Math Fun in San Antonio – NCTM 2017 Annual

Next week is the NCTM Annual Math Conference in San Antonio, TX.  It’s a great time to go to Texas, as the weather hasn’t gotten too hot. I remember the last time NCTM was in San Antonio, when I was still teaching high school, and met up with all my teacher friends. We had such a great time, not only going to different workshops at the conference, but exploring the area (a trip to the Alamo was a must) and eating and shopping along the River Walk. I am going this year as part of the education team for Casio, where there will be a lot of fun to be had at our exhibit booth and sponsored events.  I have been going to NCTM Annuals for over 23 years (what?????), and as usual, I am looking forward to reconnecting with math educators and friends from all over the country, many of whom I only get to see this one time a year. So, it’s more than just a place to learn new ideas and collaborate with like-minded educators, it’s a time to renew friendships and share memories. I certainly am hoping to catch up with as many folks as I can, even if just to share a cup of coffee or a hug as we pass in the conference hall.

Naturally, the goal of attending a conference is to learn new things to bring back to your classroom or to the educators you work with. It’s one of the aspects of these conferences I love the most – the ‘renewed’ energy and excitement that occurs when you see a strategy that you want to take back to your class or you learn a new approach to a familiar concept that you know will resonate with your students, or you find that perfect resource for an upcoming unit. I always consider these conferences as a way to reaffirm why we teach math – seeing what others are doing, sharing stories and ideas, and leaving with at least one or two ideas that are going to spark your students creativity and understanding. For me personally, I always had a key focus (say Algebra, or Geometry or technology or manipulatives) to narrow down the workshops I went to, with the goal to find a few new resources, ideas and strategies to incorporate into my teaching over the summer so that next years classes would be even better. This type of focus helped to make ‘teaching’  a new adventure every year, even if I was teaching the same subjects, and it also made sure that as a teacher, I was always challenging myself to be better and find relevant strategies and multiple ways to help my students learn.

One aspect that I always look for is technology applications and resources. I am a firm believer in the idea that technology, whether it be a calculator, a tablet, a computer, a video, can be a valuable resource to help students both learn and develop mathematical understanding, but more importantly to visualize abstract concepts and explore ‘what if’s’.  I am sure there are many of you out there as well looking for some technology workshops as you attend NCTM this year, so I wanted to share some workshops from some of the amazing teachers that work with Casio, as these are always such great hands-on experiences.


  • Thursday, April 6 – 9:30 – 10:30, Room 213AB Conv Center: Exhibitor’s Workshop What’s New At Casio: Viewing Mathematics through a New Prizm (or Two) 
  • Thursday, April 6, 3:15 – 4:30, Room 217C Conv. Center: Polar, Parametric, Rectangular Graphs – Really See the Connections! with DeeDee Henderson
  • Friday, April 7, 11 – 12:00, Room Presido ABC (Grand Hyatt): Conceptualizing Polynomials with Jennifer N. Morris
  • Friday, April 7, 1:30 – 2:45, Room 224 Conv. Center: Conics – The Ugly Duckling of Algebra 2 with Denise Young & Tracey Zak Johnson.
  • Friday, April 7, 2:o0 – 3:00, Room 008AB Conv. Center: The Probabilities and Mathematics of “Wheel of Fortune” with Mike Reiners
  • Saturday, April 8, 8:00 – 9:15, Room 006D Conv. Center: Hands-on Activities + Technology = Mathematical Understanding through Authentic Modeling with Tom Beatini

We will also be having a fun time at the booth, Thursday – Saturday, playing games, having give-aways, talking and doing mathematics with our hand-held technology, so be sure to stop by and say hi (Booth #631) and come play with math. I will be there most of the time and hope to meet some new math educators and give a hug to old friends!!


CAMT 2016 – Worth the Texas Heat

canal-san-antonio-tx-view-one-canals-downtown-texas-31902254CAMT (Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching) starts tomorrow in San Antonio, TX. Texas math teachers know all about CAMT – it is a tradition, so you can be sure that Texas math teachers will be well represented. It’s a huge conference with a large attendee turnout not only from Texas but from all over.  When I was living in Houston, I attended and spoke at CAMT every year – it’s a great conference with a really fun vibe – perhaps because it always happens in the summer and everyone is on summer break and feeling relaxed and pumped to get some new ideas for the upcoming year.  Whatever the reason, it’s always a great conference and is in beautiful San Antonio, TX this year, with it’s lovely River Walk and great restaurants and shops.  If you are attending, I wish you a successful conference where you learn new things to bring back to your classroom or schools.

Casio will be there naturally,  with our fabulous Texas folks, Amy Chow and Marty Frank there ready to do some math with Casio technology and work with leaders and teachers on supporting their tech needs. Be sure to stop by booth #133 and check out all the calculators and resource books for all grade levels and subjects, and do some comparisons and hands-on learning.  We also have several presenters who are doing some great technology workshops, which I have listed below:

  1. Wednesday, June 29 from 11:30 – 12:30 pm in Room 302 (Ballroom)
    • Grades 3rd – 5th
    • Presenter: Sandra Browning
    • It’s Elementary! Gain a deeper understanding of how technology helps students in grades 3-5 gain deeper understanding of patterns that build to proportional reasoning, an important concept in grades 5-8.
  2. Thursday, June 30 from 10:00 – 11:00 am in Room 005 (River level)
    • Grades 9 – 12
    • Presenter: Tracey Zak Johnson
    • Pushing the Limits of Your Graphing Calculator for the EOC Algebra Test. Make the difference between passing and failing the STAAR exam with the natural-display graphing calculator. Learn testing strategies and bring life to linear and quadratic equations using real-life situations. This is a hands-on session so come learn and use technology to enhance math instruction.
  3. Thursday, June 30 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm in Room 217D (Concourse Level)
    • Grades 6 – 8
    • Presenter: Kathy Mittag from
    • Have Fun Teaching Middle School TEKS Statistics Concepts. A hands-on workshop where participants will collect real-world data and then explore the concepts of mean, median and use various plots, such as stem-and-leaf, box, and histograms to explore and analyze data. TEKS statistics concepts will be highlighted in this session.
  4. Thursday, June 20 from 2:30 – 3:30 pm in Room 005 (River Level)
    • Grades 9 – 12
    • Presenter: Tracey Zak Johnson
    • “Real Life” Math. This will be an exciting session, using real situations/pictures and designing a curve of best fit to model the data. Data interpretation from 8th grade math through calculus will be explored and all participants leave with free trial software to take the lesson back to their classrooms to help their students understand quadratics.
  5. Friday, July 1 from 11:30 am – 12:30 pm in Room 005 (River Level)
    • Grades 9 – 12
    • Presenter: Catherine Tabor
    • Polarizing Art. Delve into the exciting world of polar coordinates and equations through the use of polar art. Examine how changes in variables can cause radical changes in the graphs.  Participants will create beautiful pieces of polar art using calculator technology and see what students have created. Participants will leave with ready to use lesson for their classroom.
  6. Friday, July 1 from 1:00 – 2:00 pm in Room 301 (Ballroom Level)
    • Grade 9 -12
    • Presenter: Kathy Mittag
    • A Hands-on Mathematics Function Activity Integrating Science Gas Laws & beautiful-river-walk-san-antonio-26039500Technology. New ides to integrate math, science, and technology to support student learning. This is a hands-on workshop using inexpensive manipulatives to model functions for scientific gas laws. We will cover topics such as measurement, mean, graphing, tables, independent/dependent variables, direct/indirect/inverse functions, dimensional analysis, domain, range, problem solving, interpretation of function graphs, percent error, and TEKS.

Those of you going – enjoy your conference, learn a lot, stop by say hi to Amy and Marty at booth #133, check out the sessions above – you will have a great time and walk away with some ready-to-use ideas for integrating technology. And don’t forget to enjoy San Antonio!