Monday, July 25, 2016

#TMC16 Recap

I got home from Twitter Math Camp 2016 (TMC) almost a week ago, and I just haven't been highly motivated to sit down and write a recap. Every other year, I can't wait to come home and share all the great things with the people who read my blog. This year was different, though. I'm not 100% sure why, but I think it's a combination of things. Right before TMC a student at Jonathan's and my school passed away suddenly (he wrote a beautiful tribute here, but pack your tissues), I found out my grandmother had a stroke on the last day of TMC, and I am still processing a lot of heavy things as I learn more about moving to Rwanda. It has been a heavy summer. Great, but heavy. More so than I was anticipating.

I also wanted to get right to work on the things I learned and how I want to make changes in my room. I didn't want to waste the little time I have left of summer on blogging. As I started writing my recap though, I realized how much I needed to write in order to process some of the things we discussed last week. So here's what's been bouncing around in my head.


I got to see my #soulsister Casey after almost an entire year of being apart. #blessed
pink sparkly cupcake and being reunited!

He hates pictures so much.


Casey and I dragged Jonathan to the Mall of America. I'm kidding. It brought him great joy to hang out with the two of us and keep us out of trouble. We found this amazing nerd store (Marbles: The Brain Store) and J and I bought almost the entire stock of Mobi games (Bananagrams but building math equations instead) for our classrooms. Casey found a game for her classroom too. Overall, it was a good day at the mall. The giant NFL football helmets were great too.

Future Mrs. JJ Watt 

Later that night, we met up with lots of TMC friends who were getting into town. It was crazy, but Casey and I went back to the hotel with smiles on our faces so excited about the next few days.


Descon! The Pre-TMC Desmos day completely overwhelmed my brain, and I did not know where or how to focus my time. Card Sort is a really cool new feature and a visually impaired student has the ability to use Desmos too. The Desmos crew never ceases to amaze all of its teacher fans. They are the smartest people who after you've asked a seemingly complicated question say oh of course let me show you how to do that.

That night we went to the Minnesota Twins game. So fun with friends, but Casey broke up with me for taking a selfie and sending it on the snapchat. Oops.


TMC BEGINS! Deb and I matched unintentionally, and it was awesome.

I went to the greatest Morning Session I have ever been to. Michelle Naidu did an excellent job sharing her experiences with differentiating in class to reach all her students and help them close the gaps in their learning. I am taking activities and pieces of how she differentiated her classroom to make it fit my pre-cal classes. I loved the activities like snowball and our group thinking/concerns sheets where over the three days we filled in how much we felt like we addressed the topics on our sheet.

After that, I went to Getting Triggy With It with Fouss. She used lots of ideas I have used and seen before but forget about during the school year. It was good to be reminded of things I have seen, ways to make things better that I have used in the past, and also to see some new ideas.


After lunch, I talked in front of the entire group and didn't throw up. I gave a My Favorite about Rwanda and got lots of great feedback. A couple people are interested in coming next year on the teacher trip and others are excited to learn more about serving other communities in new ways. It has been a journey for me and I loved being able to share that with my math community.

Then, we heard from Tracy Zager who challenged us to share with multiple grade levels. This struck a chord with me because it is exactly what the American team shared with the Rwandan teachers, but I hadn't considered taking that idea home to my school district. I am not sure anyone is open to hearing about it at home, but I want to continue to think of ways we could use this. Even if it is just with my elementary school teacher friends, I should be listening, helping, and sharing with them every chance I get. Collaborating across grade levels is going to help us all get better.

Debating in math class with Chris Luzniak was next mostly because my brain was mush after presenting and I just followed Jonathan where he went. I am so glad I went! I loved this idea of always having a second answer in math class where you have to back up your answer somehow. It scares me to try something so outside of what I am comfortable with, but it will be so worth it.

I went to warm-up routines with Jessica Bogie and Lisa Bejarano for the last session of the day. This really encouraged me to create a plan for the week so that my kids aren't bored doing the exact same thing every day. I love Estimation180, Which one doesn't belong?, Open Middle Problems, Find the Flub, Counting Circles, and Clothesline Math, but now I just need to come up with the structure to utilize them all.

We ended the night with trivia and ice cream. #TeamDibs was great and I am so glad I got to know Glenn and Dave better. Such intelligent and funny guys! 3rd place just gives us room to improve for next year. :)
We all changed our pictures to this during trivia. #shenanigans
Team Dibs! *Dividing Is Before Subtracting* or *Dibs Is Bringing Sparkle* whichever you prefer


Highlight of today was Max's rational function session. Alex and I loved it so much that we skipped the flex session to continue working on our card sort that we hadn't finished yet. Then I worked with Sam and we chatted about Pre-Cal. I would love to teach at the same school as this guy (actually all of these great teachers at TMC, but that might get a little cray).

As stupid as this sounds, I really loved "watching" The Bachelorette with my math friends. Casey, Heather and I all live in different time zones and can't even tweet at each other without spoilers and 2 hour delays in conversation. For the first time ever, we were all in the same place to watch this ridiculous show. No one actually heard anything that was said because of all the drunken yelling, but whatevs. I loved it.

I love these girls. So. Much.
At home, I hide behind the couch cushions. I could not do that here. Do not judge me. 
Monday night I was in the Zeta house where they were practicing the dance for the TMC party anthem, and I joined in on the fun. Thanks for letting me be a part of such greatness!


Great My Favorites. Song. Go watch it! Lisa's speech. Announcement for next year's TMC in Atlanta. Tears. Saying goodbye to my ex #soulsister. Post TMC lunch and party in the airport.

Song Team!

Last lunch! Sad face!

I will miss these people if I can't go next year. I can't think about it or I will be too sad.

This year, I went outside my comfort zone of only talking to my people, and it played in my favor. I enjoyed myself much more. I made so many new friends. I really feel like I belong in this community and have things to contribute. It is a little crazy that it has taken 4 summers for me to get to this point, but I am really glad I've gotten there now.

To the newbies: Don't make it take 4 trips to TMC for you to make friends. I know it's scary, but it's so worth it and everyone is VERY accepting. Also present something, even if you think no one wants to hear about it. They probably do, and bonus you'll make more friends that way.

Friday, July 1, 2016

#Rwandering: Day 12

4 am: Wake up, get dressed, go eat breakfast.
4:15 am: 2 jeeps arrive to take us to the Akagera National Park
5 am: get in jeeps to head out on our safari
5:20 am: 1 jeep gets a flat tire
5:40 am: both jeeps get back on the road and head west towards the park
8:15 am: Both jeeps make it safely to the park and we're ready for our adventure with animals.

It was an early morning today, but we had many adventures and got to see lots of animals. 

Some highlights for me were:

1. Hearing everyone's reactions to their favorite animals. Carol's reactions were especially fun and exciting to listen to as I sat next to her in the back seat.

2. Carol had some amazing animal sounds.

3. We filmed footage for our "Africa" music video. Thank you Toto for such a perfect song.

4. We got SUPER close to some giraffes and zebras.

5. Best part of the day was the first few minutes when we saw the biggest elephant ever with a little white bird sitting on top of him. Amazing!

6 pm: We arrived safely back to the guest house.
9 pm: We all fell into bed fast asleep.

Tomorrow we must say goodbye and head home. This part is always challenging. Pray for safe travels and not too tearful goodbyes. 

PS. I'll post pictures later. Too tired. :)