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Math Teachers’ Circles: What, Why, How, When and Where. Judith Covington Louisiana State University Shreveport Angie Hodge University of Nebraska at Omaha. What is a Math Teachers’ Circle?.
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Louisiana State University ShreveportAngie HodgeUniversity of Nebraska at Omaha
The mission of the national Math Teachers’ Circle (MTC) program, developed at the American Institute of Mathematics (AIM), is to establish the foundation for a culture of problem solving among middle school math teachers in the U.S. For more information visit: www.mathteacherscircle.org
By fostering the confidence to tackle open-ended math problems, middle school teachers become better equipped to initiate more student-centered, inquiry-based pedagogies in their classrooms.
I felt that my pre-service teachers did not have strong backgrounds in problem solving.
This was a way to hopefully provide teachers with the means to give their students more problems to solve.
I wanted to work with teachers as a way to reach students.
The “creation of the team” challenge
Opportunity to network with local teachers
Opportunity for faculty and teachers to learn from each other
We both first heard about Math Teachers’ Circles at a RL Moore Conference.
AIM holds a workshop titled How to Run a Math Teachers’ Circle. These workshops are designed for teams of five—two mathematicians, two middle school teachers, and one administrator or other organizer—who are interested in starting a Math Teachers’ Circle in their area.
Started with an interested mathematics faculty member
Contacted two local teachers who were graduates of LSU Shreveport and former students of faculty member
Added a faculty member from Education
Contacted a third local school district to select a third middle school teacher for the team
Started with a team of two math faculty and two local middle school teachers
Applied for a state MSP grant
Added three faculty (education and math) and four lead teachers
Received support from a consortium of teachers in North Dakota to help promote the MTC as a professional development experience
NLMTC will have a summer workshop July 18-21, 2011
22 teachers have already registered for the 30 teacher workshop
The workshop will consist of several hands on activities as well as time spent working on solving a variety of problems.
First summer workshop will be held during the weeks of June 13th and June 20th
25 teachers are signed up to participate
4 more teachers will serve as lead teachers
4 faculty and 1 graduate student will help facilitate the workshop
1 guest speaker will present
Creative mathematical ideas to bring back to the classroom
Free graduate course credit
Free travel, hotel accommodations, and meals
A stipend of $50 per day
Networking with ND teachers and professors
Content knowledge focus linked to the state mathematics standards
“I have enjoyed participating in the North Louisiana Math Teachers' Circle. I find the program to be of immense value in enriching my understanding of mathematics, so that I can then better instruct my students.”
“I was able to figure out all of the problems, but I most enjoyed working the abstract problems that were beyond skills of my usual curriculum or where pattern recognition was important. I used some of the problems with my students, but others would be a little beyond their reach. My students most enjoyed the silliness of #4.”
“The kids were interested to know about where I got the problems and what we did for the evening. They were amazed that I would voluntarily spend an evening doing math, but it allowed for a class discussion about how solving problems makes me feel like a detective on a case. It's sometimes hard to get kids at this age to understand the beauty of mathematics, but hearing about how I figured out some of the problems and some of my missteps seemed to help them understand how important it is to persevere. If nothing else, they understood that I believe that learning continues throughout life.”
"The March meeting was the first meeting I attended. I learned a great deal from the presentations and taught the activity to all three grade levels the same week. The students grasped the concepts within five minutes because of the power points presented during the in-service. I used the game as a whole class activity and placed two cards on the projector and the students guess the card that completed the set. It became a competition, boys against girls. The students had to respond within ten seconds. It was a little wild at first, but the students look forward to the competition. The game helped me to reinforce the probability concept. Also, the meeting encouraged me to search for more game activities to implement in the regular curriculum."
That is up to you!
There is support available from a variety of sources.
For more information visit: www. mathteacherscircle.org