@vaughn_trapped’s TMC16 Summary Reflection

I really want to read all of these TMC16 reflections/summaries that keep going up, but I promised myself I had to write my own first, so here I go.

It was a long journey to TMC16. Not just the 4 years friends had been trying to get me there, but also the 1200+ miles I drove to get to Minneapolis. The drive itself was pretty enlightening. I took my daughter back to Chicago on my way. I also picked up my mom in Akron and took her to her sister’s in Decorah, Iowa. 35 years ago I went to college in that town so it was good to spend a couple of days there before going up to TMC16. They even have a couple of craft breweries in Decorah. Pretty great.

I discovered that my mother’s Alzheimer’s had progressed far beyond where I was aware. She asked continually where we were going and why. She was concerned because I took a different route from Prairie du Chien WI to Decorah IA than dad usually did. She thought I was lost, and she got mad. Probably actually afraid. She fakes knowing who people are so much that it wasn’t clear to me that she had no idea who I actually was until we were talking at my aunt’s house. She asked me about my children. I told her I had a daughter in Chicago and a son in New York. She asked me what my son did and I told her. She said, “that’s amazing” because, you see, she has a grandson who does the exact same thing. She just couldn’t connect the dots. She has a PhD and she couldn’t get there. I ran into the other room and cried.

Two days later, I left her with my aunt and headed for Minneapolis. I felt like I was dumping her on my aunt who already had a full plate. I just didn’t know she was so far along. I didn’t know. I cried all the way to Minneapolis. I met my favorite cousin and his wife for lunch before I headed to Augsburg. It was good to get a hug from someone who knows or at least knew my mom.

So, I was a little distracted during my first TMC. Sorry if that showed.

Friday evening was the Indian’s game so that was super great. I met some people, but only casually. It was nice though.

Saturday I went to the opening session and got to put some faces with some online personalities. Interesting. My three-day class almost caused me to have a stroke that first day. Denis Sheeran @MathDenisNJ is really hyper. Really smart and fun and all, but it took me a bit to get into rhythm with him. I type faster just thinking of his energy. Holy crap! The session challenged me to make math relevant and immediate for my students in order to up engagement. We also explored laying a disguised path rather than cutting through the weeds with a machete leaving little if nothing for kids to discover themselves. (My words, not Denis’s.) I had already started collecting data on my trip my capturing my mileage, hours, distance, etc. for each day as well as keeping all of my gas receipts. I plan to put them all on a sheet as raw data and do a “what I did on my summer vacation” type lesson and see if kids can build a story to go along with the daily data captures and receipts. My data–their story.

I must say I was most looking forward to the daily My Favorites slots. I stalked them last year via John Steven’s Periscope. I was not disappointed.

Jonathan Clayton really started the favorites out strong with Varsity Math. Makes me wish I taught high school rater than 8th grade, but I still got a usable take-away. I can put a banner up in the hall on which to staple student work. If my kids are doing quality work, the entire school needs to see it. Perhaps everyone will up his or her game!

We learned about snagit and fuse and ways to capture and show real data and real thinking and real unfortunate thinking. I hit tech overload and so I shut down a bit. I just seriously can’t do half a dozen websites in a few minutes. It all just bounces off of my forehead.

Glenn Waddell spoke on fear. It reminded me of a book I read years ago called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. Glenn’s talk made me think of my mom. I was afraid to take her Iowa, but she’s afraid constantly because she has no idea who she is with or where she is going.

My favorite My Favorite was Nominations—I saw this as a gallery walk of student work where students give thoughtful feedback. I really think I can use this periodically, like once a week, as a way to check HW. I HATE checking HW. I do post solutions on a class twitter account and on my school website and on my door so students may check their own, but I’m not checking it. By setting up the gallery for comment, students will be displaying their work. They will get prime examples and well as non-examples. Katherine Belmont I believe inspired this, but I really changed what she described into my own thing, so she probably wouldn’t even recognize it.

@veganmathbeagle did a spiral thing that still has me jazzed. I see using this as a post assessment exploration and building on it each week.

Weekly birthday shout outs was a really great My Favorite. Building on it to where you can use it to show function/not a function is genius. I so appreciate this.

Some of the memorable short daily sessions that I attended were Testing 1,2,3 where we discussed compiling a testing question bank as well as practiced writing rich-open-ended test questions. That’s an on-going struggle for me. I’ll need to dig back through and re-digest this info presented by Meg Craig and Sarah Martin.

Anna Hester did a session on box method and coherence. I am a firm believer that we need far more coherence across grade levels and course levels and I see where the box lends itself to that. I’m not a fan of dividing that way though because it seems like the worst of synthetic division and long division and mashed together. I’m a long division fan and teach it as place value only they are degreed terms. I may just need more practice to be able to embrace the box for division. Maybe.

Dylan Kane and Nicole Hansen did a session on Connected Knowledge and Making Use of Structure. I appreciate that they gave us time to think and struggle on our own rather than just serving up content and digested concepts. It’s so tempting when doing PD to give ‘em the goods and send them on their way. They approached PD as less is more and were not afraid to leave something for another time. Great classroom modeling!

The Warm-up routines class I attended served as affirmation that I was already on the right track. It’s good to know that I don’t have to throw everything I do out!!!

I was unable to attend the @Desmos Friday session so I made sure to sit in on Denis Sheeran’s Desmos for Elementary Math session. I conformed what I had suspected…desmos can be used for other classes…not just math. Mind blown….I know. I am going to show my foreign language and LA teacher buddies the polygraph. We need to share our gems beyond the math community. Seriously.

The keynote speakers were masterfully chosen. Surely others have recapped these already. Once I read the TMC16 posts of others, I will recap if my perspectives of the talks aren’t covered.

That’s pretty much my TMC16 experience. I had lots of time to think as I drove. I also listened to the radio a bit. I heard this NPR thing about non-complementary behavior. I am going to subscribe to this podcast and see if I can improve some of my approaches with students and thereby improve some classroom behaviors this year based on some of what I learn. Here’s the link. This didn’t come from TMC16 directly, but it did come from my drive home from TMC16. http://n.pr/2aoSBpD

I also came across these notes. They are really about my mom. They were written among session notes.

  • That she’s dying is not the worst part. It’s that she’s living like she is.
  • I just want my mom back.
  • There is no mutual good-bye with Alzheimer’s. That really sucks.

Well, that’s my 2500 mile journey to and from and during TMC16. Thank goodness that’s finished. Now, I can read how the pros did this post.