Desmos, Giving up Control, & Pretty Happy Things

Mishmash of stuff going through my mind this week:

Desmos Function Carnival

Confession: I had not been to the computer lab at school for 10 years because the last time I went nothing worked.  The second day of school is normally picture day, so I  thought I might venture into the lab again, since it was already a wasted day.  (Of course, they rescheduled picture day.) I tried out the Function Carnival with PreAP Precal and Algebra II w/ Trig.  I think both classes had much success and enjoyed it as a nice way to ease back into math. I have 52 minute classes and some finished with 15 minutes left, many with 5-10 minutes left, and a few were working until the bell.  Since we ran out of time for class reflection, I wish I had made a worksheet (or google form) for them to do about what they noticed/wondered and, maybe for Precal, describing what type of graphs they had seen.  If you’re trying it for the first time, I would definitely recommend having a tablet device of some kind.  I brought in my own iPad, so I could use the teacher dashboard and monitor as I went to talk to kids.  Once they got to the final screen, I could also quickly check their graphs and have them work on ones that could be better (or congratulate them for being very precise).  I think this Friday (the for-real picture day) I will be trying another one–maybe the penny lab?

Giving Up Control

I’ve been tweeting with the group work guru herself, Ms. @CheesemonkeySF, about doing talking points tomorrow.  I asked if I should monitor the “NO COMMENT” rule and she replied:

Capture SF

She went on to say, “So many…don’t delegate this authority and, as a result, they don’t actually gain the benefits of the group work they believe they are using.  If you want kids to go deep you have to set up a structure in which to trust them.  And you can’t test trust cautiously!”

AAHHH.  But it’s scary to give up my authority.  I like feeling like I’m shepherding these little lost sheep to safety.  I don’t know if I can trust them because I’ve been both surprised and disappointed at what they can do when left to their own devices. What if they just stand out in the rain with their mouths open and drown?  And if they can be trusted, how does that change my role as their teacher?

Also going through my mind is a tweet from this week about how we need to build relationships with our students so that they will do anything we ask just to please us (or something to that effect, maybe it was walk through fire just because we asked?).  I do not have this type of relationship with my students.  Yes, most of them come in and do their work and I don’t have many behavior issues, but I don’t see this ever happening in my class.

Is that ok?  If it’s not ok, what can I do to change it? Is there some code word like “BaaRamEwe” I need to use like Babe?

Pretty Happy Things

Man, things are getting a bit deep around here.  Let’s look at some pretty things for Made4Math.  Some of you may have seen my notebook at TMC14:

02-party binderI made it using my Silhouette machine.  It’s like a Cricut, but instead of using cartridges you design things using its software.  That means it can cut ANY font, and a lot of other cool stuff, too.  If your school/district has a teacher resource center, you may want to talk them into buying one.  It can cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, heat transfer, stickers, all sorts of things.  For the notebook, I cut it out of pink vinyl and applied it to a black notebook.  Some other people wanted to get in on the action, here is Susan Craig’s (no relation)

Capture nb

BTW, how can you nicely insert tweets into posts, besides this horrible attempt at screenshotting?

I also have this one from last year:

03-FNL binderAnd as a special offer for reading this far, I will send a notebook-size (or clipboard-sized) vinyl cutout to the first three (3) people to leave a comment.  You can choose from above (I also have “Whenever I’m sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome instead.”) or if you have a favorite quote, I would be glad to make a new one!

Inspired by my FNL notebook, let’s end this post with a little Coach Taylor motivation:

Listen to me. I said you need to strive to be better than everybody else. I didn’t say you need to be better, but you gotta try. That’s what character is. It’s in the trying.


10 comments on “Desmos, Giving up Control, & Pretty Happy Things

  1. Meg, you are inspiring me all over the place! I built more things for my classroom because of you, and it will only grow.

    I would kill to have this quote: “Mankind is not a circle with a single center but an ellipse with two focal points of which facts are one and ideas the other. – Victor Hugo” on any color so it can go on my black PhD notebook. You are very generous and far too kind.

    • Aw thanks, but the inspiration is definitely a two-way street between you and me!

      I will get to work with my fonts and send you a preview in the next couple of days. 🙂

  2. Ok I’m replying because I totes want an awesome meg original. What quite tho… Can I think for a few and get back to you?

    • Just let me know! I usually like to look through my favorite pins.

  3. Man, oh man does this post hit home. I’m not back in the classroom for another two weeks but I am REALLY trying to figure out how to recede more and more from the spotlight. My AP Calc teacher in HS rarely spoke for more than about 15 minutes per day in class and I would love to be able to pull that off. I pride myself on asking interesting questions in the classroom but as I reflect on this strength I realize that I am still directing the traffic almost as much as if I just stood and told them things all period long. Bravo to you for stepping back and trying to let it go (to quote my lil girls favorite song these days) I hope that I can model this behavior – especially with my AP Stats and AP Calc BC kiddos.

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling. I’ve been in such the mindset that these kids think math is hard, so I need to make it easy so they like it when I need to be math is hard but YOU (the student) can tame it. Let’s try and be good role models for each other in this regard this year!

  4. 1. Penny Circles is awesome and you should have your kids work through it.
    2. Did someone blog about talking points so I can learn more?
    3. I want to know how to put tweets nicely in blogs too!
    4. I am feeling the same way about wanting to shepherd kids but I know its so important for us to let them struggle. Things for me to work on this year.

    You’re inspiring!!

    • Aw, thanks! Try the TMC wiki page first: then also try #gwwg14 on twitter. And thanks for the review of penny circles! We’ll see how it goes Friday!

  5. This is a good reminder to me of how hard this work is and how much benefit both we and our students get when we resist the temptation to give in to our most indulgent impulses. And I also love being reminded of how incredibly creative you are! I hung up a brightly colored printout of your “I like to party and by party, I mean teach math” sign outside our Math Department office and I’ve been amazed at how inspiring it is to the other teachers as well.

    Thanks for such great stuff!

    – Elizabeth (@cheesemonkeysf)

    • Thanks for reminding me about reminding you that I need to try and keep improving on this next year! Also I’m so glad that I was able to add a happiness to your department! 🙂

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