Monthly Archives: August 2016

Favorite Podcasts #MTBoSBlaugust

I should finally admit it: I’m addicted to podcasts. Last year, when I was doing my 500 miles challenge, I would only allow myself to listen to them as I was walking or running. But now that I’m mostly doing workout videos, I allow myself to listen to podcasts at any time and now I can’t stop. I basically listen to three podcast brands (networks?) so here they are with my favorite podcasts and episodes.

My newest addiction is Common Room Radio, and I’ve been working through the episodes of two shows:

Odd Man Out: Two of the three gang up on the Odd Man Out to try something new (television show, movie, food). I always think, “man, how are they going to talk about ___ for an hour?” but then the time just flies! Favorite episodes: Alan and Cooking, Alan and Marvel’s Agent Carter, Gotta Love It: Parks And Rec, and Liz and Dr Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog (side note: I found out at TMC that there are people that have not seen Dr Horrible and/or its commentary musical? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?!?)

Disney Princess Death Match: Who will be selected as the best Princess? Anyone that grew up watching Disney will enjoy these. Favorite episodes include Mulan, Belle, and Merida.

The network I’ve been with the longest is Storywonk. Lani and Alistair were my constant companions last year while I was running. My favorite thing about listening to them is their positivity and their motto, “Love what you love.”

(hmm, looks like their having some technical issues on their site, so here is the link to the main podcast page.)

Story and Star Wars: It may even make you not hate the prequels! Obviously you should listen to whole series.

The Light Bulb (sadly discontinued): This was by far my favorite of theirs, just a pop culture conversation each week. Favorite episodes were We Know Her Value, Technically Correct, and SGU, We’ll Never Be Done.

StoryWonk Sessions (sadly discontinued): All the Pixar films! Fun times!

They’ve also just started a Marvel discussion podcast and will soon be restarting their Dear Mr Potter podcast with book 2!

I like most everything from Gimlet Media, but especially:

Reply All (h/t to @mrdardy) Two dudes that are just fun to listen to. Some fave episodes: A Simple QuestionIn The Desert, Raising the Bar (last one would definitely be of interest to #educolor)

StartUp Three seasons about starting a startup. First season is the best, along with any other Gimlet updates.

Surprisingly Awesome is surprisingly uneven, but the Frequent Flyer Miles episode is a classic, and just waiting for someone to make a lesson plan around it. Some other good ones were Tubthumping, Concrete, and Mold.

Mystery Show I want a Starlee Kine in my life. Seriously, the mystery is WHERE IS THE SECOND SEASON? There’s only six, so go ahead and listen to all of them, but my favorites are Britney, Belt Buckle, and Source Code.

Try one of them out while you’re setting up classroom, commuting, or talking walk and let me know if you liked ’em! And be sure to comment or tweet me your faves as well!

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5 Ways to Accessorize Your Function #Alg17 #MTBoSBlaugust

My first contribution to the AlgebraTEEN magazine!

5 ways to accessorize grey

(word file here) What started as a joke reply to Julie soon turned into a real thing with an AlgebraTEEN website and everything!  Make your own “article” and submit it! (It’s doesn’t have to be all graphic-design-y but it can be if you want!) Or if you just have an idea for an article submit that, too! I totally want to take the submissions and turn them into a real print magazine! Wouldn’t that be too much fun? Thanks to Julie and Mattie for taking a silly idea and running with it!

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First Day Materials #MTBoSBlaugust

Spurred by this tweet:

I thought I would share some of my first day materials. (Side note: Ali is starting up her first year teaching! Go give her an encouraging shoutout! She’s going to be awesome!)

Our first day is usually chopped up quite a bit, what with a super-long first period for everyone to find their place, then grade-level assemblies, crazy lunch, etc, so I usually don’t like to plan an activity for the day because it will just get all jumbled. I know, I know, not cool, but sometimes it’s easier to just go with the flow. I always have Four Fours ready if we have extra time at the end of class! We usually start on a Thursday, so I spend Friday doing the “fun” first day stuff then we’re ready to jump in Monday.

All that to say this is my “not fun but necessary” first day stuff.

My syllabus (2 to a page because trees):


File here  I also had a different version that had 10 tips for success that just got too wordy and me-talky:

steps to success

Maybe spread them out and talk about 2 each day as a warm up? Or just copy the genius of Becca Phillips:

For the survey, I usually have directions for the students to start the survey on their phones when they get into class (and yes, I understand a url and QR code are redundant, but I found many students didn’t have a QR reader installed). I also have my phone and my computer available for those that don’t have one. The survey is a google form that starts with last name, first name, preferred name, class period, grade level, then some get-to-know-you questions:

student survey

I also need to add birthday so I can do something fun for them!

I also liked Sarah & Kathryn’s idea of having the kids introduce themselves on a padlet–maybe upload a photo too so I can get to know names?

As for the parent survey, most of the teachers have parents sign the syllabus the first day, but I tell my students that they need to take the survey instead (and yes, some students respond pretending to be parents but you can usually sniff them out, and really, didn’t some students sign their parents name when we did it the old fashioned way?  I also tell them that they can pick up a paper form on the way out if getting online is a problem.

parent survey

The “proud of my child because” one? That is teacher-parenting communication gold right there! I do the “terms of service” for anything that I routinely get emails/phone calls about. (For my precal, I have that they do need a graphing calculator and can rent one from the school if needed.)

I also do a fun “getting to know Mrs Craig and man she is really weird and makes really stupid jokes” powerpoint:

I just updated the states page (Thanks, TMC16 for #27!) and the countries visited page (14!). It seems like a cheat to count both Sint Maarten (Dutch side) and Saint Martin (French side), but they are separate countries!

Will have to come up with something different for ACT prep this year…maybe have a goofy multiple choice test?  Like Mrs Craig has (a) a cat (b) a pig (c) a gerbil (d) a corgi?  Things to think about next week!

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Next Year #MTBoSBlaugust

Just a quick update on what I’ll be teaching next year! (and I wanted to keep my Blaugust record going but kind of tired after moving furniture and boxes all morning)

I have one class 1st semester of my problem solving course! Really small class (<10) so I’m super excited to do a lot of fun stuff with them!! Also thinking of giving them an assignment of coming up with some puzzles or problems solving we can do! Like assign each person 3 days to fill with fun math stuff? Plus lots of make it stick and crossing the river with dogs!

I’m going to have 3 ACT prep classes 1st semester and 4 2nd semester. They’re thinking about getting a computer course that supposed to be really good but I think it comes with teacher training too so it wouldn’t be all computer-based. I have some other ideas as well if this doesn’t pan out. Also plan to have Make It Stick Mondays in here, too!

I’m going to have 2 periods where I’m supervising or monitoring students taking virtual learning couses. Most students will be taking a virtual class because their schedule didn’t work to take the real one, so they’ll be in my classroom when they have the free period to work on their coursework. A few students are home-school students who, under our new Tim Tebow law, can take one virtual course offered by a school to be “enrolled” at that school and therefore play football. I don’t really understand it, but then again, the only way I can talk intelligently about football is quoting FNL (“Do they run the spread or an “I” defense?”), so maybe I’m not supposed to understand it. Anyway, I’ll just monitor that they’re getting their work completed and proctor tests.

My new room is a computer lab. It’s pretty big, but most of the space is taken up by rows of computers, with no real way to do groups (side note: it made me really sad to see the groups in my old room replaced by rows). Also there’s no window (totally buying a window decal like Melynee Naegele tweeted last week!). And there’s no cell phone service. And the room the teacher that was in there was supposed to move to isn’t ready yet so she hasn’t moved her stuff out so I can’t unpack yet. But, um, at least it’s close to the library?

So that’s what my year is going to look like. I also volunteered today to help with prom so that will give me something to occupy my mind and hopefully be creative. Any suggestions about virtual learning, ACT prep, or problem solving are greatly appreciated!

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#MTBoSBlaugust Binge watching!

It’s the last days of summer for me, which means time for one last binge-watch, right? So I thought I would share some of my favorites! (What does this have to do with school you may ask? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.) I’m going to link to each show’s justwatch page (which is a great app/website that tells you where things are available streaming or for purchase)

I’m currently watching The Paradise, (netflix) set in a 1870s London department store. The first season was entertaining, the second season has gotten really soap-opera-y. I mean, this is the #1 gif:

But it’s only 8 episodes each so going to finish it!  About the same level of enjoyment I got from Downton Abbey, with 100% less crying from Mrs Bates.

Speaking of Downton Abbey, I have no idea why it got all the awards and recognition instead of Call the Midwife (netflix). Maybe because it’s set in the austerity of post-war London instead of a castle? Because it has nuns and midwives instead of landowners and servants? Because it’s characterized as a “woman” show? As one of my favorite characters says:


As a fellow teacher, you may have the problem of seeing the first 20 minutes of an episode and then falling asleep. So the highest praise I can give is to say that I have never fallen asleep during a Midwife episode! And unlike Downton, every character on here makes me want to be a better person.

If the 1950s is too far back for you, how about the 1980s? Halt and Catch Fire  (netflix) had an odd, yet riveting, first season. But the second season I could not stop watching! 3030972-inline-i-4-halt-and-catch-fire-showrunner-jonathan-lisco-explains-how-to-create-great-charactersComputers, start ups, the piemaker…what more could you want?

So 1980s is too recent? Well, how about the early 1800s?


Mr Craig just brought Horatio Hornblower to our beach vacation and I was reminded how engaging, fast-paced, and fun that show is! Even my mom liked it, and she does not usually like historical or war stuff! My dad was ready to stay up til 1 the night before we left to finish the cliffhanger. The only issue is that it is not available streaming. But the good news is Target has all 8 episodes (it was a miniseries, so each episode is 100 minutes long!) for less than 20 bucks!

Of course I can’t let a recommendation post go by without mentioning Friday Night Lights, but it’s more of a formality since I’m sure you’re already watched this, RIGHT?!?!

images (1)


Ok, one last one! If you want a quick comedy series that will remind you of all you have to look forward to in the workplace…try Better Off Ted.(netflix) The fact that it only lasted two seasons is a travesty!! I couldn’t limit myself to just one gif, so here are three to end the post!

images (2)

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What are some of your favorite shows to spend the summer watching?

#MTBOSBlaugust Goals

Guess what month it is!  It’s…



Want to join in the fun? There’s two ways:

1) You can blog with us! August is crazy, so set your own goal–if you’re blogging more than you would have, it’s a win! Sign up here and get some great prompts for those days where you have blogger’s block.

2) Support those that are blogging by leaving a comment (or tweeting). The list of bloggers participating is here.

Thanks to @druinok for the great motivation!

My goals for Blaugust is to:

  • Get the rest of my Algebra II units posted
  • Post a few odds-and-ends Precal stuff that I did new last year
  • Finish posting Geometry stuff before I forget all of it (holy cow…I think it’s been 5 years now since I’ve taught it?!?)
  • Get in the habit of posting my Stars of the Week each weekend
  • Collect all my poster files in a post/page and make some new requested ones
  • Post some fun non-mathy posts like new favorite tv shows, books, and podcasts
  • Use some of the great Blaugust prompts!
  • Comment on an average of 3 blogs per day

Man, I think that’s definitely enough to keep me occupied for 31 days!!

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#SOTW Stars of the Week

Each week(ish) I try to highlight my favorite posts and tweets in a Stars of the Week post. You can see all of them here. If you’d like to join in the fun, you can recognize people by:
a) making your own #SOTW post
b) tweeting to someone that they’re one of your #SOTW
c) leaving a comment on someone’s blog that their post is #SOTW

Don’t forget to submit the absolute best-of-the-best here for The Best of the MTBoS Blogs Book!

If you ARE a star of the week, feel free to copy the code below to get the badge for your blog sidebar to let everyone know you earned a gold star!

Stars of The Week
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Category: Stars of the Week