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a TMC16 Reflection

I’m overwhelmed by all the amazing that happens at TMC each year. I just left Minneapolis and am settling in at home, taking a moment to reflect on some of the things that really resonated with me. I have lots to follow up on (more blog posts!), but here’s a highlight of some of my big take-aways:

  • Varsity Math! Jonathan‘s (@rawrdimus)”My Favorite” on how he created math spirit in his Calc classes through varsity math swag reminded me that I want my dept to develop a “spirit committee” to make math more of a fun presence on our campus. Perhaps a math Olympics day? Maybe we should develop some swag.
  • PowerPoint Alternatives: Sessions on Peardeck and Desmos Activity Builder made me think more about getting out of my daily routine of PowerPoint led classrooms and having (some) days where students are following a Peardeck or working independently through a Desmos activity.
  • Desmos! OMG I have to get better at activity builder, especially for Calculus. There’s so much awesome that can deepen student understanding of these complicated topics.
  • Explore Math! I have used Sam‘s Explore Math activity with students for the past few years and I’ve loved it. Sam just reminded me how important it is, and I liked that he allowed students to use Edmund’s coloring book and watching “mathy” popular movies as some of the activities. I want to expand my Explore Math options.
  • #ExpandMTBoS! I need be active in helping spread the community. I did one step by bringing three of my awesome co-workers to their first TMC this summer! Shout outs to Erika, Caitlin and Kelsie! Now I want to think about ways to connect more LA teachers and possibly reach out to MfA NYC and LA…
  • Elementary Teachers! Tracy convinced me (and many others) in her keynote that secondary, middle and elementary school teachers should work together more. We have so much to learn from each other. It made me want to work with younger and younger students.
  • Building Groupwork! The amazing new-to-TMC Jessica (also my newbie mentee!) gave a great session on activities on how she creates great groupwork culture. I need to look more into this and plan my first week with more of these activities.
  • Teaching and Race! There were several places where people were trying to start a conversation about race, about both teachers and students. My own school has tried to start this conversation and is always looking for ways to really dig in. Becca gave a great session called “Every Student, Every Day” that reminded me of some of the things I do and believe in.
  • Reflection! Sara had many wonderful things to say, what an amazing teacher. One of the big take-aways from her flex session for me was the importance of giving myself time (1-5mins) for reflection each day. She takes a walk around the campus at the end of classes each day. I want to do something similar.

Speaking of Sara, she was in my morning session and had so many thoughtful things to say. The last day she gave everyone permission to try just one time, to fail, to jump into creating culture at an easy pace for you. We don’t have to change and make a perfect classroom tomorrow. Baby steps.

She also reminded us that teaching is an art form. There is no one right way to implement something, to set up something.

I will follow up with some more thoughts and details on some of these in later posts. For now, I’m profoundly overjoyed at all that was shared at TMC16 and am looking forward to TMC17 in Atlanta.

 

Unrelated, two cool sites:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/03/upshot/a-quick-puzzle-to-test-your-problem-solving.html?_r=1

https://smartypins.withgoogle.com/

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