Note: I want this recap to not become just a collection of in jokes about TMC, so I’m sorry if I tangent into ‘you had to be there’ moments, but suffice to say the whole week was an amazing social experience as well as great teaching and learning. Right table buddies??
Day 0 – Getting there
It was an interesting trip; variously described as arduous or possibly gruelling, by some as insane. Let’s summarise: 9 hours in Dublin airport overnight was not something I want to repeat, unless it’s the only way to get to TMC14. After about 35 hours of awake time I managed to get to the Sheraton in Philly (nice hotel when it’s fire alarm free). Cue meeting @mythagon (who is as tall as she looks) and then a little later, complete with squeals and spinning, @approx_normal (as small as she looks) @hfxmark (nicest guy ever). Room found (thanks roomie Hedgie!) and after a swift shower MOAR HUGS when I met @fawnpnguyen (my American mom the whole time) @wahdedahbug (queen of cursing) and @nathankraft1 (chauffeur extraordinaire).
I crashed out early from trivia because I was exhausted (FYI – this is a theme…) and wanted to be ready for day one.
Day 1 – 5 Practices for noticing mistakes and wondering about stats
After a brief opening from @lmhenry9 we got down to some ‘serious’ PD. Guided by some helpful math forum folks we made our way to our subject sessions. I went to Stats with Hedge.
Stats session 1
We spent a good deal of time discussing sampling in the first session – the more experienced teachers had a bunch of tasks for us to discuss and I came away with several ideas for both the courses I teach that involve stats. There was lots of great discussion about different aspects of sampling, experiment design and hypothesis testing. We left with a page of resources and I was excited about stats for the first time since…well ever!
After lunch and some favourites:
Notice and Wonder – Max Ray
Max did a wonderful job of explaining and modelling the notice and wonder philosophy – a low entry point for students to promote mathematical discussion. Ideally you pose a picture/video/question for students and get them to simply write down anything they notice and wonder about it; giving equal weight to any student suggestions. This can promote (with the right prompts) rich mathematical discussions and questions that are on the edge of student understanding, allowing student to grow mathematically. It’s a nice model and comes with language that I’m hoping to use more in my teaching.#
Practicing the Five Practices – Christopher Danielson
Having started reading this book I was really excited about the session and I have to say this was one session where I was gagging for a sequel. Christopher took us through one of the trickiest stages of the Five Practices ‘Anticipation’ with the Tootsie Roll problem, which I am totally gonna modify for UK use. He slickly moved us through working a task, facilitating discussion, modelling the Five Practices themselves and meta-discussion. I need to finish that book.
Using Mistakes to Inspire Teaching – Michael Pershan
This session, more than any other, was far too short. Michael had so much good stuff to say about why mistakes are important and why we need to think deeply about them (also; for a guy who freely admits to preferring to communicate via the written medium, he sure presents well). The concept that perhaps it is important to consider class of mistake rather than individual mistakes is really powerful. I’m super excited to find out where this goes, and I think I need to consider harder what student mistakes tell me about my teaching.
So endeth Day One of #TMC13. Ish. We went out for dinner and then the plan was karaoke. But I was super tired, so I completely crashed out at about 9pm because by that point I was at about 5 hours sleep in the last 63 hours. You want sordid details of that night you need to look elsewhere 😉
Part 2 coming soon…