This week I attended #ATMNE18 in little Warwick, RI.
When I go on our youth group mission trips, we end each day with Prayer and Processing and it is my favorite part of the day, listening to the kids share stories. So, this is like Thank Yous and Processing. I hope I don't leave anyone out.
First, thank you to the members of the boards of the Rhode Island and Connecticut teams of RIMTA and ATOMIC. You all did an amazing job. Thank you for pulling together a great line up of top leaders in the education world and enticing them to come to little ole Rhode Island. Thank you for all the great sessions with a lot of variety. Thank you for the goodie bags and always having drinking water and chocolate candy available. Thank you for providing a hot breakfast and a boxed lunch. Food is social and when you provide it, you are encouraging people to sit and make new connections and share and that is awesome! I loved your jackets by the way - nice touch. Thank you to the student teachers who were at every corner and able to help us find our rooms. Thank you to the hotel staff who quickly and kindly came to clean up a glass after I forgot I had my big fat backpack on and almost took out a whole pile of glasses but only one was a victim. All these details made it so well run. I appreciate all your hard work and thank you again!
I was almost feeling conferenced out after attending and presenting at NCTM Hartford and then our MA conference, both in October, but it is the people that make it worth it. Tina @crstn85 and I shared an airbnb right on Narragansett Bay. It was so nice and quiet and I woke up both mornings to a beautiful sunrise. It was great to catch up with Tina. She is working for Illustrative Math now and has a lot of fun new stuff going on. Thanks for arranging this.
I presented both days with Heather @Heather_kohn. We are both Desmos fellows and thought it would be fun to present a session on "Diving into Desmos Activity Builder: Beginner" on Thursday, led by me, followed by a "Diving into Desmos Activity Builder: Intermediate" on Friday, led by Heather. Both sessions were accepted. It was fun to prepare and collaborate and catch up with Heather prior to the conference. It was really well if we say so ourselves and we resubmitted both proposals for Boston's NCTM next year. Crossing fingers. More on our sessions later.
The conference started with 3 SLAM speakers - Jenny Bay-Williams and Eric Milou (both first time hearing both of them speak, followed by one of my favorites Max Ray-Riek. I love hearing Max speak and share his math stories. Thank you!
Then, I was off to hear Grace Kelemanik and Amy Lucenta speak about "Teach Every Student to Think Like a Mathematician". I was lucky Heather saved me a seat because the room was tiny and people squished in to sit on the floor and stand. Unfortunately, it was a fire code violation, so they were asked to leave, but it showed enough interest that they were asked to give this presentation again. Thanks for the accommodations. This session gave me a closer look at the math standards, especially the difference because a quantity and a comparison.
Next up, I went to Eric Milou's presentation on "The Status Quo of High School Mathematics in Unacceptable." Eric is a college professor. He shared that colleges are finally trying to make changes to their curriculum, not just telling us high schools we need to make changes to ours. And, there are some big changes which will take time, but they do need to come. He shared WODB and a 3 Act with us as well as Deltamath. I use all of these and it is fun to see the teacher moves from another person.
My next session was presented by Sally Bennett and I think her colleague's name was Chris. (apology). As I entered the room, an old conference circuit friend, Shawn Towle @TowleMath entered as well with a colleague and told me Sally and Chris were his colleagues. He brought all of his colleagues from Falmouth, Maine, down to RI. How lucky. It was called "Encouraging Effective Student Collaboration in the Classroom". I do a lot of group work at the desks and the boards, so it always good to get new procedures and activities. We did a version of Sara VanDerWerf's @saravdwerf 100 number game. Shawn and I had previously done this, so we had to do the harder version at our table and it was quiet challenging. Sara wasn't present at the conference, but there she was! Everyone loves Sara. I also sat with friend, Karen Campe @KarenCampe and we worked together in our group. I loved the yarn activity. We had this big closed loop of yarn and all 4 of us had to have at least one hand on it as we tried to make a square, a star, a tetrahedron, an octahedron, and a pentagon. Once we figured out a strategy, we were good! I will be using this one in Geometry class.
I took the 1:30 session off. I was getting tired and I had to present at 3:15. It is at this point, you start to get nervous. Will people come? Will the tech work? So, I took a break and caught up with Jenna Laib @JennaLaib and Nicole Bridge @NicoleBridge1, both of whom I know from Twitter. As well as friend, Cortni @CortniJ, who is also on the ATOMIC board - thanks for all your hard work. It was fun to sit and share our day with each other.
Then, Heather and I were up. The tech worked right away, well, after getting new batteries for the projector remore. We had about 38ish people in our session. I always start with a poll to see where our audience is at - are you familiar with the Desmos calculator, have your used Desmos Activity Builder, have you edited Desmos Activity Builder. It was the perfect audience because some people had never used the AB, some people had, and 2 people had done some editing. I was happily surprised to see the Maine group I just met that morning joined us and were eager to learn about Desmos. We started off by having the participants be the students and showcased 4 Desmos activities - Marbleslides, Polygraph, a Card Sort, and a Graphing Transformations. We gave them time to play as we walked around and listened and helped. We could see the teacher dashboard and we used the tools to pace and pause and we modeled the teacher tools throughout. We kept getting the questions - are these free? how do I get more? Yes, that was all coming. We were building the need! They were loving it. It was fun to see Molly Rawding @RawdingMolly at our session. Thanks for coming and learning. At the end of the session, we had a man come up and tell us it was his favorite session of the day! Yeah! The link to our folder is here #ATMNE18Desmos.
Phew! Energized but tired. I found Heather and Tina and we were deciding what to do before dinner. Jenna was there too with her friend, who introduced herself as Hilary and said I looked familiar. I accidentally rudely told her she didn't look familiar to me but I am @HHSmath on Twitter. Then, she was talking about Lesley University and I was like, "Oh, yeahhhh, Hilary Kreisberg @DrHilary_Kreisberg from Lesley, I do know you." She looked different from her picture. It is hard to make the Twitter connections with face -->Twitter handle --> name -->place.
We went on to the last session, followed by some appetizers. I got to catch up with Jen @JenHudak4 who is also from MA and I see her at our conferences. I also made a new Twitter friend, @Rose_Okai, who was a hoot to chat with.
Thanks to old CT conference friend, Jen Silverman @jensilvermath, who put together dinner for us at Iron Works Tavern. It started out small but got to 25 people. It was like a big Thanksgiving dinner. My end of the table included Jenna Laib, Hilary, Graham Fletcher @Gfletchy (who I quickly said hi to earlier but was excited to get to spend time with at dinner), and I made new friends with CT board members Robin Moore @mooreintomath and Rachel Saunders @MsSaundersMath. Caught up briefly with Trish Kepler @KeplerTrish. And, Bob Janes @MrJanesMath and I had some discussion about my school's make up and how CT schools are sorted on average income. Crazy. What funny dinner conversations we had. Such a great time. Thanks again Jen! Oh, and thanks to Hilary for introducing me to Impractical Jokers. I came home and had a lot of laughs.
Day 2 started with another beautiful sunrise as the sun was a red ball over the water. At breakfast both days, I sat with Tim @dynamic_math from CT. He is our Geogebra guy and does some amazing things with it!
Our SLAM speakers today were: Robert Berry (head of NCTM) whom I first got to meet at Twitter Math Camp this summer. It is a pleasure to have him with us. I loved his talk relating the hope for our math classes to be like Wakanda. Now, I want to see the movie. I feel like my classroom is now just getting to this place of the family feel. I have spent a good amount of time building these relationships. Then, Cathy Fosnot spoke and I finally understand the difference between a Number String and a Number Talk, thank you. And, then, it was Eli's turn. @eluberoff, always the gentlemen and knows how to adapt. His 20 minutes was shortened a bit, so he made adjustments and was still powerful as he shared that classrooms should be loud, social, and creative. Makes me happy I am using #VNPS and my room can get loud and somewhat chaotic but learning is messy and that is good. They are building their own understanding.
Heather and I were up first at 9 am which really is the best time. You are fresh and ready to go. You can get in the room early and make sure tech is good. We had a bigger room this time which was good. It filled up with about 57 people. It was so nice to see people return from our Thursday session to come and learn more. We had a feeling Eli might come in and it was great to have him in the room. Our participants got to meet him at a personal level and we could ask questions if we needed to. I have coded a bit behind the scenes at the computation level and one person asked how he could find out more. I didn't know where that might be so I asked Eli and learned about cl.desmos.com and will now be able to share that resource. Heather was the lead on this one and she ran us through the 13 guiding principles that can be used to build your own activity and then we looked at Lego Prices through the teacher eye to see which principles were being used. Then we showed them how they can build their own. I ran around helping everyone in the audience. It was so fun and again, I think we did a good job together.
Next, I went to Eli's session on Technology that Thinks with Your Students, Not For, Your Students. I love to watch other people and notice how they present. He started with some music. He asked us to do 50 + 10%. He was trying to show us a video from the head of Google but the sound wasn't playing. Later when he tried to play a video with music, we learned the sound was being sent to the next room. Oops. But, Eli, ever the professional, recovered and moved on. They got our sound up and running and all was good. I loved Eli's presentation so much and think it is really important, I offered to share it with my teachers. I brought up with 50+10% with my family at dinner and it got ugly. Go ahead, ask Google. Then think some more about it.
And, that was the end for me. I said my goodbye's and made my way home. Happy with another conference. Refreshed and positive to get me through these next 2 December weeks. Thank you to all my new and old mathy friends!