Session Thoughts: Shadow Con, Part 2

Shadowcon2015 Laila

So now you’re in your classroom and getting students to talk is akin to squeezing rocks for water because math. Mathematics is serious business, no? But what if the quiet of the classroom is tearing at your soul? Sure, they’ll respond when you pull out a popsicle stick with their name on it, but the hesitation you see in Adelaide’s answer doesn’t make sense when you know she’ll have her friends in stitches the moment the bell rings. How do you break through this miasma of reserve that settles over the room at the ring of the bell?

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Session Thoughts: Shadow Con, part 1

Session Thoughts Shadowcon header 2015

For those on the twitters and reading blogs, there was a nice build up in advertising to this event. I really didn’t know what to expect from Shadow Con until the day before when I got to ask some folks that were speaking at it during the math games night. The ‘TED-esque, but with a call-to-action’ description ended up being most spot on for me. This was probably one of my favorite events from my time in Boston and I greatly enjoyed each speaker. Let me tell you why.

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Session Thoughts: Contexts for Complex Numbers

Wow was I torn about what session to attend at 12:30 on Thursday. I ended up going this route since I’ve been poking (slowly–every so slowly) at the book Visual Complex Analysis by Tristan Needham, which came highly recommended by a mathematician friend of mine when I voiced wanting to learn more about Complex Analysis.

sketchnotes from the complex numbers sessionYou know a session is pretty awesome when the person sitting behind you lets out a genuine “Holy sh*t!” when he sees the path the presenters have set us on. For those deciphering my color-coding above, blue = Michael Pershan, orange = Max Ray (like that was a choice), and green = everyone else. Except for Ralph, who was also sitting behind me and commented about 40 minutes in that how complex numbers were being built up by the presenters “eliminates thinking about i as a variable”. Because how many of us have had students that do treat it like some unknown thing? i is not a made up number, and this session laid out a compelling argument for students to see why.

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Session Thoughts: Adapatation

sketchnotes of Geoff Krall's session, Adaptation

Geoff Krall, who has posted all the things from his talk over on his blog, lead a session Thursday on thinking about how to adapt the tasks you have. Due to the work I do for Illustrative Mathematics, adapting tasks is something I think about a lot and something IM does with teachers at PD conferences frequently so it was great hearing Geoff’s perspective of the Why, How, and What of task adaptation.

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Session Thoughts: Project Based Learning

sketchnotes from the session

Through coincidence I met Anthony Rodiguez the previous week in Chicago at an unrelated meeting and while exchanging our session titles I realized he was already on my calendar for NCTM Boston. After getting to spend a few days with him in Chicago I was looking forward to this session even more as Anthony has an enthusiastic and grounding presence and I really want to spend some time picking his brain over a meal.

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Session Thoughts: NCSM Ignite!

I always enjoy a good Ignite talk so I headed to the NCSM one after dropping things off at the MTBoS booth. This was my first attempt at live sketchnoting, and wow is an Ignite a trial by fire with how fast some of the presenters talk! If you’ve not seen an Ignite before, you can catch video from prior ones here. My sketchnotes and thoughts below the cut.

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in which I sketchnote all the things

Quick Links to Sketchnote posts from NCTM 2015:

I’ll be working through these of the course of this week. I plan to post the sketchnote itself and then some of my thoughts on the session along with any relevant links. If you are interested in reading more about how I got into sketchnoting, head below the jump.

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in which I watch too many Ignite talks

Though I wonder if that’s actually possible.

This post is more me curating Ignite talks for future reference than anything. If you have a 5 minute chunk of time and want to watch something mathy/educationy/awesome, click one of the links below, arranged in no particular order:

Avery Pickford, CMC-North, A Humble Proof (if there’s room in the margins)

Max Ray, NCSM 2013, Tweet Me, Maybe?

Annie Fetter, NCSM 2013, Hidden Decision-Making in the Math Classroom (Everybody’s doing it. Why shouldn’t you?)

Eleanor Terry, NCSM 2013, Increasing Our Confidence (Intervals)

Karim Kai Ani, NCSM 2013, Mathalicious: Real-World Math

Patrick Callahan, NCSM, A Modest Proposal

Bill McCallum, NCSM 2011, A Tale of Two Triangles

Dan Meyer, CMC-South 2011, When Will I Ever Use This In Real Life


This is by no means a complete list, so please post in the comments below some of your favorites!

in which i give a talk on the profession of teaching

IM&E hosted a thing at Berkeley October 12-14. I was working with middle grades folks and asked to give the final plenary talk entitled ‘Call to Action’. I chose to talk about the profession of teaching and how I think we get more teachers engaging with teaching as professionals. I’ve tried to type up what I said in the talk based on my copious notes, powerpoint, and memory below the cut. I know it’s not exact and I suspect my memory is editing to make me sound better, but I don’t have a video recording (thank Gauss) so it will have to do. I’ll warn you it’s longish, but I would love to hear your thoughts on professionalize and education in the comments.

Oh, and this is the tweet that spurred much of my ideas for the talk. Or rather, had me re-writing much of my ideas for the talk.

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