NCTM Regionals in Phoenix, AZ and Philadelphia, PA are going on this week and next (Phoenix, AZ is October 26-28, Philadelphia, PA is October 31 – November 2). The regional conferences are significantly smaller than the National conferences, and draw much more of a local group of math teachers versus the more wide-spread attendance, both national and international, at the NCTM Annual Conference (this year in San Antonio, TX, April 5-8, 2017). There use to be 3 regional conferences, and this year we are down to two, so the question arises, what’s the point? Are these Regional Conferences worth the time and effort? Well – as a math teacher who faithfully attended regional conferences for years and years, my answer is yes.
Here’s my short list of why there is in fact, a very definite “point’ to the NCTM Regionals:
- They are in the fall, after teachers have had a chance to get their classes going, understand their students, and get in the swing of things. It’s about the time when the dust has settled and teachers are looking for some new ideas, engaging activities, technology apps and devices – anything to help support student learning. The Regionals’ provide a chance to spark some creativity for teachers who are finally having some breathing room after the chaos of the start of a new school year.
- These are much more local conferences, so there’s a lot of teachers from the same area as both presenters and attendees – it builds some camaraderie, with many local schools and districts providing a day or two of professional learning time for their teachers to attend. It supports local math initiatives and provides teachers with new ideas and strategies that they then take back and share with other teachers and their students.
- The Regional conferences are less expensive, allowing for more teachers who want to attend to actually do so. Often times schools/districts will pay for teachers to go to the Regionals since they are a more affordable and they can send more teachers as well (more bang for their buck).
- They occur early in a school year, so that math leaders and those who make ‘funding’ decisions can check out new curriculum, textbooks, technology, professional development, and math resources at the Exhibit Hall and at sessions. This allows for them to arrange for samples or pilots or meetings to plan for things like textbook adoptions or technology purchases or professional development support. Teachers often go to these Regional events and bring ideas back to their school leaders of what might be good for their schools/students. There is time to research, try-out, and get a feel for what resources might be best before any funding/purchases need to be made (usually the Spring).
- It provides a place to learn more about mathematics standards, Education Policy (like ESSA), standardized testing, and other math-related issues that impact teaching and student achievement
- It’s an opportunity for math educators to get together to collaborate, learn, share and get informed and rejuvenated about mathematics education. That’s the most important thing – educators learning together to find new and different ways to engage their students in mathematics learning. Nothing more powerful than that.
So – yes. There is a point. Hopefully there are many of you out there who are able to take
advantage of the NCTM Regionals this year. If not, the same can be said of your local and state math conferences, so don’t pass up the chance to attend those if you can.
Casio is in attendance at both Phoenix and Philadelphia NCTM Regionals, so be sure to stop by the booth and gets some hands-on play time with our technology and math resources. Not to mention entering the raffle for a free graphing calculator. We also have workshops happening at both conferences, so be sure to check those out as well.
- Thursday, October 27
- Exploring the Connection Between Recursive Sequences and Composition of Functions Room 102 C, Grades 10-12, 9:30 – 10:30 am
- You’ve Got To Move it! Transforming Mathematics – Room 227 AB, Grade Levels 8-10, 1:30 Pm – 2:45 pm
- Friday October 28
- Linear or Not Linear: That is the Question Room 101AB, 8 – 9 am
- The Probabilities of “Wheel of Fortune” – Room West 301A, 8 – 9 am
- Tuesday, November 1
- Problem Solving for Middle Grades Pre-Service Teachers Room 105AB, Coaches/Leaders/Teacher Educators, 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
- Polar, Parametric, Rectangular – Can You See the Connection? Room Franklin 3/4, Grade Levels 10-12, 3:15-4:15 pm
- Wednesday, November 2
- Hands-on Activities & Technology=Mathematical Understanding Through Authentic Modeling Room Franklin 3/4, Grade 8-10, 9:45 – 11:00am
- Exploring the Connection Between Recursive Sequences and Composition of Functions Room 201B, Grades 8-10, 12:30 – 1:30 pm