A Message from Your ICTM President

     Invigorating.  That’s the sentiment I hope you experience when you attend ICTM’s conferences.  We’re in full-swing planning our next annual meeting to bring you relevant and provocative content and pedagogy to enrich your classroom instruction, prepare pre-service teachers, or elevate your teacher leadership capacity.

     This fall’s conference is entitled, “Mindset for Action,” a call to educators to embrace a growth mindset and the effective teaching practices outlined in NCTM’s Principles to Action.  The mathematics education community in Iowa is already hard at work implementing these ideals, and ICTM wishes to promote and support those efforts.  We’re encouraging proposals that would reinforce these teaching fundamentals.  If you have ideas that could inspire teachers to promote reasoning and problem solving, connect mathematical representations, facilitate meaningful mathematical discourse, or one of the other essential principles, please submit a proposal to present at the conference!

     ICTM also hosts a free pre-conference for pre-service and first-year teachers the evening before our fall conference.  This gives us an opportunity to connect with our newest colleagues, and focus on their unique needs as emerging educators.  My heart beams with pride that our organization provides a setting for pre-service educators a chance to learn and ask questions from a cadre of veteran mathematics teachers.  Contact me if you would like to bring pre-service teachers or participate in this rewarding experience.

     Plan to be a part of the greatest professional development by presenting or encouraging outstanding educators to submit speaking proposals.  We desire to offer exceptional sessions, tailored to your needs and grade levels.  Whether you present or not, please join us Monday, October 9, 2017 at Valley High School in West Des Moines!

Brooke  Fischels, ICTM President

Two Sides to Sharing Mathematical Ideas

     From my time spent in other teacher’s classrooms and teachers visiting my classroom, a common theme always emerges about sharing mathematical ideas and activities for classroom use:

  • Many teachers have unique ideas that are worth sharing with others (even if these teachers don’t agree that they have great ideas).
  • Many teachers are looking for ideas to utilize in their own classrooms so the wheel does not have to be reinvented.

     I am continuously living on both sides of this fence. I enjoy sharing what I have done in my classroom, whether it is through blogging (pagingdoctormath.blogspot.com), formal presentations, journal articles (bit.ly/2jIbN8o), or teachers visiting my classroom. Many years ago I thought that I had nothing to share with anyone that would be impactful. One of my colleagues encouraged me to present at the AEA 267 1:1 Conference (probably not the official name), and I was mobbed with so many questions at the end of my presentation that my perspective on how I could help other teachers changed quickly. I had a lot of ideas worth sharing, and the questions from other teachers helped me to reflect on those ideas, fine tuning my ideas for the benefit of my students. I don’t think my blog gets a lot of hits, but enough that I get emails and responses about the posts and how my blog has impacted classrooms. I also normally have one group of teachers/ administrators from various districts that request to come into my room each week to observe and ask my students and myself questions about what we are doing in class. It turns out I did have some great ideas, and you probably do too.

     As far as acquiring ideas for my classroom, I would say 80% of the tasks we do come from Twitter. I do not have a textbook, nor do I want one for my 7th and 8th graders. I also don’t have a lot of collaboration partners being in a small district. There are so many great resources available for free. Twitter helped me discover Dan Meyer’s blog (bit.ly/1u7foLJ), Estimation 180 (estimation180.com), and When Math Happens (bit.ly/2jnzQWM). Those free resources, along with many others have been the driving influence for my classes. I take those ideas, and tweak them to fit my classroom values and philosophies to help give my students a great experience. It’s wonderful if you come up with your own ideas and materials, I do, but understand that there are outstanding resources for free if you know where to look. Always be weary of online resources. Find sites you trust and weed out the trash.

     Here are steps to help you get started sharing and gaining ideas for your classroom:

1.    Open your classroom to anyone who wants to observe. This works on both levels of sharing. Teachers get to see what you are doing to gain ideas, but as the host, you can gain ideas from those teachers as well to help improve your practice.

     A new teacher in my district wanted to observe my classroom, and when I told her she could come in any time, I think she was in shock. I don’t change my plans for when people come in. My room is open to anyone. What you see is what you get, and that is ok. You want to present the most accurate version of your classroom so you can get and give genuine advice and feedback.

2.    Start a blog using Blogger (it’s free), and start sharing something. Whether it is ideas or pictures of student work, you would be surprised who you will help, and what feedback you will receive. I didn’t understand the impact my small blog had until I received emails from teachers in Hawaii and Australia. You can also start by presenting your ideas at conferences. Start with a small, local conference, which there is plenty of.

3.    Be active on Twitter. If you don’t have an account, make one. If you have an account but don’t use it for educational purposes, change its purpose. You can make so many connections and gain access to free resources by following the right people. If you need a few people to start with, go to my Twitter page (twitter.com/Doctor_Math), click on FOLLOWING, and browse the people I interact with.

     Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. You never know what ideas you can give and receive and whose students you can be helping have a better overall mathematical experience.

Dr. Clayton Edwards

AEA 267 Regional Director

Grundy Center Middle School



April is Math Awareness Month

From the VP—Post-Secondary:

     Did you know that April is Mathematics Awareness Month? This year’s theme is “Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month”.  Keep an eye on events related to Math Awareness Month (every year, not just this year!) at http://www.mathaware.org/index.html.

     Are you a middle or high school teacher looking for peer-reviewed lesson plans on statistics?  Check out these sites:

     Looking for some new and interesting facts for your classroom?  Check out the Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA’s) Fun Math at http://www.maa.org/programs/students/fun-math. Here you will find links to websites that feature interesting mathematics and explain the mathematics behind the scene.

Finally, thanks to all who helped make the 2016 ICTM-ISTS Math and Science Fall Conference in October awesome! What interesting things are you doing in your classroom? We’d love to hear about it and see you share it with others, maybe at the 2017 Math Fall Conference at Valley West High School on Monday, October 9.  Do you work with pre-service teachers?  Encourage them to attend ICTM’s Pre-Conference the night before (Sunday, October 8); events at the pre-conference are planned especially for pre-service and new teachers! Check out the website for more details.


                                                                        —Wendy Weber



ICTM Journal Coming Out Soon


     Teresa Finken and I are busy compiling the ICTM Journal for publication in the next month or so!  We have another issue full of great articles written by Iowa math people. We are always looking for new content, articles and ideas so share your wisdom, ideas you have tried, what you are learning, how students do well in your classes with all our readers!

     Also, I am honored to be ICTM President-Elect and look forward to serving all our members in that capacity. I have much to learn and I look forward to learning form the many wonderful teachers, AEA consultants and other math wise-people around the state. If I can help you in any way, please contact me dlfbaker@gmail.com.

Diedra Baker

President-Elect/Journal Co-Editor

Mathematics Teacher – Mid Prairie High School

PtA: Principles to Action Summer Opportunities

Hi Everyone,

     This next year will be an exciting year as we get ready for the Summer Mathematics Institute.  We know that the single thing that impacts the future of a student the most is the teacher.  For this reason, the primary focus and support that I can offer at the Iowa Department of Education, Standards and Curriculum, is Instructional.  Instructional Practices is at the forefront of everything we do.  This is why we have chosen to focus on Principles to Actions, and the 8 Effective Teaching Practices.  This launches in June of 2016 and please do not delay registering (Principles to Actions June Registration), as this event will fill.  This is a long-term initiative and it is the single most scale up that we can do to continue to improve instruction in the mathematics in the classroom for students.

     With the “pause” of Smarter Balanced, many are wondering what do we do.  We still want to continue to strive to implement the standards and mathematical practices.  We can still use the Assessment Targets to consider the focus, coherence, and rigor of our instruction.  See the Assessment Targets and this Guide to Alignment.

     Also, for those who are looking for aligned curriculum, OpenUp is getting ready to release their OER (Open Educational Resource) for 6th - 8th during the summer of 2017.  See the preview video.

     Questions, comment, or to sign up for a Virtual Network list and be kept in the loop of information, email me at april.pforts@iowa.gov.

Iowa Math Links

Virtual Resources

—April Pforts

State Mathematics

Consultant, Iowa

Department of Education

See You at the ICTM Fall Conference!

     Hello, everyone!  My name is Brian Townsend and I am the Vice President—Middle Grades for ICTM.  I can’t begin to articulate how excited I am for the ICTM Conference this coming fall.

     The ICTM Conference provides a wonderful opportunity for the mathematics education community in the state of Iowa to get together and share our passion for teaching mathematics and to learn from one another about what’s going on in our classrooms.  Every year, I walk out of sessions feeling energized and excited, with ideas that I can’t wait to try in my own classroom.  The state of Iowa is home to many amazing mathematical minds and I always feel fortunate to be learning from the best.

     Best of all, if you feel that you have a particular or unique mathematical niche, it’s quite likely that you’ll run into other folks at the conference who share that interest.  The conference represents a wonderful opportunity to network with other similarly-interested folks, either through informal conversations or conference sessions.

     If you’re not convinced that there will be sessions pertaining to your particular interest (or even if you think there will be), consider submitting a proposal to speak at the conference!  Given your passion for the topic, you would be one of the best people to lead a discussion surrounding it.  And given the wide range of interests of conference attendees, it’s likely there will be many who appreciate your effort.

     As an example, a colleague and I really enjoy playing board games and, often, we end up talking about the mathematics involved in playing them.  This led us to submit a proposal to talk about board games at the ICTM Conference last fall.  We weren’t sure how many, if any, other folks might share our interest in the mathematics of board games, but we thought it would be worthwhile to open the conversation. Even on the day of the conference, we wondered what type of audience we might attract, given that our session wasn’t until the last hour of the conference.  But Iowa math teachers, dedicated as they are, showed up and we had a wonderful time.   

     I don’t know that I can recommend the ICTM Conference highly enough.  I certainly hope I get to see you there, perhaps at your session.

 — Dr. Brian E. Townsend

NCTM Events & News

NCTM 2017 Annual Conference in San Antonio April 5-8, 2017

Reserve your room early for NCTM's headquarters hotel–Grand Hyatt San Antonio–or one of many NCTM official hotels near Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to secure your preferred room at best possible rate. Unlike online discounters, NCTM will never charge you booking or service fee.

Principles to Action

Principles to Actions has a new Toolkit that can be used by NCTM members for sharing with others.  Toolkit consists of a series of grade-band specific modules focused on a subset of effective teaching practices, as well as professional learning resources that support implementation of five guiding principles in Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All. Teaching and Learning: Access and Equity, Curriculum, Tools and Technology, Assessment, and Professionalism.  http://www.nctm.org/PtAToolkit/

Principles to Action is now available in Spanish and is an excellent resource for teachers and administrators who serve students with Spanish speaking parents. De los principios a la acción: Para garantizar el éxito matemático para todos provides a great book study for schools that want to begin Professional Learning Groups with the goal of transforming an entire faculty.

Teaching and Learning Math with Common Core
NCTM and The Hunt Institute have produced a series of videos to enhance understanding of mathematics students need to succeed in college, life, and careers. Beginning in primary grades, videos address importance of developing solid foundations for algebra, as well as laying groundwork for calculus and other postsecondary mathematics. This video series addresses Standards for Mathematical Practice and examines why developing conceptual understanding requires a different approach to teaching and learning. These videos also provide rich foundations to have discussions with parents about mathematical practices!

Monthly Featured Classroom Resources
Connect with mathematics educators about tips, ideas, and online resources used in classrooms. NCTM offers monthly featured mathematics education resources from NCTM and Math Forum. Stay informed through Summing Up and social media. NCTM members can visit Classroom Resources Collaboration Center today for tomorrow's engaging mathematics lesson. 

Write, Review, or Referee

Want to share your expertise, experiences, and insights? Learn more about how you can write, review, or referee for NCTM publications.

Position Statements

NCTM position statements define a particular problem, issue, or need and describe its relevance to mathematics education. These statements address important and timely policy issues important to mathematics education and are approved by NCTM Board of Directors.

Mark your calendars for 2017-2018!

2017 NCTM Regional Conference in Chicago, IL (November 29-December 1, 2017)

2017 Innov8 Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada (November 15-17, 2017)

Becky Walker

NCTM Affiliate Rep for Central Region 2

Former Student Director Returns to ICTM Board

     Hello ICTM members!  I wanted to introduce myself as the new Regional Director for the Heartland AEA.  My name is Callie Budden and my first experience with ICTM was as the student director during my time as an undergrad at University of Northern Iowa from 2007 to 2008.  Being student director was a fantastic learning and growing experience for me and since then I have loved participating in the annual fall conference as often as I can.  I currently work in the Urbandale School District and reside in Ankeny.  This had made getting to the fall conference much easier in recent years and I always look forward to the ever evolving presentations, collaboration, and learning opportunities put together by all the fantastic educators around the state.  I am very excited to once again be a part of planning this year’s conference and serving the Heartland AEA.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.  I am looking forward to Fall 2017 and hope to see you all there!

—Callie Budden

Meet the New Regional Director of Northwest AEA

     Hello to everyone in the area!  I’d like to introduce myself as the new ICTM Regional Director for Northwest AEA.  This is my 5th year at NWAEA as an Educational Consultant, where I focus my energy on K-12 Gifted, K-5 Math and Mentoring & Induction.  My background is in both mathematics and English, and I taught in Millard Public Schools and Omaha Public Schools previously.  My favorite math experiences were at a K-4 Math, Spanish and Technology Magnet School in Omaha, where I taught for 10 years.  The integration of these threads made each day very exciting!

     In my role at NWAEA, I work with many teachers in professional development.  My goal is to rejuvenate them, share ideas and learn from them!  This comment from a recent PD reinforced just that.  “You make me feel great about what I do…and inspire me to try other things.  It’s all about the ideas!”  I hope my teachers know it’s a 2-way street on the inspiration and ideas, and I am so thankful for the relationships I have with the teachers in my area!  In my workshops, we are diving more deeply into the Iowa Core standards and studying their coherence.   Additionally, we are looking at resources to increase rigor, as well as resources to provide interventions. 

     My passion areas in K-5 math are number sense, geometry, manipulatives, and writing in mathematics/journals.  Obviously, I focus a great deal of my personal learning in these areas, and I’d love to collaborate with all of you that are also dedicated to these topics.  Since I’ve been in the field of Gifted Education for over 30 years, I also analyze my math work through the lens of gifted teachers and gifted students. Other areas of significant interest to me are brain research, poverty, behavior, and creativity.

     Regarding my state-wide work in mathematics, it wouldn’t be possible without the direction of our Department of Education Mathematics Consultant, April Pforts.  She is always accessible, willing to share and learn with me, and has set up a large out-reach not only in Iowa, but nationally.  If you have not connected with her, please take a moment to join one of the state-wide networks.

     Finally, I’d like to send a thank you to Brooke Fischels for her warm welcome to the ICTM Executive Board Team.  I’m excited to work cooperatively with math experts from across the state!  Please contact me anytime!

—Shari Collins


New ICTM Regional Director for Prairie Lakes AEA

     My name is Chandra McMahon, and I have been elected to serve as ICTM Regional Director for Prairie Lakes AEA.  I received my Bachelor of Science from Old Dominion University in 1994.  My major was Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Mathematics and Science.  I received my Master’s of Education from Old Dominion University in 1995.  Since then I have taken 18 graduate level credits in Mathematics through Iowa State University and University of Iowa.  This is my 19th year teaching in Iowa.  I taught for Graettinger Schools for two years where I taught various high school math classes and Title 1 Math for students in grades K – 8.  I taught at Twin River Valley High School for four years, teaching various high school math classes.  I am currently in my 13th year teaching at Humboldt Community High School.  At Humboldt I have taught a variety of math classes including Algebra 1A, Algebra 1, Geometry, Precalculus/College Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus.  I am looking forward to being on this team and working toward promoting mathematics in Iowa.  You may contact me at cmcmahon@humboldt.k12.ia.us.

—Chandra McMahon