Sunday, September 29, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The #MTBoS

Several years ago I joined twitter and didn't like it. I didn't get it. I left it.

For whatever reason, I came back and gave it another try. I found someone who suggested that I follow at least 100 people just to get a taste of what twitter is all about. 

I now follow 936 people (which is too many... I need to cut down) and have around 1500 followers. Twitter has become my own personalized professional development, and I know I wouldn't be in my current position without it. 

But lately there's been a new movement among some of the math teachers on twitter, and I think it's starting to get a bad rep. Starting with #TMC12, there's been some organization in the ranks. There have been a couple of efforts to get more people involved (which is awesome), a second TMC, a weekly Global Math meeting, and a multitude of different weekly mathchats. The acronym MTBoS (math twitter blogosphere) was adopted to represent this community. 

I'm sure it can be overwhelming for the math teacher new to twitter... But I'd guess much less overwhelming than encountering all of twitter without any guidance. 

These people have become my friends, and while I have distanced myself a touch because I'm not teaching math right now, I still follow and read their blogs. 

What got me thinking tonight was a post that @mgolding wrote about the website Teachers Pay Teachers (like Megan, I'm not going to link to it). I'm not a fan of the concept, but a couple of things stood out for me:

1. I love Megan. She's awesome. I don't like how she wrote a post about the #MTBoS disapproving of TpT. Honestly, it bothered me that she felt she could speak on behalf of all math teachers who consider themselves part of the MTBoS. I know there are teachers that tweet, blog, and for whatever reason sell materials on TpT. Will I buy it? No way. But that's their prerogative (cue Bobby Brown). 

2. One of the commenters on Megan's post didn't feel like she was part of the crowd. If you're a math teacher and you blog and/or tweet, you're in. There are no membership rules, no dues. You have to consider that a lot of these people have been working together (in real life or virtually) for years. But if you step up and join the conversation, find a math chat to participate in, make a comment on someone's blog, it's going to be that much easier to start forming relationships with people. So don't complain that you're not "part of the group".  This isn't high school.

9/24: Megan got a lot of feedback on her post. She's since added in some of the comments people made (both pro and con) and changed the focus from the #MTBoS to her. I applaud her public transparency. If you don't read her blog, please do so. She rocks.

Also, I first typed this on my iPad using the blogger app. Not a big fan. I'm editing now on my laptop.

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What I've been doing lately

I feel like I'm kind of in limbo until I find out from an upcoming needs assessment who's doing what and where people are in using technology.  So I've had some extra time the past few days to check out twitter and look for extra resources.  One I found yesterday was called Learn.ly, which then I saw as 121writing, and last night came out with an update called Kazeina.com. It's a voice recording tool that works with google docs; you can open up a document (ideally shared with you by a student) and record comments as you read through/grade the paper.  What I liked best about it was that it's engrained within gdocs, so it's not "another" place to go to and more hoops to jump through.

I talked with one English teacher yesterday who wasn't interested, so I thought maybe I was wrong about it. But then today I mentioned it to someone else and she was super excited.  I need to remember that one person doesn't speak for them all.

I was asked to keep a "To-Do" list of all of the stuff I'm doing on a daily basis (I'm still struggling with how I want to keep track of requests and how I spend my time) and today figured out the bookmarking process so if I continue to add to this document throughout the year I can bookmark each particular week.  That came in handy later this afternoon when someone asked me how to use hyperlinks within a word doc. He wanted to be able to include definitions for words within a document if students clicked on the word.  We talked about maybe linking to something like the definition in dictionary.com, but he decided he wanted more control over what the definition was.  What we decided to do was to define the words at the end of the paper, bookmark them, and link to the bookmarks within the paper. I got a handshake and a "good job" over that solution.  Thank goodness I'd played with bookmarks earlier in the day!

It's been super duper hot around here this week, and there are several schools in the district without a/c. I actually taught at one of them for the past 12 years; I would totally dread going back to school in August because it was so uncomfortable.  Feeling like a sweaty drippy mess all day isn't fun!  Anyway, last night we received a call from the district saying that all of the schools would have a 2-hour early dismissal today to try and avoid some of the heat. Although we've been comfortable (actually, cold) here, it was nice to have a short day!  The teachers had to stay our normal time, but I'm sure they all appreciate the extra time to get caught up. And tomorrow?  I took the morning off to get my girl to the doctor, will be at school about an hour, then have an afternoon meaning. That'll be a weird day!

A question while I'm thinking of it. If you're reading this, do you know of an easy way to clear the clipboard on a computer? We've had some issues with kids copying something before class then pasting it during an online quiz. Teachers were wondering if we could try and avoid that issue by dumping the clipboard.  I searched and found a program-type thing you could use, but it wasn't a quick fix. And I'm all about the quick fix!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Today's Favorites

I actually had some time this afternoon to sit and peruse some of my quickly-growing feedly feeds (which seems redundant, but I don't know what else to call them).

As I'm trying to catch up, here are some I tagged.
From Richard Byrne's Free Tech for Teachers
1.  TenMarks Offers 20,000+ Math Practice Problems Aligned to Common Core Standards
2.  Classmint Flash Card Maker
3.  Inspire to Read and Travel with the Global Bookshelf (Because life isn't all about math, apparently.)

Karl Fisch's post called L is the Goal

Fawn Nguyen's post on Math Munch  (I've never checked out Math Munch. But if Fawn says it's good, chances are that it is. Because she rocks.)

Mimi Yang is posting all of her lessons online at Until Next Stop.  I'd definitely check that out, too.

I found a librarian to follow over the summer named Jennifer Wells. She just wrote a post about getting her teachers started on Twitter, which is one of my goals for the year.

I always liked making copies of the centerfold problem calendars from the NCTM Mathematics Teacher magazines. But Chris Rime just posted a couple of calendars he put together for his math classes; looks like they're homework. Fun.)

And my time is up. Hoping to get through more tomorrow!








Observations

There have been a lot of things I've thought about while working out of the Media Center Commons this year.

1.  I have seen every single kid in this school at least once.  We did textbook checkouts here; I enjoyed seeing faces then imagining what they would sound like when they told me their ID number. I was usually surprised.

2.  We (principal, "secretary" who runs the place) talked this summer about the feel of the room. We want it to be a more collaborative, comfortable location for the kids to work in. I was gung ho and excited about that, but I think I'm struggling with it now. When kids are sitting and bopping to music, or lounging (and I mean lounging) in one of our comfy chairs, I'm having trouble stopping myself from telling them they need to find something to do.  But where's the line?  Yesterday I heard there was a kid with his hoodie pulled up, sleeping. I mean, really?!

3.  I don't enjoy sharing small spaces. There's been a lady here the past few weeks entering student data. She's very nice, a bit too chatty, but she wears a really strong perfume. The funny thing is that the first day she asked me about my air freshener that I have in here; said it was bothering her.

4.  There are always exceptions to rules.  Whether we like it or not.

5. Open House goes really fast when you're busy (and I didn't think I would be).

6. Having a cold, not being able to sleep well, and staying at school for 3 extra hours in the middle of the week stinks.

7. I'm really curious to see what technology the staff uses here and is comfortable with; we've been so busy with the Chromebook roll out and getting kids' devices registered that I haven't really been able to do that. Today I was able to get out to show a teacher a website called pdf Escape (she was wanting something the kids could use to enter info on a pdf) and next week I'm going to spend some time with a chem teacher who has flipped his class.  That's the stuff that I'm excited about starting.

8.  I like my job. I don't miss my classroom.  But still, I miss my teacher friends, feeling comfortable with people, and knowing kids.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

My Diigo Tags (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.