The Word of the Day is Invigorating: NCSM Day 2, Anaheim

Cynthia Callard, University of Rochester

It was the second day of NCSM, but my first day of NCSM, but still my fifth day of conferencing this trip. Got it? I hope so, because there's still 4 more days to go after this one before the trip is done.

Steve Leinwand

I started my morning at 8:15 with Steve Leinwand. I've seen Steve present plenty of times, and I think I was going less because I need to hear his message and more because I want to relate to the other people hearing his message so we can be on the same page. The topic was high school mathematics reform, or "invigorating high school math," as Steve and his co-author Eric Milou describe it. Steve didn't get into a lot of the nuts and bolts of what his ideal high school math would look like. That's not really Steve's style, and besides, he's written a book for that. Instead, what Steve does so well, is he gives an audience a moment to say to themselves, "See, I'm not crazy. Things are as in need of radical change as I thought they were, and Steve agrees with me." Validation like that can give ideas momentum, even if the ideas haven't been completely spelled out.

Mary Mooney

Following the session I ran into some of the Colorado crew: John from Greeley, Katie from Englewood, and the trio from Adams 12, Amanda, Stephanie, and Sherri. We reflected on what we'd seen and looked at what else we wanted to see. I was about to head to another session but ran into April Pforts and Mary Mooney, two of my ASSM colleagues. We talked right through the session, and I was thankful for it. Even though we'd just spent four days together at our own conference, there's still plenty we can share and learn with each other. Sometimes those moments are better than what's in the printed program, and this was one of those moments for me.

Rachel Lambert, University of California Santa Barbara

Together, we all shuffled off into a packed room to see Rachel Lambert talk about UDL math, which is — as Rachel simply puts it — her attempt at bringing together the principles of universal design for learning with mathematics. This is very much a work in progress, and I think it showed in the way Rachel relied on UDL examples that weren't math examples. I think we all have a responsibility for this work, even if all we do sometimes is to take the time to listen to our students who struggle and try to learn from them what it is about how we've designed our math classrooms that impedes their efforts to learn.

Ryan Gillespie, University of Idaho

I picked out a session in the afternoon that was the result of an NSF-funded project to develop the capacity and skills of mathematics coaches. It was led by Cynthia Callard and Jennifer Kruger of the Univeristy of Rochester and Ryan Gillespie of the University of Idaho. When the project was proposed about six years ago, it was rather innovative to rely on videoconferencing software for mentor coach and mentee coach interactions, and with the pandemic they watched what seemed innovative one day become commonplace the next. I think my main takeaway from the session was that their biggest success was simply making the program exist and giving it some structure. Coaching coaches while coaches were coaching teachers, and organizing them into video clubs with a process to help look for issues, is no easy feat. I suspect the research articles will describe some other details about coach-coach interactions that we didn't hear about in the session.

The rest of the day was spent in our regional caucuses and the business meeting. I connected with some other members from Idaho and Arizona in the region meeting and caught up with Amber, the math specialist from Cherry Creek. At the business meeting, NCSM leadership was happy to report that conference registrations exceeded expectations and their budget is well in the black this year. That was great news after paying a stiff penalty last year for canceling the conference in Atlanta. The large participation has been evident with how full some sessions have been. Peter Liljedahl's session was so full they shut the doors and turned people away, and thankfully Peter has agreed to return tomorrow to repeat the session for those who missed it.

Play ball!

I spent the evening at the ballpark watching the Oakland A's take on the Los Angeles Angels. I left at the seventh inning stretch, though, as the game was running long and I was running low on energy. Today was another 15,000+ step day and I was up late last night. Tomorrow, I think I'll go to Peter Liljedahl's repeat session , and that will wrap up NCSM for me as I make the way to Los Angeles for NCTM later in the day.