Thursday, August 7, 2014


Wow.  How do I sum up TMC14?  Well, for starters, here's what I made at Camp (Thanks to Edmund Harris, aka @Gelada):

Heather Kohn has shared some amazing favorites over at her blog, Growing Exponentially, which I highly recommend you check out.

What are my take-aways from TMC14, from 4 days packed FULL of amazing sessions, great collaboration, and unbelievably awesome, caring people?  

1)  Be gentle with yourself. In one of her sessions, Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf) noted : "Be gentle to yourself upon re-entry to your normal life."  That was the best advice.  My head was spinning with ideas because living, eating, and sharing a room with math teachers,  I had been in constant "sharing" mode with mathies for a full four days.  Then, BOOM, back to a house that needed cleaning, a hubbie with some health issues, a son who is getting married in a little over a month, a mountain of firewood to be stacked, and grass that keeps growing back!!  And of course all I wanted to do was get my classroom set up, think about how to incorporate all these new and amazing ideas into my curriculum, and chat with people I had met out in Jenks.  I had to give myself a day or two to just breathe.

2.  Pick one or two ideas and try them out.  On the plane ride home, I looked over my notes from the various sessions and was blown away.  That was when I truly realized what I had just experienced, but I also knew that if I tried to do all that was starred as being "super amazing idea!", I would find myself residing in a looney bin within a month.  So I am going to pick two things that I think I can incorporate fairly easily.  

One of these ideas to is expand the use of Interactive Notebooks with more than just my Geometry kiddos.  The other is to use several of Max Ray's Powerful Problem Solving techniques with the students.  I had been doing What Do You Wonder, What Do You Notice for a year now (not knowing where they came from!), but there are a number of others I want to try out!

3.  Incorporate "My Favorites" into my monthly Math Department Meetings.  One of the best part of each day was the 10 minute "My Favorites" shared by a variety of people.  Each day a number of teachers shared one of the favorite things they do, activities they developed, or technology they have found and how it works.  I can see where this would fit into our monthly department meetings as an opener. I think I will start off by either sharing how I store my personal white boards (see post from #july2014 challenge) OR one of the My Favorites from TMC14.  John Mahlstedt had 2 fabulous ideas:

First:  Make each date be a math problem!  LOOOOVE it.  And I can see assigning this to a different kid each day.  There are so many benefits to this, I can't even name them all!

Second:  Make a power point presentation to introduce yourself. "32 Things You May Not Know About Mrs. Palmer".  Ok, well maybe not 32, but surely 10 or 15!  The thing is, you share cool things, things you are good at, things you are bad at, things that are on your bucket list, etc.  Helps break the ice, and helps kids connect with you in interesting ways ("Hey, I see words in color, too!"  Check out synesthesia on Google if you want to know what I am talking about here.)  Here is my first slide:

Hey, I lived with four brothers and a crazy sister (love you, P!), had three sons, and helped run a youth group for 20+ years.  I come by my sick sense of humor honestly.