Friday, July 25, 2014

TMC Day 1, July 24, 2014

Hi from Jenks, OK, which I've quickly learned is home to the Trojans.  They're very proud of their mascot around here; the high school has it's own spirit wear store and even some local businesses are "Trojan" whatever.  It's quite a change for this small town girl! 

Thanks to everyone who spent so much time organizing this event.  I'm already impressed! We got cute swag bags at check in, the rooms are labeled for every session.  (I'm a little mad at myself now for not taking a second to photograph the sign on my classroom before my presentation.)

We started this morning with an overview of the schedule then jumped right into our morning sessions.  I selected the Algebra I session, thinking that I would like more collaboration with Algebra I since I am the only person at my school who teaches Algebra I.  We started by talking about what our favorite assessments are.  I wish we'd talked about what an assessment is (and is not) since based on the examples given, I don't think we all share a common definition; perhaps I'll ask my group for their thoughts tomorrow.  Speaking of groups, we are working in groups of four to develop assessments and lessons around a topic within Algebra I.  I chose to work on quadratics because that's such a meaty unit and one that has so many exciting applications. We're talking about building a model rubber band cannon to use to collect and analyze quadratic data. 

Next, we had a lunch break.  I went to the grocery store, hit up the salad bar for a Caesar chicken salad and fruit, and decompressed.  I needed some alone time to get ready for presenting in the afternoon.  (Hello, I'm an introvert and my name is @iisanumber!)

After lunch, we had our first "My Favorites" sessions.  These are 5-20 minute presentations in which people share a tidbit from their classroom that they love.  Chris Shore (@MathProjects) shared his idea of using the Rodin sculpture "The Thinker" to encourage problem solving and persistence. 

Rebecka Peterson (@RebeckaMozdeh) shared her "Friday letter" in which students can write her a letter in place of a warm-up on Friday and she writes a personal letter back to each of them over the weekend!  It sounds like an amazing way to build trust and relationships with students.  Rebecka also shared her project in which students studied famous Mathematicians.  I liked her second version in which students selected a quotation from the mathematician and wrote about it; what a great language arts connection.  Sarah Martin (@sarah3martin) shared her "Window Math" which is a weekly problem she posts on the window next to the door in her classroom.  Students earn prizes for being right, with better prizes awarded when less students are correct, to prevent cheating.  John Mahlstedt (@jdmahlstedt) shared how important it is to share autobiographical info with students to build relationships; it even helped him meet his wife!  Also, write the date as a math problem to make kids work for it and practice some mental math skills.   

We had a keynote speech from Steve Leinwand (@steve_leinwand) next.  His big message was that the teachers at #TMC14 are the future.  He talked about the importance of having students defend their answers by asking them to convince everyone that they're correct.  Multiple representations, multiple methods. 

Following the keynote, there were two sessions and about 6-10 choices per session.  First, I went to Hedge's (@approx_normal) stats session geared for middle school teachers.  She proposed two ways to generate data: running stairs and making PVC marshmallow guns.  The PVC guns were fun; I wonder how much of an investment it would be to make that happen?  Maybe I can find a plumber who can save me scraps.  The stairs were interesting; unfortunately I don't have a staircase anywhere at my school.

The last session was my turn to present.  I had a packed room; about 10 people didn't have desks.  I shared my school's "Math Maintenance" warm-up strategy.  You can see the PowerPoint and other documents in my last post.

Then, after a short rest at the hotel, I went to dinner with four other ladies, two from Virginia and two from Iowa and since then I've been relaxing.  It's amazing how tired this awesome conference is making me after just one day!

If you're at #TMC14, what's the best part been so far?  If you're not here, what else would you like to know about?

Mathematically yours,
Miss B


  1. Thanks for a great recap of Day 1 Kathryn. Makes me long to be there with all of you.

  2. Kathryn - not there - so your recap is a gold mine! Thanks for sharing!