Our ST Math team was excited to be face-to-face with Texas educators again at this year’s Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching Conference (CAMT) which was held July 13-15 in San Antonio, Texas. With nationally recognized speakers to a Reunion Tour theme, we knew it would be a jam-packed, fun week with educators and administrators from across the state.
Our team networked, presented, passed out exclusive JiJi swag just for CAMT attendees, and learned so much about excellent math instruction throughout the week. We also made sure every single person we spoke to was aware that there is still a year and a half left of FREE ST Math in Texas, thanks to TEA purchasing it for all K-5 students.
One of the highlights of the conference was this year’s sessions. They focused on equity, math strategies, emergent bilinguals, intervention, and gifted and talented education. There was also an emphasis on edtech—especially on making math come alive in the classroom and teaching using equitable practices that promote high standards. ST Math was lucky enough to have three of our very own rock star colleagues, Nigel Nisbet, Brandon Smith, and Twana Young, as well as our amazing partners, Noemi Gonzalez and Christina Reyes, present this year.
If you ever have the opportunity to hear Nigel speak, you need to take it! I could listen to him all day long because he is incredibly smart and I really enjoy his British accent. Although Nigel has spoken at CAMT before, this year, he was one of their few featured speakers which means he gave three separate presentations focused on different grade bands. With a conference theme of Rocking Mathematics, Nigel’s presentations were especially fitting. Nigel is literally a former rock star! It was fun to hear that history come through in each of his presentations and how it related back to mathematics.
While I was passing out JiJi swag at the booth, Janna McIntyre, one of our wonderful Texas Professional Learning Specialists, attended Twana’s session, Cultivating Mathematics: When Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Drive Design. Her favorite part was when Twana talked about the “Super Mario effect.” When kids are playing video games, they never feel defeated and give up because they know they will eventually beat the game. It’s not an if but when for them! Because our ST Math is mastery-based, students can try as many times as they want, knowing they will eventually solve the puzzle in front of them. We need to apply this “Super Mario effect” in the classroom by empowering students to embrace failure as productive struggle.
Lastly, I want to highlight the mind-blowing session by Brandon Smith that I was fortunate enough to attend. In his session, Mic Check, One, Two: Is This Feedback Working?, Brandon honed in on the need for mistakes and formative feedback in order for students to learn and grow. Three big things we can do to foster this in classrooms are: be open to mistakes ourselves; give kids autonomy over “how” they attempt new problems; and separate concepts of achievement and learning. I loved the idea that we can learn for the sake of learning!
Back at the ST Math Booth
While some of my colleagues enjoyed the sessions, there was a lot of action back at the ST Math booth! We had a selfie contest with JiJi as well as CAMT-exclusive stickers and t-shirts. Educators from all over Texas stopped by to share their ST Math success stories and we had so much fun getting to see our amazing partners in person. One teacher shared with me that ST Math had been transformative in her classroom, helping her build a culture where students are excited to take risks and participate in meaningful math discourse.