No. 1

Spring 2016


Find out more about this student work!

President's Message
by Kaycie Maddox

It feels like Spring already in Georgia, meaning we’re moving toward the end of the school year and the Milestone testing season. This often is a time for rapidly completing the content standards for mathematics as well as making a mad dash to review all the big ideas for the year. Ideally, the furor of the end of the year is layered within the Standards for Mathematical Practice, offering students the opportunity to take ownership of their grade level mathematical concepts. In other words, it’s time for teachers to talk less and students to talk more!

The summer of 2016 offers a superb opportunity for us here in Georgia as the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics will host their summer institutes, Engaging Students in Learning: Mathematical Practices. Sessions for grades K-8 will be offered July 11-13 while sessions for grades 9 through 12 will be offered July 14th through July 16th. The various workshop sessions and keynote addresses in Atlanta this summer are all designed to support participants to:

  • Understand that the Common Core mathematical practices and NCTM process standards are integral to teaching and learning.

  • Learn instructional strategies that enable students to experience and to develop the habits of mind of a mathematically proficient student.

  • Examine mathematical content through the lens of the mathematical practices and process standards, as well as the teaching and learning standards from Principles to Actions.

  • Engage in activities related to task selection, development and implementation both during and after the Institute.

The Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics will support the NCTM Summer Institute 2016 and has put aside our own summer academies in this effort. Please go here to find more information as well as to register and find housing for these events.

Additionally, the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics have designed two different scholarship opportunities that total up to $10,000 to support some GCTM members who wish to attend the NCTM Summer Institute in Atlanta. The two levels of these scholarships are described here. Please take advantage of this terrific opportunity to attend sessions related to your appropriate grade levels. The classroom implementation of the Georgia Standards for Excellence for Mathematics continues to offer us opportunities to grow as facilitators of learning for our students. What an opportunity to grow together! 

Back to Top

Math Day at the Capitol
by Denise Huddlestun, VP for Advocacy

Several events were sponsored at the capitol during the 2016 legislative session.

Lunch and Learn
Representative Brooks Coleman, Chairman of the House Education Committee, sponsored a Lunch and Learn on Thursday, January 28, 2016 for members of the House Education Committee and Senate Education and Youth Committee and other interested legislators. GCTM President Kaycie Maddox and Denise Huddlestun, VP for Advocacy spoke to the agenda items: 21st Century Workforce Skills; Developing Skills through a Quality Mathematics Education Program; and the Mission and Objectives of GCTM. Legislators spent over an hour at the event and had the opportunity to engage in a discussion during a question and answer period about mathematics education. The twenty legislators who attended were provided with a document outlining necessary Soft Skills and the Standards for Mathematical Practice as well as a bookmark with information about GCTM, its mission and objectives, the annual conference, the upcoming NCTM Summer Institute and the support being provided for members to attend, and the awards given annually at the Georgia Math Conference to promote and recognize excellence in the teaching of mathematics in Georgia.

Math Day at the Capitol
The third annual Math Day at the Capitol occurred on Monday, February 8, 2016. Representative Mike Dudgeon wrote a resolution [link resolution to the PDF Den4_MathDay] to recognize Monday, February 8, 2016 as Math Day at the Capitol. Members of GCTM seated in the gallery stood and were recognized when Representative Brooks Coleman introduced the resolution on the floor of the House of Representative.

GCTM members attending Math Day at the Capitol.

Representative Mike Dudgeon presents resolution to recognize the Math Day at the Capitol.

Back to Top

NCTM Summer Institutes in Atlanta!
by Kaycie Maddox, President

Something special is happening for professional learning this summer of 2016!  The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) will be holding the following Summer Institutes in Atlanta:

For more information about NCTM’s Summer Institutes, refer to the flyer or to go the website found at Math Professional Development Institutes - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

The Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics (GCTM) would like our members to experience this wonderful opportunity for professional development. So, in lieu of holding our annual GCTM Summer Academies, we are offering scholarships to GCTM members to help those interested attend the NCTM Summer Institutes. The GCTM Summer Learning Scholarship provides applicants up to $200 towards the cost of attending the NCTM Summer Institute. The deadline for submitting the scholarship application is May 15, 2016. Details for this scholarship can be found at GCTM Summer Learning Scholarship | GCTM. The short online application requires applicants to provide contact information, and state that the applicant is a member of GCTM. Applicants must also explain why he or she wants to attend the institute, how the funding will him or her attend the summer institute, and how the applicant plan to use the information learned in your classroom.Priority is given to applicants who are driving more than 100 miles, have limited funding from other sources, or who make a compelling argument in the application. APPLICATIONS MUST BE SUBMITTED BY SUNDAY, MAY 15, 2016. All applicants will be sent an email no later than June 1, 2016, stating whether or not their applications were selected for funding.

Additionally, the GCTM Partners in Professional Learning Grant provides $1500 toward the cost of two teachers to partner in professional development. The grant pays the Summer Institute registration fee in full for the two teachers selected and gives them up to $750 towards the cost of travel and lodging. One grant will be awarded to two partner teachers in each of these grade bands: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. This is a great opportunity for GCTM to partner with our members and for our members to experience important professional development with a friend. The deadline for submitting grant applications is April 15, 2016. Details for this grant can be found here.

Please save these dates and make plans see us at NCTM Summer Institutes 2016.We are excited to have this event held in our own backyard. See you there!

Back to Top

Mathematical Artwork

This issue’s mathematical artwork was submitted by Clair Fuller, a 4th grade student attending King Springs Elementary in Cobb County. This radial design features a kaleidoscope of bright colors and striking rotational symmetry. Lovely!

Back to Top

Estimating Square Roots with Square Tiles
by Ashley Clody

The development of students’ understanding as the Georgia curriculum has become more conceptually based over the past 10 years. Students need to do more physically engaging math rather than just sitting and listening to a lesson every day. They are movers and doers which is why the tools and manipulatives are so important to their conceptual understanding of the math content.

As a middle school teacher, I am always looking for tools and strategies that help my students understand mathematics conceptually. I feel that if I am always striving to learn something new, it motivates my students to learn new things. There are tools and manipulatives that I have used for certain activities, but I am beginning to find new ways to use them. I have used square tiles with 6th grade to show perimeter and area, but I never imagined they could be used to help 8th grade students conceptually understand estimating square roots.

Read more.

View the Scavenger Hunt resources.

Ashley Clody teaches math at Awtrey Middle School in Cobb County. She has been teaching middle school math for ten years. She has been a member of GCTM for the past 11 years as either a student member or teacher member.

Back to Top

Square Root Day
by Becky Gammill, Ed.D., Editor

I love this time of year. Flowers are blooming. Birds are singing. There is an extra hour of sunlight at the end of our days. Spring Break lingers just around the corner promising to give deserving teachers and students alike a restful break from typical classroom hustles and bustles. Usually around this time of year we usually celebrate Pi Day on March 14th. In previous Spring issues, Reflections has even highlighted Pi Day and related activities; however, this year there is a rarer, yet just as interesting mathematical holiday up for recognition – Square Root Day!

Square Root days are mathematically celebrated days where both the day of the month and the month are the square root of the last two digits of the year. This year, April 4, 2016, or 4/4/16, is a Square Root day. This is not to be taken lightly as the next Square Root Day will not occur until 5/5/25! Some of our GCTM members will be retired by the next time a Square Root Day rolls around, so how can we celebrate this holiday with our students this year? Here are a few ideas:

  • Define a Square Root Day and have students think of the nine the Square Root Days that occur within each century. Why are there exactly nine Square Root Days per century? What is special about the number of years between the consecutive Square Root Days in a century? See this resource to find out more.

  • Have students compete to make the biggest, most radical square root sign. Check out this reference to discover more sign ideas.

  • Serve rootbeer in square glasses in class.

  • Have students discuss which day of the century is a commonly celebrated American holiday and a Square Root Day. (Hint: How many more weeks of winter are we going to have?)

  • Sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game where you root, toot, toot for the home team.

  • Eat a Square Root meal incorporating square cut root veggies (potatoes, carrots, turnips, and radishes) or making carrot cake. Don’t forget the home fries!

  • Have students find articles about Square Root day.

  • Have a contest to see who can recite the most perfect square numbers.

  • Create Square Root cards to mark the day and have students distribute them to their favorite teachers or friends.

  • Try square dancing!

  • Don’t forget to focus on the beauty of mathematics! Talk to your students about square root sequences, the square root function, and applications of square roots such as finding the length of a square given its area.

Find out more ideas on how to celebrate this rare holiday at Mental Floss. Please consider writing us to tell us how it went!

Have a radical Square Root day!

Back to Top

Engaging Students through Math Talk and Questioning Techniques
by Jeni Halimun and Debbie Kohler

Action research is an effective tool that allows teachers to reflect about their teaching practices while connecting educational theory and research to classroom instruction. In the present study, I (Dr. Halimun) used two learning tasks and addressed the following research question: Does my classroom discourse show a student-centered pattern? Through this study, I discovered a performance gap between my standards-based intentions and my actual classroom practice.

After teaching high school mathematics for twelve years, I unwittingly believed my teaching aligned with the reform vision elaborated in the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM 2000), hereafter called the standards. However, discussions and readings in graduate classes about practices of critical reflection unsettled this belief. When a teacher consistently examines his/her practice, reviews problems and makes improvements, it is referred to as reflective teaching (Qing 2013). The call to be reflective compelled me to verify that my standards-based teaching intentions matched my classroom practices. Thus, I launched an action research project to examine the following question: Does my classroom discourse show a student-centered pattern? Focusing on whole-classroom discourse a type of mathematical discourse that receives extensive attention in the standards I entered the realm of research necessary to connect educational theory to my classroom practice. Although the study was conducted in my classroom, Dr. Kohler provided valuable resources on teacher reflection to illuminate the new knowledge base in teaching practice.

Read more.

Dr. Jeni Halimun completed her doctorate in mathematics education at Kennesaw State University in 2011, taught for twelve years as a high school mathematics teacher, and taught two years of college level mathematics. She is interested in teacher initiated action research that is used to improve teaching practices and contribute to mathematics education.

Dr. Debbie Kohler received her Doctorate in Mathematics Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University in 2010. For over 30 years, she taught high school mathematics including AP Calculus and AP Statistics. She is interested in teaching with questioning techniques, gender equity in mathematics and calculator fluency research. She is currently a part-time instructor in the Department of Statistics at KSU and an AP reader for the AP Statistics exam.

Back to Top

Middle School & State Math Tournaments
by Chuck Garner, VP Competitions

Middle School Math Tournament
Are you interested in challenging your middle school students? Register your students for the GCTM Middle School Math Tournament! The date is Saturday, April 23, and the location is Thomson Middle School in Centerville. The registration fee is $20 if the teacher is not a member of GCTM, and only $10 for members. More information and a registration form can be found on the Competitions page of the GCTM website. You can also get your students prepared for the tournament by practicing previous year’s materials found in the GCTM Middle School Math Tournament Book:

State Math Tournament
Invitations to the State Math Tournament are sent to the high school sponsor’s email by April 2. This year’s State Math Tournament will be Saturday, April 30 at Middle Georgia State University. Registration is free since schools must be invited to attend. More information, including how teams are invited, can be found on the Competitions page of the GCTM website. Previous materials from the State Math Tournaments going back to 1998 are collected in three books, available on the Competitions page. These books are the best preparation for the style, scope, and topics found on the State Math Tournament!

These books offer written tests, individual ciphering, and pair ciphering from the years 1998 through 2015. Full solutions, and sometimes multiple solutions, are provided along with a topic index so that students may find any problem by topic. Any of these books would provide an excellent resource for any Math Team sponsor or students hoping to brush up on their problem-solving skills. (Note: All sale proceeds go directly to GCTM and fund the State Math Tournament and ARML team.)

Back to Top

Awards Nominations

Each Fall, GCTM recognizes distinguished members of our teaching community at the Georgia Mathematics Conference (GMC) at Rock Eagle. We are currently accepting nominations for each of the following awards through Math 30th. Click on the Nomination form link next to each respective award to nominate a worthy recipient. Contact Peggy Poole or Valerie Lemon if you have any questions about the nomination process.

Gladys M. Thomason Award for Distinguished Service: Nomination Form
Each year, GCTM selects one outstanding individual as the Gladys M. Thomason Award winner. Selection is based on distinguished service in the field of mathematics education at the local, regional, and state levels. To be eligible for the award, the nominee must be a member of GCTM and NCTM; be fully certified in mathematics, elementary or middle grades education at the fourth year level or beyond -- or if the nominee is a college professor, be at least an assistant professor; and have had at least five years teaching or supervisory experience in mathematics or mathematical education in Georgia.

Dwight Love Award: Nomination Form
This award is presented to a teacher in Georgia who models excellence in the profession and in life and gives much to others beyond the classroom as mentor, teacher and leader. The awardee is a master teacher, professionally active, and promotes GCTM and its mission.

John Neff Award: Nomination Form
This award is presented to a member of GCTM who demonstrates excellence as a full time post secondary educator and/or district supervisor. The recipient is someone who is an inspirer, a mentor, and an advocate of mathematics and mathematics education.

Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics: Nomination Form
Three awards, one each for elementary, middle, and secondary levels, are given to excellent teachers who have strong content foundations in mathematics appropriate for their teaching level, show evidence of growth in the teaching of mathematics, and show evidence of professional involvement in GCTM and NCTM.

Teacher of Promise Award : Nomination Form
GCTM recognizes one outstanding new teacher/ member in the state each year who has no more than 3 years experience at the time of the nomination and who demonstrates qualities of excellence in the teaching of mathematics.

Back to Top

GCTM Needs YOU Today!
by Susan Craig Membership Director

It is always so fun to meet new faces and find old friends at The Georgia Mathematics Conference at Rock Eagle. Many of you attend every year or as frequently as possible. Remember that you would need to renew your membership this year. It was not included in your conference registration. My wish is that all of you become members of our wonderful organization for the duration of your career and longer.

As we near the end of our academic year, let’s make membership in GCTM a priority. A mere $20 insures your membership in this wonderful group of educators devoted to supporting the BEST in mathematics teaching and learning in Georgia.

Your participation is our strength. We have 50+ years of excellence and that is due to our supportive members and leaders. Unfortunately our membership numbers are down. WE NEED YOU! You ARE GCTM!

Reflections would love to have articles for publication from GCTM members as well. If your submission is published, you will receive a year’s membership free. Let us hear some of your great teaching ideas and your next annual membership renewal fee is on us. Hope to hear from you soon!

Back to Top

GCTM Executive Board


President – Kaycie Maddox

Past President and Treasurer – Dan Funsch

Intern TreasurerNickey Ice

Executive Director – Tom Ottinger

Membership Director – Susan Craig

NCTM Representative – Dottie Whitlow

Secretary – Debbie Kohler

IT Director – Paul Oser

REFLECTIONS Editor – Becky Gammill

VP for Advocacy – Denise Huddlestun

VP for Constitution and Policy – Patti Barrett

VP for Honors and Awards – Peggy Pool

VP for Regional Services – Valerie Lemon

VP for Competitions – Chuck Garner

Conference Board Chair – Tammy Donalson

Back to Top

Table of Contents

President's Message - by Kaycie Maddox

Math Day at the Capitol - by Denise Huddlestun, VP for Advocacy

NCTM Summer Institutes in Atlanta! - by Kaycie Maddox

Mathematical Artwork

Estimating Square Roots with Square Tiles - by Ashley Clody

Square Root Day - by Becky Gammill, Ed.D., Editor

Engaging Students through Math Talk and Questioning Techniques - by Jeni Halimun and Debbie Kohler

Middle School & State Math Tournaments - by Chuck Garner, VP Competitions

Awards Nominations

GCTM Needs YOU Today! - by Susan Craig, Membership Director

GCTM Executive Board


Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics | PO Box 5865, Augusta, GA 30916 | 1-855-ASK-GCTM