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Loitering at NCTM

This was on an older, now deleted, blog of mine.  Causing Trouble at TI Workshop reminded me about it.  Someone might enjoy it…

Loitering at NCTM

Last week I spent my spring break loitering at the math teachers conference in Anaheim.  I learned so much it’s been hard to contain it all.  Here are some of my observations:.

I learned that no-one checks your badge to see if it’s counterfeit.

If you stay at the hotels, the daily parking is $16 where if you only drive in for the day it is $8.  And if you park in Garden Grove and walk, it’s free.  I would think the nightly hotel bill of $160 would offset some of the parking expenses.

I was pleasantly surprised when the parking attendant remembered me from my visit two days earlier.

If you buy a hot dog and soda at the Anaheim Convention center it costs $9.50.  I would think the $180 registration fee would offset some of the hot dog expenses.

I learned that $180 is actually inexpensive for a conference of this size and that the many vendors probably made up the difference.

You can get a lot of free stuff from vendors who want you to spend your school’s money on a lot of expensive stuff.

There are schools that can’t afford the expensive stuff so their teachers spend their own money on less effective substitutes.

I learned that far too many teachers spend their own money on less effective substitutes.

A cheerleading competition was scheduled next door.  (I assume it was to cheer on the math teachers.)

People came as far as Australia.  (To the math convention.  I don’t know about the cheerleading one.)

I met a principal that wants me to move to New Mexico.  (I assume it was to teach there.)

I met a teacher from Compton, California that doesn’t think merit pay based on student performance is fair when she has Algebra classes with 40 plus at-risk students while other districts have more motivated classes of thirty students or less.

She told me that she is considering quitting.

I met a surprisingly large number of people who were looking for the boat show.  (They must have walked in from Garden Grove and didn’t see the directions.)

I discovered there is free wireless available on the second floor of the Anaheim Convention Center but not anywhere else.

I did learn some math teacher stuff but won’t bore you with the details…

Causing Trouble at TI Workshop

This post reminded me of the following story:

So far, my only NCTM conference was in Anaheim in 2005. Between sessions I attended the TI workshop on the TI-Navigator™ Classroom Learning System, or whatever they had at the time.

It really is a cool system. You can have students do work on their calculator and wirelessly send you the results. You can give quizzes, get instant feedback and adjust your instruction. You can also display an image and have students interact with it, which we did in the workshop.

To demonstrate linear regression the TI representative displayed some image similar to:

The participants were asked to plot a point anywhere on the bridge’s fence line. These points, as well as their calculator number, showed up on the image. Most of the teacher-participants were very obedient and picked a point exactly on the line. Somebody wanted to see what would happen if he picked a point which wasn’t even close to the fence line.

The resulting picture looked like…

The TI guy happily showed us how to find and graph the equation which looked like:


After a long pause the presenter said, “That’s never happened before…”

I was starting to feel bad for the presenter when some annoyingly helpful teacher pointed out the point in the corner. Another teacher noticed the calculator number next to the point…

I was quietly hiding my calculator number when the presenter commented on turning something like this into a teaching moment…

Photo from Windsordi.