Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Twitter Math Camp 2013

This past weekend I had the privilege of attending Twitter Math Camp 2013. This conference is quite possibly the nerdiest thing I have ever been a part of, which is (of course) awesome. I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I agreed to go with two of my coworkers, Jonathan (@rawrdimus) and Andrew (@froynboy), but I knew I was in for an adventure.

Thursday morning we walk into Drexel University and begin seeing all these amazing math teachers. I immediately feel inadequate and overwhelmed by the greatness in the room. I am definitely a noob to the MTBoS and teaching in general and (I am fairly certain) the youngest attendee at TMC13. So there were a lot of reasons for feeling that way, BUT thankfully that didn't last long!

I started off in the Geometry morning sessions where Tina (@crstn85) and Megan (@mgolding) shared some great ideas to help make my Geometry classes/lessons more powerful and meaningful. The second morning we had some great (and deep) conversations about what is important for the students to learn from Geometry, mathematics, and classroom structures. Almost immediately, I knew I had some major changes to make for this upcoming school year. I also realized that few of us were feeling super awesome about the new school year and we all have things to improve upon. Bonus: this is where I made some cool new friends...Jessica (@algebrainiac1), Lisa (@lisabej_manitou), and Stephanie (@reilly1041).

Fawn's (@fawnpnguyen) Conway's Rational Tangles and the Game of SET session and Jessica (@algebrainiac1) and Anna's (@Borschtwithanna) Effective Cooperative Groups and Group Tasks session were other personal favorites that kind of go hand in hand. Fawn's session encouraged me to do more fun things with my kids that tricks them into thinking deeply about math. I teach the traditionally lower performing students, who don't think they could ever be good at or like math. The two and a half years I've been teaching have pretty much been my attempt at breaking away from the traditional classroom model, but it always ends up looking more traditional than I want it to. Goal for the year is to implement more problem solving and meaningful group tasks into my classroom that doesn't always end in one right answer.

Now for my BEST take away from TMC13. This happened at Interactive Notebooks. I have attempted to use interactive notebooks the last two years and failed somewhere around February. I didn't really know what I was doing wrong, and I couldn't figure out why it wasn't working the way I wanted it to. Enter Megan. She presented an organized approach to interactive notebooks that made it finally click why it had not worked for me before. I wasn't requiring enough structure for my kids. I also think deep down I didn't really care whether they kept track of it or stayed organized. (At least my actions in class didn't reflect my caring about the notebooks.) It also helped SO MUCH for me to create my own notebook during the session. Sometimes I just need to experience the doing of something before it makes sense. You should definitely consider joining the #INBjamboree.

Basically, Twitter Math Camp is the best professional development I have ever been to, and I will not miss the awesomeness next year. 

The top 10 fun/crazy things from the weekend:
1. I rode a train and a subway for the first time.
2. Jonathan, Andrew, and I survived a ride in an unmarked cab. I do not recommend trying this.
3. Mary (@marybourassa) was a pretty awesome roomie!
4. Food Trucks changed my life. 
5. Insomnia Cookie is the best late night snack. Ever.
6. I learned a new word...nerdgasms. It's a real thing especially when exploring Desmos.
7. I ran five miles with some new sweet friends! Thanks for pushing me Lisa (@lisabej_manitou) and Anna (@Borschtwithanna)!
8. Straight guys are afraid they might actually like jumping pics, so they refuse to join me.
9. We got to see some #merica sights.
10. I survived 5 days with the crazies alone. Love them a lot. Glad I got to hang out with them.