#1TMCThing

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Following Twitter Math Camp, I have been spending a significant amount of time reflecting on what I was going to bring back into my classroom for the coming school year. I have a lot of things that I am excited to use and narrowing it down to one thing is impossible. Therefore, I have decided that I am going to choose my top 5 things that I plan to implement.

Warm-Ups – Following Jessica Bogie’s (@algebrainiac1’s) model. I had seen Jessica’s post on her blog before TMC16 and had marked it as something that I wanted to explore. Hearing her presentation about her method for creating warm-ups and her success for warm-ups convinced me that it was something that I could make work for the upcoming school year. While I appreciate the ready made page for the week, I’m also wondering about the flexibility of using different things on different days. Would there be weeks that I want to change the order or use the same type of problem a couple of times in one week? Would it be better to have standard pages for thinks like Visual Patterns, WODB, or Estimation 180 that I put out as needed?

Nominations – Kathryn Belmonte (@iisanumber) gave a “My Favorite” presentation about using nominations in the classroom. She explained that after a series of lessons that are related or at the end of a unit, she asks the students to complete a review assignment. She has given them a list of choices and the students complete one of these choices and bring it into class on the due date. Then students open their notebooks to the assignment and complete a gallery walk. Students are given two post-it notes and are asked to give two compliments to their classmates as they walk around. Once students are back in their seats, the teacher asks for nominations. Students can nominate other students and students may decline the nomination. The nominated student shows their work on the document camera. It sounds like a great way to get students to think about and summarize their understandings.

The Mathematicians Project – I didn’t go to, but I heard about the Mathematicians Project that Annie Perkins (@Anniekperkins) presented. I had heard about this project before and I thought it was a fantastic idea. My school is predominately minority students. (Check out my nifty graph!)

From Minnesota School Report Card (as of July 25, 2016)

 We did a project a couple years ago where they researched a mathematician but most of those were “old-dead-white-dudes.” I think that spending some time talking about the mathematicians in this format would make allow my students to connect with the mathematician better. It will be a bit of work on my part to begin with, but once I get going and I collect some of this information it will be easy to use on several occasions. 

Partner Quizzes – Sarah Martin (@sarah3martin) and Meg Craig (@mathymeg07) had an an afternoon session about partner quizzes and assessment questions. Sarah talked about how she uses partner quizzes as an opportunity for students to work together on an assessment (more challenging than a traditional assessment). She then takes the assessment home and marks if something is wrong. Student then spend about 20 minutes the following day working through corrections. This sounds like a fantastic idea to get students engaged in discussion around the mathematics. My students typically work as islands and I know that as a teacher, I learn so much from talking to other teachers and discussing students with them. Why shouldn’t I provide my students with similar opportunities. We also spent some time thinking about and crafting our own questions for tests and quizzes to use during the upcoming school year. I plan to implement the partner quizzes during the school year. I’m thinking once every month.

Continued Blogging – Once every two weeks. This one is on me. I have a renewed energy for creating blogging. I started mid-year last year (following the NCTM regional conference) and I posted a few times. I was a little nervous about posting things and my administrator not appreciating the fact that I blogged. This nervousness disappeared when during my end of year review I mentioned my blog and she was impressed. She wanted to know how many people come to my blog and how many times I posted. I was a little embarrassed that the answer was not many visitors and not many posts, but hopefully that will change a little over the coming school year. I am planning to post once every two weeks and then toward the end of the school year to change to every week. I’m even putting a reminder in my school calendar to help me remember. I also believe that the blogging will help to serve as a reflection opportunity for myself to think about things that have worked and things that I would like to change for the future.

#TMC16 – I made it!

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Months ago, I was following a couple people on Twitter and they started talking about this thing called TMC. I did a simple google search to try and figure out what they were talking about and it led me to discovering Twitter Math Camp. Low and behold, this coming year it was in Minneapolis. I read several people’s blogs about Twitter Math Camp and watched some youtube videos that were submitted. I discovered the wiki and watched some of the “My Favorites” sessions. I used some of the things that I found in my classroom and had wonderful success with them. I knew I wanted to go to #TMC16!

Knowing I wanted to go and actually going were two different things. I had to figure out registration and accidentally missed registration due to being exceptionally sick during the month of February. I made the wait list and then waited. Fortunately I was in Minneapolis so they could call me the day before and I would jump on the opportunity to show up. I waited and waited and actually forgot about it until I got the happy email from Lisa telling me that I had made the cut! I was so excited that I told several of the administrators at my school about it and they were actually jealous! (It was a weird situation for me to be in.) This was May.

As we got closer and closer to the date, my excitement stayed. However, my anxiety climbed. I was terrified that I would make a fool of myself. That people would realize that I was a fake and did not know as much as I thought. I actually stopped blogging because I was afraid it would show. June came and school was out so I started working on some professional development and summer school planning. This helped my anxiety drop some because I was not as focused on it.

Then Friday night came. It was the day of the Desmos pre-workshop. (I really wanted to gate crash the workshop and I probably should have but oh well.) I was attending the twins game and had to go pick up my ticket at the dorms. I had delibrately chosen to go to the game to force me to socialize with some people and see what it wouuld be like to attend TMC for real if it was in another city. The fact that I had paid $30 was pretty much the only reason why I dragged myself out of my apartment that day and went to get my ticket. There had been some emailing about timing regarding the twins game and then there was very little twitter chatter (or at least very little that I could see)! I showed up at about 5:30 and picked up my ticket and waited in the dorms. While I waited, there were very few people in the area and none of them talked to me. I was terrified that I would be the wallflower and would stay that way. No one showed up for a ride to the game (they all must have gone earlier… but I was okay with that since it gave me the time alone in the car.) I got to the game and comtemplated just  hanging out in the standing room on the lower deck instead of going upstairs. Eventually I made it to the group of math teachers and sat with them while we watched the game. I am not talented at starting conversations with people so I really just sat and watched the game and I was alright with that.

Eventually, Meg Craig (@mathymeg07) started talking to me. She introduced me to several people that were at the game and I started feeling more comfortable just being there. That was half my battle. I survived that first evening with TMC people!

The next day it was easier to get out of bed knowing that I would at least know someone there. I missed the newbie session (thanks to the alarm that hates me!). I went to my first morning session and met people for lunch. I eventually became more and more comfortable talking to the people that were around me and slowly got over my anxiety.

People did talk to me! People did sit with me at the Newbie dinner! People came up and said hello in the large group session! People let me be a part of their trivia team! People sat with me at lunch! And people said goodbye on the last day! Overall, I consider it a success. I made it to TMC. I enjoyed TMC. And I feel renewed and reenergized and ready to start the school year!

Then Tuesday came and Glenn Waddell (@gwaddellvhs) got up and told his story about the first TMC. Check it out here! It resonnated so much with me and what I was feeling that I was  starting to tear up! It described what it was like everyday for me at TMC this year. I would get out of bed and think “You don’t have to go, no one will know if you don’t” and I just kept going anyways!

No guaratees that next year I will be able to afford it but I know that I will do everything in my power to make it to TMC in Atlanta! Thank you all for helping me feel successful with my first year at TMC!