Monday, April 18, 2016

2016 #NCTMannual reflection: Purpose

There is a lot to process from NCTM 2016. Being a contributor for the Global Math Department this week, I decided to feature snippets on the blog here in order to kill two birds with one stone.

I found it useful to connect all the NCTM goodness with a theme: PURPOSE.

• Marilyn Burns (@mburnsmath)
Be purposeful about what we want our students to do. I loved this slide, connecting reading and math:

• Christopher Danielson (@Trianglemancsd):
Be purposeful with knowing the ability of students. Christopher said,
"Students can. We should let them."
This idea lends itself to students discovering properties in math. Often, when things get discovered in math, they are named after the discoverer. Why don't we do this more with students?"
Goods here.

• Elham Kazemi (@ekazemi):
Be purposeful with a school/department/grade having a shared vision of quality math instruction. Create a structure at your school to learn together. We went on to explore numberless word problems where the purpose is to help students make better sense of the context before applying the numbers. She shared this post by Brian Bushart.

• Carl Oliver (@carloliwitter):
Be purposeful with the space you provide students to explore mathematical ideas. Be purposeful with selecting the task.
Goods here.

• IGNITE talks:
Max Ray (@maxmathforum):
Be purposeful with the resources, tasks, activities, and ideas you pull from the internet. Be purposeful with the coherency in your teaching. Do the resources, tasks, activities, and ideas you pull from the internet add to the coherency of the mathematics you teach?

Jennifer Wilson (@jwilson828):
Be purposeful with the time you allow students to solve math. It's not like fast food, it's like slow food. Enjoy the math students can do when we make it a purpose to do #slowmath.

• ShadowCon16
Kaneka Turner (@KanekaTurner)
Be purposeful in making math a social experience by inviting others into this awesome experience. Kaneka shared the importance of being invited. Call to action: invite at least one person to be part of the math experience.

Robert Kaplinsky (@robertkaplinsky):
The purpose of empowering others through influence can have huge positive results. Robert shared a couple of personal parts on his life and how influential people throughout his life have helped shape who he is today. Call to action: your your power to influence and empower others.

Graham Fletcher (@gfletchy):
Be purposeful in knowing what/how you teach by understanding the standards. Be a better story-teller in your classroom by accurately knowing the standards. Call to action: find out more about a standard you teach.

• Brian Shay (@MrBrianShay):
Be purposeful with polynomials and probability. Brian had us working on using spinners and coins to add meaning to multiplying polynomials.
Goods here.

• Peg Smith:
Be purposeful in framing the task so it "invites everyone in." Furthermore, ask purposeful questions when working with students during problem-solving tasks. Lastly, it's critical for the teacher to explain the goals because it's hard to have a conversation if it's unclear what you're trying to accomplish.
***Let's invite Peg to the #MTBoS and Twitter.

• Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel):
Be purposeful in the feedback we give students after they make mistakes. Thanks to Robert Berry and Dylan Wiliam, I shared with teachers the importance of providing feedback that benefits students and at the same time challenging them to take traditional feedback and rework it so it's better at moving the learning forward.

• Christina Tondevold (@BuildMathMinds):
Be purposeful in working toward the terminology in the standards, specifically "fluently" and "using strategies" in the K-5 standards. We looked at examples of subitizing, cardinality, and strategies like making ten, double-plus-one, finding fives. We need to be purposeful in students making sense of math for themselves.

• Jason Zimba
Be purposeful in decluttering what we teach, what we ask of students, and what we give to students. Something he got me thinking about: do we Math 8 teachers need to teach the "elimination" process when solving linear systems. Does the procedure support the conceptual understanding? and can we allow high school teachers to teach it while Math 8 teachers focus on graphing and substitution?

I hope to see you at NCTM 2017 in San Antonio.
Send in a speaker proposal here by May 1, 2016.

San Fransisco,


  1. Thanks for the summary. I want to know more, more,more about Andrew's purposeful feedback. (will listen in on Global Math Dept). I noticed you ended with Proposals here. So here is my question: what kind of presentations are YOU wanting to attend in 2017?

    1. We worked on asking students open questions or requesting they better represent their thinking. We worked on turning closed feedback into more open feedback. For example, instead of saying, "We went over this yesterday." Can we rework the feedback so it sounds more like, "Think of something we did yesterday that might connect with the problem you're working on."

      You can find examples of feedback that moves the learning forward on my presentation found here:

      The presentation I enjoy have me thinking, doing math, talking with others about math and strategies, are engaging, and leave me with practical and accessible resources and calls to action. Very similar to how I like to see classrooms. What about you?

  2. Thanks for the snippets of content. You always find a way to drop value bombs. Godspeed!

  3. Thanks for the snippets of content. You always find a way to drop value bombs. Godspeed!

  4. Great summary - thanks! So nice to meet you at the conference.

    Question - Are your ignite slides anywhere on line? I am sharing a summary of the conference with teachers from my district this afternoon, and would really like to discuss your ideas and hear theirs about redesigning the classroom clock purposefully.