# Some New Things On The Interwebs & HOLY COW WHAT IS HAPPENING!

## THREE INTERNET THINGS YOU SHOULD DEF KNOW ABOUT

Here are three quick things I wanted to mention are out there on the interwebs which have me twitterpated!

1. The Productive Struggle blog. A blog which anyone can submit to. The way I see it: we have a tendency to post about what works, but not about our process when something just bombs. This blog is a great repository to share our failures and learn from them (and each other). Consider submitting  or cross-posting. Here’s a nice short post which spoke to me.

2. The Infinite Tangents podcast. ZOMG! Here’s the thing: we are enough of a community now that we have our own podcast! Ashli Black (aka @mythagon, blog) has been taping podcasts which focus around math teaching. The inaugural podcast was an interview with second year math teacher Daniel Schneider (@mathymcmatherso, blog). It’s pretty  totally fantastic. Of course I hear the excitement and experimentation that he is doing in his classroom, it makes me think how tepid I was in my second year. In fact, he makes me feel tepid right now. Which is good, because this podcast reminded me to be more thoughtful about my practice.

It also is really fun to listen to on the subway. It sure beats listening to that crackly faux hiphop coming out of that person’s headphones sitting next to you.

3. DailyDesmos blog. Here. This. This is another collective effort of a number of people in the mathteacherblogotwittersphere (full disclosure: I begged, and I’m now, a regular contributor to the site). As a little background, desmos.com is the most superior online graphing utility which is designed for teachers, and is so amazing, that I didn’t even teach my kids in precalculus to graph polar on the graphing calculators. (No, they aren’t paying me to say this. But they should! Hint!)

Each day two different graphs are posted (a basic one and an advanced one):

And then you use desmos (or any other graphing utility) to try to find the equation that matches the graph. It sort of reminds me of greenglobs (remember that awesome game!?) when I was a wee lad. But this is so much better. I’ve pulled a lot of muscles doing these challenges, and I love the feeling when I make a breakthrough. My favorite, so far, is here. And of the two I’ve contributed, my favorite is here. I have a really beautiful graph coming out next Thursday (3/28) so keep your eyes peeled!

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## THIS IS A SYMPTOM OF THINGS HAPPENING. GOOD THINGS HAPPENING.

One thing that is now crystal clear to me is that we’re shifting into a new phase. (“We’re” meaning our little math teacher online community.) Initially, we had blogs, and these blogs are where conversations happened (in the comments). Then we added twitter, and soon blogs were the asynchronous way for us to communicate and the “real” conversations started happening on twitter. (Blogs became this archive or repository, and less for discussion. Of course this isn’t true for all blog posts.)

Now in the past year or year and a half, there has been an explosion of activity. and this explosion seems to center around (a) collaboration and generating things which are (b) not really centered about us and our individual classrooms. We’re thinking bigger than ourselves.

I’m talking the letters to the first year teachers, I’m talking the Global Math Department, I’m talking the visualpatterns website, I’m talking the month long new blogger initiation, I’m talking the freaking inspirational One Good Thing group blog, I’m talking Math Munch, I’m talking the collaborative blog Math Mistakes, I’m talking MathRecap to share good math PD/talks with each other. And of course, now we have the Productive Struggle blog, Daily Desmos, and the Infinite Tangents podcast. [1]

We’re still keeping our blogs, and archiving our teaching and sharing ideas, and talking on twitter. But now we’re also moving into creating these other things which are crowdsourced and for people other than just those in our little communit…

It’s been a freakin’ pleasure to see all this stuff emerge out of the fertile soil that we already had. We’re starting to create something new and different… and… and… I can’t wait to see what happens. [2]

[1] There are more out there too. I’m trying to archive them here, but they just keep on coming!

[2] I have a session proposed (with two other people) at Twitter Math Camp 2013 about all this stuff that has been banging around in my brain… this seismic shift that we’re witnessing.

I think this year, one of the biggest things that have happened to the mathteacherblogosphere (or whatever variant of that word you use) is that we’ve broken out of our own little community. We are no longer just a few of us talking with each other. There are a ton more of us, tons of blogs, tons of people twittering.

And more and more people are joining us, because they’re seeing what good things we have to offer.

And now and then, on twitter, I’ll see that someone or another is giving a talk on this community, and what it has to offer. I’d love to create a list of presentations or talks that people have given about our little world. Partly, this is my archivist nature, trying to record all of this good stuff in one place. But mainly, because as more and more of us are building talks/presentations, it might be nice to have other talks and presentations to refer to.

Now I’m not talking only about hour long talks to huge groups of teachers. I mean anything — whether it’s a five minute talk to your department, to a 15 minute spiel to your school, to a three hour workshop you’ve crafted.

So if any of you have given talks, and have blogged about them, could you throw your links below? And if you could include any digital files you used (powerpoint, keynote, PDFs), an outline of how you actually lead it (if it was more than just you talking, but had participants actually do things), and anything else that might be useful… that would rock.

And if you have given a talk and haven’t blogged about it, BLOG ABOUT IT! Or if you don’t have a blog, because you mainly twitter, you can write a guest post on my blog if you want!

I hope to compile them as a list on this blog, or maybe include them on a special page on the mathtwitterblogosphere site.

Full confession: I haven’t really given talks or anything. I’m not really a teacher leader or anything and it feels weird to give talks when I feel like I’m not an expert teacher or a leader or whatever. So I’ve only done one talk to new teachers last summer [post here]. Here is a 7 minute presentation I gave at a summer math conference/workshop (PCMI) which I think went really well [post here].

# One Good Thing

A short post:

For those of you who don’t know, Rachel Kernodle (@rdkpicklehttp://sonatamathematique.wordpress.com/) has started a group blog called “one good thing.” She wrote about it here, and you can visit the blog here.

The idea is that even in the most frustratingly upsetting days as teachers, there is at least one good thing that happens — as long as you keep your eyes open to it. We may feel we suck, we may get all arrrrgh at students, a lot of random stress can take over and fill us with anxiety… and we get our blinders on, and lose sight of the bigger picture. Looking for one good thing each day helps us see the bigger picture when our vision narrows. And it also helps us archive the little moments, which are oh so important!

Right now there are about 7 authors posting regularly. This is one of the many projects that math teachers have going on (others are here)! I know Rachel wants to invite others who want to contribute regularly or semi-regularly to join in (it’s not an exclusive club!) — so she said you can throw your email in the comments here in the next couple days and she’ll add you as an author to the blog. Or you can tweet her to get added or find out more information. That simple!

What’s nice is this blog will soon be populated with a million little stories from a bunch of (math) teachers all around the world. A beautiful pastiche of why we teach, with concrete, on-the-ground examples.

(My entries on the “one good thing” blog are archived here.)

# Now that _A Day In The Life_ is Over…

Tina Cardone took the time to create a Tumblr with all the A Day In The Life submissions…  and she summed up all the suggestions/thoughts that people had for doing something similar in the future. If you don’t know what this is all about, here is the information and my contribution. I am going to copy her blogpost below (it can be accessed here):

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## Day in the Life: Recap and Moving Forward

THANK YOU for reading, writing, sharing your day or spreading the word.  Since the last update there have been 14 new submissions, which puts us over 50 total!  And it sounds like there are still more coming.  I’d love for this initiative to continue expanding, so I created a tumblr.  The latest submissions are below, but from now forward contributions will only be posted onDITLife.tumblr.com.  I’d never used tumblr before but now that I’ve set one up it seems most appropriate for sharing links.  You can still follow it by RSS and read the posts in google reader or similar, but it’s also searchable by tags and maybe we will discover a new community of tumblrs who can join the twitterblogosphere!

Now that the “Day in the Life” week is officially over, what’s next?  I’ve asked for ideas and come up with a few of my own.  I’d love to hear your feedback on these, other ideas and volunteers to kick these off!

• Re-blog, re-tweet, share on facebook and send this to big people/media (Justin Reich, Dan Meyer, Diane Ravitch and Arne Duncan were mentioned specifically)
• Continue getting new people to share a Day in their Life (try to reach different circles of educators)
• Personally I found this challenging to do, so repeating the experience of logging an entire day is unappealing, but posting a snippet like I did on Sunday is doable.  Lots of short clips is just as good (better?) than a full day.  There’s a submit page if you’d like to contribute directly to tumblr.
• Record yourself reading part of your DITLife post, it’s interesting to hear the voice behind the screen.
• Make a video of yourself telling a story, no longer than 2 minutes, of something that happened to you that shares some aspect of teaching; good, bad, whatever.
• Find a student to interview you, where the student asks questions they’re curious to know about, and the teacher responds. Then the teacher posts a podcast of the interview. (This wasn’t my idea, but I was talking to students about grading just the other day and it was interesting to hear their questions!)
• Find another teacher to interview you on whatever and post a podcast of the interview.
• Give awards to contributors: most papers graded, most hours at work, most uses of technology…
• Compare our days to TV/movie teachers
• Compare to each other (what was everyone doing at 7 am, noon, 3 pm, 8 pm?)
• Running list of all the roles we play
• Instead of recording everything in one day, record one thing every day and create a report a la Nicholas Felton
• Link this initiative anytime you see anyone attacking teachers
• Map where you go in a day or week (I know I never see some teachers since I don’t walk the same paths they do!)
• Ask people what prevented them from participating (is that you? please comment!)

I also got requests for future themes and gathered a few ideas for those:

1. The best lesson I taught this year.
2. What I want PD to look like.
3. If I was not a teacher I would be a ___.
4. Classroom tours (started in June, I want to see more photos!)
5. Teachers take a photograph of something meaningful that they’ve gotten from a student, and describe what that is and why it matters to them.

Thanks to Sam, Kate, Ashli, Julie, Greg, Kirsten, James, Jonathan, Lisa and Tom for their contribution to these lists.

# Nomination for Best Open PD for Edublogs

It surpassed everybody’s expectations. I am a curmudgeon when it comes to professional development, and I want my time valued. This conference was the most powerful professional development experience I have been to. And that is why I would like to nominate it for an Edublog Award for Best Open PD.

It was Twitter Math Camp 2012, or fondly known by all of us as TMC. I waxed poetic on it on a previous blog post which is a better nomination than anything I could come up with now. I said:

It was like we were on $40C2$ first dates, which felt our $40C2$ fiftieth-gazillion dates. Because we all KNEW each other. We knew about each others’s schools, kids, husbands/wives/bfs/gfs, movie and music preferences, deepest fears (SPIDERS!!!)… and still wanted to meet. I think the highest praise I can give is that the overwhelming feeling of nostalgia I had after leaving from this four day conference.

Every session that I attended was great. (But of course the best session was the one I led!) I learned about interactive notebooks and foldables, about the concept of “flow” in the classroom and how to disrupt the hidden pedagogical contract that schools have with kids, and about teasing kids with motivating questions and problems…This, in itself, is powerful. There were concrete and useful takeaways for my classroom practice. But what made it all the more powerful for me is that I was getting these ideas from teachers I knew personally and trusted. Everything was vetted. And anytime I need more information, or resources, or have questions, I can just send an email, tweet, or comment on a blog. And I can give back by sharing my experience with the things I take from others. Our community is dynamic and responsive and open to ideas and change, and we’re all on equal footing. And that only comes from us being friends…

But the sessions were only part of it, and I would argue, the less important part. We broke bread together while rehashing old memories together, as old friends do. If anyone felt that what we had wasn’t real, watching me give @approx_normal a piggyback ride at the Budweiser Brewery Tour, seeing @jreulbach excitedly show us and an entire movie theater how to cheerlead-dance before a showing of Magic Mike, seeing the almost English-teacher-level of hugging that was happening in the last few days [2], would change anyone’s mind. My favorite thing at the conference was the laughter.

I still get a glow-y feeling when I think about those four days. Because it was the culmination of something that had been brewing for years: friendship that we developed through a common passion (and through the common trials and tribulations) of teaching math. You want to see how awesome it was? Lisa Henry links to 21 different blog posts recapping the conference, all pretty much saying the same thing: aaahhh-may-zing!

In fact, Education Week blogger Justin Reich said:

Math Camp and similar events tell a story of teachers leading the march towards better instruction, better outcomes for students, and more meaningful learning by pooling their shared experience and working together to create better classrooms and schools. In an age of a soul-crushing standardization and the reduction of teaching to poorly-designed tests and improperly used value-added scores, we need to celebrate our teachers’ incredible commitment to students embodied in an event like Math Camp (and the hundreds of other unconferences and teacher-led guerilla PD events happening around the world).

One of the ways that teachers can take back control of the narrative in education is to take the lead in improving the profession. Unions should be at the very front of this effort, but teachers everywhere should be organizing to form communities, improve their craft, and have a ton of fun doing it. Lisa echoes what I hear from so many educators who pursue this form of professional development: “Quite simply, TMC12 was the most rich professional development experience I have ever taken part in.”

We had guest stars come give keynotes at the conference (Shawn Cornally of Think Thank Thunk fame skyped in; Karim Kai Ani of Mathalicious fame graced us in person). We problem solved in the morning. We gave each other ideas and resources. We shared ideas and led sessions for each other. And these were sessions that were all the more powerful because they were continuations of conversations we had been having online for months or longer! The program is below:

We came out of the conference stronger as a community. It was a conference made by us, for us (under the leadership and hard work of Shelli Temple and Lisa Henry). And hopefully, based on the positive responses and the conversations that have been happening lately, it is probably just the inaugural one!

# A Day In The Life, Math Teacher 2012 Edition

For anyone out there — I’m fine here in New York City. I spent the hurricane  [2] at a friend’s place in the city, and we have power and all good things. When I was trying to pass the time, I decided to do one productive thing.

I would like to present to you the start of a one day blogging initiative.

We are busy. We do a lot. We are professionals. And you know what happens when we talk about what we do… most people who don’t teach just don’t get it. That’s why we go to each other for support — either in real life by unwinding over a glass of wine (or a mocktail) at a local watering hole, or by talking with each other virtually using blogs, twitter, email, or something else.

I believe that others out there can know what it is like to be a math educator, at least for one day, from start to finish. I think we can explain to them about what we don’t and not leave the conversation saying “yeah, they don’t get it.” What are the big things we do, and more importantly, all those little things we think about and deal with? Not only am I beyond curious what a day in the life is like for all y’all, but I would like to take up the challenge of trying to get across what it’s like to be a teacher to someone who isn’t a teacher. Verbal explanations — even to my parents who are interested and care — hasn’t quite done the trick.

Thus, Tina — the author of Drawing On Math – and I have decided that we’re going to post about one of our days — from start to finish — during the week starting on November 12, 2012. Personally, I don’t know what I’m going to do. Maybe I”ll have some video, some photos, to accompany words. Maybe I’ll just write. Maybe I”ll have a timeline. Maybe it’ll be accounting of things, maybe it’ll be an accounting of thoughts. Who knows — but I am going to try to get across the big and the small of my day. [1]

Here’s the thing: we’re professionals. Let me say that again: we. are. professionals. There are many of us, which maybe makes what we do undervalued. There is this disturbing cultural war on teachers which is disheartening and just sucks to bear witness to. And there is this hidden side to teaching that everyone who has had teachers, but never been a teacher, doesn’t know about. And so I’m hoping that this might help people understand.

We’d love for you to join. Do a day in the life from any day in the week of November 12. Post about it on your blog. And maybe by the end, we’ll have a collection of some good things to share with someone who just doesn’t get it. If you write about it on twitter, use the hashtag #DITLife … Throw your blogpost link down in the comments on this post or in the comments of Tina’s post, Submit your form on this handy dandy form that Tina created, and Tina will compile them in one of her mathemes

I suspect there will be various banners for this floating about. You can take the one from the top of this post, or if you don’t like the pastel flowers, you can take this one below. Or any of the others that are oot and aboot (Tina’s are here).

And if you’re not a math educator, and want to do this, have I got two banners for you. Yup, they look almost identical. Yup, I’m lazy. Deal with it.

[1] Of course, we have to be careful to make the post about us. There are issues of kids privacy, and sensitive things we deal with, that we can’t explicitly write about. That’s probably why I haven’t done this before… because I don’t yet have a good way to get around this and still give an honest accounting of what happened. But that’s a lame excuse, and I will come up with a good way to give an honest picture of a day in the life, while still respecting my school, colleagues, and students.

[2] Want to see a vector valued function related to the hurricane? (I’m teaching about vector valued functions in multivariable calculus… so this resonated.) This is a live wind map. And here are some screenshots from around 1am last night:

# Math Blogging Initiation: A Final Roundup

(A quick starting note: the mentor blogs and their posts featuring these math bloggers, along with all the prompts for blogposts, are archived here.)

I’m ready to declare the Math Blogging Initiation a success.

How do I know? In week 4, when people were submitting their posts, I asked “”Have you gotten anything out of this experience? If so, what is/are the things you took away?” The responses blew me away (some of my favorites in red):

Yes, I’ve learned more about Modeling, SBG, and gotten dozens of lesson ideas–all that in only 3 weeks or so!!

I have been paying more attention to what math teachers are blogging about. In these blogs I have gotten many great ideas that I’ve already used with success in my class. I feel like the teachers at my school are great teachers, but we all pretty much do the same things. It’s rejuvenating to get new fresh ideas that work. I’ve also enjoyed being able to share my thoughts, it helps me to reflect expand what I’m doing.

It helps to know you are not the only one beginning this practice. You have connected us to each other. Thank you!

I received an email comment from a person who found my Week Two post about the Beat the Teach game.  Not only did they used to live near where I currently teach, they had been looking for a long time to find the game I had posted about and were excited to find it on my blog. I found it very rewarding to receive that feedback, especially hearing that I was not the only teacher out there who enjoyed the game I posted about.

There is so much to learn from the online community!

This has been awesome! Thank you for all the time and effort you put into it!! I’ve rediscovered my love of writing and experienced how fulfilling it is to share my thoughts with others. :)

I took away a lot of ideas, the kindness of strangers, and the feeling that I might still be useful in the world. Biggest idea? It doesn’t matter if anyone reads the blog or not. Sometimes it’s just a relief to write and post.

Guilty! I skipped week 3 due to classroom set up and first week trainings. :)  The writing prompts have been great. Thanks!

Most definitely. Some things: Best PD ever. Asynchronous and free. Desmos. Blogging greats take time for others. There are wonderful math teachers out there. A world of connectedness that the uninitiated hardly know about. And I’m basically shy and have to get over that, so I can be a part.

I am definitely a blogger now.  Every time I write a post, I’m thinking about new things and then I get awesome feedback in the comments as well.  Thanks for making me do this.

Motivation for one.  I’ve been thinking about blogging for a few months now and when the this started I knew it was now or never. Also, blogging is a great reflective practice, even if nobody else ever reads my posts.  I’m seeing that more now. Thanks again!

I’ve learned about some pretty sweet other math teacher blogs. It’s great to see what other folks are up to.

Your prompts have made me look deeply at my beliefs about teaching and learning, so, yeah, I’d say I got something out of this experience. Thanks.

I have learned so much from all the math bloggers out there. Everyone has such interesting and valuable approaches as well as perspectives. I look forward to my growth by being part of this sharing community.

Thank you so much for jump-starting this for me! I have found a voice that I did not realize I had, and realize even if no body reads, writing is theraputic. I hope I can contribute to this world I have been lurking in for the past few years!

The prompts that you have given us have been so useful, and this experience has really helped me start my blogging journey!

My brain is on overdrive and this makes me very happy! The community of mathematical enthusiasts (and my attempt to get myself noticed by them) is definitely the best part of this project for me. I have made a few G1 buddies on Twitter, and a few G2 buddies through reading their blogs and/or them reading mine. I’ve found some ideas I’ve been able to use directly in my classroom, such as INB’s and foldables, and a cool poster or two. It’s really validating to have people you’ve never met read your blog, comment on it, refer to one of your posts on their blog (and tell others to check it out), and perhaps most amazing of all, to have someone add your blog to their blogroll. Wow! Boy, do I want to be able to make #TMC13!

I got over (or mostly over?) my hesitance to blog – and I even commented! I’ve been a long time lurker, and it’s so nice to feel more like a contributing member of this amazing society of educators!

Yes…I probably would have abandoned the whole thing once I was sick, but I kept going so that I could get the 4th one in on time!

Writing is therapeutic.

Absolutely. It’s nice to feel like you’re not the ONLY one reading your posts. Lol.

He pushed me to write when otherwise I would have felt too busy to do so. And it’s gotten me in touch with some other teachers in the mathblogotwittersphere. I’ve learned so much over the past six months or so by using twitter and reading blogs. It has been a great experience.

I thought deeper about how to deal with a misconception.

A small school like mine doesn’t provide for a lot of interdepartmental, professional discourse. Being in touch with other math teachers through the blogging world is a huge help in my ongoing efforts to become a better teacher

I teach one section of language arts so I appreciate how writing clarifies one’s thinking. Blogging forces reflection and doing it weekly “”forces”" me to reflect on my practice. Also, the feedback I’ve received has been incredible. Even if no one reads and responds, a blog is like an open journal and I’m leaving a small footprint.

Courage! I felt so encouraged and welcomed to join the online community and I know that my teaching will only continue to improve since I joined and am now sharing in these valuable conversations.

Yes, four weeks in a row of regular posts.  I hope I can keep the motivation to continue posted about once a week or so.

That producing a post feels really good. That writing for an audience, even if largely imaginary (put potentially real and willing to give feedback!) is more satisfying and more constructive than writing purely as a private reflection. The accountability factor is immense. And the looming sense of possible connection with other mathteachers is really appealing.

I am so happy. I love feeling free to geek out and talk about what I do and read that others want to talk about curriculum and teaching.

The post that I shared was not supposed to be my post for Week #4! I wrote (and published) a different, mopey post.

The reflection that the public mope entailed, and the feedback I received, inspired me to get my act together, and try something new. I reflect on the something-new in the post that I submitted. Feeling so much better!

I really enjoyed reading comments on my blog…it is just a little booster for me :)

Just happy to join the community.

I really appreciated have the step by step instructions on the software needed to do this. I feel that I am off to a good start. Thank you so much!!!

Thanks for giving me a reason to blog.  Seriously.  I think about blogging now, something I’ve never done before.  I crave page views.

I want to continue doing this. I think for the most part, it has made me even more connected than I was. I have been reading blogs for a while, but I never participated. I guess I want to become a part of the community in math blogging and twitter (i know there is a name), so I am just trying to find my place within that.

I just have found so many other blogs to follow and connect with. I also have recieved a few more followers of my own. This is exactly what I wanted-to expand my connections to become more a part of this math education community.

Yes! Even though I’ve only blogged 3 times, I feel more reflective about my day to day teaching. I often think about things I would blog about, how I would say them, etc., even if I don’t actually end up blogging about them. I like the prompts, and I hope to keep using them in the future. I also feel more comfortable writing for myself and not just for readership.

Sometimes you write something you are super proud of and like 3 people read it. Sometimes you write something random and for some reason bunches of people read it. It’s hard not to be disappointed about one and excited about the other, but in the long run it is just important to write.

Well the prompts and a deadline kept me blogging when I probably would have quit after the school year started. And subscribing to the rss feed has immersed me in so many interesting ideas and thoughts about teaching math. It is like one great big PLC that I love being a part of.

Finally joining in the conversation, the fantastic conversations that you guys have all the time and I was just watching from the wings.  I look forward to contributing throughout the year and hopefully gaining some readers!

A jumpstart on exposure – some motivation to post once a week (which is my goal)

Well,  I am not teaching this year which feels strange.  I truly enjoy blogging and I have thought about blogging about other things, but then I am consumed with questions.  Should I blog about other things on my math blog?  Should I start another blog?  Is it worth the time?  I am surprised how much I enjoyed blogging but how long it takes me!

I am taking with me, the joy of blogging.

Think “outside the box” every once in awhile when it comes to forming blog post ideas.

This initiation really got me posting a lot, and reading more than ever! I love seeing what everyone else is doing in their classrooms and for their students.

The Blogger Initiation was a great way to get introduced to the mathtwitterblogosphere.  It would have taken a lot of effort to establish this many connections on my own.  Thanks so much for all of your hard work.  Already, I have connected with potential collaborators, and am closer to my goal of producing something that will be useful to all of us.

I have “met” a lot of different people and started creating my online PLN. I have already seen so many awesome ideas and I’m and pushing myself to be a better, more creative teacher.

I feel like I’m part of an awesome community now. Thanks for running this!

I’ve met many more second year teachers who also teach algebra 1 and 2. I’m not the only one, and that has helped me. The feedback from people’s comments has also been really useful.

Additionally, week after week, in my “Anything else” box on the page when participants submit their posts, there were continuously really positive comments. I should probably copy some of them here, because they made me MELT,  but I’ll just let you trust me so I don’t have to dig around for them!

Also, I asked what doing the initiation has been like. The responses of those who made it to week 4:

And if those who submitted to week 4 would continue blogging:

For those who made it to week 4, A+. Double unicorn rainbow points for you!

PS. Stats from Week 1, Week 2, and Week 3 below:

]

# Round Up of Week Four of the Math Blogging Initiation

We’re at the end. It’s been four weeks — hectic for all of us at the start of the year — and now the Math Blogging Initiation is over.


Even though I have never played the game Portal and this song
doesn't match up with this, it does come at the end of the game...
and I love it. So there you go.

Some of us did all four weeks, some did just a few. And honestly, if you tried it and found out it was not for you, that’s important and you wouldn’t have known it otherwise. (There are lots of professional development things that aren’t for me.) So thanks for keeping an open mind! And if you tried it and decided it was for you: egg-celent.

For those of you who want to continue, some unsolicited advice:

1. You don’t need to blog every week. This was just a “boot camp” to get started! Sometimes I blog twice in a day and then go a couple of weeks with nothing. Normally it has to do with how much free time I have. Blog when you feel like it, blog for yourself, don’t rely on having commenters/readers. There’s something super valuable about codifying and archiving your thoughts about a worksheet, a lesson, etc.

2. Have fun with it, and let it push you as a teacher. One of the things I started realizing was that having a blog not only let me archive and reflect upon stuff, but it also made me want to take risks. I wanted to try out things I was scared to do (whether it be not grading homework, employing Standards Based Grading, including more regular groupwork in classes, etc.) because they were new. (“Why try something new when what I’m doing works pretty well?”) But knowing I have a blog to write about these things made me feel more excited about trying them (even when they didn’t work out perfectly)… I got excited to share what I was doing. It’s like we’re in a laboratory with experiments always in progress… and we each year experiment and refine and experiment and refine. Your blog can be like your lab notebook.

Finally: THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU. It was on a lark that we decided to do this. It was a little haphazard I know. (One example of it: I tried to email all y’all that signed up, and no matter what I tried to do, the internet thought I was a spammer. That was two hours down the drain until @jreulbach stepped in to save me!) But you guys don’t even know how much this has exceeded our wildest expectations. We expected 20, maybe 30, responses, and this became something much bigger. This is all because of you. So THANK YOU. For being awesome. For taking risks. For engaging. It’s been a pleasure.

This final week we had 66 bloggers.

Now without further ado, week four bloggers.

## Aaron C| Random Teaching Tangents

Aaron C. @CarpGoesMoo has a blog named Random Teaching Tangents. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “New Blogger Initiation 4” and the author sums it up as follows: “Algebra 2 isn’t random … it’s structures (sets, matrices, vectors, etc.) and relationships (properties/identities, graphs, functions, etc.)” A memorable quotation from the post is: **(by the way, obvious is an extremely dangerous word in mathematics – I personally detest it almost as much as variations upon “the proof is left as an exercise for the reader” – thanks scumbag mathematics PhD).”

My Response: Aaron is talking about something I’ve been struggling with since I started teaching. Five years ago I started teaching Algebra II and like him, I quickly abandoned the book. But the thing that I wasn’t able to do well is come up with a common theme that could tie the class together — for me and for the kids. Aaron has an idea that could be the common reference points: structure and relationship. And building a course with those themes in mind appears, to me anyway, like it could be successful. I think the key to this is to explicitly COMPARE and CONTRAST various structures and relationships. That’s a way to tie disparate topics together.

## Lisa Nussdorfer| Reflections of a Learner

Lisa Nussdorfer @nussder has a blog named Reflections of a Learner. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Multiplication, Take Two” and the author sums it up as follows: “I am expanding on Hard Enough Problem’s blog about visual multiplication and reflecting on my experience learning other methods of multiplication as an adult.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I specifically remember that it was the FIRST time I had seen alternative multiplication methods in my mathematical existence.”

My Response: Lisa talks about how we tend to only remember/do one type of multiplication, but if you look a little deeper, there are tons of ways to multiply integer numbers together! And she also notes (as I have experienced) if you learn only one way, it’s hard to use another way. But precisely that’s the key to why learning other multiplication methods is important: it forces us to think about why they work. And that gets down to the underlying structure of mathematics (and what’s going on). I personally think asking a middle or high school kid who loves mathematics why the “lattice method” for multiplication works would lead to a great “a ha” moment! (We did this in math club a year or two ago!)

## Kelly Berg| The M Stands for Math

Kelly Berg @kmbergie has a blog named The M Stands for Math. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “I can’t even watch TV without thinking about school” and the author sums it up as follows: “This metaphor just hit me about teaching. It has nothing to do with math specifically, just about teaching in general. If you could classify your classroom as a TV show, which kind would it be?” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I need to interest them to come back after the commercials, keep them guessing as to how the story ends, and invite them back for more. Each day.”

My Response: Kelly has an awesome analogy to the classroom, which really resonates to me because I love love love LOVE TV. A class is about as long as an hour long TV show. How do we stay wrapped up in a TV show so long? Can we capitalize on that for our classrooms?

## Cindy W| findingEMU

Cindy W @finding_EMU has a blog named findingEMU. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “msSunFun: Musical Math Partners” and the author sums it up as follows: “Well, I think I definitely cheated on this one. “Write about anything” gave me an “out” to use my game post from msSunFun this week. The description of the “game” is followed by a multitude (especially if people share more ideas in the comments section) of possible variations!” A memorable quotation from the post is: “It is quite flexible, gets kids out of their seats, and gives students an opportunity to use mental math skills”

My Response: Cindy has a great idea for a large, well-behaved middle school class! If you train the kids early on on how to play it respectfully (I can see some pushing happening if you don’t!), I think it could be a really fun and active way to engage kids. I don’t play a lot of “games” in my classroom (I see games as good for review, but I don’t have a lot of time built into my planbook for review at the high school level, except on super challenging topics), but if I did games, this is one I would put in my back pocket.

## Andrew Knauft| Limsoup

Andrew Knauft @aknauft has a blog named Limsoup. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “NBI Week 4 — Finding a Polynomial” and the author sums it up as follows: “I walk through my favorite method for finding a polynomial passing through a collection of points, with a brief interlude into my view on how many answers math problems have, and a fun clincher involving a special type of polynomaial.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I realized today that for years I’ve been thinking “I like math because there is only one answer to every problem” — but that’s entirely untrue!”

My Response: Andrew presents a simple polynomial problem which has many solutions, and many ways of approaching the problem. He starts out the post by talking about how he used to like math because it only had one answer. But that’s not always true, and he’s enjoying the… and this is my words… creativity and generalizations and extensions of problems with more than one solution. I want kids to see kids the CREATIVITY in mathematics — as I think creativity and structural elegance goes to the heart of mathematics. I suspect, by this post, that Andrew would agree.

## Tyler Borek| Real Problems

Tyler Borek @opusproblems has a blog named Real Problems. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Digesting “The Exeter Series”“ and the author sums it up as follows: “My post is about Exeter’s math curriculum (discovered via Glenn Waddell). Exeter has an interesting take on math curriculum. They have my attention.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Caveats aside, I think that Exeter’s curriculum is a masterpiece, and – as with many masterpieces – it sets itself apart by looking at a situation in a different way.”

My Response: Tyler is taken by the Exeter math curriculum. I too am taken by it. The two defining features of it (that Tyler notes) is that the course isn’t divided into discrete topics (no “quadratics, followed by polynomials, followed by matrices”), and that problems precede concepts. You do problems, and they build up beautifully, until you can generalize to a mathematical truism. (One example is in their Math 3 curriculum where they show where the 1/3 comes from in the formula for the volume of a pyramid.) I also have thought of how it could be used in a school that isn’t Exeter, and I have my doubts. So I’m interested to see how it has been wholesale implemented, or adapted in interesting ways, in “normal” schools.

## Stephanie Macsata| High Heels in the High School

Stephanie Macsata @MsMac622 has a blog named High Heels in the High School. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “My First Foldable” and the author sums it up as follows: “I wanted to try making a foldable and this post goes with me through the process.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I feel like the more I create the easier it will be aaaaaaand my mind will just start thinking “in foldables” haha.”

My Response: Stephanie presents her first foldable, on slope. YES! I have heard a lot about foldables, and I meant to design some this summer but didn’t. But Stephanie has inspired me with an idea for my first foldable. It will be for precalculus. We’re learning about combinations/permutations right now. I’m going to have a foldable which has kids understand/categorize the difference between $_nP_r$, $_nC_r$, $n!$, and $n^r$ (all arise in different types of problems). Thanks for reminding me I wanted to do a foldable too!

## Jeff Brenneman| Trust Me – I’m a Math Teacher

Jeff Brenneman @brennemania has a blog named Trust Me – I’m a Math Teacher. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “A Not-At-All Comprehensive Review of Socrative” and the author sums it up as follows: “A few weeks ago, I was introduced to this awesome student clicker software called Socrative. Here, I discuss how it can be used in the classroom to inform a data-driven instructional practice through formative assessment.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “That’s not to say that questions about ninjas and ice cream aren’t important, BECAUSE THEY ARE.”

My Response: Jeff reviews (positively) Socrative. I first heard about this site this summer, and I can see myself training my class to use it for an exit task. That way I don’t have to deal with lots of slips of paper.

## Haydee C.| MathyMissC

Haydee C. @mathymissc has a blog named MathyMissC. The fourth post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Classroom Engagement?” and the author sums it up as follows: “This was a short post about giving classroom engagement a grade. What are the observable behaviors and how would they be graded? I ask more questions than actually provide answers.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “The obvious question is what do you mean by classroom engagement?”

My Response: Haydee is grappling with a question I have been grappling with: classroom engagement. I first used the term participation, then generalized it to classroom engagement. But she asks the questions: how do we assess it? If you can’t give feedback and have students improve, then it’s a fake grade. Something you arbitrarily decide. So this year in precalculus I have made “classroom engagement” part of my grade, but I am (on the fly) trying to come up with concrete ways to assess it. It’s going to be an interesting process, and I’ll see if I can’t come up with anything useful to share.

Update: Posts featuring all the others bloggers participating in the fourth week of the Math Blogging Initiation:
Julie, Fawn, Anne, Megan, Bowman, Sam, Lisa, John, Shelli, Tina, Kate, Sue

# Round Up of Week Three of the Math Blogging Initiation

We’re getting close to the end. This is week three of the Math Blogging Initiation. And although most of us featuring the new bloggers have 7 or 8 people to showcase, this week I only have 5. I anticipated a few extra late bloggers, but they didn’t show up! Overall, this week we had a little less than 90 bloggers! You guys are like the little engines that could, especially considering that by now, everyone has started school. This is possibly the most stressful time to do something like this, but you guys are killing it! I’m so impressed with all y’all.

## Haydee C| MathyMissC

Haydee C  @mathymissc has a blog named MathyMissC. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Math Autobiography” and the author sums it up as follows: “I usually give people one of two answers whenever I am asked why I became a teacher. There’s a short and long version. Pick one!” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I knew a career that involved numbers and working with people would be the perfect job for me.”

My Reaction: I love this post precisely because Haydee’s trajetory to becoming a teacher was so different than mine. Not that we both didn’t have excellent teachers, but she wasn’t a math-lover at first. And so to read the story of someone who had such drive in a different direction at an early age, and who was so affected by one particular teacher who put her on the path to becoming a teacher… well, it was a pleasure to read about.

## Tim Reinheimer| Asymptotically Cool

Tim Reinheimer @timreinheimer has a blog named Asymptotically Cool. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Misconceptions” and the author sums it up as follows: “Using whole number substitution to dispel the algebraic misconceptions.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I have found that I like to use whole number substitution to dispel the certain misconceptions.”

My Reaction: Tim notices, as I’m sure we all have, that our kids learn mechanical rules without any understanding of why they work. His solution: just have students plug in numbers to see that it doesn’t work. Personally, I think that’s a great way to start working on these misconceptions. To take this further, this post has gotten me wondering… I wonder if there isn’t a way to dig deeper, to remediate the misconception instead of just showing that their mechanical process doesn’t work. Digging into why they think it works, why it doesn’t work, and finding a way to make that stick with them? It’s well and good to say “look this doesn’t work” but harder to say “this is why” and also “this is what does work, and this is why.” I think some sort of brain laser will do the trick. Tim, you on this brain laser?

## Tyler Borek| RealProblems

Tyler Borek @tyler_borek has a blog named RealProblems. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Responding to a Lament” and the author sums it up as follows: “My post is a response to A Mathematician’s Lament by Paul Lockhart. I explore whether or not Lockhart is too heavily biased towards pure mathematics, and what a more equitable treatment of pure and applied mathematics might look like. Whether or not you read my post, I recommend Lockhart’s “Lament.”" A memorable quotation from the post is: “It may be that the majority of people who are willing to endure the long haul in mathematics will be the ones that Lockhart describes – those with an appreciation for simple problems.”

My Reaction: A cogent, thoughtful, and convincing critique (not tear-down, though) of Lockhart’s Lament. I was inspired by this document when I first read it a number of years ago (and although he teaches literally next door to my school, I have never met him). However, the author reminds me of something that I’ve noticed in my classes. I am someone who tends to eschew the “applied” nature of math and instead focuses more on the organization and elegance and puzzle-y nature of things. Because that’s what appeals to me. But many of my kids, so many of them, really respond to the applied stuff… even if I see it as loosely applied or even fake-ly applied. Like our “can optimization” project in calculus… Many kids really dug that project, even though it felt pretty forced/fake to me. They see it as real. And so I have to remember to not always eschew the applied, because just because it didn’t speak to me when I was a student doesn’t mean it won’t speak to any student. I’ve sen the contrary.

## David Price | Compact Spaces

David Price @compactspaces has a blog named Compact Spaces. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Algebra II and Precalculus are a hodgepodge of ideas” and the author sums it up as follows: “In this post I try to work through some of my thoughts on unifying themes of Algebra II. One distinction I try to make is that between very deep ideas in Algebra that might be hinted at and thought processes that are strengthened on a regular basis in a good Algebra II class. ” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Another issue is that advanced high school mathematics, even more than Algebra I, is like an underwater mountain range in that on the surface it appears disconnected.”

My Reaction: First off, I love the picture. Makes me long for summer vacation again. But seriously, I think that David has a plan of action for Algebra II. He’s teased out what the “core ideas” are for the course, for him, and these are the ideas he wants students to take away. Instead of being topics, they are actions… ways of dealing with problems. And I love that. The process is fundamental, and the result is incidental. This almost makes me feel sad I’m not teaching Algebra II this year!

## Valerie Higgins| Crafty Math

Valerie Higgins has a blog named Crafty Math. The third post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Miss Higgins, why are you a math teacher?“ and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is a collection of the varying answers I’ve given when asked why I decided to be a teacher, or why I like math.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I knew I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.”

My Reaction: My honest initial reaction was “surprise!” because Valerie spoke about how she saw teaching kids math as a religious calling… and I’m not religious and nor are most of my teacher friends, so this wasn’t a response I had ever heard. But Valerie, because of seeing teaching as her calling, said something that moved me. She has the desire to see and cultivate her kids’s best selves. That’s a really lovely thought. I do hope that Valerie uses religion to shape her beliefs, but not part of the classroom, unless she teaches at a parochial school.

Posts featuring all the others bloggers participating in the third week of the Math Blogging Initiation:
Julie, Fawn, Anne, Megan, Bowman, Sam, Lisa, John, Shelli, Tina, Kate, Sue

# Round Up of Week Two of the Math Blogging Initiation

Hello all! Welcome to the round up of the second week of the math blogging initiation. Today I will be featuring 14 posts by math teacher bloggers — out of over 120 that participated this time ’round. Again, zowee!!!

As soon as the other bloggers have finished putting up their posts featuring the participants of the blogger initiation, I will include the links in this post. Apologies for the terse reactions. I am exhausted, and literally fell asleep while trying to read the posts and write my thoughts. Sorry!

## Jasmine| Jazmath

Jasmine has a blog named Jazmath. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “First Day” and the author sums it up as follows: “The first days of school are full of excitement and newness. Sometimes we forget about those terrible days when we just don’t want to go to school tomorrow. I am hoping to record what is going well now so that I can draw on that when things are tough later in the year.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Yesterday was not one of those days where I question my qualifications to teach, but calculus class reminded me of those times. “

My Response: Without going into a disquisition as to why, there is a lot I have in common with the author of this post. Both teach at small independent schools with great faculties, we both teach calculus, and we both have high expectations for our kiddos.

## Evan Weinberg| gealgerobophysiculus

Evan Weinberg @emwdx has a blog named gealgerobophysiculus. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Flipping, Week 1: Stop the Blabbing” and the author sums it up as follows: “In addition to doing standards based grading, I’ve been trying to move all my direct instruction to two minute chunks of video that students watch in class. This is after I saw how effective this was in some courses I took from Udacity (http://www.udacity.com). Students aren’t sitting and listening for long, and I can quickly move to help students that understand the concepts quickly to move on to higher level tasks around the material. Those that need more time can get it, as well as ask questions and get help from me or other students.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Moving to a more student-centered learning model though has made the students in charge of making sure they understand what they are learning.”

My Response: Regardless of your opinion on the flipped classroom, this is absolutely in my opinion required reading for all math teacher bloggers out there. High praise for a fantastic post. I wanted to underline every other line of it. Probably because the realizations in here are things that I’ve been slowly making in the five years I’ve been teaching… most are there!

## Craig Ortner| Mr. Ortner

Craig Ortner cortner has a blog named Mr. Ortner. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “… – the math part was less memorable.” and the author sums it up as follows: “A meta-rumination on one of the prompts.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “… – the math part was less memorable.”

My Response: I would be so happy if my kids remembered any math at their ten year reunion. Anything!

## Sarah Miller| Proof in the City

Sarah Miller has a blog named Proof in the City. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Upcoming Project I am Super Excited About” and the author sums it up as follows: “A brief summary of a project my kids will do soon, where they will perform an experiment to determine if two values have a linear relationship.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I love that it will (hopefully) clarify and deeply define what “linear” is, in a way other than “it makes a line.”"

My Response: Hello math-science collaborations! I love it! It’s so important and I wish we did more of it at my school. As for the question for things that are possibly linear, I seem to remember Kate Nowak had a post where she asked people for help coming up with things that form linear relationships, and got a zillion (or fifty) comments. I’m too exhausted to look it up, but I think with some searching good things will come up!

## Mrs Crackers Math| Check Your Work

Mrs Crackers Math has a blog named Check Your Work. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “On posting learning objectives…” and the author sums it up as follows: “In my new district (my first at a public school) my administrators and colleagues are very gung ho about posting learning objectives. I just can’t get excited about it and my blog post explains why.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “…that there objective is just plain icky.”

My Response: Here is an interesting question… is posting daily objectives too restrictive and “give away” the conclusions that the class is suppose to discover together? This is a great question that I’ve never thought of, but yes, maybe posting objectives is kinda icky. I don’t usually post them (I teach in many different rooms), but I always felt guilty. Now I feel like I’ve accidentally made a good decision all along.

## Pippi| Pippi’s Adventures in Teaching

Pippi has a blog named Pippi’s Adventures in Teaching. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Learning” and the author sums it up as follows: “I have no illusions that my students need to know the details of physics in their everyday lives. Sure, physics can be applied to sports and driving and cell phones, but they’re right when they say that they can get through life perfectly well without knowing how. But I hope there are skills and, strangely enough, feelings from my class that they carry along with them for a long time.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I hope she remembers what it feels like to look at a page that looks like gibberish one week, and the feeling of each word and symbol slowly coming into focus and making sense.”

My Response: Here are some nice bigger goals for a physics classroom, instead of content-only goals.

## haversine| Bowditch’s Apprentice

haversine has a blog named Bowditch’s Apprentice. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Playing Games in calculus” and the author sums it up as follows: “I found a paper-based game about identifying the rules needed to take derivatives of various expressions, and turned it into an interactive smartboard game. My students loved it!” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I quickly found that my students loved anything I could turn into a game.”

My Response: I pretty much use all of Maria Andersen’s calculus games. This is one I had somehow missed. But it’s great, for calculus!

## Tofer Carlson | teachertofer

Tofer Carlson has a blog named teachertofer. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Hope for My Children*” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is a response to an xkcd comic about our society’s habit of using one woman to stand in for her gender when completing tasks have been more commonly completed by men in the past.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “When I have children (*sometime in the not-so-near future), I hope identity comes easy, and gender-roles are anything but traditional–little girls catching snakes, before going to tap class and playing ice-hockey; or boys who learn to sew while building lego forts for their pirates to take back from Raggedy Ann.”

My Reaction: Gender and math classes is something I only started thinking about after my first year of teaching. But it was clear to me that, in my school at least, girls were more often playing “learned helplessness” while guys wouldn’t ask for extra help. I think one must be conscious of these things though it can be tough.

## Tangent Vector| Tangent Vectors

Tangent Vector @TangentVectors has a blog named Tangent Vectors. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “In 10 years…” and the author sums it up as follows: “In this post I pretend that I’m not egotistical and don’t care whether or not I’m remembered in 10 years. Fine, maybe I do care just a little–but in all honesty, the rational side of me believes every word I wrote.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Frankly, if in 10 years my former students are well-functioning members of society–good citizens who exercise critical thought and aren’t hoodwinked by the many propaganda machines that seemingly grow in number, ferocity, and audacity each year–that would give me plenty of satisfaction.”

My Reaction: Okra as unpleasant? Come on now!

## Kelly Berg | The M Stands for Math

Kelly Berg @kmbergie has a blog named The M Stands for Math. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Pick up the milk carton please” and the author sums it up as follows: “Quit complaining. Just do it.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Complaining about the issues and doing nothing is like eating slimy okra.”

My Reaction: Kelly is going through a lot of changes right now. But one thing she knows is to not surround herself with negativity.

## Ann Gorsuch | angorsuch

Ann Gorsuch @AnnGorsuch has a blog named anngorsuch. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Random Tidbits” and the author sums it up as follows: “Does anyone have recommendations for good blogs, RSS feeds, or websites that I can add to my Zite magazine and google reader? Also, anyone with me on feeling under-prepared to differentiate and accommodate students with special needs? What should I do? Lastly, if you like racing, check out my Triathlon problem that has students solving systems of equations.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “Nothing re-inspires me more than reading a few good articles on my Zite or google reader.”

My Response: I don’t know about this Zite magazine thing (haven’t used it before), but I should definitely check it out someday soon.

## loveteachingmaths | love teaching maths

loveteachingmaths has a blog named love teaching maths. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Grade C Card Sort” and the author sums it up as follows: “It is a review of a resource I have used with a borderline C/D class.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “I teach a few GCSE resit groups and I found this resource on the TES website and thought it was fantastic.”

My Response: A simple idea for groupwork. Often times, the simplest ideas are the best ideas.

## Nancy | Infinitely many solutions

Nancy has a blog named Infinitely many solutions. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “Venn diagrams” and the author sums it up as follows: “This post is about using Venn diagrams to compare and contrast math concepts and procedures.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “So one way I like to help them make connections is to use Venn Diagrams in class to compare concepts or procedures to see what they have in common as well as how they differ.”

My Response: Nancy’s post on Venn Diagrams reminds me of foldables, and how useful they are for cataloguing, but also comparing and constrasting. This idea of using Venn diagrams for organizing information is pretty fantastic. Simple, but as I stated above, simple ideas are often the best ideas.

## mathaholic| Confessions of a Mathaholic

mathaholic has a blog named Confessions of a Mathaholic. The second post for the Blogging Initiation is titled “BFT” and the author sums it up as follows: “It’s a chart form of the special trig values, to emphasize patterns and relationships between the columns and rows.” A memorable quotation from the post is: “So all we need are 5 little values to get the entire table.”

My Response: This seems like an interesting idea for how to organize basic trig values/relationships. I especially like that students are on the lookout for observations and patterns when analyzing a table of trig graphs.

Update: Posts featuring all the others bloggers participating in the second week of the Math Blogging Initiation: