Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Patio Math: Toddler Edition

As you all know, I built a nice patio in my back yard a couple summers ago.

Now we have a little girl a year and two months old.  Here's a picture of her on her first bike ride last weekend:

So when we're hanging out in the backyard, we need to restrain her in a reasonable way.  Forcing her to sit on our lap is not an option.  Saw this for 70 bucks at Hope Depot yesterday and thought seriously about buying it:

We decided against it because it seemed like a lot of money for a few hunks of plastic.  Then I got to thinking.  For $20 they sell 4 ft x 8 ft sheets of lattice like this:

What if I cut it into two 2 ft x 8 ft pieces and zip-tied them together?  I'll bend them into a circle with a 16 foot circumference.  How much bigger or smaller than the play yard would it be?  Would I need another sheet to make it big enough?

These are the things I think about.

Found these gems at Menards.  3 will be perfect I think and it'll save me about $30!

Monday, April 29, 2013

MCTM Decompression

First of all, welcome to all new readers.  I suppose when you run a full session 75 deep (with many turning away at the door) you're bound to get a new reader or two.  If you were part of that group, THANK YOU SO MUCH for coming.  I thought it was a really thoughtful collection of teachers who asked all the right questions and made all the right comments.  Some of you even offered suggestions we may look to implement in the future at our school.

To the new readers, let me give you a quick highlight reel of my life online:
Basically, I'm just a small fish out here somewhere trying to do whatever I can to help kids and stay sane while doing it.

I have some thoughts on this weekend's MCTM conference that I'd like to share.

First of all, holy smokes there were a lot of flipped classroom sessions.  I mean a LOT.  I don't know what that says about us as a community but it truthfully makes me a little queasy.  I know it's tough balancing individual needs with a shared learning experience, but it scares me that so many have completed flipped.  I'm hoping we find that equilibrium in a more "blended" classroom, but until these pioneers have recognized and fettered the pitfalls I'm not going to jump in.

Second, I love it when someone has something randomly cool to share.  Bryan Freyberg had a really fun session asking this question of the 1969 selective service military draft: was it truly fair?  A broad question with many avenues of attack that truly had a huge effect on people's lives.  He also taught me Benford's Law.  How is it that this was my first exposure to it at age 34?  Big thanks to Bryan for a really fun session.

Third, it's really cool to see experts in the field be awesome.  I was lucky enough to get to buy Christopher Danielson a beer on Friday night.  My friends were worried he'd be super-weird and it would be awkward, but we had some really nice conversation.  Impressive guy.

I thought the Oreo session (Are they really doubly stuffed?) was a lot of fun.  I have a working hypothesis that a unit of stuf in the regular Oreo is not equal to that of the golden Oreo.  But I have to think about that a little more to be sure.  He could have a whole blog just on Oreos.

Another cool thing I picked up from him is this fist to five thing.  A cool way to measure class confidence quickly without even talking about the answers yet.  I suppose I've used variances of it throughout my life but this version could work well in many situations.

Last thing: unless I'm on a panel, I'm retiring from SBG presentations.  That's my declaration to you.  I need some new material.  And I think booze math could be perfect.  You think MCTM would allow me to have volunteers consume tequila on stage in the name of mathematics?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Booze Clues LIVE!

Join me and the gang at the Up Bar (Grandma's Saloon upstairs) tonight for live mixing and drinking!  This unofficial session is BYOM (that is, Bring Your Own Math), because I won't be doing any!

MCTM Spring Conference 2013

I am slated to present on SBG tomorrow at the MCTM Spring Conference.  I know, small potatoes compared to Shawn Cornally's conference, but I still feel like I can make a positive impact.  That's why I'm doing it.

Also, I hope it's less of a "presentation" and more of a conversation.  In truth, I have selfish motives.  I hope to bounce ideas off of people and hopefully some good ones bounce back at me.  Below are the slide show and info sheet.

Click HERE and HERE if they are not showing up for some reason.

I'll be in Harber Side 205 Friday from 4:00-5:00.  If you're willing to put off your happy hour I'd love to see you!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lots of Stuff

Before I say anything, I must say that SkyDrive rocks my socks.

I am presenting at the MCTM Spring Conference this weekend, and I thought it would be awesome if I could put all of the stuff we use online for people to look at and download.  It's a massive amount of tests, worksheets, checklists, and the like.  Nothing earth-shattering, but it's a lot of stuff people can use.

We've gone to SBG in both Geometry and Algebra 2 here, and my colleagues and I have put in hours and hours and HOURS of time developing these leveled assessments and SBG tools.

We continue to make things better, so I'm sure there are some things in there outdated or still in beta mode.  Improvements to these can and should be made.

So, with that disclaimer, here are the links for both Geometry and Algebra 2:


It only took me about an hour to put all of this stuff online.  Absolutely amazing.  Three cheers for 2013.