Math Teachers Circles: What, Why, How, When and WhereJudith CovingtonLouisiana State University Shreveport Angie Hodge University of Nebraska at Omaha
What is a Math Teachers Circle?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.
To engage middle school math teachers in mathematical problem solving and involve them in an ongoing dialogue about math with students, colleagues, and professional mathematicians.
To provide guidance, materials, and resources to middle school math teachers that will enable them to promote open-ended problem solving as a way of learning, thinking about, and practicing mathematics in their classrooms.Goals of Math Teachers Circles
Immersion academyTeachers engage in various open-ended problem solving activities, guided by mathematicians and teachers
Monthly meetingsMTCs continue to provide a content-based enrichment outlet for teachers but also have a more pedagogical focus intended to help teachers bring problem-solving techniques into their classroomsComponents of MTCs
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.
WHY?AngieThe creation of the team challenge
Opportunity to network with local teachers
Opportunity for faculty and teachers to learn from each other
HOW?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 fivetwo mathematicians, two middle school teachers, and one administrator or other organizerwho are interested in starting a Math Teachers Circle in their area.
North Louisiana Math Teachers CircleStarted with an interested mathematics faculty memberContacted two local teachers who were graduates of LSU Shreveport and former students of faculty memberAdded a faculty member from EducationContacted a third local school district to select a third middle school teacher for the team
Math Teachers Circle of North DakotaStarted with a team of two math faculty and two local middle school teachersApplied for a state MSP grantAdded three faculty (education and math) and four lead teachersReceived support from a consortium of teachers in North Dakota to help promote the MTC as a professional development experience
WHENNLMTC held two events after returning from the training workshop in Washington, DC November 8, 2010 we had 40 middle school teachers for our inaugural meeting March 7, 2011 we had 25 middle school teachers for a second meeting Each meeting started at 5 pm with supper followed by two and a half hours of mathematics
Pat Jones introducing the problem set
Teachers working and smiling!
NLMTCNLMTC 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.
North DakotaFirst 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
ND PRIME: Problem Solving, Reasoning, and Inquiry for Mathematics Educators
http://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~kureczko/mtc/ Creative mathematical ideas to bring back to the classroomFree graduate course creditFree travel, hotel accommodations, and mealsA stipend of $50 per dayNetworking with ND teachers and professorsContent knowledge focus linked to the state mathematics standards
NLMTC November 8 feedbackI 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 workingthe abstract problems that were beyond skills ofmy usualcurriculum or where pattern recognition was important.I usedsome of theproblems with my students, but others would be a little beyond their reach. My studentsmost enjoyed thesilliness of#4.
The kids were interested to know aboutwhere I got the problems and what we did for the evening.They were amazed that I would voluntarilyspend an evening doing math, but it allowed for a class discussion abouthow solving problems makes me feellike a detective on a case.It's sometimes hard to get kids at this age to understandthe beauty of mathematics, buthearing about howI figured outsome of the problems and some of my misstepsseemed to help themunderstand how important it is to persevere. If nothing else, they understood that I believe that learning continues throughout life.
NLMTC March 7 Feedback"Thank you for helping to implement such a wonderful way for gathering math teachers to share our "tools of the trade". I have used SET in my classroom, and my students love it. They were very excited to be able to play a game and learn at the same time. I think it provides a great way for them to understand different sets with different attributes. Thanks again."
"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."
Now it is your turn!
WHERE?That is up to you! There is support available from a variety of sources. For more information visit: www. mathteacherscircle.org