Tuesday, March 27, 2007

NCTM

I just got back from NCTM, and as usual, absorbed some great math and bought some potentially useful books. I loved Steve Leinwand's talk. He made several good points. For example, he does (did?) 5 minutes of cumulative review EVERY day. That adds up to 15 hours of instruction a school year, and his argument was that no one learns a topic after 2 lectures and 2 homework assignment. They need refreshers. He also uses the review to pause and point out meanings of various vocabulary terms, indicating that the really low-performing students are stunted by their lack of knowledge of what you're talking about (meanings of math terms).

I also learned a great calcululator trick. To graph a piecewise function, you can do it all in Y1 as:
Y1 = (x+1)( x<2)
+ (3x-7)(x>2)
all on one line to graph x+1 for values less than 2 and 3x-7 for values greater than 2.

A North Dakota teacher discussed how she teaches polar graphing of limacons and lemniscates and flowers so that it sticks in the students' heads.

I bought books on differentiating instruction for high school math (woot woot, you never find it for this level and this topic) and a "share & compare" strategy book for math. There's also a math joke book from Nasco for calculus I had to have.

Someone shared with me that the fun math ladies (?) instead of always putting name_____ on the top of tests vary it like:

math star ______
_______ loves fractions
future mathematician _______

etc.

So all in all, useful conference.

1. I'd love to hear your reviews about the differentiation books, and how they impact your classes. Differentiated curriculum/assessment is a concept I have yet to tackle (and really be sold on).

2. Anonymous8:39 PM

I found a lot of the things I was doing with my classes was considered differentiated instruction - tiered assignments, menus, think boxes; and I always start a year using the VARK with my students to determine their learning styles. Those little pieces of knowledge DO seems to make a difference in reaching the students.

But that has been with the concepts of middle school math (which in Georgia now includes concepts in geometry that I didn't have until the 10th grade!). Next year, I'll be in a collaborative classroom at the high school level, so I'm interested to hear what you've picked up in the way of book for that level.

3. Anonymous2:11 PM

I, too, had a great time in Atlanta at NCTM. One idea I picked up there to reinforce number sense was a game that I liked so much I made a website out of it last week. Check it out: Number Challenge.

4. Captain,

What a cool idea. I hope I win :).