Nebraska math teachers attend national conferences in 2011
Released on 12/16/2011
Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education, University of Nebraska–Lincolnbr>
LINCOLN, Neb., Dec. 16, 2011 — Nebraska mathematics teachers from Omaha Public Schools, Lincoln Public Schools and Fremont Public Schools attended several national conferences on mathematics education during the latter half of 2011, as either presenters or participants, representing the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education.
Paula Millerd, a math coach at OPS's Field Club Elementary, spoke at the Conference Board of the Mathematical Sciences (CBMS) fourth National Forum, Oct. 2-4, in Reston, Va. Millerd, a master teaching fellow with UNL’s NebraskaNOYCE grant, was one of three panelists at a plenary session titled "Teachers' Perspectives on Teacher Education." The panel of teachers discussed what they wished they had learned in college and what they wanted from professional development opportunities.
"Paula did an outstanding job of speaking on behalf of elementary teachers,” said Jim Lewis, director of the Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education and principal investigator of the NebraskaMATH and NebraskaNOYCE grants. "Paula was very poised and articulate; she clearly has thought very carefully about what colleges should be doing to prepare teachers to teach mathematics well."
Among the goals of the CBMS conference is the preparation of the second iteration of the CBMS document, “The Mathematical Preparation of Teachers,” of which Lewis is chairing the committee in charge of this task.
Millerd was joined by LPS math coach Jerel Welker and Omaha Central High School math teacher Greg Sand, along with NebraskaMATH Research Coordinator Wendy Smith, to lead a session at the conference titled "Developing and Supporting Professional Communities of Mathematics Teachers in Nebraska."
The CBMS Forum had 280 participants from 38 states in attendance.
Also in October, Edie Ronhovde of Fremont Middle School and Anne Schmidt, a math coach at Culler Middle School, Delise Andrews, LPS math coach, and Welker attended the NCTM Regional Conference in St. Louis. Like Millerd, Ronhovde, Schmidt and Andrews are also Noyce master teaching fellows.
"It was wonderful to be in an atmosphere where everyone around you wanted to discuss math and how we can help our students to better understand math concepts," Ronhovde said. "The conference boasted numerous sessions focused on mathematics instruction. I found myself agonizing over which sessions to attend because there were so many I wanted to go to."
Welker presented at one of the sessions with a talk titled "Strategies for Establishing a Statewide Partnership for Mathematics Instruction."
In July, Welker and Noyce master teaching fellow Katie Garcia of Omaha Bryan High School attended a High School Reasoning and Sense Making Institute sponsored by NCTM in Orlando. Welker explained that the institute differed from a typical NCTM conference in that "each participant was placed in a content task group focused on a particular task or habits of mind problem used in the classroom to enhance the reasoning and sense making abilities of students. The tasks are designed to increase collaboration, student-student discussion and student-teacher discussion in the classroom."
Garcia described the conference as “a great experience” that focused on “truly allowing students to make sense of what they are learning and creating knowledge of mathematics." She added, “It was great to hear NCTM emphasizing why these learning experiences are not just valid, but vital, to student learning."br>
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Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program
To read more about each of the Noyce Master Teaching Fellows, go to http://scimath.unl.edu/noyce/mtf. UNL's Robert Noyce Scholarship grants are part of a campuswide commitment to excellence in math and science teacher education led by the Colleges of Education and Human Sciences, Arts and Sciences, and Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
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