A Message from the ICTM President


            I hope you had a wonderful summer with many opportunities to recharge and relax. We had a very productive board meeting in June. I was able to go to a geogebra class in early July which helped me build my skills using that tool. I was able to attend the NCTM affiliate leadership conference in Indianapolis. Meeting new people from around the United States and Canada really got me excited for our conference on October 8 in West Des Moines. I enjoyed learning what other people are doing to build interest in quality math education. I made some fun new friends, and for some great ideas to bring to the board. I loved being able to travel with fellow board member Teresa Finken and get to know her better.

At the June board meeting we set up gmail accounts for some board positions to help with communication and sharing documents. The addresses we set up are:

·         ICTMvendor@gmail.com to communicate with conference exhibitors and vendors

·         ICTMpres@gmail.com for the president to communicate with members and other organizations

·         ICTMexecsec@gmail.com for communications from the executive secretary

·         ICTMProgramCh@gmail.com for the program chairs to do conference communications

·         ICTMJournalEd@gmail.com to receive journal articles and other communications.

We think this will streamline communications as these emails will be assigned to positions, not individuals. Individuals will not have to use a personal email address for ICTM business, hopefully preventing missed emails on those days a flurry of emails may come in. Also, some of these positions are shared by 2 people, and this will enable both people to send and receive the same information in 1 inbox. Please start using these addresses to share ideas, articles, and questions with board members! You should also start receiving emails from these addresses.

            Enjoy these last few days or weeks of summer as you head into full school mode. Have a wonderful year full of great moments. Take care of yourselves so you can take care of those you work with. See you at our fall conference! It is going to be amazing! Keynote speaker is Bill McCallum, and we are excited to offer some online real time sessions with Tim BrzezInski of dynamic math. He is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @dynamic-math. He was a classroom teacher who now creates incredible geogebra resources and teaches geogebra pd. He will have 2 sessions online, one for beginners and one to show more of the advanced capabilities of geogebra. He is also offering 1 hour of free online geogebra pd to an attendees department!

Wow! Our other online offering is Ben Orlin who has a new book out this fall. He is the Math with Bad Drawings blogger and you can find his blog online, on Facebook and Twitter. He has great insight into math as a teacher, mathematician and observer of life.

It will be here before we know it!

Contact me at any time ICTMpres@gmail.com

Deidra Baker, ICTM President

2018 Keynote: Bill McCallum Bio

William G. McCallum is a University Distinguished Professor of Mathematics at the University of Arizona. Born in Sydney, Australia in 1956, he received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Harvard University in 1984, under the supervision of Barry Mazur. After spending two years at the University of California, Berkeley, and one at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute in Berkeley, he joined the faculty at the University of Arizona in 1987. In 1989 he joined the Harvard calculus consortium, and is the lead author of the consortium's multivariable calculus and college algebra texts. In 1993–94 he spent a year at the Institut des Hautes Etudes Scientifiques, and in 1995–96 he spent a year at the Institute for Advanced Study on a Centennial Fellowship from the American Mathematical Society. In 2005 he received the Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars from the National Science Foundation. In 2006 he founded the Institute for Mathematics and Education at the University of Arizona, and is currently its director. In 2009–2010 he was one of the lead writers for the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics. His professional interests include arithmetical algebraic geometry and mathematics education. He has received grants and written articles, essays, and books in both areas.

Don't Miss the 2018 ICTM Conference


There really is something for everyone at the 2018 conference.  Here is a tentative listing of this year’s sessions:

·         Abstract Manipulations

·         Activity Design Principles with Desmos

·         Assessment and Feedback:  Connecting the Two in a Practical Way

·         Big Ideas of Early Mathematics

·         Building Highly Effective Teams in Math

·         Building Number Sense Is a Key to Future Success:  What Is this Really?  How Can Teachers Ensure Students Develop It?

·         Characteristics of Effective Instruction in the Secondary Classroom

·         Creating an Engaging Classroom Culture Using Problem Types and Number Choice

·         Creating Classroom Discussions that Matter

·         Developing and Assessing Basic Fact Fluency K – 5

·         Developmental Mathematics:  Challenges and Strategies

·         Diagnostic Assessments in the Elementary Classroom

·         Doorways to Writing Quality Assessment Questions

·         Dynamic Geometry Software (DGS) Tasks in Secondary Mathematics Curricula

·         Elementary Instructional Coaches and Mathematics

·         Equity Based Mathematics Teaching:  A Round Table Discussion to Identify Key Strategies and Uncover Unconscious Bias

·         Exploring Bivariate Relationships with Technology

·         Fact Fluency with a CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction) Framework

·         Flipped Classroom

·         Fluency without Fear through Patterning and Computational Thinking for All

·         Fun with Topology

·         Gamification:  Leveling Up Education

·         How Can Prime Numbers Help Us Learn Fractions?

·         How Contests Ignite Math Passion

·         I.O.W.A. STEM Teacher Award Panel:  Hearing from the Recipients

·         Illustrative Mathematics and the Student Personalized Learning System

·         Implementing Mathematical Modeling for English Learners

·         Let’s Talk!  Opening Doors to Problem Solving

·         Making Math Meaningful, Not to Many, But to ALL!

·         Making Secondary Math Accessible for All Learners

·         Math & Board Games 3:  Rise of the Mechanics

·         Mathematics Motivation, Mentoring, and Community Context Resources from Iowa STEM

·         Number Matters!  Making Sense of Multiplication and Division of Fractions

·         Personalize Your Professional Learning

·         Pimp Those Practice and Review Activities

·         Pluto’s Pen:  Pragmatic Predicaments with Prototypical Perimeter (and Area) Problems

·         Productive Struggle and Problem Solving in the K – 8 Classroom

·         Purposeful Planning:  Utilizing Formative Assessments to Maximize Student Achievement

·         Raise the Roof!

·         Restructuring Your Math Block

·         Routines for Reasoning:  Fostering the Mathematical Practices in All Students

·         Strategies + Understanding = An Open Door to Fluency

·         Supporting Students with Memory and Attention Challenges in the Mathematics Classroom

·         Take a Journey with Us on Future Ready

·         Teaching Mathematics to Struggling Learners

·         TechEd’s Best Kept Secrets:  Personalizing Student Learning Through Technology

·         The Basketball Data Analytics Battles

·         Tools for Advocacy

·         Using Explicit Instruction within a Concrete—Representational—Abstract Sequence

·         Using GeoGebra to Discover, Differentiate, Remediate, and Asses (Parts 1 & 2)

·         Using Noticing and Wondering to Leverage Mathematical Argument with K-2 Students

·         Using Number Routines in the 3 – 5 Classroom

·         Using Three-Act Tasks in the Math Classroom

·         What about Mathematical Instruction?  How to Differentiate for English Language Learners

·         What Does Algebra Look Like to Students?


NCTM Regional: Kansas City

Also Coming Up …

 We are very excited that the NCTM Regional Conference will be held in Kansas City this year.  Attached is the flyer for the conference, as well as the links to  register for the conference https://www.nctm.org/kansascity/  or to  volunteer at the conference https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdD2AKDl3qXot3cZXQzmjDxhB_9zj0Adx8jC1YLPm0SF8yjNQ/viewform  We look forward to a great turnout at the NCTM Regional Conference, held November 1-3 at the Kansas City Convention Center.

Government Liaison Update

The summer is not an active time for the state or federal legislatures. The current, FY 2018, and upcoming FY 2019 budget were a two-year deal, so much of the upcoming funding has already been determined. The federal Department of Education will have increased funding in the upcoming year once the budget bill is passed. Included in this funding is $12.3 billion for Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), special education grants to states. The bill would also fund the continuation of two large grant programs in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA); (1) Title I funding for economically challenged schools would get $15.5 billion and (2) educator professional development efforts funded in Title II would see $2.1 billion. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program would continue to be funded at $1.2 billion, which invests in after-school programs. The bill also would provide $1.9 billion for career, technical, and adult education programs, an increase of nearly $115 million. Note that NCTM lobbied for all of these education programs. Funding for TRIO and GEAR Up (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) will continue to support first-generation college students. The Child Care Development Block Grants (CCDBG) are also included in the budget bill.

            In other federal news, the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act is being debated in the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee. NCTM and other STEM organizations are lobbying to improve STEM education sections of this act. It is not clear how this debate will conclude. The continuation of the PROSPER Act is in question, which funds programs in higher education. It appears that federal funding for some teacher education programs are in jeopardy, including financial aid for mathematics and other teachers. NCTM and other teacher education organizations are contacting members of the House to oppose this decrease in funding.

The upcoming midterm election will make the next state legislative session interesting. I will be adding a Government Update section to ICTM’s webpage in the upcoming weeks, so check there to find out how your work with mathematics students might be affected. You can use NCTM’s Capitol Report to keep up with federal legislation. If you want to learn more about how to advocate for your profession, and the children you teach, attend my session at the ICTM Conference in October. We must be vigilant in this troubling time for public education, use these tools to stay informed. 

            —Catherine Miller

News from the State Math Consultant

Welcome back from summer break! 

            There are many math happening in the 2018-2019 school year.  The Early Childhood Statewide Leadership Team is having professional development from the Erikson Institute which is focused on mathematics.  Many districts are implementing a screener and working towards students getting support earlier when they might struggle with math.  Mathematics is being rolled into the C4K process.

            I invite you to reflect on the image shown here and consider the following:

·         How does this address Access and Equity?

·         What is Social Justice?

·         What does Equality, Equity, and Inequality have to do with Social Justice.

The statewide mathematics network has continued to grow with two new communities for this year, Desmos and an Access, Equity, and Social Justice.  The current communities are being transferred over to an AEA Learning online account so they are tied to a statewide account.  This allows for capacity and sustainability for the communities to exist in the future.  The links to join the communities are below.

Do NOT miss the fall ICTM Conference, October 8, 2018 “Opening the Door to Math for All.”  The keynote speaker is Bill McCallum, lead writer for the Common Core State Standards in Math and founder of Illustrative Mathematics and Illustrative is the writers of the OpenUp Resources for 6th - 8th.

Call to Action: Access/Equity/Social Justice Consider improving your Access, Equity, and Social Justice efforts.  Are all students able to receive the mathematics education they need to be college and career ready? Is this mindset interwoven throughout practices?

  April Pforts

  State Supervisor of Mathematics

  Iowa Department of Education


Questions or comment, feel free to email me at april.pforts@iowa.gov

Community links to sign-up:

·         IA Coaching Sign-up: General

·         IA Core Advocates Sign-up: Standards

·         IA Principles to Actions Sign-up: Instructional Practices

·         IA Number Sense Sign-up: Numeracy

·         IA IM/OpenUp Sign-up: 6th-8th resources

·         IA Desmos Sign-up: Desmos

·         Access/Equity/Social Justice G+ Community

Subject: Equity

Co-Authored by: April Pforts andComfort Akwaji Anderson

Mathematics Educators across Iowa will hear many more conversations about actions steps to promote access, equity, and social justice in the 2018-2019 school year.   While our data indicates we have made some gains statewide, we still have more improvements to make. 

One of the early face-to-face events will be round table discussions about Access, Equity and Social Justice at our ICTM pre-conference as well as sessions at the conference itself. We are looking forward to collaboratively engaging in these critical conversations to enhance learning for each and every Iowa Student!

Then in April 2019, Dr. Robert Berry, President of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will be working with our state Mathematics Leadership Team.  Dr. Berry will help us learn about Using Identity and Agency to Frame Access and Equity.

In preparation for these events, we are launching an Equity related series beginning this month. To ensure access and opportunities for teachers, teacher-leaders, and administrators, the information will be presented / available in several platforms –newsletter/journals articles, blog, twitter chats, webinars, and electronic book studies.

Join the conversation on Twitter (#iaaesj) and the G+ Group: Access/Equity/Social Justice

Greetings from NWAEA Regional Director

Hello Fellow ICTM Members,

            I would like to introduce myself to you.  I am Valerie Sitzmann I am replacing Shari Collins, not only on the board of ICTM, but I am also replacing her at NWAEA as a Secondary Math Consultant.  I have spent my summer preparing for this new role by attending trainings: SOAR Interventions for Fractions; Cognitively Guided Instruction, and DESMOS.  I am looking forward to assisting and supporting teachers and students in the NWAEA with these math interventions.  In addition, I am interested in learning more about Illustrative Mathematics and its use and application in the classroom  I come to the NWAEA after teaching for 24 years in the classroom.  I come to the NWAEA after teaching for 24 years at Kingsley-Pierson Middle School.  I look forward to meeting other math teachers from across the state and promoting math.

                                    —Valerie Sitzmann

Hello from Vice President - Middle Grades

Greetings ICTM Members!

            My name is Brian Townsend, and I am the Vice President—Middle Grades for ICTM.  This year’s ICTM Conference is quickly approaching, and I’m looking forward to seeing you all there. 

While the sessions are always energizing, I’m also excited about our incredible vendors. These folks offer products and services catered specifically to Iowa Mathematics Teachers.  It would be difficult to pass through the halls and not find something intriguing.

If you’ve never before attended the annual ICTM meeting, I think you’re in for a treat.  If you have, well, you already know!  See you October 8 at ICTM!

—Brian Townsend

Welcome Back from the Newsletter Editor

Welcome Back to Another School Year!

I am delighted to be putting together the ICTM fall newsletter, and I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the annual conference on October 8.  I have taught at Bishop Garrigan High School in Algona for 35 years, and I also work at Iowa Lakes Community College.  I have been part of ICTM since I was in college decades ago, and I enjoy serving as newsletter editor. 

Something I encourage you to check out are different opportunities for students to compete with their mathematical abilities.  For many years our students have been part of the Great Plains Math League (mathleague.org) which offers many competitions around Iowa throughout the year.  This past year we also were part of Perennial Math (perennialmath.com), which offers online competitions for students in Grades 3 – 12.

I hope all of you have a very productive school year and that ICTM can help you to be the best teachers you can be.

                                                                        —David Burrow

Opportunities in Southeast Iowa

Hello from Southeast Iowa!

Summer has been a super busy time for the Great Prairie Region of Iowa.  The AEA has provided many great opportunities for learning and professional development.  Between Number Talks, using Kathy Richardson Developing Number Concepts materials, using Michael Battista Cognition-Based Assessment and Teaching materials, and the SOAR Fraction training, many area teachers are excited and ready to tackle the challenges of teaching Math in the fall.   

There are also several upcoming chances for professional growth in the area of Math coming this fall for teachers, coaches, and administrators in the Great Prairie Region.  Nationally known author Eric Jensen will be presenting October 15 and 16.  Dr. Jensen is an expert on the topics of brain-based learning and students in poverty. His presentation at the AEA this fall will be on Students in Poverty.

The GPAEA will be conducting training for SOAR Fraction Diagnosis and Intervention on Oct 25 and 26 in Burlington and January 14 and 15 in Ottumwa. There will be a cost of $20 per person to pay for the binder of materials.

Mike Mattos will be at the GPAEA on October 23rd.  Mike Mattos is an internationally recognized author, presenter, and practitioner who specializes in uniting teachers, administrators, and support staff to transform schools by implementing response to intervention (RTI) and professional learning communities (PLC’s).  Educators who have attended Solution Tree PLC trainings will remember his inspirational and motivational message.

With the continuation of Teacher Leadership in Iowa, many of our area schools are working together to advance their knowledge and skills on Coaching Cycles.  Julie Wright with Diane Sweeney Student-Centered Coaching will be spending time observing and coaching the area coaches.  This feedback really helps the coaches grow in their leadership capacity and be even more of an asset to the staff in their home districts.

As a new member of the ICTM Board, I am excited to get to meet and work with so many outstanding educators in the Great Prairie Region and beyond.  I look forward to bringing all this knowledge back to my home district of Fort Madison where I am entering my 3rd year as a K-12 Math Instructional Coach and my 26th year as a Math educator.  Be sure to come by and see my session Using Three-Act Tasks in the Math Classroom at the ICTM Conference in October.  Follow me on Twitter @jayyouelleyeee or contact me at julie.yurko@fmcsd.org.  

                                                                        —Julie Yurko

Greetings from Vice President - Elementary

Hello ICTM members! My name is Angie Shindelar and I serve on the ICTM Board as the Vice President for Elementary. I am currently a Math Consultant for Green Hills AEA in southwest Iowa. I taught elementary and middle school math at Nodaway Valley CSD for many years. While I am a huge Iowa State fan, I am a UNI alum with a BA in Elementary Education and a MA in Middle Grade Mathematics Teaching. On game day I just give in and cheer for both schools when they play one another. That always gets me some interesting looks.

Previously, in the spring newsletter, I wrote about basic fact fluency. You can read that article here if you missed it. In this article, I continue with the basic fact fluency theme by asking readers to consider the difference between memorization and automaticity and why the distinguishment is important. 

The Iowa Core Math Standards specifically address basic fact fluency with one standard for each grade level, K-3. Examining these standards across K-3 reveals how the learning progression develops. It is important to note there is specific language indicating students should learn strategies for basic facts and work incrementally toward the fluency expectations.

In these standards, the language “know from memory” is used. Often the interpretation of this is the expectation to memorize. With this interpretation the instructional focus may emphasize time as a measure. In other words, the number of facts a student can retrieve in a short amount of time becomes a measure of fluency. Sadly, for many students, fluency is short-lived. The memorized facts are not retained over time and either have to be rememorized or fall back on less efficient strategies like counting.

“So, are you saying students don’t need to learn basic facts?”

Not at all. Anyone that has taught in the later elementary and middle school grades can describe what a nightmare it is for students that do not know their basic facts. My previous article and this one have been written to consider more effective basic fact instruction and practice. The end goal has not changed.

What might instruction look like if the expectation for learning basic facts were to develop solid mental strategies, reaching automaticity over time. Automaticity, in this case, meaning students have learned and practiced a mental strategy for a fact enough times that it is automatically known. A critical point here is if, over time, the basic fact cannot be recalled automatically, the student has a solid mental strategy that is quick and efficient. The tendency to guess or use a less efficient strategy like counting is rarely seen.

My work as a math consultant has provided opportunities to on basic fact instruction with many elementary teachers and students. These teachers have numerous annecdotals describing how students’ number sense has developed and grown by focusing basic fact instruction on building automaticity through mental strategies. 

“So, I shouldn’t just expect a student to tell me 7 + 8 = 15?”

Yes, we want students to be able to do that! Of course!! However, it’s how we get them there that makes the difference in the long term. Consider three scenarios for a student that is solving

7 + 8:

1)         Has it memorized now, but can’t recall consistently over time;

2)         Not memorized, so counts on from either addend;

3)         Knows automatically from lots of practice with a mental strategy;

                a)    7 + 7 = 14, so 1 more = 15, or

                b)    8 + 2 = 10, so 5 more = 15, or

                c)     7 + 3 = 10, so 5 more = 15

4)         Is getting close to automaticity and only hesitates briefly to think through one of the strategies listed above.

5)         Has learned a couple different ways to solve mentally and is practicing regularly with games and activities to become more automatic.

There might not seem to be a big difference between memorization (#1) and automaticity (#3). After all, if you’ve reached automaticity isn’t that the same thing as memorized? In both cases, the student knows the fact. The difference is the process. Putting the emphasis on learning a strategy and practicing it until automaticity is reached is a process that will develop a strong neural pathway and move the fact into long-term memory. Memorization, for many students, does not provide enough experience and development of number sense to move the fact into long-term memory.

Basic fact fluency has always been important for elementary students to achieve. The Iowa Core Math Standards have given us, as teachers, a lot to think about. As I wrap up this article I am still thinking about another word that is used in the basic facts standards, “fluency.” It is often considered to be synonymous with memorization. I have a feeling there’s a third article on basic fact fluency brewing. Stay tuned.

I would love to hear any of your thoughts around basic fact fluency and any other topics of interest for elementary math. My email is ashindelar@ghaea.org.