Previewing NCTM 2016 Conference Singapore Math Sessions

The NCTM (National Council of Teachers of Mathematics) Annual Meeting & Exposition program 2016 is now online and it’s time for my annual review of Singapore Mathematics sessions.

I’ve included sessions on Tape Diagrams and Strip Models because there are no sessions this year citing Singapore Math® strategies and only one using Number Bonds. This is because the Common Core progression documents cite many of Singapore’s visual models. My hope is that many of the visual strategies are modeled throughout the conference.  The number of overall choices addressing Singapore strategies is down from the number offered last year.

As usual, most of the sessions overlap.  Below are my thoughts on which session to choose, if you have a conflict.

See you in San Francisco! Email me if you’d like a tour at NCTM through materials or to just talk all things math: Cassy (at)

Thursday, April 14: 8:00 AM – 9:00 AM – Four sessions conflict

#23 MMMMM (Making Math More Meaningful with Models) in Pre-K–2

Lead Speaker: Duane Habecker
Too often we push our students directly to abstract algorithms without first giving students the prerequisite experience with models such as empty number lines, number bonds, arrow method, area model, etc. Teachers will learn how to use these models to make math meaningful for their students.

#26 Problem Structures for Tape Diagrams

Lead Speaker: Nirmala Nutakki
Tape diagrams can model relationships in a wide variety of problems involving the arithmetic operations, fractions, ratios, and percent. We will examine the problem structures most amenable to tape diagram solution and illustrate how tape diagrams can be used to develop and support proportional and algebraic reasoning.

#34 The Front Lines of Modeling: Bar/Tape Models from Real Classrooms

Lead Speaker: Dr. Kevin Mahoney
Tried your hand at bar modeling? Examine common errors, misunderstandings, and dispositions in actual student work. Leave with a deeper understanding of how children use (and misuse) models

#34.3 Exhibitor Workshop – Bar Modeling with Math Buddies, the Singapore Math® Online Resource

Lead Speaker: Marshall Cavendish (Probably Chris Coyne)
Discover how students learn and use the Singapore Math® bar model in kindergarten–grade 5. The foundations set in kindergarten with number sense and number bonds develop into meaningful links in the problem-solving process. Math Buddies, a K–5 digital resource will take your students through the Singapore Math® bar model approach to problem solving.

Not familiar with Nirmala Nutakki, so can’t comment. Math Buddies is a great digital resource for Singapore Math, and it will also be modeled at their booth. I’m intrigued by the MMMMM, but will probably be in Kevin Mahoney’s session – he wrote his doctoral dissertation on bar modeling in the classroom!

Friday, April 15: 9:30 AM – 10:30 AM

#332 Tape Diagrams . . . NOT Just for Early Elementary Grades

Lead Speaker: Jodelle S. W. Magner
Co-Speaker: Sue McMillen

Participants will examine the use of tape diagrams throughout CCSSM and solve questions from first grade through algebra. Participants will leave with knowledge of where tape diagrams apply in many types of mathematics. Some tape diagram solutions will be compared to traditional solutions to illuminate the usefulness of this tool.


I’m sure these presenters are wonderful, but I’ll be attending session #323 Insights and Practical Suggestions for Making Coaching for More Effective with Steve Leinwand. If you are a math coach, this one is mandatory.

Friday, April 15: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM

#464 Using Tape Diagrams to Foster Algebraic Thinking and Problem Solving

Lead Speaker: Bill Jackson
Co-Speaker: Makoto Yoshida

See how tape diagrams can be used to foster algebraic thinking to help young children solve addition and subtraction problems involving unknowns in all positions. Video footage of a lesson study cycle on teaching through problem solving and students sharing and discussing multiple solution methods will be shared.

Saturday, April 16: 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

#589 Math Talk: Teaching Concepts and Skills through Stories and Illustrations

Lead Speaker: Char Forsten

A young child’s understanding of the world is enlightened and expanded through stories and illustrations, so it makes sense to use these resources when learning mathematics. Participants will learn how to use “math talk” as a powerful way to provide consolidation and purposeful practice of essential skills and concepts.

About Cassy

Passionate about Singapore Math + Teacher Trainer and Coach + Treasure Hunter + Learner. Answer to the ultimate question? 42.

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