August Journal

Earlier this year, I bit the bullet and joined the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics , or NCTM .  I had resisted joining due to the cost, frankly.  And I wasn’t wrong.  My membership cost $115 for one year.  In all fairness, the cost was so high because I decided to subscribe to two of their journals rather than one.  I received my first journal this week.

Mathematics Teacher is geared toward high school teachers like me.  Unlike me, the teachers in the target audience clearly teach higher-level classes.  The majority of the articles relate to pre-Calculus or Calculus classes.  Generally, I teach lower-level classes:  Algebra 1 and Geometry.  But I still found some stuff to be excited about.

Vocabulary beyond the Definitions by Nancy S. Roberts and Mary P. Truxaw has some solid recommendations on incorporating techniques such as word walls and graphic organizers into the math classroom, along with some hints about typical trouble spots for English learners.  My Algebra students tend to do fairly well with vocabulary, but my Geometry students struggle mightily with the volumes of new words thrown at them during the year.  In my classroom this isn’t a phenomena restricted to English Language Learners, but as the saying goes, SADIE teaching is just good teaching.

Improving Student Reasoning in Geometry by Bobson Wong and Larisa Bukalov details a method that allows for differentiated learning in the classroom that is student-directed and allows the teacher to address one concept at a time.  (This is similar to the A-B-C technique discussed at the Summer Institute)  The authors acknowledge the challenges involved with creating such a curriculum, namely the large amount of time it takes and how to properly assess, but there is so much potential with this method.

I also found even more opportunities to spend money, namely in some interesting books advertised or referenced in the articles.
I’m intrigued by Danica McKellar’s books. I wonder if my students would find them relevant and/or interesting.
I’m curious about the advice in Success from the Start: Your First Years Teaching Secondary Mathematics, by Rob Wieman and Fran Arbaugh.  Even though I’m mid-career, I got very little subject-specific training in my credentialing program.

I don’t have a hyperlink for the second title because I found the NCTM online store difficult to navigate.  There is not a search function (so I couldn’t just put in the title or the author), and categories can not be filtered (for example, “Alphabetical by Title” or “Alphabetical by Author’s Last Name”).  I can’t understand why NCTM would go to the trouble to advertise a book they clearly want to sell, but then make it nearly impossible to find on their site.

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