Showing posts from July, 2015

Summer PD: Math Discourse

I will be presenting again to teachers in my district. The topic is Math Discourse: Let's Talk About Math!

Looking forward to talking and learning with some fabulous educators!

Ban Bossy?

When I create a presentation about the topics of math discourse or collaborative learning, I usually include a slide about, what I call, "kind reminders."

In my classroom, I expect groups to handle minor issues as a group. If someone isn't contributing or if they are being annoying (I teach middle school, so this comes up often!), I want them to address the group member in a respectful way. I believe this helps students have ownership over their group, find ways to resolve conflict, and it also frees me up, as a teacher, to help groups with the math instead of having to address misbehaviors.
The slide that I made to share with students is a t-chart showing what group members should address and what I will address. I recently edited the slide with a line to cross out the word bossy. The slide now looks like this:

So, why did I cross out the word "bossy"???
I've been doing some thinking about this lately after reading a few things that show that most often t…

Going Viral

Back on July 6th, Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) tweeted about three slides from my most recent professional development workshop that I developed for my district. You can find the presentation here. [[I plan to blog soon explaining a bit more about those slides.]]

Well, I hadn't looked at my phone in a few hours, and when I did I noticed a TON of Twitter notifications on my phone. I was thinking, "what is going on?!"
I mean, Dan Meyer only has 38.6 K followers (by the way, for comparison, I have 192). So, when he tweets something, people see it! And, it turns out those slides struck a chord with some Tweeps because people were retweeting like crazy*. And favoriting. And then they were following me. 
It was quite a storm of activity for a while there. Also, a few people were commenting on the slides, and I wanted to reply thoughtfully. Then, I had a scary thought... so far the comments/favorites/retweets were positive. But what if someone disagrees or doesn't like a comment, …

Student Friendly Language: CCSS Math Practices

A while back I made the CCSS Math Practices in student-friendly language and blogged about it here. Recently, someone asked me for them and I also saw a question under #MTBoS on twitter asking for something similar. It inspired me to share them again, because I think they can be really helpful when shared with your students.

It is really important to share with students why we are doing the things we do in our classrooms.

Feel free to use and share!

(Student-Friendly Language by: Annie Forest)

1.  Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
We will figure out what the problem is asking us to do!
We will ask ourselves “does this answer make sense?”
We will keep trying and do our best!
2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
We will be able to think about what is happening in a problem (without having to use the actual numbers).
We will also be able to use the numbers, making sure that we know the meaning of them (not just how to “get the answer”).


I think every school has committees... or planning teams, team, meetings, etc.
I have been fortunate to participate in a lot of great committees. I've been part of important work, change, and reflection which is essential to moving a district/school forward. On the other hand, I have also been part of time-sucking committees that get little done, leave members frustrated, or end with no plan of action.
I think the hard part about this, is sometimes it's difficult to predict the outcome. When approached to join/help on a committee, it is usually flattering. I think, "Yay, they want ME! This is big, this is important, I can have my voice heard!" I rarely, if ever, say no to a committee. In some ways, I think this is good. It exposes me to a lot of different people, points of view, and opinions. It also lets me see the "behind the scenes" work of a lot of district initiatives.
Here is a quick list to get an idea of what I mean: School Improvement Committee So…

IL State Finalist for PAEMST

Although I found this out a few weeks ago, today the official email went out announcing that I am a finalist for Illinois Presidential Award of Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching!

I wanted to record a little bit about the application process, both for myself and for anyone that is thinking about applying for the award.

The process started by being nominated by a math coach, Sendhil Revuluri. I have to admit that when he nominated me, I was flattered, but I really wasn't thinking that I would apply. I had just returned to work from maternity leave and couldn't imagine putting in the work required for the application! After a conversation in the late winter with Sendhil, when he inquired about my application status (um, not even started!), I got to thinking that maybe I could try to put something together.

Well, the application process had quite a few pieces. I had to get three letters of recommendation, so I asked my principal, Jim Calabrese, another principal in m…

Dress-up Your Desktop

Downloading desktop backgrounds from this blog each month just makes me happy. I love the designs and wanted to share with you!

Blog Graphics

I had some graphics envy... I check out other blogs and I think, "how do they make those cute graphics?!"

Well, I did a quick google search about how to make graphics for blogs and came across this article that suggests using Canva. I quickly made an account and was able to make a few graphics within minutes! It is so easy to use and has lots of formats to choose. I was hooked! Of course, I then spent the next few hours playing around with all the different graphics!!

I thought I would share this neat resource in case you are having graphic envy too! :)

Here are a few I made that I've used already!

For the workshop I presented

Look familiar? I made this for my bucket list post!

Header for the blog!

Bio for my "About" page

Professional Development: Replacing Tricks with Understanding

Inspired by the article, "13 Rules That Expire" and "Nix The Tricks" I designed and presented a professional development workshop for some of the teachers in my district today.

If you are interested, here is the link to the presentation.

I was a little nervous about presenting this time. Ten teachers took the time to come to school this morning to engage in some great discussion and math. To go to PD after school is one thing, but to come during the summer months? That takes dedication! I wanted the presentation to be helpful and people to walk away saying, "Okay, that was worth waking up for this morning!"

Overall, I felt the PD went well! The conversations were thoughtful and thought-provoking. I was asking teachers to examine how they were teaching math in their classrooms, and teachers were willing to put themselves out there and ask tough questions. I also asked participants to engage in some non-routine math tasks and everyone did it! I even overhe…