Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Small Classroom Grant Award Winner - Nancy Pehl

As the 2016-2017 school year began I volunteered to be on our district’s STEM committee.  The committee included our 1st grade teacher, high school science teacher and myself.  We met the end of September and decided to concentrate on our 6th, 7th and 8th graders, 28 students.  The next step was deciding what type of project to undertake with them.  I attended a workshop at MEA which discussed a project similar to pinewood derby cars and races which caught my interest.  At our next committee meeting we looked through the Pitsco web page.  We decided to order their dragster kits. 
The dragsters are powered by CO2 cartridges and launched with a starting gate.   While waiting for the kits to arrive we had the students do some research on jobs related to the automobile industry such as mechanics, insurance, highway construction, to name a few.  We also talked with the students about how the CO2 cartridges work.  We did not meet with them in December but in January started building the cars.  We met with half the group each time and were glad for the smaller numbers as they needed more help than expected putting the cars together from the kits.  The next time we met we talked about friction and ways to possibly make their car faster.  We then met with them in the high school shop and they did some ‘doctoring’ on their cars.  Using sandpaper, chisels, and small saws was new to many.  We only had to glue one car back together!   We were then ready for the trial races.  All of us were amazed at how fast the cars went.  The end of January we raced the fastest cars at halftime of a basketball game.  The audience loved it!  The top three winners received ‘chamber bucks.’

We hope to do a similar project next year possibly using an inclined plane.  Thanks to all MCTM friends for helping fund this project.

Nancy Pehl
High School Math Teacher
Terry Public Schools

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Small Classroom Grant Awardee - Shari Kepner

Those Things You Can’t Teach Without
I often tell other math teachers that there are a few non-negotiable tools that I need for my classroom: individual dry erase boards, graphing utilities to place in the hands of my students when and as needed that can be used anytime/anywhere (including on those long bus rides to extra-curricular events!), a document camera, an interactive whiteboard, and a graphing calculator emulator. I applied for and accepted a position at a new-to-me school this year, so trying to outfit my classroom with the tools I want was a bit of an adventure at the start of the school year. MCTM helped to make this adventure a happy one!
I used an MCTM Small Classroom Grant to purchase TI SmartView™ CE Emulator Software for the TI-84+ family of graphing calculators. A perpetual license for a single computer costs $156 and can be purchased from a dealer (look for discounts in the exhibitor hall if you’re attending NCTM in San Antonio this spring). You can also download a free, 90-day trial (visit https://education.ti.com/en/products/computer-software/ti-smartview-ce-for-84). Once you download the free trial, you have the option of purchasing a license online.
I really enjoy teaching with TI SmartView™ because it makes student-centered activities involving graphing calculators SO easy to manage. While one student (like Leah, at right) is manipulating the emulator in front of the class, I can check in with all the other student pairs or groups that might be having difficulty with their own calculators, whether it be keystroke sequences, error messages, or mode/format issues.
My absolute favorite function of TI SmartView™ is the  quick, easy drag-and-drop screenshot capability with SMART Notebook software. Yes, TI Connect™ software is free, but the necessity to use more cables, get your computer to recognize the calculator cable, and then the amount of mouse clicks needed to embed the image(s) into whatever document or program that you want to use...ugh. The drag-and-drop screenshot feature allows me to quickly put a graph/window/table (see left) - any screen view that you can create on the calculator - into our class notes (via SMART Notebook) that students can then access later on our class webpage to remind themselves of the necessary steps in their calculator exploration procedures.

If you have not explored the classroom possibilities of TI SmartView™, I strongly encourage you to check out the free trial. Additionally, I found the MCTM Small Classroom Grant Application to be quite simple to fill out and submit. Thanks, MCTM! -Shari Kepner

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Job opportunity and PD opportunities

Here is a new job ad
Plains School Job Opening

Job Description

Plains School District is seeking a 7-12 mathematics teacher for the 2016-2017 academic year.  The teacher will be responsible for teaching a range of mathematics courses including 7-8 math, Geometry, Algebra II, and Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus.

Applicants interested in coaching/advising extracurricular activities are encouraged to apply. 

Academic Qualifications
Applicant must be able to meet the qualifications for appropriate Montana certification and endorsement.
Supplemental Information
Please complete the following to apply:
11.)    District Application
22.)    Letter of Interest
33.)    Resume
44.)    Complete college Transcripts
56.)    3 letters of recommendation

District application can be found at: http://www.plainsschools.net

Here are two new opportunities for professional development

Attn. Teachers - Apply to be a part of Springtime in the Rockies this April 21-22!
Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake

The Montana Learning Center has teamed up with Boeing, SAE International, and Rocky Mountain AWIM Initiative to bring you a unique opportunity to be on the forefront of K-5 STEAM education right here in Montana! Come and learn about engaging hands-on curriculum that will excite you and your students about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Springtime in the Rockies also includes a behind-the-scenes tour of Boeing-Helena.

Teachers who participate in Springtime in the Rockies will receive 18 Montana Office of Public Instruction renewal units and a complimentary SAE's A World in Motion classroom kit! Room and board is also provided free of charge for participants at the Montana Learning Center.

Space is limited to only 30 participating K-5 STEAM teacher leaders who teach in the formal classroom setting in Montana, so apply today! Applications are due March 1st. Applicants will be notified of their acceptance shortly after the application deadline.

For more information and registration, please visit:

Any questions regarding this opportunity should be directed to montanalearningcenter@gmail.com.

The Springtime in the Rockies conference is proudly designed and delivered by fellow Montana teachers. Funding for this opportunity is provided by Boeing, SAE International, Rocky Mountain AWIM Initiative, and the Montana Learning Center.


Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake is a non-profit organization providing educational enrichment through critical thinking with the goal to inspire our next generation to do extraordinary things for the betterment of society. The MLC has proudly been serving students and teachers since 1984.

University of Washington’s College of Education and Teaching Channel invite you to participate in the pilot of an online Learning Lab. Argumentation in Mathematics An interactive online course designed for K-2 classroom teachers Constructing arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others is one of eight standards for mathematical practice described by the Common Core State Standards. Children of all ages can engage in mathematical argumentation by making claims about mathematical relationships, supporting their reasoning with evidence, making sense of one another’s arguments, and working together to try to reach consensus about whether mathematical claims are valid. This course features two classroom activities through which we can support our youngest learners to engage in argumentation: Which One Doesn’t Belong? and Same or Not the Same? Each week, you will explore ideas related to argumentation through brief readings, video vignettes, and participating in discussion. Lab coursework is meant to be interactive and closely tied to your classroom instruction, including opportunities to try out these activities with your students, discuss practice with other K-2 teachers, and share artifacts from your own practice. Course Details: ● This Learning Lab consists of 10 weeks of lessons. ● The course will begin mid-March and will include one “break week” in the spring. ● This pilot is offered at no cost. In fact, teachers will receive a $250 stipend for completion of the course and providing feedback via survey and interview. ● Coursework is likely to take 1-3 hours to complete each week. This can be completed at any point in the week that works for you. ● Some assignments involve filming students engaging in argumentation or submitting student work samples. You will need to have access to a camera or smartphone that will allow you to submit video artifacts. ● Researchers at the University of Washington are studying what teachers learn from professional collaboration in the Labs, using records of online work. Teachers who participate in a Learning Lab have the option to be included in this research. You may participate in a Learning Lab and receive compensation without participating in the research. Space in this pilot is limited. For questions, contact Kendra Lomax at klomax@uw.edu<mailto:klomax@uw.edu>. Project funded by the National Science Foundation

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Are you interested in becoming a Teacher Leader?

MSP-LEAD prepares teacher leaders in grades 5-12 to lead improvement in mathematics and science at the local, regional and state level. Combining training, collaboration, and mentorship, MSP-LEAD applies best practices in leadership development to help you meet long-term goals.

What are the benefits of becoming an MSP-LEAD teacher?
·         Develop specialized skills to facilitate change
·         Build lasting relationships with other Montana education leaders
·         Be an advocate for standards-based teaching and learning
·         Receive a $2000 stipend for MSP-LEAD participation
·         Earn OPI renewal units for training sessions

MSP-LEAD Events and Timeline
Jan 16 – Feb 28, 2017
Online application period

March 10, 2017
Notification of acceptance

May 15 – June 15, 2017
Leadership pre-training
·         Readings, case studies, discussion
Online session, 4-6 hours per week for three weeks
June 22-25, 2017
Leadership Academy
·         Workshops, speakers, activities
Montana Learning Center at Canyon Ferry Lake
Fall 2017
Special interest groups
·         Inquiry into a topic of your choice
Online, monthly small group discussions
Spring 2018
Collaborative leadership experience
·         Present/facilitate/organize/create
Co-plan and present with a leadership mentor
June 2018
Teacher Leadership Showcase
Share and celebrate!

MSP-LEAD will prepare and support a select group of potential leaders representing mathematics and science, spanning grades 5-12, and widely located across the state. Selection criteria include:
*        At least three years of teaching experience
*        Recent participation in mathematics/science professional development
*        Evidence of efforts to implement research-based practices within the classroom
*        In-depth knowledge and implementation of Montana’s State Standards for Mathematics and/or the Next Generation Science Standards
*        A personal statement describing your interest and potential in educational leadership
*        Identification of a supporting school and/or district administrator who can recommend you

For more information, contact Dr. David Erickson, MSP-LEAD Director
MSP-LEAD is an OPI-funded ESEA Title IIB Mathematics and Science Partnership
including UM, MSU, MT Tech, Polson SD #23, and other districts

Friday, January 13, 2017

A new opportunity for your K-8 students

Our multiplication gaming event, the Arcademics Cup, is Feb 2-3 - no cost for students to participate.  Elementary students use their computers/devices to race for prizes like iPads and pizza parties, and teachers get access to student performance data. www.arcademics.com/cup

12,000 students raced in last year's Cup. We're expanding it this year, but space is limited so we want to get the word out soon to your group. This is a great way to utilize classroom technology, engage students in math, and apply data.