An affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
The MCTM is an organization of professionals dedicated to promoting the teaching and learning of meaningful mathematics for all students by supporting educators in their efforts to improve mathematics instruction.

MCTM on Facebook  

The Virtual Mentor 2013-2014

March

Happy March! Although it is traditionally Minnesota's snowiest month, I'm buoyed because I know that April is coming. Besides spring, I always look forward to April because it is Mathematics Awareness Month (MAM). Each April the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) sponsors MAM. The JPBM is a collaborative effort of the American Mathematical Society, the American Statistical Association, the Mathematics Association of American and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics. They started MAM to increase the public's understanding and appreciation for math. It actually started as Mathematics Awareness Week in 1986.

Every year the JPBM picks a theme, designs a cool poster, offers suggestions on activities, and has a list of resources. This year's theme is Mathematics, Magic and Mystery. The theme comes from the title of a 1956 book by Martin Gardner. Each day during the month an activity will be made available that matches one of the images on the poster. Since the activities, videos, etc. aren't available until April, I don't know what they will be. Based on activities that have been featured in the past, they will probably be suitable for high school and college students and excellent interesting ones.

That certainly doesn't mean that our K - 8 students shouldn't participate. You can easily have a set of puzzles, poems, interesting problems, games, etc. that you give to your students, one each day during April. You can award the Math Awareness Crown to the students who solve the most correctly, with small prizes for those who get each day's answer correct.

Enjoy MAM and use it to have fun with your students while they and their parents become more aware of and appreciative of math.

Ann

Ann Sweeney
MCTM Virtual Math Mentor
St. Catherine University

 

 


January

Happy New Year, Virtual Mentees,

I am afraid that my day job has kept me too busy to be much of a Virtual Mentor lately. I hope to do a better job in 2014.

Once January arrives and the 1099 and W-2 forms start rolling in, you know that tax day will be on us before we are ready to hand over any of our hard earned money. To help take away the sting of taxes, I think of all the positive things I get for my money. This time of year, thoughts about all of the National parks and recreations areas that we can visit in the summer perk me up, but there are also all of the free government publications and websites that we can access and use anytime.

The Department of Education has a lot of information for us. They also have a free newsletter for teachers, The Teachers Edition that is full of very interesting and thought provoking facts, ideas, information, opportunities, etc. You can get a free subscription by clicking on the live "Subscribe" link on the page where the archived copies are available. Glance through several copies and you'll see the plethora of information that is at your fingertips.

I come to you as a member of the MCTM CONNECT committee. It is the same committee that brings you the Matt Mentor columns. Those on the committee who work on those columns have asked me to send you a link to a short survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LJCBZ5P so they can get your thoughts & ideas about the column. They assure me that it is a very short survey (15 seconds). Please, fill it out. The CONNECT committee wants to serve and support you in the best way that it can.

Stay warm,

Ann

Ann Sweeney
MCTM Virtual Math Mentor
St. Catherine University

 

 


October

October is here and the stores are all filled with Halloween candy, costumes, decorations and cards. We can't let the opportunity go by. We need Halloween Math to enter into the spirit of the season!

Mitch Adler is a math teacher, lawyer, founder of a successful SAT preparation business, and writer. He has a website filled with ideas that are contained in the answers to questions folks have sent him over the years. All are archived on the site, which, unfortunately is not searchable. However, here are some I thought you and your students might like.

For high school students he has a Halloween Balance Puzzle that is fairly difficult. There is an easier one, too.

For middle school students he suggests a "stabbed" pumpkin activity.

He has lots of ideas for Halloween costumes for teachers and math types, too.

If you are looking for some ideas for elementary classes, Math Cats has a Fall Math Idea Bank with lots of ideas for use with your classes. If your students are working on or need practice with Catesian Coordinates, there is a Cartesian Art Halloween Pumpkin.

Have lots of fun planning the October activities for your classes.

Ann

Ann Sweeney
MCTM Virtual Math Mentor
St. Catherine University

 

 


September

As a math teacher you have access to a peer group that is interested in making sure that you are a very successful math teacher - the best that you can be. That group is the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). MCTM has lots to offer you from hints and helps via social media to grants to conferences to mentors.

My Virtual Mentor pieces come to you via the MCTM CONNECT Committee. Did you know that CONNECT also has twitter and Ning accounts just for you? You can access the twitter account at @mctmCONNECT and email Rhonda Bonnstetter at bonnst@myclearwave.net if you'd like an invitation to join us at Ning.com.

MCTM has a number of grants available to you as a math teacher. If you are a middle school teacher, there is an Oct. 31 deadline for the Arnie Cutler Scholarship for your use towards mathematics coursework at a college or university.

Feb. 15, 2014 is the deadline for applications for both the Spring Conference Grant, for your attendance at the May 2 & 3, 2014 Spring Conference in Duluth, and the Teacher Incentive Grant, to support K - 16 math teachers desiring to implement projects in their math classes.

March 15 is the deadline for the Ross Taylor Scholarship to fund your attendance at the annual Ross Taylor Mathematics Education and Leadership Symposium.

You'll find more information and the applications for all of these grants, as well as the archives for Ask Matt Mentor and The Virtual Mentor, and information about getting connected with a live mentor on the MCTM website. The website is open and available to all - you don't have to be a member of MCTM to benefit from the wisdom that is there. You do need to be a member to be eligible for the grants. However, your membership fee is not large and you will reap many rewards from MCTM over the years.

Ann

Ann Sweeney
MCTM Virtual Math Mentor
St. Catherine University