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January 2017 Edition

The Official Newsletter of the Association of Teachers of Mathematics in Massachusetts, an affiliate of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

Happy New Years from ATMIM!

Check out this excellent post by Sara VanDerWerf filled with awesome math for 2017. (Fun fact: Sara is the president of MCTN, Minnesota's NCTM affiliate)

Join us next week at the ATMIM Winter Conference
Submitted by Nancy Johnson

Learn More about Next Gen MCAS at the ATMIM Winter Conference!

Where:  Hopedale Junior – Senior High School, Hopedale, MA

When:  January 12, 2017, from 3:30 – 8:00 PM

Click here to register!

Jass Stewart, Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff, DESE, will provide the latest information on Next-Gen MCAS in his keynote address beginning at 4 PM.  Simone Johnson, Administrator for Mathematics Test Development, will join Jass to talk about what has changed and what has not.

Three breakout sessions by grade band will follow the keynote address. Continue reading for more details...

Get to know Jass Stewart, Keynote Speaker at the ATMIM Winter Conference
Submitted by Cole Gailus

Jass Stewart from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education will be presenting at next week’s ATMIM Winter Conference on the developments in the next-generation MCAS exams.

How did you get involved with DESE?

Jass Stewart: I was initially hired three years ago as the Consulting Project Manager for RETELL and PARCC. This work evolved into leading the communications effort for PARCC. When the board voted to transition from PARCC to the next-generation MCAS, I was put in charge of next-generation MCAS communications as well as coordinating the 15 workgroups tasked with developing the new assessments. At the same time, I was appointed Special Assistant to the Sr. Associate Commissioner to manage the strategic plan for the Office of Curriculum and Instruction.

Continue reading the rest of the interview...

ATMIM Spring Conference Update
Submitted by Sandy Ollerhead

On Friday, March 24th ATMIM's Spring Conference will be held at Worcester State University. We are pleased to have Dr. Anne Collins and Mary Sullivan as our two keynote speakers.  

We have an exciting lineup of over 20 sessions to choose from that are relevant for all math teachers in grades K-12. Session topics will include reaching all learners, building a deeper understanding of math concepts, incorporating technology, and investigating the Common Core Standards for Mathematical Practice. You will come away from the conference with tools and strategies that you can immediately implement in your classroom.  

For a complete list of the sessions, visit the conference website.

Be sure to stay tuned for details of a “Tweet-up” being planned following the conference!

Featured Resource: Desmos
Submitted by Sandy Ollerhead

If you visit, you will find a user-friendly and completely free online graphing calculator. But click on the “Classroom Activities” (or go directly to them through, and you’ll find a plethora of amazing activities that you can use in classrooms from elementary to high school and beyond. And if you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for in the activities, Desmos lets you create your own through their Activity Builder. You can either create an activity from scratch or take an existing activity and tweak it to make it just right for your particular students.

Activities are more than just online worksheets - they are designed to promote inquiry, allow students to make discoveries, and help gain a deeper understanding of a concept. They can even be used as a formative assessment at the end of a unit. Continue reading...

Get Inspired by Ignite!
Submitted by Cole Gailus

On occasion, I find that I need a jolt of inspiration to get me through the day. I have found the Ignite videos, presented by The Math Forum, always hit the spot. Each Ignite video is a 5-minute long presentation by a math educator on what inspires them. The speakers are kept at a brisk pace by the accompanying slideshow of exactly 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds, whether the presenter is ready or not! Continue reading...

Using Spreadsheets to Visualize Data
Submitted by Susan Weiss

I like using a spreadsheet as a tool to understand different ideas in math. Today I decided to use the spreadsheet to prepare my students for graphing in future science projects. Here is the project that we started today.

We started by gathering data about the children in each of our families including the students themselves. We looked at the number of children in each family and their ages. Once the children had the data, I asked the children what questions this data could answer and recorded those questions. Continue reading...

Nominate a Math Educator for the Father B. or Hall of Fame Awards
Submitted by Steven Rattendi

Rev. Stanley J. Bezuszka, S.J. Achievement Award for Mathematics Teaching and Learning

ATMIM is now accepting nominations for its annual Father B award. The award is given out during our Spring Conference and honors the commitment and excellence of teachers of mathematics in levels PreK – 16. The nominee should be an outstanding teacher of mathematics or mathematics education both in the classroom and in the ATMIM community of members. For more information and the nomination process, please visit

Hall of Fame Award

ATMIM is accepting nominations for the Massachusetts Hall of Fame for Mathematics Educators. This award honors educators with 20+ years of educating students and/or other teachers of mathematics. Those inducted into the Hall of Fame must have made an extraordinary contribution to mathematics teaching and/or to the advancement of mathematics education in Massachusetts. For more information and the nomination process, please visit

Proposed Changes to ELA and Math Standards Available for Public Comment
Submitted by Steven Rattendi

Don't Miss Your Chance to Comment on the New Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks

Recently, the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted to release for public comment new drafts of the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks for English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics. Comments may be made through February 17, 2017, through an online survey. Educators interested in learning more about the proposed changes are encouraged to check out the English language arts and literacy and math standards review page on ESE’s website or sign up for one of ESE's Office Hours sessions during the comment period.

NCTM Update 
Submitted by Susan Weiss

Enhance Your Professional Development with NCTM Membership

Resources, research, an extensive network of peers, and exclusive member savings

As a mathematics educator or researcher, your passion is ensuring that all students receive the highest quality math education possible. Membership in NCTM means access to the resources you need to turn your passion into measurable student learning outcomes. 

In addition to exclusive resources and the latest research, membership in NCTM connects you to a network of over 60,000 fellow math educators who share your commitment to student success. Enhance your teaching expertise when you exchange solutions and first-hand insights with this extensive network. Continue reading for upcoming NCTM events...

ATMNE 2017

Problem of the Month - RACECAR
Submitted By John Bookston


If you looked at or used the last Problem of the Month, RADAR, below is an extension of that problem and a second challenge that requires a different analysis.

Challenge 1: Start at any "R."  You may move left, right, up or down. (You may use the same box twice). Explain how there are 784 ways to spell racecar.

Continue reading for Challenge 2...

Share your news!

Has something exciting happened recently in your professional life? Do you have a blog that you would like to promote? Are you planning an event or leading a PD session at your school? Have you published an article? Are you trying something new in your classroom? Let us know so we can share your news with the Massachusetts math educator community!

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