Why I need access to Facebook and Twitter at School

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

My PLC's live on Twitter and Facebook. I travel once per year to meet my MATH and EDUCATION colleagues , at mostly my expense to meet with some of the top people in my field. WE connect regularly through social media (that is why we are the Math Twitter Blog O Sphere).

You can't get something to what you want on Desmos. 2 team answers and 5 colleague answers in two minutes via Twitter. You need a lesson tweak for stats, 4 responses in under 5 minutes, you want to get another Geometry Class' opinion, send word on FB. You need to know if you are on the right track? Tweet. You want to share the BEST thing you've ever done so that 500 other teachers can try it, Tweet it. 

Who's on? Well, there is Jo Boaler, Dan Meyers, Eli Lubevich (founder of Desmos), Sara Vanderwerf, Jose Vilson, Hedge, Ilana Horn, Christopher Danielson, Rafranz, Mathy Meg, Fawn, Sam, Glenn, Jim, Alex, and...If you don't know who Tracy Johnston Zager is, get on it, and 300-400 of the smartest, kindest, wisest, most supportive K-12 +++ teachers you have ever, ever known. 

That is why I need access to Twitter and Facebook, NOW.

With warm regards, 

Amy Zimmer
Closing the Lesson
Tracy Zager emphasized, "Close the lesson," at TMC 2016. Although my
#1TMCthing is to be a math evangelist, I am focused on CLOSING every lesson because, well, I got the message.

My goals for the first week are twofold. We do mathy things in here from day ONE and our classroom culture supports everyone's success. Fast forward to Friday, the end of the first week of school. I was introducing the idea of precision when generating definitions in Geometry. Fondly called, the "unbreakable" definition. Can one draw what you write, meet the criteria, AND not draw what you meant? Time to revise your definition then. We started with Widgets and a lesson Lisa Bajerano wrote about two years ago:

I had the students make a list of the characteristics of a Widget and then write a definition. I told them we would put all of thoughts together to build the most precise definition. My brain did a silent little leap and went to, "like when we used to play Monster with the girls." Monster went like this:

Everyone (usually four) of us started with a blank piece of paper folded from portrait direction in quarters. 

Hiding their drawing from everyone else, we each drew a head, neck and shoulders on the first quarter of our paper. We each drew the connecting lines about a quarter of an inch onto the next quarter, and then folded the first quarter back, so the next illustrator could not see what we had drawn. 

The next person adds on (again without seeing what the first person drew) the arms and torso in the second quarter and the connecting lines 1/4" into the third. 
Arms and Torso
The paper gets folded back again, so that the next illustrator cannot see what drawer 1 and 2 have drawn. The third drawer makes the waist and the legs to the knee and the 1/4' connector lines into the fourth quarter and again folds the paper back so the next person cannot see anything but the connector lines that have been drawn so far. 
Waist and To Knees (ignore yellow for now)
The fourth person finishes the drawing with by adding the rest of the leg and the feet. The paper is then handed back to the original person to admire, laugh
Okay, so waist to knee was open to interpretation. 
at, and give the creature a name. SO. MUCH. FUN!

The activity takes a full ten minutes.

Here's me, @druin and @mathymeg07 and a few others were discussing stress relief and I think it was Meg Craig who said she recommends picking your clothes for the week the weekend before(!). I can't even pick a menu for the week. But I did do as we thought we might and take a first day photo.
Nothing new in the picture. But Meg would be happy that I have tomorrow's clothes laid out and my lunch is in the fridge.

I had Geometry today. SO freakin' yummy. The kids were so engaged and smart, and happy and I saw only one phone out the entire day! (I felt it was my fault b/c the S had some down time--I immediately asked her, what else?)

We did Lines and Blogs (thanks Jennifer Gonzales) Lots and lots of WODB and an exit ticket, Complete the sentence, "The classroom culture that best helps me to be successful is..." (I will compile these and they will become the class norms)
Homework is to create your own WODB and have a SEPARATE justification for every quadrant. Here's mine, can you find WODB in every quadrant?

We were trained in Restorative Practice Cirles (Talking Circles) this summer. Our entire school is embracing this method of approaching community and resolving conflict. The other day, our trainer said, "When a student feels a part of community, then he or she will want to take responsibility for harming that relationship." I like that harm becomes a mistake that is repairable.

My classroom is small, so instead of cirlces the first day, I thought I would try this approach. Below are two emails I sent to a colleague trained in the method. He said, "I don't know what you mean by concentric circles, but go with your gut." Encouraging, AND, maybe I can get a little more feedback from my MTBoS pals and YOU all can take away a possible ice breaker.

Email 1)
Hi Gene and Jessica,

I want to run concentric circles facing each other on first day, 

Why: Room not large enough for all, outside voices get lost in big groups
Pedagogy: Instead of students meeting his/her "group" meet all as fluidity of first two weeks makes seating charts difficult. Also, everyone will work with everyone, might as well start!

Question: after two or three fun ones, I like Gene's, "what's annoying about social media?" I want to ask, "what does community mean to you? Have them write as few words as possible on a notecard. Read to each other. Then do what Todd did, and ask them to write what that looks like to them. 

This will be the center, like the ones we created. And sets up the norms for keeping the community whole and safe.

What do you think?

Cheers, Amy

Email 2)
Thanks Gene. Concentric circles would be dividing class in half. Half students in inner circle facing out, outer circle of students facing in . Outtsides are "A" inner "B" . A's share, B silent, then switch.  The inner students move  counter clockwise one, then repeat for a few rounds, change questions. 

Hey MTBoSers,

What do you think?

We have friends visiting from Washington D. C. They are beginning their 3 week holiday, just as we are leaving our 9 week holiday behind. Peter, who works long hours, riding his bike to work EVERY day, (takes about 20-30 minutes, weather and exhaustion level dependent), was contemplating how he could be on vacation EVERY day, seeing retirement on the horizon (well, 8-10 years away). I started talking to him about the routines in our lives to keep "holiday" time alive. This is really the work/life balance. 

Here are some of my balancing acts:

--I dance first thing in the morning, before coffee, before email. Michael Franti's, "Say Hey I Love You," B-52's, "Love Shack," Bruno Mars, "Uptown Funk," The Dip, "Stateline." 3-5 minutes. You can't help smiling.

--Get to the beach. We are fortunate that we can drive to the beach, walk 45 minutes, drive home in 90 minutes. All we have to do is, DO it!

--Play ball with the dog...no explanation necessary.

--Get on the bike. Go outside, ride 45 minutes, ride 2 hours, whatever, feel the wind in your hair.

--Go to the movies, see a play, or go to a concert mid-week. Feels like you are doing something sneaky!

--Swim! Yup, go to the public pool, jump in for lap swimming. So you do 20 lengths, swim one, rest one. Whatever! It is 45 degrees out, the pool is 82 degrees, enjoy.

--Write a long hand letter. Reminds me of sending postcards or writing letters home. 

--Make a delicious, ethnic meal. Does not have to take everything out of you. It can be simple. Need ideas? Falafel, Sesame Noodles, Fried Rice. DM for recipes.

--Discover something new where you live. China Camp State Park. Who knew? Less than an hour from home and worlds away. 
China Camp State Park
What do you do to keep the holiday feeling alive during your school year?
Next summer, I just may ask for 30-60 minute slot at TMC about math and podcasts. I am reminded by Meg Craig that I wanted to post about my favorite Podcasts. Thanks Meg! And the great news is they are different! Now you will have about 2 zillion times the awesomeness to listen to. 

Top Three, no order: 

Radiolab: Great Reporting about 45-60 minutes long. From Tree to Shining Tree about how cool our tree root system is, to the podcast on how easy is it to be tracked by your internet use, to a story that made me absolutely weep about a preemy babe. 

Freakonomics: 25-35 minutes. Meg, do you get hooked on your podcaster's voice? Oh man, it is my equivalent of crack. Okay, that is over the top, but, you know...The economics of everything, lots of great experiments, behavioral econ, why we do what we do.

Pop Culture Happy Hour: 45- 60 minutes of 4 podcasters have chats about pop culture, from movies, to comics, to books, sometimes music. (Gotta keep up with the kiddos some how). Smart, political, and diverse view points, best part is at the end of every show, each caster talks about "what is making me happy this week." I learn about the BEST books, movies, original netflix series (currently savoring Stranger Things) etc...

Next Top Three, maybe some order:

Undisclosed: 45-65 minute long shows hosted by three lawyers about the wrongfully convicted. Excellent guests that tackle all kinds of social justice issues, can't get enough of listening to Rabia Chaudry, Collin Miller, and Susan Simpson. Straight forward, thoughtful. 

Snap Judgement:45-60 minutes of stories told to a beat and a theme.  Glynn Washington is a sharp guy. I love that this podcast is his vision and passion and he gave up thinking "inside the box," to make it happen. 

Sometimes Hidden Brain--how curious people understand the world, or The Moth--Story Slam winners, or Marketplace Weekend--what is driving are economy this week, or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me, hosted by Peter Sagal--that guy is funny, as are his crazy group of guests, a "game" show about the week's news. 

Shows my total nerd, I own it. Happy listening!

What are your favorite podcasts?

I am literally dripping in sweat (TMI?) from a hot August 1 run. I was listening to Undisclosed, a podcast dedicated to righting wrongful convictions. It is also a podcast about the criminal justice system, and social justice, or lack there of, especially in our immigrant and non-caucasian communities.

One of the themes of TMC16 was (and in many ways continues to be) Math and Social Justice. (My personal goal for TMC16 was finding out as much as possible about how my colleagues were engaging on this topic)

Now let me put the two together. Today, in the Addedum 3 episode, Marsha Chatelain, Professor of History at Georgetown, told us this, "Smart People use Twitter to have Smart conversations about Smart Things," and I believe her. She went to say that Pop Culture gives more people access to get closer to issues they normally wouldn't know about. And then I thought, "Hey, she is talking about us!" Dr. Chatelain felt like some of her colleagues at Georgetown poo-poo'd the ability of a platform like Twitter be effective in stimulating and conducting intellectual conversations, and WE (the MTBoS) give Dr. Chatelain proof of her claim!
Jose Vilson told us so: Math teachers, contrary to our own beliefs, already have parts about us that allow us to engage in difficult work. He encouraged to use our mad skills at looking for depth and using multiple pathways to look at social justice. (Follow #educolor)
Tracy Zager (@TracyZager) showed us the power of the intersection between content and pedagogy when we use our Twitter for PLC's: 

So I am even more inspired by your brilliance, MTBoS. You Rock!