[NBI] Week One of the Math Blogging Initiation
One of the most impressive initiatives of the mathtwitterblogosphere must be Sam Shah’s new blogger initiation, and it’s all the more impressive that he got just under 140 responses. Honestly, I think this project is more impressive than many of the real-life new teacher initiation programs I’ve seen at schools—how many of those have an experienced educator reading and responding to something the new teacher wrote each week?
Anyway, I’ve decided to help Sam out and read and respond to a dozen bloggers from this cohort, so here’s my crew:
Taylor Belcher | @iamtaylorseries | iamataylorseries
Taylor Belcher (@iamtaylorseries) iamtaylorseries.The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled To Quote the Beastie Boys” and the author sums it up as follows: Was so busy with getting ready for student teaching that I had to use a post I had already written. But I don’t feel too bad because it fit a prompt and I’ve only blogged like 6 times so its not like I had to go digging that far back. I’ll write an original post for the 2nd prompt. A memorable quotation from the post is: I was reluctant to begin blogging because I was not sure if I could keep a mostly professional tone without sacrificing my joking personality. (Evidenced by the joke in my very first post as a blogger.)
My Notes: Taylor seems to be an up and coming hipster blogger with a great sense of humor. He’s teaching Algebra I to 8th and 9th graders and this is the very first year of his teaching career in Ohio. I only wish every new teacher would be this brave in writing about the first year of teaching.
Sherrell Wilson | @shawnie71210 | Sherrell’s Project Share
Sherrell Wilson (@shawnie71210) has a blog named Sherrell’s Project Share. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Different by Design” and the author sums it up as follows: This blog is about how I’m going to revamp note booking and use technology in the classroom. A memorable quotation from the post is: With each year of teaching brings reflection…
My Notes: Sherell is from Texas (I think she teaches Middle School), and interested in Edmodo and e-portfolios.
Jeanette Stein |@jeanette_stein | Algebra 1 Teachers
Jeanette Stein (@jeanette_stein) has a blog named Algebra 1 Teachers. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled What Else Could This Mean” and the author sums it up as follows: This post is about the most important aspect of our teaching, relationships. By using a simple question, relationships can flourish. We must create strong, lasting relationships so that students feel safe and will succeed. A memorable quotation from the post is: The biggest goal I have this year is to be more kind, more understanding, more flexible, and more effective with my teaching.
My notes: Jannet’s first post is an excellent reflection on the importance of relationships and putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. I’m very much looking forward to her future reflections on how he she is building stronger relationships with her students. She’s also created the site <a href=””>Algebra 1 teachers, which seems to be a great resource for Algebra teachers.
Alison L | Happy Solving!
Alison L has a blog named Happy Solving!. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled No, I won’t wish you good luck on your math test” and the author sums it up as follows: “Happy Solving!” does double duty as the name of my blog and my attitude toward math and how best to teach it. Here’s what this phrase means to me. A memorable quotation from the post is: After all, life is full of all sorts of problems, and we may as well try to enjoy solving them.
My notes: Alison is a very experienced high school math teacher in Massachusetts. I appreciate her reflection on some of the small details of how we talk to students about assessment, and I love replacing “good luck” with “happy solving.” This is just one more small language change, like replacing “test” with “assessment” or “student” with “learner” that not only reduces stress, but gets more clearly at our ultimate goals.
Alex Freuman | @freuman | Math Teachering
Alex Freuman @freuman has a blog named Math Teachering. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled End of Lesson Summary” and the author sums it up as follows: Ending a class with a routine that involves students summarizing the lesson. Included in the post is a template that will be used (for the first time) this school year. The template includes a detachable exit card. A memorable quotation from the post is: Sure, I could just use index cards, but how can I resist?
My notes: This is a good looking blog. I love the header image. Alex is is a high school math teacher who is in his 12th year of teaching. He also has started to build a collection of math puzzles, and he writes the answers in Swahili.
Claire Lorenz | With Respect to X
Claire Lorenz @clairelorenz has a blog named With Respect to X. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled A Bit of Personal History” and the author sums it up as follows: I’m finally coming out of my shell and trying to create my identity as a connected educator. I also want to “step my game up” in my classroom, really getting my students to mature in their use of symbols, mathematical notation, and proper vocabulary. A memorable quotation from the post is: I’ve always been a lurker in electronic discussion groups, a silent reader of blogs, and a reticent follower of master math tweeters.
My notes: Claire brings more than 20 years of math teaching experience to the blogging world, and she’s starting this year at a completely new school teaching Honors Algebra 2 and AB Calculus. She also makes good point about pushing students beyond “cutesy” vocabulary and mnemonics (like FOIL) as they progress in math and instead focus on deeper understanding of the process.
Jasmine Walker | Jazmath
Jasmine Walker has a blog named Jazmath. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Out of Lurking” and the author sums it up as follows: I have been lurking around these blogs for quite some time. My first posting is one about the lurking process and what it feels like to come out from behind the curtain. A memorable quotation from the post is: My friends laugh lovingly when I tell them that I read math teacher blogs to rejuvenate in the evening, and I’m looking forward to telling them that I’m not only reading them, but that I have one of my own.
My notes: Jasmine uses Standards Based grading and is making the big leap from being a lurker to an active participant in the world of blogging. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how she uses SBG in her classroom.
Tofer Carlson | teachertofer
Tofer Carlson has a blog named teachertofer. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled First Daze of School” and the author sums it up as follows: This post is about the hopes and fears that come with teaching calculus for the first time, and changing schools to do it. A memorable quotation from the post is: I’m terrified, because I want my students to see the wonder and the interconnectedness of the universe that calculus brings, and I know they won’t all find it as beautiful as I do.
My notes: Tofer has been teaching for six is in the process of changing school districts and teaching calculus for the first time. I’m looking forward to hearing more about his reaction to teaching privileged students and contrasts with his previous experiences. PS. be sure to change your header image away from the default.
Mrs Crackers Math | Check Your Work
Mrs Crackers Math has a blog named Check Your Work. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Setting up my room” and the author sums it up as follows: How to get student to understand the kind of classroom culture I am trying to create. And how to connect their contributions to their behavior grade. A memorable quotation from the post is: My own kids think this is completely lame.
My notes: Mrs. Crackers is going to town now that she’s going her own classroom to herself, creating posters that describe the behaviors she would like to create in her classroom culture. I like the term “Ways to be” and think this list is as good as any I’ve seen. She also introduced me to the phenomenon of After School Math Centers, something I haven’t heard of before, and find somewhat disturbing.
Sarah | @mathequalslove | Math Equals Love
Sarah (@mathequalslove) has a blog named Math Equals Love. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Goals for the 2012-2013 School Year” and the author sums it up as follows: My goals for my first year of teaching are to implement interactive notebooks and build relationships with my students. Thus far, my first year has been one giant learning experience. I make mistakes. I learn from them. A memorable quotation from the post is: I never realized that gluing and taping and coloring and cutting could be so time-consuming, but, I’m already seeing the benefits.
My notes: Another first year blogger, Sarah seems to have already figured out many of the good parts of the mathtwitterblogosphere—she even found Dan Meyer’s Who am I introduction sheet. I also really like how she’s having her students help her learn about their community, and I’m super impressed by the work she has done to decorate her classroom.
Kristin | @KristinABC123 | HoppeNinjaMath
Kristin (@KristinABC123) has a blog named HoppeNinjaMath. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Why HoppeNinjaMath” and the author sums it up as follows: Why HoppeNinjaMath.com, who I am, and why I blog. A memorable quotation from the post is: I keep stealing things from you guys, it is only right if I share my things, too!
My notes: Kristin has been teaching for 18 years, and just moved to a new school teaching Algebra and Algebra Support. She was one of the lucky souls to take Dan Meyer’s PD class at Stanford. She’s been keeping a class blog for the past few years, and now she’s branching out to a teacher blog. If you check out the blog, you’ll also learn how she came up with the name HoppeNinjaMath.
Bridget Kapala | @gidgebridge | i4msmath
Bridget Kapala (@gidgebridge) has a blog named im4msmath. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled My First Blog” and the author sums it up as follows: My post is about why I decided to blog. I decided to blog because I want to raise my bar of teaching and I can’t reach that bar by myself. A memorable quotation from the post is: “What the Function?”.
My notes: Bridget has been teaching for 12 years now, and sees blogging as a great way to find a mentor. The blog stats on this blog says 0 hits, but I think the counter must be malfunctioning.
Haydee C | @mathymissc | MathyMissC
Haydee C (@mathymissc) has a blog named MathyMissC. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Proud of My Birthday!” and the author sums it up as follows: This week’s post is about a photograph that I am most proud of. The picture is of birthday cards that were created for me by my students. Keep reading to understand the irony in this story! A memorable quotation from the post is: You better believe I will get him back if I ever have to cover his class!
My notes: Haydee is just starting her second year of teaching and she shared a memory of her first year—how her students celebrated her birthday this past March. This brought back some great memories for me—back when I was a first year teacher, my students created a cake for me read . It was one of the highlights of my first year.
Mary | X Y Pi
Mary has a blog named X Y Pi. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Favorites: Piecewise Functions” and the author sums it up as follows: This activity helped make piecewise functions clearer to me and to my students! The lesson had students doing all the work, and realizing that much of Advanced Algebra would be putting together things they already knew in new and different ways. A memorable quotation from the post is: This activity really helped my students understand where piecewise functions were coming from and was really fun to teach as well.
My notes: I just got a great lesson for understanding piecewise functions in Algebra II. Nice!
Mr. K | Math Stories
Mr. K has a blog named Math Stories. The first post for the Blogging Initiation is titled Narrative vs. Exposition and the author sums it up as follows: Musings on how people view the world, how they assimilate it, and how I try to let that influence what I do in the classroom. A memorable quotation from this post is: The thing is, exposition sucks.
My notes: I couldn’t agree more with this post. Exposition sucks—build the narrative in your lesson, in your course, in your career. I can’t think of a much better way of describing my job than saying I’m trying to help students build the narrative of their lives for themselves.