Teacher Growth, the MTBoS, and TMC14

As usual, going to Twitter Math Camp has caused me to be all reflective and stuff. Barf. About myself and about this online community. And trust me, this self-introspection will be over soon and I’ll be back on my regularly scheduled program of procrastinating doing my prep work for school. But I should probably get it all out first, in one giant word-vomit. Ready? SPEW!

I’m a Hobbit

To begin with, an oft retweeted and favorited thing at TMC was this (and heck, I probably retweeted and favorited it):

I strongly don’t put myself in that category. That isn’t part of who I am. I don’t teach to save the world. I don’t see myself as changing students’s lives, nor is my goal to have students come back to me and say “your class changed my life.” I don’t blog to change math teaching. I don’t have grand ambitions or even care to think on such a large scale. It’s a nice sentiment, but it’s just not me. I’m like a hobbit, happy and content with my little corner. Working at things with a small scale. Getting an ah hah moment, or altering the way a student sees and understands mathematics, or helping a fellow teacher out with this or that. This is what I enjoy doing.

Inadequacy and Change

With that said, a lot of my thoughts around the mathtwitterblogosphere (MTBoS) and TMC in particular have come out of two things:

1. A post by Mo titled “I am a fraud” and as a follow up a post by Lisa Henry titled  “Hi My Name is Lisa” which resonated with me and with many others. Some key lines:

Mo: They were so honest, so completely naked, and I, wanting to join in “fit in” offered some of my fears but then as I awoke today I feel dirty. My heart is heavy, because I lied. Well I didn’t completely lie I just shared certain fears and strengths that manipulated people to see me the way I wanted them to see me. We were all skinny dipping but I had a flesh colored bathing suit on “with painted on abs”… And as I enter my 9th year of teaching, I could be entering my last year. There is a high possibility that I could be going into sales and this conference confirms my movement into that field, because I feel so inadequate….. so beyond inadequate.

Lisa: I am not the best math teacher. I am not an amazing math teacher. I have a LOT of work to do to improve. There. I said it. I wrote it in my blog and I am not taking it back. It is there in print. Ever since I have been involved with the Math Twitterblogosphere (MTBoS for short if you are not familiar), I have felt this inadequacy. I see what other teachers are doing in their classrooms. I have tried some things. Even blogged about what I have tried. But for the most part, I haven’t changed a whole lot in my teaching since I started Twitter almost 5 years ago.

2. A flex session held by Lisa Bejarano which was about how we leave TMC and change things — both in ourselves, and in our schools. I have personal notions about barriers involved changing things in my school, nor do I have the presumptuousness to say that I am The Person To Effect Change or that I Know The Right Ways. Because I too feel very much like Mo and Lisa in that I’m not “there” yet. I’m not a master teacher. However when it came to our discussion of how we change things in ourselves, Lisa B. threw up this great chart on the projector:

BtmTjbqCMAM6xHh

At first, I was skeptical. I have this bad habit of seeing charts like this and immediately dismissing them. They take something complex and box it in to something simple. But you know, the more I thought and looked at it, the more it made sense to me.

For example, I’m teaching geometry next year, and I have tons of resources, a vision for what I want the course to look like, I think I have the skills needed, I have the motivation/incentives to do well. But I don’t have a way to go through the massive amounts of ideas and resources to actually move forward. I don’t have an action plan. So I’m in the middle of false starts. And it feels that way.

But what I want to focus on is missing skills — and the resulting anxiety. I was thinking about the times in my classroom when I didn’t just take a little step forward but dove right in to make a big change because I had a bigger vision I wanted to accomplish. I can think of two:

1. Implementing standards based grading in calculus (four years ago)
2. Running a class entirely through group-work (two years ago)

Although I advise people to take baby steps, and change slowly, those times I didn’t take that advice were the times I grew the most as a teacher. Those were also the times I felt the most anxiety. Why? Because I hadn’t yet developed the skills I needed. I didn’t know how to organize standards based grading in a way that would work. I didn’t know how to make sure I would catch the conceptual as well as the procedural in this system, nor how I would get synthesis of skills. I didn’t know how to make sure students worked well together. I didn’t know how to create actvities and lessons so that students would have to rely on each other to progress. But you know what? Without jumping in, I never would have gotten the skills needed.

Let me tell you: those were high anxiety times. They required a lot of emotional energy and a ton of time. But they were also times of immense growth for me.

Personal Inadequacy as Part-of-the-Deal

Now to the “me” part.

20140723_121030

I don’t feel like I’m a master teacher or close to it. And I feel confident with that assessment of myself, because who knows me better than me?

As part of that, I also often feel inadequate, and sometimes like a fraud. If I look only at the world of my school, I think I wouldn’t feel this way. I’d feel fine. I’d actually have very little incentive to change, because it’s a lot of work for no extra rewards and I am doing well by the kids (see the chart above). But because there is this much bigger world, which I am exposed to (namely the math-twitter-blogosphere), things are different.

I am constantly exposed to many things online. A lot of them are resources and lessons, but sometimes there are ideas about good teaching that I wouldn’t have access too. Like the importance of mathematical discourse (talking, writing), or to question the nature of assessments and what grades mean, or the importance of having students see each other as mathematical authorities. I am not exposed to these ideas in my school constantly, so I would not think that these are things I believe in. But being bombarded by all the stuff out there online and at TMC, and seeing what resonates with me (or what inspires me to change), is helping me (probably subconsciously) evolve my personal, theoretical framework about teaching and learning (thanks Dan Meyer).

And that is where the anxiety comes in. Because now my bar about what is good teaching has been thrust upwards. And now I have to work on reaching it. It isn’t that I feel competitive with others, but that I feel competitive with myself [1]. I have a drive to be my personal best, and to do the best by my kids.

So because of this exposure to great ideas for the classroom, and bigger ideas about what makes an effective classroom, I get caught up in feeling like I’m not doing a good job, and the anxiety hits me. And sometimes this nadir will last for months. I don’t feel like I’m doing a good enough job in the classroom. I haven’t given any formative assessments. Kids aren’t engaging in real mathematical discussion. I haven’t improved at all from the previous year. Heck, maybe I’ve even de-evolved. And I get in this cycle of anxiety. It sucks.

But it’s a double edged sword, because it is this anxiety that drives me, that pushes me. I enjoy the intellectual challenge it gives me. And at least for me, it’s this anxiety and this feeling of inadequacy, coupled with my own personal desire to better myself, that provides a productive tension. I recognize in myself that I need those lows and those feelings of anxiety in order to get better. It’s part of my own personal growth process. And as much as I wish I could be confident and grow without the feelings of inadequancy, I’ve come to realize that’s what works for me. At least for me.

I end with a tweet from Jami Danielle who pretty much summed this up for me, and makes this whole post just a bunch of verbal spewage (didn’t I say that at the beginning)?:

aaaaajami

 

 

[1] I suspect, though I do not know, that all this talk about “inadequacy” and how it resonates with so many people in the MTBoS and at TMC is tied up in some sort of cycle like this. Because of this, I don’t think it’s something to be “fixed” (e.g. how can we make it so when people come to TMC they don’t feel like crappy teachers?). At least I wouldn’t want someone to “fix” it for me.

Musings on the 180 blog

I’m at Twitter Math Camp 2014. Normally my inclination at a conference is to take a moment to recap the day from start to finish, as an archive to what I learned. Little things, big things, trying to capture every little morsel. Instead, I think I’ll just write about one thing I’ve been thinking about today, based on sessions and conversations.

180 blogs: Mine from this year

This was prompted due from a 30 minute mini-sesh that Justin Aion had around his 180 blogging adventure this year. For those not in the know, a 180 blog is something teachers started doing a couple years ago — posting once a day.  (It is called a 180 blog because there are supposed to be — though I definitely don’t have — at least 180 school days in an academic year.)

The difference between regular blogs and 180 blogs are that 180 blogs tend to be a single snippet, every day. Sometimes it is just a photograph. Sometimes it’s just a paragraph. Sometimes it’s a brief reflection. And you know what? You know what?

I kept a 180 blog last year too. And I just realized I never mentioned it on this blog, nor did I ever give it a post-mortem or reflection. So tonight, the first evening of TMC14 inspired by a mini-session, that is what I am going to do.

My 180 blog all started because I have an incredible colleague and friend at my school who I know would get along with this community of math teachers online like gangbusters. I wanted to bring him into this world, but it stressed him out too much, and moreso, he didn’t have that much time. I took a stab at ensnaring him by showing him the idea of the 180 blog. It has a low barrier of entry. It involves only 5 minutes a day. And it has a basic structure to it that he could routinize: make a post each day. He agreed! We would both keep a joint 180 blog!

And thus: the very cleverly named ShahKinnell180 blog was born. (Click on the image to be taken there!) [1]

180blog

Back to Justin’s TMC talk. He spoke about how he wanted his 180 blog to be centered around reflectiveness. And I think that many people do use them for that. However I was 100% sure that reflectiveness wasn’t something I was looking for.

Besides getting my colleague/friend involved in this online math teacher world, I think my reasons for wanting to do this are as follows:

  • I wanted a little archive of my teaching life. So the only rule I had in making it was that I would post a picture every day, and a few words. Nothing expansive, nothing overwhelming. I had in mind those people who take a photograph of themselves everyday for a year, and then splice them all together, resulting in this whole pastiche of the passage of time? I revel in the fact that I now have this little slice of my teaching life all beautifully laid out. Visual. Chronological. And what I kinda love the most: just like the blog is filled with snapshots of things that happened to me-as-teacher (usually from my classes, though not always), the blog itself is now a snapshot of who I am as a teacher.Although I haven’t done this yet (why not??? well I didn’t even think about writing about it here until after it was done for a whole year! so who knows where my head is at), I would love to send it to my parents. Heck, it’s a great way for non-teachers (wow, this could be awesome for teachers-to-be too!) to see a depiction of what people in our profession do, what we get our kids to do, what we think about, what experiences we have. It’s like a regular blog, but less reading — perfect for skimming and being non-threatening!
  • I wanted something to keep me on the lookout for the good. My brain constantly tells me I am not good at what I do. And I am someone who can obsess over what’s not going right and just skip over the juicy deliciousness in front of me. (I was that kid in high school who would take a test, get stuck on one or two questions, and leave saying I knew I did horribly on it… not because I was being modest, but because I would focus totally on what I didn’t know, instead of seeing things in perspective.) All this brings me back to a few years ago when I was a contributor on the “One Good Thing” blog (my posts on that blog are here). If you don’t know about that blog, it is a collaborative blog where teachers just write something good — anything good — that happened. Big or small. The tagline to the blog is: “every day may not be good, but there is one good thing in every day.” That’s some powerful stuff. And you know what? Because I was posting on that blog, I had a shift in my mindset. Even in my worst days, especially in my worst days, I would force myself think back through the day for something good. And heck if I couldn’t find something. And then I started paying more attention to the good that was happening when it was happening (I would think: “Heck yes! I need to blog this!”).I wanted my 180 blog to remind me that I do good things in the classroom. Even when I feel like I’m stagnant, when I’m not innovating, when my kids are lost and I’m at fault… I wanted my 180 blog to keep me on the lookout for things that I should feel proud of. Not every post is a “feel good” post on my 180 blog, but the point is: I was constantly on the lookout for something I would want to post about or an image I wanted to save from the day.
  • Finally, and probably least important to me, I wanted something to keep me accountable to being a good teacher. This probably sounds a bit weird… but as a regular blogger, I noticed I would get extra enthusiastic about something when I knew I was doing something or creating something and realized I could blog it. When my classroom wasn’t the only audience, and when what we did just disappeared in the temporal aether. Perhaps a 180 blog would help me do the same?

I don’t have any grand pronouncements from the experiment. I definitely didn’t learn anything about teaching from keeping the 180 blog. I am almost certain I will not return to the 180 blog for teaching ideas, or to see how a particular lesson went. I definitely did not become a better teacher because I kept the blog. (At least not in any tangible way.)

But here’s the thing: looking at this experiment on the whole, I am beyond thrilled I started my 180 blog and kept up with it. Why? Because when I have moments (be it days, weeks, or even month-long-stretches) when I feel like I’m not doing a good job, I simply can pull up the blog and browse through it and recognize:

I don’t do the same things every day. I am thoughtful about stuff a bunch of the time. I have pretty great kids who do some pretty great and possibly hilarious things that are worth recording/remembering. 

Which them reminds me: I’m lucky that I get to do what I do. I enjoy thinking about what I get to think about. I really do enjoy working with kids (which definitely needs reminding because… well kids are rarely easy). And that: if this is my job, if this is what I get to do and get paid for it, then things are pretty great.

180 blogs: An idea for the future

So as I noted, I was blogging mainly to archive. And archive I did. I have no desire to archive again next year. However I had been thinking at the TMC14 session I was at: is there anything that could get me to do another 180 blog?

And I dawned on the answer. I could create a 180 blog around one specific thing I was working on as a teacher. And this 180 blog would force me to stay accountable.

Examples:

  • I’m not an expert at deep questioning in the math classroom. So I would be forced to blog about one question I asked, if I had time write about some of the context in which the question was asked, and what happened when I asked it in the math classroom. I would then briefly evaluate whether the questioning was good and/or if there was a better way to have asked the question.
  • I am trying to make groupwork the central way kids in my classes learn. So I could write one blogpost each day about how I facilitated some part of groupwork — either in the planning of the class, during the class, or after the class.
  • I am trying to be more conscientious about formative assessments. So I vow to have one formative assessment each day in one of my classes (not even all of them! just one!). It doesn’t have to be even a big one… even a 10 second “thumbs up if you get this, thumbs to the side if you’re slightly confused, and thumbs down if you’re totally lost” counts.
  • I struggle with wait time. So each day, I vow to record with a timer how many seconds I wait after one question (only one question!), and I post the question and the wait time on the blog.
  • I know I’m terrible at “closing” class. I have kids work until the end, we rarely take the time to summarize what we did, the big questions we tackled, the big questions we have lingering. Very often it is: “Eeep, sorry, we’re out of time. Check the course conference for your nightly work. Missyouloveyou!” Okay, maybe not the missyouloveyou part, but you know what I’m talking about. So blogging about the close of one class each day.

I’m not saying I’m going to do anything of these. If I do, it will definitely only be one of them. But the idea is that it is targeted about something I want to improve upon, and doing it will hold me accountable.

 

[1] As a follow up, my colleague who did the 180 blog with me blogged many — but not all — days. But heck if he’s not been so inspired that he’s starting Geogebrart, his own blog about making art with geogebra which has been knocking my socks off this summer. Once you peruse his entries on our 180 blog and you peruse his new Geogebrart blog, you probably understand why I feel lucky beyond belief to get to work with this guy!

My Wunderkammer: A Visual Resume

About 6 years ago, I remember receiving a stack of resumes for a math teaching job. We were looking to hire someone to join our department, and there were so many resumes and cover letters to go through. Over 50, maybe around 100. And my eyes started glazing over. The resumes looked similar, and the cover letters were banal. And then: one applicant stuck out.

It was a cover letter that gave a link to a really simple website, and on that website was an educational philosophy, a few sample tests, and some student work. Although it was pretty basic, what I liked was that on that simple site I got a much better sense of who this candidate was. I loved the idea. And I decided then and there that I would create my own teaching portfolio online that would capture who I was as a teacher.

This past summer, I did it.

To be clear: this isn’t a reflective teacher portfolio.  It’s a descriptive teacher portfolio. It is something that I put together — a mishmash of snippets — that together hopefully gives a solid sense of who I am, what I do, what I believe in. I think calling it a visual teaching resume or a wunderkammer best describes it. (Click on the image to go to the site.)

visualteachingresume

There are a few missing things that I would like to add to this site at some oint:

  • I would like to add everyday samples of student work. Not projects. Just everyday stuffs.
  • I would like to add a section about the two week history of science course I designed and implemented with another teacher this year. (See Days 80-87 on my 180 blog for more.)
  • I would like to add a section about the “Explore Math” project (more info here and here) I did in Precalculus this year.
  • I would like to finish the student quotation page. I actually have quotations typed for a number of previous years, but I do not have more recent years ready.

It was pretty simple to make (I used the free website creator weebly) and I hope if I ever were to go on the job market, it would catch the eyes of whoever had the giant stack of cover letters and resumes in front of them. I wasn’t really going to make a post about my visual resume, or share it with anyone, because I thought: who would care?

But heck: maybe someone out there is going on the job market and thinks the idea is worth replicating? So I decided to post.

Mission #8: Sharing is Caring in the MTBoS

samjshah:

Here I’m reblogging our last mission from the Explore the #MTBoS!

Originally posted on Exploring the MathTwitterBlogosphere:

It’s amazing. You’re amazing. You joined in the Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere set of missions, and you’ve made it to the eighth week. It’s Sam Shah here, and whether you only did one or two missions, or you were able to carve out the time and energy to do all seven so far, I am proud of you.

I’ve seen so many of you find things you didn’t know were out there, and you tried them out. Not all of them worked for you. Maybe the twitter chats fell flat, or maybe the whole twitter thing wasn’t your thang. But I think I can be pretty confident in saying that you very likely found at least one thing that you found useful, interesting, and usable.

With that in mind, we have our last mission, and it is (in my opinion) the best mission. Why? Because you get to do something…

View original 501 more words

Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere

If you’re reading this post, it means that you are someone I think is amazing. Because you already are reading math teacher blogs. (Or at least one of them.) And if you’ve read stuff on my blog in the past two years, you’ll see that I’ve fallen head over heels in love with this math teacher community that I’ve found on the interwebs. They have become not only colleagues and collaborators and constant inspiration, but also they’ve become my friends.

I want as many math teachers that are out there to have as amazing an experience as I have had. I hate writing about this community because I think everyone out there thinks How hyperbolic is this guy!? Seriously?! But it’s not hyperbole. It’s real. IT’S REAL. IT’S REAL.

This past summer, four of us (Tina Cardone, Julie Reulbach, Justin Lanier, and me!) sat down and brainstormed how we could offer a way for someone to experience what we’ve experienced. We wanted to come up with a no-pressure way to help those new to the online math teacher world make their way into meeting others out there and finding access to amazing resources… and a way to let those who have been in this world all the shiny new and amazing stuff that has been generated in the past year. 

And then we had it! The idea!

welcome

If you are intrigued, click on the banner and see what it’s all about. The fun starts on October 6th, 2013.

 

TMC13: The State of Things (for Me)

I recently went to TMC13. If you don’t know what that is… there is a community of math teacher bloggers and twitterers who met up at a conference called “twitter math camp 2013.” It was a conference “for us, by us.” I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about our community in the past two years. Here’s my current iteration of my thoughts, after this conference.

I want to be clear that this is my experience and thoughts. I know I am not everyman, and I know my musings maybe (probably) do not match everyone’s experiences out there.

***

The day I came back from TMC13, I was scheduled to give a talk to about twenty peeps about to enter their first year of teaching in New York City. My goal was to show them that the mathtwitterblogosphere is a place that can help them – if they put in some initial legwork, and keep an open mind. I did my schtick for around 90 minutes, and then I left, feeling like I had failed.

It wasn’t that I actually had failed. I asked them to fill out notecards at the end with their honest opinions/thoughts/questions, and I had gotten really uplifting feedback.

But here’s the thing. I wasn’t able to package what we were, and how insanely perfect a community this is, and how insane it would be for someone in their shoes to not take advantage. And that’s because I don’t know how to bottle up that kind of fire and passion. All I can do are pale shadows of pale shadows. I showed them a bunch of things, I had them read tweets from others, I let them explore (in an open-ended but guided way) resources that I thought would be especially helpful to them. But I left knowing I could have done much better.

We’re inspirational. But how the hell do you get that across without sounding like a zealot? Maybe sounding like a zealot is the answer.

Because coming on the heels of TMC13, I have nothing but the most amazing feelings about MTBoS. Last year I left TMC12 grateful that I could now call my tweeps “friends” and mean it in the entire sense of the word. They got me – to the core – because who I am at the core is a math teacher. It defines me. And the  people at TMC12, with their “unnatural obsession with teaching math,” reveled in being with others of our own kind. We’re a rare breed.

This year, I had all those feelings – yes – but the main takeaway of the conference was new. It was that we are a powerful force. We are not a loosely connected network of professionals, but we are a growing, tightly-connected network of professionals engaged in something unbelievably awesome. Through this community, we are all – in our own ways – becoming teacher leaders [1].

Here’s what I mean. I have been teaching for only six years. I took a total of 5 classes on education in college during my senior year. And the honest truth is: I’m not amazing in the classroom. I will repeat that because it is crucial for this post. I’m not amazing in the classroom. Conclusion: I am not – by anyone’s criteria – an expert.

But I’ve learned through this community that I have value. And this, here, is precisely it. This is what I tried to make clear when talking about our community and TMC13, but kinda failed, to those about to embark in their first year in the classroom. Every single math teacher out there who cares about their students and their student’s learning has value. I don’t care if you’ve been teaching one year or one month. And that value could be confined to your classroom, or to your school. But what the mathtwitterblogosphere does is it allows us to have value for each other too. And that means suddenly that have value beyond our own local neighborhood. [2] By having our little cabal of math teachers connect online, things like age, years of experience, the type of school we are at… those things begin to matter less. It’s the personalities, the way we interact with each other, the ideas that we share and the resources we freely give, the emotional support that we provide… those things matter more.

I want to unpack the “tightly-connected” adjective used above, because I think this is actually what TMC13 is helping cultivate. The good things about the community that have made us tightly connected: compassion and empathy, encouragement, inspiration, generosity, and most importantly, a willingness to help each other out at any costs.

What aren’t we willing to do for each other? I’ve fielded midnight phonecalls from tweeps in distress, and written pick-me-up emails to people who are feeling down. I’ve shared a whole year’s worth of calculus materials I’ve created with people teaching calculus for the first time. I’ve had people share their entire precalculus course materials with me, when I said I was teaching it for the first time last year.  I’ve had chocolates sent to me and my department from a tweep, just because. I wanted to make a mathtwitterblogosphere website, and I had so many people immediately volunteer to make videos for me. I’ve been mistreated by (you name it and it’s probably happened) and have gone home in tears, where I felt listened to and supported by people in our tribe. I’ve written letters of recommendation for tweeps looking for new jobs, and I’ve had tweeps write a collective letter of recommendation for a summer program I was applying to. We’ve moved past just being a way to give and receive amazing resources and ideas for the classroom.

We’re invested in each other’s success. We’re invested in each other’s happiness. We’re invested in each other.

That’s why we’re tightly connected.

Another word to describe this? After TMC12, I argued that we could now call each other “friends.” Now, with another year under our belts, I kinda think we can call ourselves a “family.”

How do you bottle that feeling when you realize you, only a sixth year teacher, are valued by others outside of your school? That you are significant to a whole bunch of someones out there in the world? The confidence you get about your own teaching when someone comments saying kids in their classroom loved an activity you created?

How you share that phone call your tweep fielded when you were ready to give up and quit, because you felt like you sucked? And you left that phone call not only feeling better but en energized?

How do you share the rolling, side-splitting laughter that you get when you read a tweet about Air Bud?

How do you share the transformation that the community can give you in your outlook? When you felt like there were so much on your plate and so many obstacles that felt insurmountable – that all you had was a pit in your stomach and only anxiety about returning to school next year… and then you go to TMC13 and you suddenly began to see all the hurdles as opportunities, and you suddenly get excited about attacking them?  

I know this is a schmaltzy post. I know that different people are at different levels of familiarity with those in the community. But I have only love — with recognition that there are real people behind the words on a blogpost and behind the tweets, just trying to do their best, suck a little bit less at teaching, and being generous as much as they can. I have much love for that.

I learned a lot about TMC13 about teaching and learning. And I was going to make a blogpost recap all about those things. But this seemed like a better investment of my time.

(Dedicated to Lisa Henry, Shelli Temple, Max Ray, Anthony Rossetti, James Cleveland, and Jessica  Bogie.)

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[1] That’s something I’m coming to realize recently. This community not only puts glass walls around our classrooms, so we can constantly be peering into multiple teaching laboratories and see best practices, but many people are peering into our own classrooms via our online presences. Being a part of this community allows us to grow professionally, and allows us smooth ways to become teacher leaders. We can offer to lead a session at TMC13. We can host a Global Math Department. We can compile a comprehensive set of resources that others can use to align with the Common Core. We can lead online initiatives or start online collaborations that result in something bigger than ourselves and our classrooms. And it’s all done in our safe, encouraging, accepting, helpful, generous community . We can begin to spread our wings as we emerge into professional leaders.

[2] We can have value by sharing windows into our classrooms. Sharing activities and lessons and worksheets. And experiences and ideas. And notes on what didn’t work. We have value by freely giving our experiences and work products to each other.

On the flip side, we can have value by using someone else’s ideas/lessons/activity in our classrooms. It may seem backwards, because we are consumers – freely taking from others. But when someone posts a comment on my blog saying they totally used something I did, I feel uplifted. I feel valued. I feel like my opinion and thoughts matter. So anyone who has ever used any of the things I’ve put out there have so much value to me.

You have value whether you are a consumer, a producer, or a consumer-producer… a lurker, an occasional pop-in-er.

Exploring the MathTwitterBlogosphere

Coming in October 2013!!!

This year, we’re going to be holding a updated version of the Math Blogger Initiation that happened last year! We were crazy surprised by how many people were interested in joining up and trying something new — blogging with other math teachers! This year, we are planning to have a slightly different program for people to join called…

We’re designing it to help those who are either just starting out with the mathtwitterblogosphere or for those who have dipped their toes in and want to get even more involved. Or even if you have dropped off the face of the virtual planet and want to join back in!

Each week we will post a new adventure for you to participate in involving the online math teacher community. And we are planning a virtual reward for those who participate in every event! However you don’t have to participate every week — you have to do what’s good for you. By the end, we hope you feel like you know much of what’s out there. Ultimately, the end goal is personal growth (not comments and blog readership).

Join us on this exciting adventure! Meet new friends! Get tons of new ideas!

So y’all can start school smoothly, we’re going to be starting this in October, and we’ll release more information in mid-September.

Let the fun begin!
Julie, Justin, Sam, Tina