TMC 16 Brain Barf- or My Thoughts Following My First Twitter Math Camp

It has been a week since I first stepped onto the Augsburg campus and I’ve had a whirlwind of thoughts from the very first minutes on campus.  Here are a few, knowing that some will require their own blog soon.


  • People will follow @Trianglemancsd just about anywhere.  The first person I saw that I knew Saturday morning was Christopher.  He was leading a group across the campus, saw me and invited me along.  But wait- I haven’t registered yet!  No worries, it will be just a minute.  We proceeded to carry his patterns grid to from the Old Main building to the entry of Foss Chapel.
  • Not everyone who is a part of TMC is literally 6 feet tall!  This was a shock to me.  So far, the people I have heard speak that were part of MTBoS (Dan Meyer, Sara VanDerWerf, Christopher Danielson and even Andrew Stadel who I have never met but KNOW his height from estimation 180) were all at least 6 feet tall.   The first misconception I had to grapple with was putting together the faces with the people who I had built up to be at least 6 feet tall in my mind.  They still remain the figurative giants of my math world through MTBoS.
  • During the first timers session, something was said that really resonated with me.  We were told that TMC was started by a group who felt their needs were not being heard by the folks organizing the NCTM conference.  They knew what they were looking for, knew they (collectively) had the talent and were able to make it happen for themselves.   I had no idea yet what they were talking about,  but it soon became clear as the day progressed.  As a board member of our local affiliate, MCTM, I wonder if we are meeting the needs of our members with the structure we offer?
  • The morning sessions were AWESOME!  I loved the fact that I was introduced to some great activities and then had time to process them before going back to continue the conversation. I am really excited to try the Talk Less, Smile More activities that Matt (@stoodle) and Chris (@PIspeak)  shared with us.
  • Those of us in Minnesota are lucky to have Sara VanDerWerf  (@saravdwerf) as leader for the teaching and learning of mathematics.  It was awesome to meet new people from around the country who had a chance to experience some of Sara’s passion.  I heard numerous comments about her session and saw lots of people trying out the backwards bike.  Sara has described her presentations as similar to a  passionate preacher – with such high energy and enthusiasm for the crowd.  She is always inspiring for Sunday morning people like me- the ones who struggle to break away from the known routine and needing to be told when to stand and sit!  Sara reminded us that “Teaching is an art.”  Just like artists who improve with time, so too, our teaching improves as we steadily adapt and learn new skills.
  • My Favorites- how cool was this?  Someday I’ll get up there and share one of mine.
  •  Keynotes from José Luis Vilson (@TheJLV) , Tracy Zager  (@TracyZager)and Dylan Kane  (@math8_teacher)  were thought provoking and each deserving of more reflection on the implications for me, what I can do as a teacher and as part of this community.
  • Glenn Waddell (@gwaddellnvhs) talk hit home with a lot of people, including me.  Thank you for sharing your journey.  I’ve followed the tweets and stolen the lesson ideas for years.  Last spring a friend mentioned that TMC would be in Minneapolis this summer so I put a note on my calendar and looked for the registration.  I registered, but decided not to stay overnight.  I kept telling myself it was because I would sleep better in my own bed, I don’t mind the extra drive, I had a class to teach Monday night, etc.  The real reason was that I didn’t really know what I was getting into and I wanted to leave myself an “out”.  A few weeks prior to the camp there was a tweet about people on the waiting list and to let them know if your plans had changed.  I was growing more and more uncomfortable with the idea and almost gave up my spot.  I told myself- just go the first day and see what’s up.  I’m an extremely introverted person by nature. For the lunch break the first day I jumped in my car and drove around the area.  I stopped and had my KIND bar and a Gatorade for lunch.  Following the afternoon sessions I went back to Foss and asked someone mingling around “What exactly is this Speed Dating?”.  I was looking for a reason to duck out early, but when I was told it was a way for people to connect I told myself- THIS is the reason you are here!  I went in and played along with the activity.  When we were grouped by grade band that we teach, I met Casey ( @cmmteach)  .  She was the first person to tell me they taught middle school so I went out on a limb and said “Would you like to have lunch tomorrow?” Thanks goodness she said yes.  We actually joined some others that she knew and I was able to meet and talk with a great group of folks that I can now say are part of my twitter PLN.  Thanks also to Lisa (@lmhenry9) for sending out the tweet on Monday inviting some folks to lunch.  I had a KIND bar in my bag- just in case.
  • Atlanta will be too far for me to commute.  My goal is to get move more from the lurker role to a participating role so that my introverted self can more fully engage in #TMC17.


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