015. Please complete the form linked here.

Multiple submissions are allowed, but priority will be given to including a wide variety of presenters. 

Questions?  Contact Kate McCann at kmccann@u32.org.

Friday, May 15, 2015

May 2015

Busy Busy Busy!  We are all racing to the finish line of the school year, but here are some things that you might want to consider and make note of:  

  • Presidents' Report
  • VCTM 2015 Fall Conference: Save the Date!  
  • Call for Proposals
  • Math Morsels Round 3
  • NCTM Boston
  • Math Educators's Night at Fenway Park
  • Looking Down the Road…(I-89):  New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics are starting to plan for the ATMNE 2016 Fall Conference
  • Common Core Statistics for Secondary Educators
  • Free Mathematics Teacher Magazines
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Presidents' Report

Hello, and Happy Spring!  

Please read this newsletter for information about our VCTM 2015 Fall Conference (October 16th—mark your calendars!) and our presence at the NCTM Annual Meeting in Boston last month.

VCTM is collaborating with the Vermont Agency of Education to support their “Math Morsels” series of workshops. Through our Liaison with the Vermont Agency of Education, Lara White, VCTM is providing financial support throughout the 2014-2015 school year. These events are geared toward teachers of grades 6-12, and typically take place from 4 to 6pm with ½ hour of socializing and snacking followed by a workshop.  The first round of Math Morsels took place in November/December 2014, with a topic of Proficiency Based Learning. The second round of Math Morsels took place in January/February 2015, with a topic of SBAC summative assessment. Keep your eyes and ears open (or contact Lara White at lara.white@state.vt.us) for the final round of Math Morsels will be hosted in May/June 2015, around the topic of assessment in a proficiency-based system.

It was wonderful to have the NCTM Annual Meeting and Expo in the northeast this spring.  NCTM provided 60 complimentary registrations to ATMIM (Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts); ATMIM then voted to share those equally across the ATMNE affiliates.  VCTM gladly gave away free registrations to Sally Conway (Vergennes Union Elementary School), Marlene Allen (Springfield High School), Jennifer Ericson (Riverside Middle School), and VCTM board members: Jean McKenny, Harvie Porter, Sue Abrams, David Rome, Mary Calder, Patty Kelly, Sean Sullivan.

Most exciting is that we have been adding to our VCTM Board of Directors this winter/spring and are still welcoming more members to join us. If you would like to take on a leadership role and share in our work with math teachers around Vermont, please reach out to us. Responsibilities large and small are available, especially related to conference planning!

Best wishes from your VCTM Co-Presidents,
Christine Latulippe and Kate McCann

clatulip@norwich.edu, kmccann@u32.org
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VCTM 2015 Fall Conference: Save the Date!

VCTM invites you to our Annual Mathematics Conference, “Growing Math Minds”, which will be held on Friday, October 16 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph.  We will welcome Dr. Michael Shaughnessy, NCTM Past President 2010-2012, as our keynote speaker. 

“Growing Math Minds” will have presentations focused on instructional strategies to promote the Common Core Mathematical Practices; Growth mindset: mathematical discourse in the mathematics classroom; and Proficiency Based Learning for career and college readiness.
What are YOU doing in your classroom today? Feel the energy that comes with organizing your thoughts for others, getting feedback from colleagues, and taking your professional development beyond the walls of your school.

Join us for a day of conversation, presentations, idea sharing, and resource gathering. Network with mathematics educators from across the state and learn about what’s working well in other teachers’ classrooms.
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Call for Proposals

Volunteer to present at the VCTM conference, and share your ideas with colleagues from across the state in a 60-minute session. Sessions traditionally involve a speaker or speakers relating ideas to an audience, and often include handouts and audience participation. Presentations might also take the form of a panel discussion where multiple teachers share ideas and experiences on a particular topic; VCTM welcomes groups of teachers to present their ideas together.
All presenters are encouraged to share and utilize manipulatives, curricula, and effective pedagogical strategies during their presentations. However, conference presentations are not intended to be commercials or promotions of particular products by individuals who may benefit financially from sale of the products.
The deadline for proposals is July 15, 2015. Speakers will be notified by August 15, 2015. Please complete the form linked here:
Multiple submissions are allowed, but priority will be given to including a wide variety of presenters.
Email Kate McCann at kmccann@u32.org with questions.

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Math Morsels Round 3

We want to develop discussion networks for math educators in grades 6-12, regionally and state-wide.   Share what you are doing; hear what is happening near you.
May/June Regional Meetings: Sharing Assessment Strategies, Grading, Reporting and Retakes (link to registration) Join us for a conversation about assessment in a proficiency-based system.  Educators will share ideas about assessments and discuss important issues around grading and reporting.  How do you know when a student is proficient? What is the retake philosophy? How are you reporting proficiency to students and parents? (Check out our seven regional venues and a virtual option as well!)

Find the place and date that work best for you.
            May 20, South Burlington High School, 4-6 p.m.
May 21, North Country Career Center (Newport), 4-6 p.m.
May 28, Montpelier High School, 4-6 p.m.
June 4, Rutland Intermediate School, 4-6 p.m.

Would you rather join a virtual conversation? I will arrange a GoTo Meeting option.
(Please place a checkmark on the virtual option within the registration form.)

Lara White, M.Ed.;  Secondary Mathematics Program and School Effectiveness Coordinator
Vermont Agency of Education  (802) 479-1364 – lara.white@state.vt.us

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NCTM Boston

I had the pleasure of representing the Vermont Council of Teachers of Mathematics at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting & Exposition in Boston, MA from April 15-18, 2015 . During this conference time I attended the Eastern Caucus Meeting, the Delegate Assembly, and many conference workshops.

During the Eastern Caucus Meeting we discussed several issues that NCTM is currently navigating. These issues included affiliate (for example, VCTM) membership, creating diverse affiliate and NCTM leadership, computer science and/or coding courses replacing high school math courses, and high stakes testing across the country. We brainstormed what our affiliates are doing to support these issues within our areas. We also shared work that is going on in our affiliates and new ways that we are bringing conferences and new learning to our geographic areas.

The conference itself was an amazing experience! Having the opportunity to be among  many math educators and national leaders such as Jo Boaler, Dan Meyer, and Diana Briars provided me with numerous opportunities for rich discussions and professional development. One of the  conference themes that was overarching many sessions was using the resource, Principles to Actions (published by NCTM in 2014), within schools and districts as a professional development tool to inform instructional practices and drive the shifts in our teaching of mathematics. This resource is available at nctm.org in either book or e-book formats.

Another overarching theme of the workshops that I attended was the importance of making use of teaching strategies that foster the student mathematical practices of the CCSSM. This included providing students with open-ended tasks that can be differentiated and that support deep mathematical discourse. The student-centered practices of engaging in a mathematical task and then expressing reasoning to others provides for a higher level of thinking and embeds a student’s understanding into long-term memory. These tasks are also often hands-on, use manipulatives, and provide students with an engaging classroom experience.

I’m looking forward to using the tools and resources that I gained from the conference and thank VCTM for supporting our learning as math professionals in Vermont.

Patty Kelly
VCTM Board of Directors
K-5 Math Coach, Springfield School District, Springfield, VT



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Math Educators's Night at Fenway Park 

New England Finalists for the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics Teaching  were honored with certificates and small gifts from ATMIM and ATMNE 
on Friday April 17, 2015.  Vermont was represented by Laura Botte Fretz (Edmunds Middle School, Burlington) and Tom Young (Waitsfield Elementary School) represented Vemont. Also honored were the 2014 Father Stanley J. Bezsuzka Award Winner from ATMIM (Lisa Mikus from Newton Public Schools) and from ATMNE Dr. Anne Collins from Lesley University.  The night at Fenway coincided with the NCTM Conference that drew over 500 attendees to the game (...in which the Red Sox won 3-2 over the Orioles)


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Looking Down the Road…(I-89):  New Hampshire Teachers of Mathematics are Planning the ATMNE 2016 Fall Conference

NHTM is beginning to plan and prepare for the conference and are looking for some willing folks to assist on their committees.  They are looking for an individual who is willing to work on the program committee who would serve by identifying potential speakers from Vermont and then to be available to review speaker proposals.  If you are interested in assisting, please send your name, grade level(s) and email address to Harvie Porter at hporter@mail.ruhs.k12.vt.us, your ATMNE Representative from VCTM. 

If you would like to get involved in a different committee (Exhibits; Hospitality and Special Events; NCTM Bookstore; Registration and Membership; Session and Workshop Support; Signs and Printing; and Student Hosts), let Harvie know as well and he will pass along the information. 

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Common Core Statistics for Secondary Educators

Stacey Anthony of Essex HS is offering a 3-credit UVM course this summer designed for secondary math teachers desiring a thorough review of all standards included in the Probability and Statistics conceptual category of CCSS.  The course will take place June 22-26, with pre- and post-class readings and discussions.  For more information, contact: santhony@uvm.edu.

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Free Mathematics Teacher Magazines

Former Hartland Elementary teacher (and VCTM Board Member) Mary-Anne Johnson Boyce has about twenty years’ worth of Mathematics teacher and Middle School Math Teacher magazines that she would like for someone to adopt them, as well as some math books as well.  If you are interested in them, drop her a line at doublesignprop@yahoo.com