Behind the Scenes at NCSM and NCTM

NCTM BoothI thought I’d give you a behind-the-scenes view of last week’s activities in Philadelphia.

Karen Greenhaus, Andres Marti, Elizabeth DeCarli, and I were assigned to the first event, NCSM. We were up bright and early on Monday morning to set up our booth, even although it was 4:00 am in our heads, having just flown in from California (Karen from Texas). Our booth was to be delivered at 8:00 am and set up by the opening of the show at 11:00 am. We waited and waited… and waited.

Finally I called Lainie Johnson, our Marketing Manager in California (I apologize for the VERY early call, Lainie) who gave me the shipping company’s information and the case of the missing booth was opened. I got my first real glimpse of the massive behind-the-scenes logistics of the NCSM and NCTM events after multiple calls between the main hall and the loading dock yielded no results. I asked if I could go down to the loading dock and was told “you don’t want to go down there, it’s dangerous.” So I went anyway…

There were 22 loading bays and each had a truck in it. Our booth was in one of those trucks, but which one? One of the guys from Freeman, rather surprised to find me down there, called me over to him and told me to jump on the back of his “golf cart.” Off we went in search of the missing shipment and after a quick tour down the loading bay we found what we were looking for—tucked in the very back of a truck was our crate. The trucking company thought it was due for delivery for NCTM a few days later and thought they were early, by our measure they were now over two hours late. The guys from Freeman were incredibly helpful and we almost had everything in place when the show started. Phew.

We didn’t get a chance to see any of the sessions at NCSM—we rarely do—but we saw many of our friends in the leadership community when they visited our booth. Our friend Arjan Khalsa, from Conceptua Math, hosted a wonderful soirée on Tuesday evening where math, specifically fractions, and music were the themes for the evening. Arjan also announced the publication of Nora Ramirez’ new book, Beyond Good Teaching  and Steve Leinwand signed copies of his book,  Accessible Mathematicsfor 10 lucky winners.

We ended NCSM by hosting an Ignite on Wednesday afternoon. Our amazing speakers filled the room to capacity: Karim Kai Ani, Juli K. Dixon, David Elliott, Tim Kanold, Donna Simpson Leak, Jamila Riser, Scott Steketee, and Steve Weimar, Annie Fetter, and Max Ray from the Math Forum. Thanks all! The talks will be posted by the end of next week on our YouTube channel and also accessible from our website. Many teachers told me they’ve used the Ignite videos for their own professional development and have shared them widely with their colleagues. Good stuff!

With NCSM wrapped up, we turned to NCTM. We had a new booth this year that focused on our learning tools, Sketchpad, Fathom and TinkerPlots. The booth set up went very smoothly thanks to Skyline, SMART (who donated two boards) and Lainie, who thought of every possible detail. There was a lot of interest in TinkerPlots this year, due to the new data analysis and probability standards for middle school in the Common Core. And Sherry Fraser, one of our IMP authors, spent time in the booth and spoke to teachers about IMP and anything else they asked her! Thank you, Sherry.

Back at home, our team was busy promoting over 30 talks on Twitter that included Sketchpad, TinkerPlots, or Fathom. The first feedback I got about Nick Jackiw’s talk on “Euclid’s Elements: An Interactive Geometry Perspective” was that it was “phenomenal.” We videotaped it so you can see it too on our Connect page once we edit it.

Michael Bosse and friends at User GroupThursday night we hosted a User Group for 200+ fans of Sketchpad, Fathom, and TinkerPlots. Over 20 teachers shared short demonstrations with other teachers. Thanks to Rick Gaston and Lainie for organizing and hosting the evening for our user community, and to Karen Greenhaus for emceeing and for not singing! Just kidding, Karen.

Friday morning we were up at 6:30 am to host a breakfast for the Presidential Awardee group, CPAM. At that hour, it must be love, folks. Everyone received TinkerPlots and participated in a short demo using a data set about U.S. Presidents. One President had 15 children! Who knew! You can find which one by downloading the software and exploring the “Presidents” data set.

After the CPAM breakfast, we had four more hours in the booth before the show closed. A busy time as teachers rushed to see some last minute product demos. At noon the show closed and it took a lot less time for us to pack up than it did for us to set up!

The week ended with a lovely lunch in Philly before we all headed for various flights. It was wonderful to see so many friends of Key. Thanks for stopping by. Many thanks to the Key team for all their hard work.

See you in Denver!


About Karen Coe

I went straight from college into educational publishing. I started in Sales and Marketing and I loved the work and the industry from the start. After seven years in Athens, Greece I moved to the US and started working for Key Curriculum Press. I just celebrated 15 years with the company. Key has a unique culture that is deeply committed to making mathematics interesting, fun, and relevant to today's learners and their teachers -- it's that deep commitment, and the great people I work with, that keeps me engaged in the work we do.
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3 Responses to Behind the Scenes at NCSM and NCTM

  1. Pingback: Math Technology Professional Development | Sine of the Times

  2. avatar Gail Anderson says:

    Will you be posting Mr Jackiw’s presentation on Euclid soon? I misd the first ten minutes and would love to see the whole thing again – it was fantastic! Will his .gsp be posted at sketch exchange anytime? Your presentations and the workshop at NCTM were fantastic!

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