I decided to focus on the aspects of TMC13 that made the biggest impact. This is not even close to a comprehensive list of take-aways:
Rich Problems/Tasks: It started with Max's presentation on noticing and wondering. The simplicity inspired me. Two powerful questions can bait our students to dig into problem solving. Glenn's session was the perfect follow-up. He showed us how to extend any problem by listing its attributes, changing one thing, and then see where it goes. Then we worked through a couple of tasks with Karim from Mathalicious. I can't wait to use these and others. These sessions all worked together to boost my confidence about implementing these types of problems in my classroom . . . This will be my main goal and focus for this next school year.
Interactive Notebooks: I will admit to dragging my feet when it comes to INB's, but Megan's session won me over. I learned that I can modify much of what I already have, so my fear of starting from scratch was dispelled. I also learned that INBs are particularly affective in engaging lower-level students and helping them stay organized. I'll be incorporating these into my regular Algebra 2 class this year.
SBG: I might be the only math blogger who hasn't implemented standards based grading. I do not know why, because the philosophy totally aligns with what I believe about education. It was good to talk to people who are using SBG. They don't want to ever go back. It was good to hear that there are a hundred different flavors, not a right way or a wrong way. I figured out where to start. From there, I will make it work for me. I'll be incorporating SBG into my calculus class this year, but I suspect I will be expanding it to the others before long.
The People: Finally, a few words about the social aspect of TMC. Even though I have been blogging for a while, I have had a limited presence on twitter compared to most. I did not know many people going in. Add to that the fact that I am an introvert . . . I had some anxiety at first.
But I was determined, so I carried my introverted self down to the lobby where I folded paper and made plans for the evening. I went to karaoke expecting to stay for an hour, and ended up staying until closing time (and singing!). I had amazing meals with interesting people, and everywhere I went people could not have been nicer.
I decided not to name names because I will surely forget to mention someone. But I truly appreciate the generosity of those who gave me rides, brought me bagels, and included me in their plans . . . Thank you. I am thankful for every conversation, every walk from here to there, every meal, and every thoughtfully prepared session.
This tweet I sent from the airport sums it up pretty well:
Arrived excited and nervous. Leaving with new friends in the 'sphere. :) #TMC13
— Amy Gruen (@sqrt_1) July 28, 2013
I don't want to ever miss this again. And I am really going to TRY to spend more time on twitter for lots of reasons, but especially because all those faces now have really amazing people attached to them.