Sunday, July 27, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Failure

I failed the July Challenge.
But I have a good excuse :)

This week was *CRAZY*

On Monday and Tuesday, I ran around like a crazy person putting out fires in preparation for #TMC14.  On Wednesday, people starting arriving, which means I got to see people I hadn't seen since #TMC12.  Thursday through today was the actual conference, where 150+ people descended on my school to learn and do math together.  Everything was so smooth.. I still can't believe it!

I'm an Introvert...
This week was such a blast, but part of it was very difficult.  I had a great time, but I will be the first to admit that I was not prepared for the actual amount of physical work that goes into putting on a conference.  More difficult for me was that from the time I arrived at school each day until the time I left, I had to be "on".  For someone that is introverted, that's really hard.  For lunch most days, I hung out with the teachers from my own school simply because I knew I could be ME and not have to have my "hostess face" on.  Don't get me wrong, I had a great time and I am so happy that people enjoyed their time at TMC, but being "on" all the time is exhausting.  There are so many people that I wanted to hang out with, but wasn't able to because I needed quiet time.  Every day, my roomie and I would go back to our room just to unplug for an hour or so and recharge our batteries.  I can only speak for myself, but I easily found myself on overload this week from the sheer brilliance of the ideas being presented.  I know I missed out on so many conversations and presentations simply because of the overload.  I can't wait to read all of the blog posts that have been generated so that I can maybe recapture some of those moments.  My biggest regret of this week is not having the time to spend in personal conversation with all of you!

Intro to the MTBoS...
One of the conditions from my district for hosting TMC14 was that our teachers would be guaranteed a spot at the conference.  I started sending out information to the 7-12 math teachers pretty much as soon as I knew that TMC14 would be at my school.  I was even able to contact most of our new teachers to invite them to join in the fun.  I now know that I was woefully inadequate in my explanation of TMC and it's almost impossible to convey the power of Social Media to transform your teaching through a few emails.  We had about 12-15 current and former teachers from our district attend and one of the comments that several of them had was about how to get started in the MTBoS.  After a quick discussion, it was decided that I would do a PD session once school started on how to use Social Media in a professional capacity.  I'm really excited to share with my colleagues about how TMC started and how they can become an active part of the MTBoS.

Recommitted...
So, I failed my personal challenge, but I will finish the month strong.  I challenge each of you to do the same!  (and I will assign myself a 2 day penalty as well for the days I missed) :)



July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - TMC Day 1

Ten minutes ago, I would have told you that today was the day that I would fail the July Blogging Challenge, but with encouragement from the twitter-sphere, I am posting a quick few thoughts on Day 1.
  • It was fascinating to read tweets about my school from an outsider's perspective.  I know I teach at an awesome place, but sometimes we take things for granted, so I appreciate the tweets reminding me of what I have.
  • I have the best hubby in the world.  He took off work this week, helped with airport runs, tech support, and general "gopher"... before heading home and dealing with the house responsibilities as well.
  • As far as I know, everything went very smoothly today.... or at least if it didn't, people pretended that it did :)
  • I got a piece of Canadian maple candy (yay!), but still waiting to try some Smarties :)
  • My only regret is that I haven't had a chance to sit down and visit with a lot of people... I want to sit and chat with so many of you, but I keep running out of time!  Please, please, please don't take offense if I dash off in the middle of a conversation!
:)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - TMC14 Day 0

What a busy, busy day!  I could NOT sleep last night, finally falling asleep around 1am, then back up and running at 5am.  After the sun came up, I went for my morning walk, then back home to prepare for the day.  After typing up a few last minute details, hubby and I headed to the hotel to check on the social lounge and to drop off the shuttle information, then to the school to assemble the goody bags.  After a few trips to the airport to pick up lots of friends, new and old, I made it back to the hotel to find the social lounge in full swing.

Here are my highlights of the day...

  • My roommate is one of my forever best friends and I'm glad to spend this time with her.  
  • I have an awesome new notebook for tomorrow! :)  I love Staples binding!
  • After years and years of seeing it on the sign, I finally found the chapel in our airport :)
  • I now know our airport better than I ever expected to
  • Huge thanks to @merryfwilliams, @smithteach, and @KLBoles for being willing to be squashed in my backseat so I could run home, drop off hubby, and grab my suitcase.
  • Another shoutout to the above women for a truly delightful time as we laughed and giggled the whole trip.
  • The hotel served dinner... and beer... it smelled so yummy! (the dinner not the beer)
  • A tablecloth from Dollar Tree is 54"x108" and two of them "criss crossed" cover a 66" round table extremely well.
  • I'm hoping the airport security didn't think I was a human trafficker as I went to the airport WAY too many times, filled up the car with strangers then came back with an empty car ....
  • SO.MANY.HUGS.... it was so good to see friends from TMC12 and I'm sure I missed a few, but hugs hugs hugs to all!
Tomorrow starts registration and then to class we go.  I'm excited!! :)



July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Twas the Night Before TMC

‘Twas the night before TMC, when all through the campus
Not a thing was stirring, not even the tree branches;
The Presentation Hall chairs were all lined up with care,
In hopes that amazing math teachers soon would be there;
The attendees were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of “My Favorites” danced in their heads,
 
When on the 3rd floor there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away up the stairs I flew like a flash,
Threw open the doorway, and down the hallway I dashed
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a mangled mess of tables and chairs!
With my beautiful chairs in such disarray,
I knew in a moment it would be a long day.
 
The day started with checking classrooms off the list,
“108!, 109, now 110 too!  117 must join in the mix,
On to 208, 209 and 210 as well, make sure 217 and 218 don’t get missed!”
Cleaning and dusting and making things just right,
And thankful that no one was coming into town tonight.
 
So around the building, campus and town I flew,
With a car full of goodies - and transportation paperwork too.
Arriving with great rumbling and minimal fuss
The power and energy of the Trojan Pride bus.
My principal is amazing, the shuttle he provides,
To make TMC better, instead of walking outside.
 
The nametags were printed, all perfect and aligned,
Checked and proofread, multiple times.
Folded and torn along the perforated lines,
Hoping no mistake would I later find.
The button machine took some figuring out,
But the buttons for the staff are beautiful, without a doubt!
 
Back to the mess of tables and chairs,
I started again, ‘I’ll fix this!”, I declared.
In just a few hours, the first attendees will arrive
Ready to go, I kicked into overdrive.
Into the closets, the tables all go,
Fifty chairs later, with sweat I was aglow.
Sonic ice was my friend as I took a break
One classroom still to be done, I thought with an ache.
 
Room 118, my room, has yet to be touched,
Into to nooks and crannies, random things I stuffed.
Piles of papers, on the cabinet they go,
Crissed and crossed, organization I forego.
 
The classrooms are all done, the Presentation Hall too
Just goody bags to assemble, the preparation is through.
Teachers arrive tomorrow, by plane and by car,
I’m ready to learn from these math superstars!
 
I look forward to tomorrow, with glee and delight,
Happy #TMC14 to all, and to all a good night!
 
 
July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Monday, July 21, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Made4Math - Plastic Drawers


Oh my goodness.. what a Monday it has been!! :)

In just 2 short days, I will see my TMC buddies which means today was a day of putting out last-minute fires.  Those that know me well know that I am a perfectionist so I really want this to go off without a hitch!  That also means that my to-do list didn't get quite as done as I expected! :)  However, there's always tomorrow... and I have a feeling it's going to be a GREAT (albeit busy) day!

Plastic Drawers
Last week I posted this photo showing off my new black/white magazine holders:


I was so proud of how things were looking... until I saw the 3 drawer system in this photo!  I used some bulletin board border as a Made4Math post a few years ago and I was pretty happy with it, until now.  It stuck out like a sore thumb!  Hmm... I can fix that!  Measured the height and width, made a quick rectangle in PPT, filled it with a fun pattern, and here's the result:


Doesn't that fit in much better now? :)  LOVE it!

Bonus Project
One of the things I did get off my to-do list today was the TMC Staff buttons.  One of my friends has a button maker, so I asked her if I could borrow it.  If you are attending TMC and you aren't sure who to ask for help, look for one of these:


It's hard to see, but there is a small TMC logo on top, then the Staff in large letters.  :)

What did YOU make this week?  Check out the Made4Math blog to see the creations of others!


July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Visible Thinking

Yesterday's post about my blank bulletin board has me thinking more and more about how do I make thinking visible in my classroom.  If someone were to come in my room during class, I want to think that they would see evidence of student learning, but what if you came in after school or between classes?  Rarely would you see physical evidence of our hard work and that bothers me a lot.  I know that in my 180 blog, I captured evidence of in-class thinking, but what more can I do to reach ALL students?

When thinking is visible in classrooms, students are in a position to be more metacognitive, to think about their thinking. When thinking is visible, it becomes clear that school is not about memorizing content but exploring ideas. Teachers benefit when they can see students' thinking because misconceptions, prior knowledge, reasoning ability, and degrees of understanding are more likely to be uncovered. Teachers can then address these challenges and extend students' thinking by starting from where they are.
I ran across the above quote today while doing a Google search on 'Visible Thinking.'  You can read the entire document here. 

I have a lot of routines and structures in my class.  Kids know what to do when they are absent, where papers are turned in, where extra handouts are located, etc.  I have a lot of management routines, but I don't have a lot of thinking routines in place.  From the document linked above:

What makes them routines, versus merely strategies, is that they get used over and over gain in the classroom so that they become part of the fabric of classroom' culture. The routines become the ways in which students go about the process of learning.

I need routines in place that I can use over and over again, that are quick and easy to teach and implement, and that enhance the lesson. 

One of the July Bloggers, Robyn of Making Math Visible has also been posting on this topic.  Read her posts:  Post 1Post 2Post 3

What 'Thinking Routines' do you use in your classroom? 

July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge

Saturday, July 19, 2014

July Blogging Challenge - Bulletin Boards

This is a short post because hubby and I are headed to school to work on setting things up for TMC! 

But... before I go, this tweet from @pamjwilson keeps floating in my head:

A few nights ago, Pam and I were visiting about her classroom.  I've never taught in a school where teachers were allowed to paint their classrooms, so Pam showed me her room with its buttery yellow wall color.  During that discussion, we moved to the wall/display space in her room, which lead to the above tweet.

My Dilemma
In my classroom, I have a bulletin board that remained empty all year long.  You can see it below:


Here are my issues with this board...
  • I only have one available bulletin board, but last year I taught 3 preps, so I didn't want to do an emphasis on one prep and leave the others out.  This year, I only have 1 prep for the first semester, so it can be something statistically related.
  • I need something sustainable.  If I have to change it out weekly, it won't happen unless I have the entire year already mapped out where my aide can change it.  I have too many irons in the fire and know that I won't keep up with it.
  • To steal Pam's words, I want to "utilize it to impact learning". 
Please help me!  What do you have on your bulletin boards? I really don't want to go another year with a blank board!


July Challenge
I am on a personal challenge to blog every day in July, just to see if I can do it. I would love to have you join me! If you are worried that you've missed a few days, please don't stress.. just jump on in! Maybe a month is too much, that's okay, try it for a week, or every other day, or once a week.. whatever works for you!

Don't forget to visit the other July bloggers and show them some love!
The bloggers (so far)
Robin at Flip! Learn! Share
Bridget at Reflections in the Plane
Teresa at GeometryWiz
Sherrie at Middle School Math Rules!
Brooke at Sined, Sealed, Calculated
John at Functions are Fun
Jedidiah at Math Butler
Pam at the radical rational
Roxy at Rockstar Math Teacher
Paul at TeacherPaulP
Tina at Palmer's Ponderings
Cindy at School Stuff
Robyn at Making Math Visible
Shelley at Making Math Visual

Add your blog in the comments if you would like to join in! :)
#July2014Challenge