On the first day of school, before kids came, before we really knew how our classrooms would look, the handful of Math teachers in our small school were told we would all be going to the Regional NCTM Conference in Atlantic City. It is, after all, very close to our school.
At that time I would have never known how my day would look. I wouldn’t have believed I could have taken so many good ideas from one event. Yet, after a short time to process all of the amazing things I learned in a single day, I have some short reflections on the NCTM Regional conference.
First, math people are extremely intelligent. Conversations I had with people during the day were generally at a very high level despite being mostly about primary math. I was very impressed with the people I spoke to during the sessions. I also got to spend some time with my friend and “edumath celebrity” Justin Aion. His session on reflective blogging was by far the best delivered, and reignited my desire to reflect and write.
I had mixed feelings about the presenters. While I took many good ideas from this event, most of the presenters did not bring the quality I was expecting from a national conference. It wasn’t their content, simply their ability to disseminate information and facilitate discussion that (as a whole) I found slightly underwhelming. Having been to many regional conferences and EdCamps, I was surprised that the quality of the delivery at NCTM wasn’t quite as strong as at smaller events.
The best thing, as with any event, were the conversations and ideas generated while interacting with other educators. During sessions, while discussing with educators, I took away or developed several activities and ideas that I can put into practice immediately. In addition to this I may have stumbled upon a good idea, Math Talks for Kids. After talking with a great Math teacher from Connecticut about Math Talks and Math Workshop I was thinking of sharing them. The original idea was class-to-class. Instead I think we should create a place where we can keep a growing resource of Math Talks delivered to kids, by kids that cover major ideas and standards by grade level. I plan on working on this in the coming weeks, starting with my own class!
Overall, despite a few surprises, NCTM was amazing. This is my first year as a “math” teacher rather than a classroom teacher, but before having gone to NCTM I didn’t view myself as such. Now, instead of being a classroom teacher that happens to teach math, I am sold. As much as I loved teaching literacy, count me among the converted. Teaching math is amazing and I am so excited to build my students’ love of math! That ought to be enough to consider the Atlantic City regional NCTM- Mathamazing.