Professional Development Resources for Secondary Mathematics Classrooms

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math1Does it ever seem that students come to your middle school math, Algebra, Geometry, or Trig/Pre-Calculus class lacking enthusiasm and motivation? Compared to History, Science, and Language Arts, the core curriculum for Math is not only static but oftentimes, well - simply dull. Unlike the other core courses, the concepts and principles we cover in the mathematical courses rarely change and offer little in the way of exciting discovery or creative exploration.

With summer here and along with it a respite from the daily academic grind, take this occasion to find out how to enhance your math teaching practices by joining and learning with the variety of online professional development opportunities. These Web-based professional development opportunities put you in to direct contact with other secondary Mathematics educators and curriculum experts from all over the globe. Insight into refreshing ideas for lesson plans and activities from colleagues across the nation or even globe opens up a renewed perspective of teaching and learning middle and high school level math topics.

Online professional development opportunities for secondary math teachers provide a more flexible method of attaining new skills and ideas and additional credits to apply towards the upcoming fall semester.

National Council of Teachers of Mathematics NCTM

For no other reason than to start with the known; visit the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Professional Development page. NCTM has served as an ever-present backbone to mathematics educators since 1920. Today, the Web-based program reaches teachers around the globe and is the world’s largest organization devoted to mathematics education. For an overview, read their important statement, Guiding Principles for Mathematics Curriculum and Assessment.  Look around the Professional Development link. Click and learn about the Reflection Guides. Then browse the various Reflections by Lesson or Topic. The publications cover a vast array of pertinent topics; select those articles relevant to your scenario. If you are already a member of NCTM, sign up for one of the E-Seminars (if you are not, consider joining). Read through some of NCTM’s Summing Up journals. Browse the archived issues and skim through for articles that interest you.  Finally, jump over to the Unofficial NCTM Online Member Network. While this social networking forum for math educators is not directly affiliated with NCTM, it closely follows the prompts set forth by the NCTM organization, providing various blogging opportunities for educators to collaborate.

Math for America MfAmath2

Hop over to Math for America (MfA) Professional Resources. This program was “created to serve as a national education model and to ensure that public secondary school students receive the best possible mathematics education”. Click and watch the Video Spotlight: The MfA Corps, located at the right. Posted is the most up-to-date listing of upcoming Conferences and Events in case you are looking ahead for the next school year. If you are located in or near one of the major cities that offer fellowships or Master Teacher programs, click Apply to MfA link. Check the Teacher Resources For the Classroom page for some interesting insight into what other colleagues are doing in their secondary math classrooms.

Annenberg Learner

Annenberg Learner’s Teacher Resources is a treasure trove of information and online support material. Check out their complete collection of Workshops and Courses; many of which are eligible for a range of types of credits. If you are seeking a program that does not require your own (or school) funding, look into joining Teacher Talk. The link is not ‘pretty’ but it is chock full of important and relevant conversations going on amongst colleagues from schools all over. If you are in a browsing mood, scan the wide range of programs.

Khan Academy

Every so often, we come across an online tool that truly shines. The Khan Academy is unprecedented in that it is not a major national or international organization, it is not funded by major corporations or universities, and (perhaps best of all) there are no registration fees. The content on this site (and it is extensive) is all organized and available to teachers (and students and parents) completely free of charge. Take a peek at the About Khan Academy link and look at the graphics and watch the video clips for the best introduction to this amazing program that was developed by educator Salman Khan (make sure to watch his video interview with Bill Gates located on the main page). There is a free sign-up form to fill out (which gives you full access to all of the content). From the Browse link, scroll down to locate the topic of your choice and be ready to marvel at the vast amount of video content available.

Computing Technology for Math Excellence

One more site before you head off for the summer. Dr. Patricia Deubel’s Computing Technology for Math Excellence is an unconventional essay that explores the very existence of professional development and how to best go about navigating the many programs, workshops, and Web sites. Many of the larger professional development Web sites (as explored in this article) are relatively easy to find and navigate. This article will help you to consider your own secondary math scenario and perhaps fine tune on what it is you would like to do to enhance your own practice. Plenty of links and graphics make this essay enjoyable to read so make sure to fit this one into your online schedule.

As you join other secondary math educators from all over in the variety of online professional development networking programs, you open your scope to a vast field of innovative methods and activities for reinvigorating your classroom and teaching practices. Participating in these Web-based programs affords a greater level of flexibility so that summer is a time not only for continued work and effort but also a time to reflect and even relax.

Stephanie Tannenbaum


National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) Professional Development

Math for America Professional Resources

Annenberg Learner

Khan Academy

Computing Technology for Math Excellence - Dr. Patricia Deubel


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