New (Improved?) Way to Make Math Figures

I saw this tweet from Jenn today:

I replied:

But then! I remembered a trick I learned a couple months ago about inserting a Powerpoint slide into Word.

I made the drawing in Powerpoint, using 6 point weight for arrows and 45 point font for labels. (You guys know about clicking on something, holding control, then dragging to copy/paste an object, right? So you only need to set the formatting once, then just copy the arrow or label and move it around to where you need the next one).

At this point you could do a screenshot, which in all likelihood would probably be easiest. BUT maybe you’re like me and make a mistake now and then? Or maybe you go to open the file next year to change something and–darn it–you have to draw the whole thing over again.

Well, with this new trick, if you double click on the image, it brings up the Powerpoint menu within Word. It’s like witchcraft. Watch and enjoy!

Gif made with screentogif.com (it’s free!)

The steps to insert the slide are:

Select the slide in Powerpoint, right click, copy.

Go to Paste dropdown menu in Word, select Paste Special, then Microsoft Powerpoint Slide Object.

At this point I like to go to layout, wrap text, choose in front of text. You can also resize.

You can also copy and paste the object and it will act like a separate slide that you can modify independently of the first one:

I just printed them and they look super pretty!

Let me know if you try it out and if you like better than just using a screen shot (or not).

*Side note: Yes, Desmos has geometry now!!!  But no labels or ability to change colors (yet), which is why I offered up this option. I used Geogebra quite a bit when I taught Geometry, but I always have to relearn it every year.

Category: Uncategorized

Year in Books 2016

My goal this year was 52 books. I ended up reading…73! Wowzers! According to Goodreads, that was over 22,000 pages. Here they all are:

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Please do not take the fact that a book is posted as a recommendation. There are quite a few stinkers on here (and about 25 others that I stopped reading). But here are some highlights and books I *would* recommend (links are to amazon page):

My favorite book of the year:

The Sun is Also a Star Nicola Yoon: Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I’m a sucker for “look at how all these lives intertwine” stories (see: my favorite of all time, A Constellation of Vital Phenomenaand this one did it so well. I was so entranced I tore through it; now I want to go back and savor it.

My other five-star books of the year:

Salt to the Sea Ruta Sepetys Of all the WWII novels I read this year, this was by far my favorite. My mom and dad both read it and liked it as well. Not only did this involve “intertwining lives” but also “found family,” another one of my favorite themes. I challenge you not to be moved by this book.

Homegoing Yaa Gyasi: Each chapter tells the story of a generation of two families. Each chapter could be a stand-alone winner. Each chapter makes you sad when it ends, but then each new chapter draws you in anew. Also, holy crap, I just noticed the cover and got the meaning.

The Thing About Jellyfish Ali Benjamin: Hey, you know how every “great” middle grade book ends with someone dying? In a twist, the girl dies at the beginning! But it’s not all sad. Also winner of “Best Use of Costume” and “I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying Over Best Use of Costume” awards.

All Over but the Shoutin’ Rick Bragg: I know, how have I lived in Alabama all this time and not read this book yet? This is a masters course in fine, fine writing.

Be Frank with Me Julia Claiborne Johnson (Hey, it’s currently on sale for $1.99 Kindle!) I did have this rated as 4 stars, but I had to up it since it met my five-star criteria of “Do I want to recommend this to everyone I know?” About the only thing I like more than “found family” and “intersecting lives” is “believably-precocious kid teaches us all some life lessons, especially a curmudgeonly adult.” Frank checks that box off wonderfully.

Honorable Mentions:

Lab Girl Hope Jahren: Fascinating look into what it means to be a scientist (and also plants are cool).

Good As Gone Amy Gentry (Currently Kindle is free with prime!): My favorite suspense/mystery of the year.

Scientist Greater than Einstein Billy Woodward with Joel Shurkin and Debra Gordon: I read this based on the recommendation of the creator of graphfree.com and I’m glad I did: it was FASCINATING. If you’re into science and/or medicine, this is a must-read! (Yes, I wish they would have found at least one female to put on the list, but that doesn’t take away from the amazing tales that are included!)

I’ve set another goal of 52 books for 2017, and I hope to have a bit more stars awarded next year. Here’s wishing you a happy cozy reading year!

Category: Life Outside of School | Tags: ,

Join Us for #Fitbos17!

It’s back! The second annual Fitbos challenge!

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I’m sure you have a lot of questions right now.
1. WHERE CAN I GET  A COPY OF THIS POODLE EXERCISE TAPE?!?!?!?”
2. If you were to morph into a dog (but with human feet), would you still feel the need to exercise, or would you just glide by on charm alone?
3. At what point in the planning process did the suggestion “hey, what if we put poodle-bubble muscles on the human?” come into play?
4. What sort of chair exercises do they plan on doing?
5. Will they sit in the chair like a human or a dog?

Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to those questions. But I may have the answer to some of your other burning questions….

What is the #Fitbos17 challenge?  Set your own work out hours goal for the year, make that goal public by entering it on bit.ly/fitbos17 , and then enter in your workout times as you try to reach that goal. That’s it.

How did this start? In 2015, for some reason, I signed up for #500milesin2015. I made it (and did a 10K!) but not without some “knee awareness.” I wanted to still have a year goal but be able to vary the workouts, so I started a google spreadsheet last year. In September, I was less than halfway done and Kristin Fouss (@fouss) had just reached her goal. I said I may need to modify my goal and she called me a low-down dirty cheater. Those may have not been her exact words, but the meaning was clear: step it up and complete the goal. I found a great accountability buddy with Marissa (@viemath) and together we struggled through the rest of the year and both finished on December 31st!

What should my goal be? I’m doing 170 because it’s 2017. Some people are doing 100 hours, some people are doing 275. I try to find the line between possible and believable and that is something different for everyone.

What counts? We’re not the exercise police. If you think it counts, count it. My rule of thumb is, “Am I not sitting on my butt when I rather would be?”  Hiking? Of course. Snow-shoveling? I’ve heard that such a thing is actually quite the workout. Dance-vacuuming? Hey, if you break a sweat and have a clean house, double bonus! Walking around the school during your planning period? Great way to get in some extra minute and get re-energized! I personally do a mix of walk/jogging when the weather is nice and youtube videos and DVDs from Jessica Smith when the weather isn’t.

What do I get when I complete my goal? Your hours turn green and you get a shout-out on Twitter from me.

Anything different from last year? I’m glad you asked. Sometimes having a year goal can make it easy to slack off during the first half and then scramble to make it up the second half (or so I’ve heard. 😉 ). I’ve modified the spreadsheet so there is an entry sheet for each month, with a goal just for the month. If I did everything correctly, that goal should be modified for each new month depending if you reached or exceeded your goal the previous month(s). I hope that will keep some of us (i.e. me) on track a bit better. Enter your workout minutes in each month’s sheet and it should update the monthly and yearly hours on the first sheet.

Who completed the 2016 challenge? Congrats to:

Kristen (@fouss) 209 hours (131% of goal)
Monica (@mbrannan28) 170 hours (106%)
Pam (@pamjwilson) 165 hours (103%)
Sue (@dsrussosusan) 240 hours (120%)
Danielle (@0mod3) 226 hours (113%)
Mary Anne (@Mahiker) 224 hours (112%)
Jenn (@RilesBlue) 199 hours (110%)
Tina (@TPalmer207) 130 hours (125%)
Marissa (@viemath) 100 hours (100%)
Me! 160 hours (100%)

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And to answer your final question, “where do I sign up again?” bit.ly/fitbos17!

Stars of the Week Vol 6 #SOTW

Since my last SOTW post was over a month ago (!!!), perhaps I really should take Pat’s suggestion from my last post and rename it “Stars of Whenever I Want.”

If you’re a #SOTW, grab the badge using the code below if you’d like it for your blog!

Stars of The Week
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Remember you can always use the nomination form and I will put it in my next post!

If you teach Geometry, you definitely need to be reading  @lisabej_manitou‘s Crazy Math Teacher Lady blog. She has tons of great ideas, but also realizes that sometimes you just need some no-frills, get-the-job-done, quality materials (a girl after my own note-taker-maker heart). Check out her quadrilateral collection. (BTW, if you interested in more materials like these, be sure to check out the comments on @k8nowak ‘s post that Lisa linked.)

I know we’re not supposed to have favorites in the #MTBoS, but I do, and @TPalmer207 is one of them. Ever since our TMC14 dash-to-get-cupcakes-before-the-store-closed, her great outlook and humor have always been something I look forward to seeing on Twitter (and in person!). Not only that, but she’s definitely the type of teacher I wish I could be – in the moment, not afraid to try new things, and constantly creating great discussions in her classroom. Check out this gorgeous teacher move of slowly revealing all the information with the absolute twist at the end that no one saw coming (not even Tina!). I know what you’re thinking, sure, everyone gets lucky once in a while, but no, Tina makes her own luck, as you can see in this segment addition postulate lesson.  You know, she only has about 60 posts so if you’re looking for a way to up your teacher game, spend an afternoon reading the entire collection. You won’t be sorry.

Speaking of teacher moves, if you teach ELL students, @heather_kohn is your gal. She is a great advocate of doing what it takes to bring the ELL student up to the goal, instead of lowering the goal down to where they may be now. Her post on scaffolding open response questions will make you rethink how you can help your struggling students (who may or may not be ELL).

Hey, here’s a great teacher move that easy to implement into any lesson on Monday: Ask Me a Question from @dsladkey. It moves the “Do you have any questions” to “What questions do you have” change to a whole new level.

Another one that’s so easy to implement, but can change the whole classroom climate: @a_schindy‘s Nevermind Strategy.

Wait, you want more teacher moves? This next post comes with a warning: This article will lead to great feelings of inadequacy and make you think most of what you’ve created is crap. So if your current mood is: ugh, I suck as a teacher, you might want to skip the @Desmos Guide to Building Great Math Activities. But if you’re feeling pretty good and want to pick up some ideas that will help make your next lesson planning be a little more thoughtful, go read it.

If you did read it (or even if you didn’t) and you’re looking for good examples of rich problems, check out @algebrasfriend‘s Algebra II examples. I LOVE the parabola one!!

Speaking of parabolas, you know function transformation are near and dear to my heart. @jreulbach created a wonderful Desmos marbleslide for them, but the key move here is the creation of an additional real-life worksheet for students to reflect on their learning and can have it for reference. (Also check out her Function Notation QR Stations–great practice problems for something my students always struggled with)

Ok: One more teacher move: let’s make mistakes a starting point for rich discussions. @Dave_Sabol shows how he used the results from a Desmos Activity Builder to decode mistakes in Calculus. (Also I think Dave should be in the SOTW Hall of Fame for his How I Teach series.)

Man, I don’t know about you, but now I’m overwhelmed by all the new teacher moves I’m supposed to be doing. So let’s take a brain break, sponsored by @mathequalslove‘s brainteaser collection.

And then let’s eat our feelings by baking these Salted Caramel Pretzel Crunch Bars from Sally’s Baking Addiction.

Now onto some starred tweets!

For reals, take David’s advice:

Yes, Zippy won (Adorable) Scruffiness of the Week!

Joel’s smartass reply (does he have any other kind?) to the discussion of how to say “apothem”:

Speaking of smartass replies:

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve looked at this tweet and laughed out loud:

I told you Heather has the pro teacher moves:

And speaking of that pause feature:

And other features:

You know I love my shortcuts:

And this one was brand new to me and I’ve used it every day since then!!! I’m even using it RIGHT NOW.

It always warms my heart to know that people enjoy my stuff; especially when it’s someone who has so much great stuff herself!

And when someone uses my suggestion and then the result is heartwarming:

And then when someone uses an idea I had and their students do so much better with it:

Be sure to send some encouragement to Kristin next weekend!

Do I like CalcDave because of his gifs or in spite of them?

Insert picture of two beautiful math teachers here.

Now I know what the first 91 books I buy as a librarian will be.

Genius.

Genius Part II.

Genius Part III.

And I think I’ll let Casey wrap this (extremely long) edition up:

What? I’m not crying. YOU’RE crying.

Hey, What’s Up?

I promise a Stars of the Week post will be coming in the next couple of days! Maybe I need to rename it Stars of the Month?!?

This is just a “hello!” post from me.

ACT Prep is still a struggle. I am just going by what I read in a workbook I found and I spend every day literally teaching to the test. It goes against every fiber of my teaching soul. Rumor has it I might be sent to some training soon so that might help.

On the upside, I am much less stressed this school year. So you want to shorten all our classes to 47 minutes? No worries! Oh, all the seniors will be gone Monday afternoon and then all the juniors have a ring meeting the next day? Go for it! 7 pep rallies? I’m interested! Plus all of my weekends have been homework-free! (So I really have no excuse not to have SOTW posts up weekly, except Lego Disney Castles do not build themselves, people.)

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Plus there was a trip to Nashville to see The Lumineers, with, yes, FRONT ROW seats! They put on SUCH a great concert!! It’s like they’re actually happy to be there and want to give the crowd a good show. img_1594

(There was SRO in front of us but we were still super close! And there was even a ledge for the seats so I could still see above everyone! Which never happens!!)

Ok, back to work and ACT prep. There was one day that was kind of fun: the first day of talking about writing. The workbook I was using said that the best “hook” to use was a fake quote. Yup, just make something up and attribute it someone famous (or your grandma). We practiced making fake quotes and shared them. Also told them all about how the essay was going to be about something in high school, and you’re to take a black-and-white stance on the issue. Then that afternoon I was working on the next day’s notes and went to look up another thesis example on my favorite ACT website, Prep Scholar, when google returns the following article: “The New Enhanced ACT Writing (2015).”

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We had a great lesson in “sometimes your teacher does not know everything” the following day. And yes, guys, you can still use a fake quote (and back it up with fake statistics!).

To fill my day and to feel productive, I spend my prep periods helping the IT teacher and the bookkeeper. The bookkeeper had surgery on her hand the week before school started so I’ve been her right-hand man. Guys, you need to go thank your bookkeeper tomorrow. You have no idea how many steps it takes to get a PO filled and paid. It’s ridiculous.

I’ve also been spending time in my garden, aka my deer feeder. My new favorite nursery is the Lowe’s clearance rack. I mean, if the deer are going to eat it anyway, might as well spend $.25 or $1 on a plant instead of $5, right? We finally installed a second deer barrier (fishing line strung between two PVC poles that we can take down each morning) that seems to be helping. (Yes, I’ve tried two different sprays, dried blood granules, dog hair, dog pee…). Here are some survivors and new plantings:

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The black-and-blue salvia and whatever that blue plant is in front of it have been super-deer-resistant. Not bad for $1 each!

But the biggest news of all is that in two weeks, I will be starting my Masters of Education in Library Science! Everything sort of fell into place: if I start now, I am grandfathered in to receive Master’s pay even if it’s not related to what I’m teaching; our district gets a discount on tuition; I have time in my schedule to intern at the school and local library to get my hours. If all goes according to plan and I book it (pun intended), I should be done a year from today!

Does this mean I’m giving up on being a math teacher again? No, it doesn’t. But it certainly expands my options for the future.

Is this just a random choice? No, I’ve actually been talking about doing this for about ten years. While I didn’t start truly loving math until college, books have always been my first love!

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What would your dream school library look like?  Big comfy chairs. Whiteboard tables. Charging stations everywhere. Student & staff recommendations. But most importantly, I want a library where any kid can find a book that’s about him or her.  For me, I’d want Ann Patchett’s This is The Story of a Happy Marriage, which contains the article This Dog’s Life, which was the first time I read that it’s okay to be a woman and want a dog instead of a baby.

Please share a book that you wish you had read in high school (or maybe did read in high school and are glad you did) in the comments section!

Category: Reflections | Tags:

Stars of the Week Vol 5 #MTBoSBlaugust #SOTW

Here are my Stars of the Week–aka favorite posts and tweets! If you’re a #SOTW, grab the badge using the code below if you’d like it for your blog!

Stars of The Week
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Remember you can always use the nomination form and I will put it in my next post!

Let’s start with a super happy post from Elissa (@misscalcul8). Sometimes it’s nice to reminded that, yes, this job can sometime rock. And it couldn’t be rocking for a nicer person! I bet making lessons like these is definitely helping the positive trend!

Man, I love books. Beth (@algebrasfriend) was nice enough to share some that are great for any age! (I added The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires because I LOVE reading that book to my classes. Look at this cute video of it!)

E (@cheesemonkeysf) is a pro at turning everything into a good set of Talking Points. Her newest one has the theme of (loosely translated): Keep Calm and Carry On; You Can Do This.

(I never know if I should use someone’s name if they don’t use it on Twitter. Thoughts?)

Pam (@pamjwilson) has a easy way of getting students to slow down and think about graphs.

If you need some logic games, make sure you visit Julie’s (@fractionfanatic) blog. So many good ones that are new to me!

I found Math PD for Substitute Teachers fascinating, both the idea of having PD for that and what Allison (@allison_krasnow) chose to do for it.

Scroll, scroll, scroll and you will see the most genius idea ever from Jennifer (@MrsCookKHS): ZIP TIE PENCIL POUCHES TO DESKS. I feel like it is so genius that everyone must already know it but me.

This has nothing to do with math or school, but it made me laugh. 🙂

And now for some starred tweets:

A Good ACT Score #MTBoSBlaugust

Trying to get back onto the Blaugust bandwagon! Man, does school ever take it out of you or what?!?

As you may know, I’m teaching ACT Prep this year. All the sections, not just math. With no curriculum. Oh, and have I mentioned I grew up in Texas where we take the SAT so I’ve never even taken it? (I am taking each practice test with them. We’ve just done the reading one and I got a 35/36. I feel like I’m back in high school again comparing scores…)

Did I mention that I was given no curriculum. No workbooks. No website. No books. No idea what I’m doing.

Which means the PrepScholar ACT blog is my new BFF. So far it has been the most helpful site I’ve found. The posts are very thorough and well-written. They also have hints for people that are middle-of-the-pack trying to improve and for those that are trying to get a perfect score. One thing I really liked was their What is a Good ACT Score? post. I liked it so much I modified it and made it into a day’s activity:

Good ACT score

(ugh, gdoc file here. I’m sorry.) (Thanks to Chris Haren for letting me know I had the complete wrong description for 75th percentile. It is now fixed in the pic & in the file!) The neat thing is they have a page for each college with GPA, SAT, and ACT scores-just google “schoolname prepscholar ACT.” And if you scroll to the bottom of the prepscholar page, it even has a little calculator that tells you your chances of getting in.

For example, here’s my alma mater: Samford University. It’s also fun when a student mishears it (as many people do) and we end up comparing it to Stanford University.

After the students got scores from five colleges, they figured out their goal scores. I then had them make a motivational poster with their goal GPA and ACT score to hang in the classroom because who doesn’t like a motivational poster, amirite?

I know most of y’all are not teaching ACT, but I thought it might be a good thing to file away for an emergency sub plan, weird scheduling day, or when you just can’t even.

Category: ACT Prep | Tags: ,

Stars of the Week Vol 4 #SOTW #MTBoSBlaugust

It’s that time again!  Here are my Stars of the Week–aka favorite posts and tweets! If you’re a #SOTW, grab the badge using the code below if you’d like it for your blog!

Stars of The Week
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In case you haven’t noticed, I need to branch out more in my reading-I have “only” about 100 math blogs in my reader. My goal is to start clicking on some unknown blogs using  @MTBoS_Blogbot, but of course I can’t read everything that’s out there!  So if you’d like to nominate a post, you can either post on your own blog OR use this handy nomination form and I will put it in my next post!

Greta, @g_brgmn, is someone I want to hang out with more. I love her idea about using the “math about me” numbers later in the year to make kids think she has mind-reading powers! And then she confessed that she’s a font/quote lover like me!

Seriously, have I mentioned how brilliant Dave (@Dave_Sabol) is for starting the “How I Teach” series? Reading Anna’s (@TypeAMathLand) answers makes me want to go back and change mine because hers were so darn good!

Man, Sara Vaughn (@Vaughn_trapped) knocked the wind out of my sails with this post about being intentional. I’ve totally used up my share of miracles, too, Sara. Thanks for being so honest and giving me a much-needed wake-up call!

Two Saras this week! Love the 10 Things Not to Ask Me about Your Calculator from Sara Van Der Werf (@saravdwerf). I’m thinking I need to make one for Google Classroom!

Glenn (@gwaddellnvhs) is going to be so happy that he’s won TWO #SOTW! My goal this year is to find where I’m supposed to be.

Speaking of which, I probably would have starred Desmos’s (@desmos) post announcing their first cohort of Desmos fellows even if my name wasn’t on there. So many MTBoSers! So many rock stars!

Beth (@algebrasfriend) makes me want to DO ALL THE LABS for function exploration. Hey, wait a second…I do have this problem solving course with no set curriculum. That means I get to DO ALL THE LABS!!

Hey, are you following @SheaSerrano on twitter? He’s totally not-math-related but his tweets always make me happy. If you want to be happy as well, you should read his post (“article”) about the US Gymnastics team.

Wait, I bet you didn’t read it, did you? FINE. I will still give you the link from there that is a slow-mo breakdown of Aly’s first tumbling pass. (even though you don’t deserve it since you didn’t go read the original article) (unless you did go read it, in which case you deserve to watch the video again)

You know what else you probably don’t deserve? The best damn news story I’ve read in a while.

But you may have had a long week and maybe have the Sunday Stinkies/Monday Moanings, so you probably deserve some of my favorite tweets!

This is a GREAT cheatsheet for first-time twitter chatters!

And finally, everything about this picture makes me happy. 🙂

 

 

Stars of the Week Vol 3 #SOTW #MTBoSBlaugust

Sorry for the delay! I’m going ahead and making my post for the week, even though I still have 60+ posts to read in my reader. You’ll just have to stay tuned to see if there were any stars in those!

And for those of you that are SOTW, feel free to use the code below to grab the badge!

 

Stars of The Week
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Here are some of my favorite posts:

Glenn (@gwaddellnvhs) has achieved his goal of writing a post that was #SOTW-worthy with this awesome collection of MTBoS stuff. BOOKMARK IT NOW to send it to that teacher you meet who hasn’t heard of the MTBoS (or for when you think “who did that thing…?”). I even made a bitly for you: bit.ly/mtbosresources You’re welcome.

Casey (@cmmteach) has been knocking it out of the park with her MTBoS ABC’s. Maybe it’s back-to-school emotions, but her B post made me tear up a little.

Math by the Mountain, WHO ARE YOU?!? I mean, I know you’re @MathByTheMt, but WHO ARE YOU!?! I love her/his (but the font choice makes me want to say her?) justification posters! Wouldn’t it be great to have a wall covered at the end of the year with all the cool stuff you learn in Geometry?  And if you’re an exit slip type of person (or want to be) then this Exit Slip Extravaganza is for you!

So I think maybe I should rename Stars-of-the-week to Sara-of-the-week! This week Sara (@saravdwerf) has updated her math wall of shame  and posted a very cool visual for units. I love her visual course-at-a-glance at the bottom of that post. That would be so much more beneficial than a boring ol’ syllabus or table of contents!

And as if she didn’t have enough awesomeness, she’s now forcing other people to be awesome, too! I can’t WAIT to have my problem solving students make Stephanie’s (@mrswoldumtrig art BUT WITHOUT ALL THE GLITTER. (That was a very cool trick you played on your friend. I should revoke all of your SOTWs just for that.)

This feels a little self-promotional, but I LOVE Dave’s (@Dave_Sabol) idea of a “How I Teach” series! (and it just happens I was the first to volunteer as tribute.)

Hey, let’s give Ali (@AGEiland) a big high-five as she blogs her first week as a teacher! I’d say she picked two very good words.

And to book end Ali’s blog, here’s a great list of 13 Things I Was (and Right) About in My First Year. All of y’all follow the Love, Teach blog, right?

And now for some of my favorite tweets:

Be sure to join in the high-five padlet!!

THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (poster coming soon)

Becca coming to the rescue after NBC made it difficult for me to find a much-needed gif!

And some more gold-medal Olympic tweets:

PUPDATE: My Wall of Cute images were located and then scanned for posterity by Mr Craig.

And I think that is the perfect image to end this post on! Bound forth and be the joyous stars that you are!!

#MTBoSBlaugust How I Teach

Stars of the Week will be a day or two delayed this week. I currently have 100+ posts to read in my reader! #FirstWeekProblems, amirite?

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But I do have one fun post to share with you today-Dave Sabol (@Dave_Sabol) has started a “How I Teach” series on his blog based on the Lifehacker series. And since I was one of the people who urged him to do it, I thought I should volunteer as tribute. So head on over to Dave’s blog and read all about my 2 favorite life hacks! Thanks Dave for starting this, I’m definitely looking forward to reading about how all the MTBoSers work!

Category: Uncategorized