Saturday, August 1, 2015

#TMC15 reflections

I already wrote about how the relationships I built before TMC totally changed my experience this year, but I didn't really go into specifics on what I learned and how I want to implement new things in the coming year.

Here's a mini recap:


I was in the Desmos morning session after the one and only Lisa Henry welcomed us to TMC15. We got to play Desmos Bingo and discover some new things we hadn't figured out before. Lots of good nerdgasms when we figured things out, and we became more comfortable with Desmos.

In the afternoon, I went to Andrew Stadel's session Math Mistakes and Error Analysis: Diamonds in the Rough where he talked about how to use mistakes (the children's and ones you made up) more effectively in your instruction and reteaching. I will definitely be searching for ways to use mistakes more in my teaching.

After that, I went to Heather Kohn's session Learning Math, Learning English, or Learning Both? She talked about how she's been given all these ESL strategies in district/state initiatives, but not all of them work in a math classroom. She discussed the strategies she found effective in her classroom, and I can't wait to try them.


In the Desmos session, we played with Polygraph and created our own if we wanted to. I made a Disney one. (Raise your hand if you're surprised.) We also got to look at Activity Builder and the fun things to come in a few days.

Glenn Waddell spoke in My Favorites after lunch about how he teaches people and gives his kids high fives every day. I love my kids like a momma, but it's still a good reminder for all of us. We also heard from Heather Kohn- the chick who 3D prints. Mary Bourassa (my TMC13 roomie and also not an axe murderer) spoke about Which one doesn't belong?. I've loved using this in class. If you haven't seen it, go look into it RIGHT NOW! :)

Christopher Danielson told us to "find what you love, and do more of that" in his keynote. This has been a struggle to think about for me. I don't know what I love. I know I love my kids and standing with them in their successes and failures, but I don't know what I love about mathematics. I'm obviously still pondering this, so there might be more to come on this later.

In the afternoon, I went to Rachel Kernodle's Better Questions: Ours/Our Students. She challenged us to be able to answer these questions every day - "What is the best question you asked today?" and "What is the best question a student asked you today?" Changed my life, people. She also gave us some tips so that we're spending time planning the questions we're going to ask instead of hoping we'll come up with good ones on the spot. Guilty. This session definitely challenged me, and Rachel and I are talking about how we would like to incorporate our best questions into a 180 blog.

Last I went to Fawn Nguyen and Matt Vaudrey's Barbie Bungee session. I had never done the activity and thought it was something I could use in my remedial math class. So fun and challenging!


We finished up in the Desmos session and my goals moving forward really center around making activities to teach/explore Pre-Cal topics that I have previously done on paper. Woohoo for Activity Builder!

After lunch, Fawn gave her keynote that really challenged my immaturity. I'm a young teacher and sometimes it is really easy for me to sink to high school kids level. As a professional, that looks terrible and is really just annoying. She brought to the surface the things I need to be praying about and letting the Lord change my heart as I interact with administration, colleagues, students, and parents.

Then I said good bye to my best friends moving to Guatemala. All the tears, people. Also, go read her blog!

The last session I went to on Saturday was Number Talks in Middle School and High School with Chris Harris. I could really see myself using this in my remedial math class and in Pre-Cal. This was a challenge for me because as I listened to other people's explanations of how they solved addition and subtraction, I realized I am making it a lot harder on myself when I use mental math. It challenged me to think about adding and subtracting differently, and that I should be challenging my students in similar ways.


Two hours of My Favorites was all there was on Sunday, plus some singing, and overly hyped release of the TMC16 location. Pre-TMC party at Mall of America.

Goals for next year:

Every year when I leave TMC, I want to try a million new things. I can't do them all or I would make myself crazy. I talked about a few of the high points for me that I would like to take to my classroom: using mistakes, planning better questions, using more ESL strategies, and allowing my students to teach each other new strategies for mental math. Am I going to use all of these? Yes. Am I going to use them all every day? Of course not. Some days will be better than others, but I think it is more about being willing to change my behaviors, trying new things, and being okay with failure. Not everything is going to work every time, but that doesn't mean I stop trying to make my teaching and my classroom better. Along with relationships that were built last week, I also found a renewed motivation to make change happen in my room. I am really excited about this new school year, and I hope you are too!

If you were in the #TMCjealousycamp, use the wiki. There's tons of good stuff on there from all the years.


  1. 1. I am obsessed with your pink sparkly background!
    2. I can't wait to hear how you use the ELL strategies in your classroom!
    3. I had so much fun pre-TMC with you :)