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Simply a Math Teacher
Simply a Math Teacher
Nellie Jackson, Upper School Instructor

At our annual GISA Conference held on Monday, November 5th I was pleased to attend the workshop: High School Mathematics: Engaging Students Through Technology, by Judy Norris. I must say, this literature teacher knew absolutely nothing about the subject. However, I was familiar with many of the resources and tools that Judy presented to the packed room of Mathematicians. Yes, these were some Math Wizards. And Judy was phenomenal with her Smartboard Pointer, that acted like a Wand from Harry Potter. As usual as the attendees entered the room that Judy had prepped seven hours earlier, they were greeted with a variety of assorted candies – in dishes to remind us of the upcoming Thanksgiving season. I later learned that these real-looking dishes were made of plastic materials.

Judy first engaged us in a game of KAHOOT. I even played under an assumed name. As we played this fun game, Judy recited various terms and phrases that were only familiar to the Math Wizards – Marble slides, algebra, Y-intercept, slope, hit stars and drop before you get to the third star, pre-calculus, some stuff defined by Y, line segment/desmos; linear regression and the TI-84. I hope you get the picture. Attendees were following along with Judy on their tablets/cell phones and following attentively as Judy worked the Smartboard. Judy was a master with the technology and her presentation was flawless. Especially since she was working from a Mac.

I was inspired by Judy's ease with the attendees. She told them that she was simply a Math teacher who, through her teaching and learning, made some great discoveries that will make their teaching lives easier. And after that, all I heard were ooh's and aah's echoed around the room! As attendees first entered the room, Judy pointed them to her bright green book mark of resources. Note to self: we need these in the English Department. Included on this book mark were helpful tools that every math teacher could use. In addition to the list of earlier mentioned math vocabulary, were websites to Geogebra, ExplainEverything, and TextHelp which is a program that actually reads the math problems to students. Judy offered practical information (with how-to examples/guidance) on how she encourages students to actually use their cell phones for completing their math tasks. Judy covered every student, every learner, and every need. Additionally, Judy offered resources for Video Notes and she provided useful examples of all her resources mentioned. Attendees were encouraged to explore these resources along with Judy. And they did! Judy was a professional wizard at balancing the myriad questions from her attendees to juggling the Smartboard, the Mac and adjusting her glasses. I can say much more, but attendees thanked Judy in various expressions.

Oh, my gosh! Was the response a great number of times from several of the attendees. As Judy was wrapping up her workshop it seemed as though no one wanted to leave.

Judy said, "My time is up, so please feel free to leave."

Some, attendees reluctantly left. However, of the 15-18 present, half remained behind for another 20 minutes to pick Judy's brilliant math brain.

All-in-all, I thoroughly enjoyed Judy's presentation. We were all witnesses as she managed classes, prepared lessons for her upcoming absences, and kept up with her personal educational development as she prepared for this outstanding representation on behalf of Mill Springs. The students at Mill Springs are fortunate and blessed to have Judy as their math teacher.

I witnessed professionalism from a colleague! I am proud to have been in the room during Judy's presentation at GISA.