A+ Job, CMCN14

This was supposed to be a brief preamble to a post about what I learned at a recent conference, but it ballooned into this long, glowing mash note to the conference itself. You should find some way to attend next year.

California Math Council’s conference in Monterey, CA, last weekend was the best conference PD I’ve ever experienced. Your mileage may have varied depending on your session choices (or whether you were even there) but every. single. element. fell into line for me.

  • Great evening keynote with Tony DeRose of Pixar. (Shorter version here.) I love keynotes that are just outside, but not too far outside our discipline.
  • An excellent pick of four sessions on Saturday. There were at least three great picks in every block. Painful choices. I went out for a few names I knew would be fun (Lasek, Fenton, Stadel). But I also ventured out for a name I didn’t recognize (Barlow) and learned an enormous amount about math teaching as well as about how to talk with math teachers about math teaching. I’ll share some details in a later post, which was supposed to be this post until I got all breathless about the conference itself.
  • The Ignite sessions on Saturday evening were best-in-class. They were all entertaining and interesting, which is unusual enough, but three of them drew standing ovations. Five minute talks. Standing ovations. A standing ovation off of five minutes. Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you see them later.
  • The community. I get such a charge off the crowd that assembles on the Monterey Coast annually. I walked around Point Lobos with mentors, broke bread with peers, and met lots of new teachers from local programs. One of the keynote presenters and I both gave talks we had already given elsewhere and we both noted how charged up the crowds were, how great the vibe was, relative to those other venues. No idea why, but I’ll take it.
  • The venue. Unbeatable.

So great job, California Math Council. Everybody else: be sure to sign up to present and attend next year.

I'm Dan and this is my blog. I'm a former high school math teacher and current head of teaching at Desmos. He / him. More here.


  1. Go to the CMC website (www.cmc-math.org). Early February there will be a call for speakers and registration for the conference as a participant opens later in the year.

  2. I agree – I’ve been going to the CMC-North conference at Asilomar for over 10 years, and while it’s always great, this was the first year that I was 5 for 5 in picking Saturday sessions. (And yes, one was yours, Dan – always inspirational). In fact, I came away with a few reminders about things that I should know better about bringing back into my classroom, and some specific activities that were amazingly successful this week, already. I had two warm-up activities this week that students wanted to stretch from 5 to 20 minutes, and every single student was completely engaged. Because they were so successful and engaged in the warmups, the actual lessons, though shorter than planned, were completely effective.
    I also agree that the Friday keynote was outstanding, as was the Sunday morning keynote by Jo Boaler, whose research is really important. To steal from Stephen Colbert – CMCN14 – a great conference, or the greatest conference? Might well be the greatest one I’ve attended.

  3. Hi Dan,

    I looked at the Pixlar video and thought of how you could use it. You take a picture and use instant alpha in preview so you are left with just the image. Then you insert a picture as a background in Keynote. Import the image of yourself or someone else into Keynote. Use the Keynote animations to move the image around the background. You can lengthen the slide to the length needed to match what you want to say over top. Then export it as a movie and move it into iMovie. Then do the voice over.