I arrived back in Arizona on Saturday night. I still had a 90 minute drive home so I decided to call a friend of mine who also happens to be a math teacher. She wanted to attend TMC15 with me but she was given the opportunity to take place in a study and the PD for it (which was paid) was at the same time. Here is how part of our conversation went:
Her: So, how was the conference?
Me: It was great. It is seriously the best PD on the planet. It’s actually more than PD. It’s hard to explain but it is truly amazing!
Her: What are some of the things you talked about?
Me: The morning session I went to was about talking circles and debate in the math classroom.
I went on to explain a little bit about both of those ideas, not doing either one of them justice. Then I couldn’t recall anything else. My mind was blank. I’m sure she was thinking I was crazy. I know some of it had to do with the fact that it was late and I had been traveling after a full day at TMC, but really, my mind was drawing blank! It was truly baffling.
I guess my first clue that my brain had become mush should have come that morning when Bob and I were trying to create talking points on transformations in Geometry. We were working and my computer kept glitching out; the monitor just goes blank randomly. Then I noticed the highlighted square on my spreadsheet kept moving randomly on it’s own. Then I noticed that it was moving randomly in accord with Bob pressing the arrow keys on his keyboard. I somehow thought maybe his keyboard had blue toothed with my crazy laptop until he said, “Um, no, we are working on a google doc.” Yeah, that happened…… This should have been my clue that my brain was on overload and I really just needed to stop talking for the day.
Needless to say, I will be processing over the next couple of days and blogging about the things I need to bring back to memory – my favorites of the “my favorites,” better questions, transformations without tears, linking algebra and geometry, and many others.
Every year I hear a few people say, “Just pick one or two things and implement those.” I think this is good advice but I’m not going to follow it. There are just too many good things to pick one or two. I can pick one or two big things (like talking points and debate) and then add in the smaller ones. Adding a my favorites project like Chris Shore presented, adding 3D printing to my already existing graphing project (presented by Heather Kohn), and using a window to teach sin and cos transformations like Meg Craig are all pretty easy add ons. They don’t require a new classroom structure or even a new structure for a unit. They are great ideas and I will be using all of them, but adding things like Elizabeth’s talking points and Chris’s debate are classroom culture items. They will take a more concerted effort to implement. I’m so excited because they will be well worth the effort. Now I’m off to by a gong…..