Sunday, November 8, 2015

CMC Math Conference! {Wows! on Wednesday back this Wednesday!}

I was very blessed to attend the CMC {California Mathematics Council} Southern California Conference in Palm Springs Friday & Saturday.  I have been to the conference many times in the past, but it has been at least 6 years since I have been able to go. 

The conference was WONDERFUL!!! 

I am a Kim Sutton groupie...I first heard her around 25{?} years ago at the CMC Conference.  I remember going to her session and being blown away!  There was so much great information that I couldn't absorb it all.  Her session was repeated & so I went back.  Since then I have heard her speak at conferences like this and also attended several full day conferences that she had through her company Creative Mathematics.  I ALWAYS learn something new EVERY SINGLE time I hear her speak!  If you EVER have the chance to see her present DO NOT pass it up!  One of my favorite lines of hers is, "Math is NOT like reading/language arts"  My students hear that all the time.  We talk about how the brain is a pattern seeking device & how if they ever listen to a two year old or someone learning English they might hear that person say, "I flied" or "I swinged" because they are trying to apply that pattern of adding -ed for the past tense, but we have exceptions~in math there are patterns, properties, constants~when you know it, you know it...there won't be rule breakers or exceptions.

I went to 2 of Kim's sessions and visited with her for quite a while, it was a delight!

I am now a new groupie too.  I went to Jane Felling's session on Family Math nights & I was so impressed with her, her style, her information, & materials I stayed for her next session Number Line Math for Teaching Place Value {it was not originally on my schedule}, then I attended her husband's session the next day Roll into Conducting Probability & Statistics & I was just as impressed with him!  He talked about brain research and what he shared fit beautifully with what I have learned from Chris Biffle from Whole Brain Teaching {which I have blogged about several times in the past}.  I purchased several materials from their company Box Cars and One Eyed Jacks and look forward to watching my students grow through using them.

I almost stayed with Kim for her last session, but it was for K-2 & I decided to stick with my original plan of going to Orchestrating Confident Problem Solvers in 3 Simple Steps!  I am so glad that I attended that session!  Here is my picture with all of these amazing individuals and more about the last session & these ladies after the picture...
I will talk about the content of that session first...I loved it! They talked about a way to work with students to UNDERSTAND word problems by doing 3 Reads with them.  One of the lines my students hear frequently is "Reading is for Meaning" and this fit beautifully with HOW to do that when problem solving.  Now, about these ladies, the opener they had up as I walked into the room was to discuss with a neighbor WHY you chose this session...I had three reasons, #1 it was in the same hotel as my previous session with Kim {a significant consideration because the conference has sessions in the Convention Center & SIX different hotels!}, #2 I liked the topic since problem solving is so critical for our students and can be a challenge for them to conquer successfully, #3 one presenter was from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo & the other 2 were from the San Luis Coastal School District~I am an alumni of Cal Poly.

After their session I began talking with them and I asked them if they knew Dr. Susan McBride, who had been one of my professors at Cal Poly.  I was surprised when they said they knew her because of how much time has gone by since I graduated.  Dr. McBride had a huge impact on my life.  When I was in college, Cal Poly was the only school that I knew of at the time that an individual majoring in Liberal Studies could graduate with a teaching credential.  There had been a certain GPA that was required to enter the credential program and I had that GPA, but at the beginning of my fourth year the GPA was raised and the students were not informed.  My GPA was now too low and I was being told that it needed to be raised, yet at the same time to graduate non-credential I would need 15 units of a foreign language.  So, while I was trying to raise it, very difficult to do when you have so many credits under your belt, I was also struggling with Spanish.  I have never tried so hard to be successful at something and done so poorly as when I was trying to learn Spanish.  
At this time my advisor was recommending I look at another career and I was feeling so discouraged. I enrolled in Dr. McBride's class, but I was overwhelmed and just didn't feel like I could do my best.  She allowed me to receive an incomplete and told me to return when I was ready.  When I came back to her class I was so inspired & impressed by her.  She made me want to give everything I had to every assignment.  I didn't receive a score below a 93% in her class.  At the time this was a pretty big deal for me!  She had a quiet, encouraging high expectation for her students, and I am so grateful that she believed that I could become a teacher.

I graduated non-credential, which was very challenging for me, but I earned my credential and Master's Degree from Chapman University.  I LOVE being a teacher, and the struggles I went through, I believe help me to relate to, and make me a champion for those who do struggle in school.

Part of my story that I shared with the three ladies involved another friend who was caught in the same situation I was.  We lost touch after graduation.  We would later be reunited. She had also continued with her dream of being an educator & I would soon learn about her journey in education.  Our reunion was related to a Delta Kappa Gamma event. {Delta Kappa Gamma is a professional organization of women educators that I was a part of}  The three ladies looked at each other when I mentioned Delta Kappa Gamma & then told me that was how they knew Dr. McBride and that they would be seeing her Tuesday night!

Thank you Dr. McBride for believing in me and encouraging me to be the best I could be.  You made such a positive impact on my life and I will be forever grateful!

Here are the goodies I got at the conference! :D  Some I purchased; the dice trays, big book & some of the dice.  The rest were given at the sessions or in the vendor area.  I am so excited to share what I learned with my students!

Now, mmmm, I love food! Here is a bit about the FOOD while I was in Palm Springs!

I'll be back on Wednesday with 3 Wows! on Wednesday!

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