Mission #8: Sharing is Caring in the MTBoS

It’s amazing. You’re amazing. You joined in the Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere set of missions, and you’ve made it to the eighth week. It’s Sam Shah here, and whether you only did one or two missions, or you were able to carve out the time and energy to do all seven so far, I am proud of you.

I’ve seen so many of you find things you didn’t know were out there, and you tried them out. Not all of them worked for you. Maybe the twitter chats fell flat, or maybe the whole twitter thing wasn’t your thang. But I think I can be pretty confident in saying that you very likely found at least one thing that you found useful, interesting, and usable.

With that in mind, we have our last mission, and it is (in my opinion) the best mission. Why? Because you get to do something to help someone else. A random act of kindness.

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We want you think about something you saw in the MathTwitterBlogosphere that you think might be useful to a colleague, a department head, an administrator, a student, whatever. And then let them know about it.

Some ideas:

  • You have a colleague teaching Precalculus, and you saw a blog author that has posted a lot of good resources and thinking about Precalculus. You email this resource and why they might find it useful.
  • You have a math coach who may be interested in the Math Mistakes blog. You share it with this math coach!
  • You saw an issue of Math Munch that might spark some interest to one of your particular students (or maybe all of them).
  • You saw an activity on fractions that your middle school colleagues would looooove. You share the wealth!
  • You think a fellow teacher might benefit from joining twitter. You help them take the leap.
  • You attended a Global Math Department meeting and you thought of someone who should have been there! You send the recording to that person.
  • You belong to an AP Statistics list-serv, and there is a great activity you saw on a blog. You email the list-serv.
  • You did an activity inspired by something in the MTBoS. You share that activity with another teacher in your school who teaches the same subject.
  • You ask for 5 minutes in a department meeting to share what you have learned about the online math teacher community.
  • ANYTHING ELSE! Just share, my little Care Bears, share!

In other words, spread the word about something in the MTBoS that you found. You should let someone else who doesn’t know about the stuff we’re doing (yes, we: if you weren’t before, you’re one of us now! mwahahahaha!) see it, and know that it’s out there for them too!

This is the coda to the work you’ve done over the past two months. We wanted to show you what was out there because all that good stuff out there helped us and inspired us as teachers. Now we want you to be in our shoes. We want you to show others what is out there in the MTBoS that helped you and inspired you as a teacher!

pay it forwardYour Final Mission

  1. Share!
  2. Write a blog post talking about what you shared, who you shared it with, and why you shared it!
  3. Tweet out your blog post. Include the #MTBoS hashtag.
  4. Include your blogpost in the comments here and then read and comment on the blog posts of the three commenters directly above you. Be sure that you are commenting on their blog and not here.
  5. Please fill out our survey to help guide us in future missions.  We promise, it’s very short.  Don’t skip the survey as we are planning on compiling all of your fabulous blogs and virtual filing cabinets so we can share them with the world!  :)

If the survey below is not viewable, please click here. https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14iPYN03iRASddG2rurlUgZcXSLCNGfpjztC3PpE4udE/viewform

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/14iPYN03iRASddG2rurlUgZcXSLCNGfpjztC3PpE4udE/viewform

 

Mission #7: A Day in Your Life

DITLifeYou’ve read about what other people are doing in snippets and snapshots. You’ve shared about yourself in 140 characters or less. This week is your chance to know more, and to share more. Just about this time last year, a concurrence of events led to people who were frustrated with the perception of teachers by the general public. We wanted the world to know exactly what it is like to walk a mile in our shoes. Some of our shoes drive a long commute while others walk across campus to get to class. Certain teachers’ shoes are tied tight to race from one class to the next as they try to beat their students. Others have a change of shoes as they get out on the track or court or field to coach. All of us have a different story to tell, but we all have tired feet by the end of the day!

While we started with an outside audience in mind, we were each fascinated by everyone else’s stories. The ways people balance home and school. The differences between public, private and boarding schools. The small, large, urban, suburban, rural… The project turned into a fascinating compilation of experiences from across the world. I still hope it opens peoples’ eyes who are outside of the teaching profession, but it opened my eyes to the variety of ways educators manifest themselves.

A fair warning: it’s really challenging to encapsulate an entire day. Some of us started with the alarm going off in the morning and ended with the lights turning out at night. Others stuck to a school day. Even detailing one full class period is a great insight into the mind of a teacher. So, with the challenges in mind, decide how much of your day you want to write about and set out with a notebook (digital or paper) to record one day this week.

If you’re not a classroom teacher, we still want to hear about your day! The prompt is “Day in the Life of an Educator” and if you’re reading this post you’re probably educating someone, somewhere.

You’re welcome to try to describe a typical day, but I think more of the character of teaching comes through when you decide “I choose today!” and write about that day, no matter what happens.

Bonus Options:
Write about the day from the perspective of your shoes.
Document the things you found interesting and examine their potential to be math lessons a la Michael Pershan.
Record yourself (audio or video) describing your day or living it!

And of course, your favorite paragraph: Share your post with a tweet (including #MTBoS and #DITLife) and leave it in a comment below. Then, read and comment on the blog posts of the three commenters directly above you. Be sure that you are commenting on their blog and not here.

If there aren’t enough posts here to satiate you, check out the archive from last year’s Day in the Life. And, because it’s Tina, here’s a form to add yourself to the archive!

Mission #6: Borrowing and Regrouping

You’ve blogged. You’ve tweeted. You’ve collaborated, listened, and chatted.

You are loving it.

Click for full comic.

Click for full comic.

But you’ve also begun to wonder: is this too much of a good thing?

It’s true. The MathTwitterBlogosphere is a bottomless wellspring of teach-y, math-y goodness. It can feel like drinking from a peppy, insightful, and insomniac firehose.

That’s to say: you’ve got resources pouring in from all over. And the MTBoS is gloriously decentralized. So how do you keep everything organized?

Take a deep breath. It’s time to get your ducks in a row. This is going to be a week of consolidation.

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Mission #6: Borrowing and Regrouping *

Given what you’ve encountered so far while Exploring the MTBoS, what are the habits and processes you want to establish for yourself? And what are the tools you can use to make them happen?

Step 1: Some Tools

Get Your Feed On

If you find yourself tromping around to various blogs you love, hoping to find new posts, then do I ever have a wonder-product for you. It’s called a feed reader. It will gather new posts from the blogs you specify and plop them all on a page for you. Kind of like getting emails for new blog posts, but in their own separate little cubby.

In yesteryear the feed reader of choice was Google Reader, may it rest in digital peace. No one really knows what to do in its absence, but there’s been a lotta discussion, opining, and podcasting about it. For a few options: I use Feedly **, Tina uses Digg Reader, and others like The Old Reader. You’ll find one that works for you.

“Virtual” Filing Cabinets

When you find a lovely math tidbit that you want to hold onto for future planning, where should you stick it for safekeeping? You could bookmark it, email it it yourself, drop it in a Google doc—the possibilities are endless. One option is to make (or piggyback upon) a virtual filing cabinet. Sam’s is the original. It’s a page on his blog where he stores useful tidbits for his future use. And we all get to benefit from it! You can use it as a resource or as a blueprint to create your own—a place to keep your favorite resources, curated and collated by topic. Sam has even compiled a list of other people’s virtual filing cabinets—cabinet o’ cabinets!—so you can check out how other people make this idea work for them.

Step 2: The Cavalry

At Twitter Math Camp this past summer, some “trustworthy people” gave a presentation entitled Devise a Plan to Organize. Taking a gander at their slides would be well worth your time.

And folks have written blog posts about how they manage and thrive in the MTBoS . We’ll encourage them to reshare those posts on their blogs and on Twitter this week. We’ll collect ‘em all at Tina’s #matheme page. If you have one or find one, you can submit it to #matheme here.

There are some good takes on how to tack your  path in the MTBoS. But who wouldn’t want some more schemes and words-to-the-wise? Which leads into…

Step 3: The Reflection

Because we’re own damn cavalry, dammit.

Take stock. Make a plan. Chat about it on Twitter. How do all of the different activities of the MTBoS coalesce for you into ongoing and useful professional development? What’s worked so far? What do you keep on your calendar? What do you hope for? What meshes with your workflow?

And then blog it out. Please. Because we’re all still figuring this out, and every idea and perspective helps.

Alternatively, you could write a post that could be a start on your own virtual filing cabinet. Find a few things around a topic, post about them, and tuck it all away for future-you and future-us to benefit from.

Either way, share your post like we’ve been suggesting: tweet it (with #MTBoS attached) and leave it in a comment below. Then, as we are wont to do, read and comment on the blog posts of the three commenters directly above you. Be sure that you are commenting on their blog and not here.

carry-over-borrowing-regrouping-e1338515102882-273x300 And this week, be sure breeeeeeathe. :D

* Goodness, was that ever a deft punning of this week’s mission with multi-digit subtraction lingo. Bravo, Lanier.

** Admittedly, without any particular enthusiasm.

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Mission #5: Twitter Chatter, Subject Matter

Hey all!  It’s Julie again!

I hope that you all are enjoying the challenges!  Remember, you can jump in anytime! This weeks mission involves Twitter so if you skipped “Mission #2, Twitter Me This“, you may want to revisit it for terrific tips on creating a Twitter account.

This week your mission is to attend a Twitter Chat!  Twitter Chats are one hour weekly chats held on Twitter. There are many different types of Twitter Chats, from general education chats to book chats. The twitter chats I love the most are the subject specific math chats just for math teachers! This week you are going to have the chance to specifically interact with teachers across the world that teach exactly the same subjects you teach! And there are math subject chats for everything from Middle School Math to Calculus and Statistics!

Browse the list below to see what day and time your chat is happening! Don’t be intimidated if you are a newcomer, you don’t even have to type anything to participate – you can just listen! But I promise that you will be compelled to jump in!  Read below for more helpful hints!

Twitter Math Subject Chat List

Click on the subject links for chat archives.

Subject Twitter # Day / Time Subject this week Facilitator
Middle School Math  #msmathchat Monday 9PM EDT Baiting the hook with chicken wings.* @justinaion @shlagteach
Algebra 1  #alg1chat Sunday 9 PM EDT Group Work @lmhenry9  @_MattOwen_  @aanthonya @kathrynfreed
Algebra 2  #alg2chat Monday 9PM EDT Functions @druinok  @wmukluk  @lbburke
Geometry #geomchat Wednesday 9 PM EDT Meaningful Math Tasks Across All Topics @algebrainiac1  @barbarawmadden
PreCalculus #Precalcchat Thursday 8:30 PM EST Unit Planning & Assessment* @mrlenadj  @untilnextstop
Calculus #calcchat Friday 11AM as per IST – that is 12:30am EST and 1:30am EDT TBD @ajitmishra71
Statistics #statschat Thursday 9pm EDT TBD @jkindred13

** If none of the subject chats appeal to you, there are 200+ different education chats listed here!!  Thanks to @thomascmurray, @cevans5095  and @cybraryman1 for compiling this great list!

* Additional Information:  

  • Middle School Math Chat
    • “Baiting the hook with chicken wings”  Dealing with the frustration of when an amazing lesson is met with blank stares.
  • PreCalc Chat
    • How (and how often) do you plan for content vs. planning for process/Math practices?
    • Do you generally emphasize manual analysis or calculator analysis? Has this changed over time for you?
    • What does the flow of a unit typically look like for you?
    • What elements of assessments (participation, quizzes, projects, reading, writing, reflection, etc) factor into your actual grading?

United Kingdom Chats:

As the US Twitter Chat times can be tough for people around the world, there are two UK chats that may interest you!  Thanks so much to Jan Pringle and Nik Doran for reminding me about these chats!

  • #UKEdChat – MATHS Subject Special on Thursday at 9PM, GMT
  • #mathscpdchat – on Tuesday evenings at 7PM, GMT

How to Follow a Twitter Chat

To easily follow a Twitter Chat, type the hashtag and chat name into the search box. For instance, #msMathChat. Then, Twitter.com will bring up all of the tweets that include that hashtag!  It will look like this:

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Twitter.com Hashtag Search

Helpful Hints:

  • It’s a good idea to follow the facilitators (listed above in the chart) so you don’t miss important tweets and reminders when the chat begins.
  • If you have never participated in a Twitter chat before you are in for a treat! To participate, you just need to include the hashtag (example: #msMathChat) in your 140 characters.
  • The moderator will ask a question and then everyone can answer it and discuss. (The format for chats is usually a question, Q1 from moderator, then you will answer with an A1 at the start of your answer.)
  • Don’t feel intimidated, because you don’t actually have to “chat” if you do not want to. You can simply log into twitter and watch the conversations. To do this, follow the hashtag. To follow a hashtag, simply perform a search on Twitter.
  • If your Twitter account is private, you may want to unlock your tweets during the math chat. This will allow people who do not follow you to read your chats for the hour.

If you can’t come to a chat, but want to catch up on the conversation, many of the math chats are archived with Storify on the Math Chat Wiki.

More Helpful Twitter Hints:  TweetDeck!

Several of you have commented that Twitter can confusing and even overwhelming at first. Some of you said you aren’t really following the feed, you are just checking in on #MTBoS. But guess what? You can do it all at once! My all time BIG TIP for making Twitter truly awesome is TweetDeck by Twitter!

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 7.53.59 PM

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 10.11.22 PMI love, love, love TweetDeck because I can see my entire Timeline (all of the tweets from all of people I follow – this is what you see on the Twitter.com page online), Interactions (people who are talking to me or including me in a conversation publicly), Messages (people who are talking privately just to me), and then any cool things I want to keep up with (like #msMathChat or #MTBoS). TweetDeck puts all of the most important stuff I want to read in COLUMNS (can you say Math Love)? It is ALL viewable in one place at the same time and looks like this…  If you perform a search, you can then create a whole new column from your hashtag search.  Notice the nifty little blue Add Column button at the bottom?  Yep, it’s true love.

Your mission for this week:

  1. Attend any twitter chat that you would like! The easiest way to “attend” a chat is to search for and then follow the hashtag. (Example:  #msMathChat).
  2. Write a blog post reflecting on your Twitter Chat experience.
  3. Tweet out your blog post. Include the hashtag for the chat you attended (#alg1chat) as well as the #MTBoS hashtag.
  4. Include your blogpost in the comments here and then read and comment on the blog posts of the three commenters directly above you. Be sure that you are commenting on their blog and not here. :)
GMD Autumn Special Poster

Mission #4: Listen and Learn

Don’t worry if time has been your enemy and you have not been able to complete (or even participate in) the first three missions. Please jump in anytime!  The goal of the Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere is to introduce teachers to everything this vast community has to offer. 

Hello all!  It’s Julie Reulbach, and I’m so excited to share Mission #4 with you – Listen and Learn!

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Apparently, this is what I look like when I’m excited!

In the first few missions we connected through the written word via blogs and twitter. But for this mission, we are going to listen and learn, with a Global Math Department Webinar and an Infinite Tangents Podcast!

Below I’m going to explain what the Global Math Department and Infinite Tangents Podcast are all about. Then when you’re interested is piqued, I’ll introduce the actual mission at the bottom. And for a cherry on top, we have a bonus mission for you…if you choose to accept it.

The Global Math Department:

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One of the most amazing things about this community is what we produce together.  And, like Twitter Math Camp, Global Math is produced by teachers, for teachers.  Global Math was started by Megan Hayes-Golding, @mgolding, and is now hosted by Chris Robinson, @absvalteaching.  Megan, who is also a science teacher, had attended Global Physics Department webinars.  After attending Twitter Math Camp 2012 (#TMC12) in Saint Louis, she was inspired to develop a similar venue for math teachers.

The majority of the #TMC12 participants had read each others blogs and interacted on twitter. We felt we “knew” each other before we even arrived. However, hearing these dynamic teachers present brought the lessons they had blogged about to life!  It made us all want to hear more.  Thus, in August 2012, the Global Math Department was born.

“We are math teachers who share what we’ve learned, cause we don’t want our classes to suck the energy from students. Professional development among friends, not just colleagues. Fun! Immediately useful! Interesting!”  
– Global Math Department

Global Math is held every Tuesday evening at 9:00PM ET. Educators (mostly classroom teachers) present on different subjects each week ranging from interactive notebooks to rich tasks.   What’s awesome is that it’s for us, by us. Professional development based around what we care about!  Just LOOK at some of the most recent presentations!

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Global Math:  Autumn Special, An International Event

On November 2nd,  the Global Math Department is having an “Autumn Special”.  In order to better reach and serve our international members, Nik Doran, from the UK, is hosting an international Global Math Department event this Saturday, November 2nd at 9pm GMT (5pm EDT, 2pm PDT). It’s called the Global Math Autumn Special.  Please visit his blog to read about all of the details of the event.

GMD Autumn Special Poster

Don’t worry if you are not able to attend Global Math Department gathering live, as you can still view the event after the fact! One of the best things about Global Math is that every webinar is recorded!  Currently, there are over 60 webinars recorded that you can watch!

Overwhelmed by choice (or, no time to peruse and chose)? Here are some Global Math Presentations that you may enjoy watching.

Infinite Tangents Podcast:  A Mathematics Education Podcast for Teachers

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Ashli Black, @mythagon,  is the creator of Infinite Tangents, #8Tangents.

“Tangents started due to one simple reason: I love listening to people talk math education. Sharing favorite practices and discussing teaching philosophies with others makes me a better teacher. As 2013 started shaping up to be a year of travel, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to capture these conversations and put them out there for others to listen to.

Infinite Tangents is about the voices in education that can too often be drowned out by politics and policy-chat. This podcast is about the work teachers do daily to make their classrooms places where children can thrive. Episodes focus on happenings in the classroom, teachers reflecting on their practice, and other stories from the front lines. Here are the top three downloaded interviews:

The episode that started it all: @mathymcmatherso

Our Lady of Zen Teaching: @cheesemonkeysf

Math Forum superhero, author, and all-around cool guy: @maxmathforum

Tangents is currently publishing twice a month as I found producing weekly episodes is way more work then I can handle on top of my actual job. Interview episodes are around the 45 minute mark and I’ve broken many into two parts so as not to lose anything I found to be awesome. If there is anyone you would like to hear interviewed or you have questions for the interviewees from specific episodes, head over to tangentspodcast.com and leave a comment! Thanks for listening, and I hope you make a great week for yourself listening and learning about the MTBoS.”  - Ashli

**  Bonus Assignment:  Participate in Twittereen!

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I know you all are all overachievers, and love a good bonus assignment!

Twittereen is an epic costume party, where you can “dress up” your avatar as someone else on Twitter!   Please visit Megan’s blog to learn all about it!  The results are always hilarious!  Twittereen is so epic that we even had a special Global Math Twittereen Webinar devoted to it last year!  Even if you can’t participate this year, please join in the fun and follow the #twittereen hashtag!

@jreulbach dressed as @mgolding

@j_lanier dressed as @natbanting

@mrpicc112 dressed as @approx_normal

Your mission for this week:

You should pick one event to watch/listen, either Global Math or Infinite Tangents. Or you can do both! We won’t stop you!

  1. Attend the Global Math Autumn Special Event this Saturday, November 2nd at 9pm GMT (5pm EDT, 2pm PDT).  Global Math Autumn Special.  I recommend RSVPing to this event because when you register, Big Marker will send you an email reminder.  If you can’t make it to the live event, watch a previous webinar.
  2. Listen to any Infinite Tangents Podcast and then leave a comment on the Infinite Tangents website.
  3. Write a blog post reflecting on your “Listen and Learn” experience.  Please include if you were able to attend the event live, or watched a recording (or podcast) instead.
    • Tweet out your blog post. You might use @GlobalMath or @mythagon depending on which you wrote about. Include the #MTBoS and/or #GlobalMathDept or #8tangents hashtag.
    • Include your blogpost in the comments here and then read and comment on the blog posts of the three commenters directly above you.  Be sure that you are commenting on their blog and not here. :)

Mission #3: Collaboration Nation

Tina here, excited to share this week’s new mission with you.

The awesome part about this community is all the sharing we do. Last week you experienced Twitter – that’s all about conversation. Twitter works for the short things we want to share – ideas, links, questions. The character limit is a bonus, it means no one is carrying on a monologue; Twitter is meant for dialogue.

Many times, those conversations leave you wanting more. You wish someone would elaborate on the thought they started in a tweet or share the entire lesson rather than a snippet. That’s where a blog comes in handy.

Sometimes, though, ideas are even bigger than a single person’s blog and turn into a theme that we compile or a new blog entirely (kind of like this one). This week is all about the things the MTBoS has accomplished when we join forces. These projects only work because people contribute to them, people like you! Some are places where people submit blog posts, so to participate this week you’ll write something to submit. Others are places to interact in other ways. So go ahead and explore, then post about the experience on your blog. I’ve offered suggested ways to interact and post, but feel free to complete the mission however you would like!

To be clear, your mission this week is to pick one (1, ein) of these sites to blog about. Maybe you’ll click through three of them before you settle on the one (I, unus) you want to use for your post. Maybe you’ve been meaning to try something and you’ll jump directly to that option without browsing the rest. However you decide to explore, the links you don’t click through to this week will be here for you to refer back to, as well as on the Resources Page. The goal of this entire Explore MTBoS experience is to introduce you to the wonders that the MathTwitterBlogoSphere has to offer, not to require mastery of all areas by the end of 8 weeks. You can continue exploring as time goes by and since you know yourself best, pick the one (-, ichi) you might continue to use.

dailydesmos

  • Daily Desmos, @DailyDesmos: Have you tried the Desmos graphing calculator yet? Whether you have or not, the daily challenges that are posted at Daily Desmos are a great way to stretch your brain.
    To complete this mission: try to solve some of the challenges, share one with your students (the recent focus on linear graphs is particularly well suited for this) or submit a graph for guest post Fridays.
    For your blog post: share what graphs you interacted with and something cool you learned about Desmos in the process

101questions

  • 101questions, @ddmeyer: Have you seen something in the world lately that has you thinking “I know there’s a great math lesson in here somewhere?” That’s what all the people who have submitted to 101questions thought, and now they’re testing the theory on visitors to this site before presenting it to students.
    To complete this mission: Respond to the first few that randomly appear, search the database by grade level or submit your own photo or video.
    For your blog post: share what you found the most perplexing and why. Would you try a lesson based on one of these in your classes?

estimation180

  • Estimation180, @mr_stadel: Looking for a warm-up to get your students’ brains in math mode? Estimation is a skill that frequently gets left out of upper level curriculum, but is key to critical thinking. This site is filled entirely with intriguing estimation puzzles.
    To complete this mission: Scan the archives and make some estimates of your own, then share with a group of students to see how strong their estimation muscles are or submit your own problem.
    For your blog post: share some ideas on how to incorporate estimation into your classroom.

visualpatterns

  • VisualPatterns, @fawnpnguyen: This site is also great for warm-ups, or full-length lessons! This database of visual patterns is ideal for building reasoning skills, introducing variables and asking students to generalize.
    To complete this mission: Browse the available puzzles or submit your own. Solve some with a class or a student or a friend.
    For your blog post: share how you could use visual patterns in your curriculum and some characteristics of an appropriate pattern for that lesson.

mathmistakes

  • Math Mistakes, @mpershan: All of our students make mistakes, sometimes it’s immediately obvious what they were thinking, but other times we have no idea what was going on in their brains or how to correct the misconception they have. This database offers us a place to practice finding misconceptions and discuss what the next step to take with a student might be.
    To complete this mission: Respond to the first few that randomly appear, search the database or submit your own photo of a student mistake.
    For your blog post: share how you help students identify their mistakes and learn from them.

onegoodthing

  • One Good Thing, @rdpickle: This blog is a place for a few teachers to share our favorite moments from each day, the reasons we teach and the small celebrations of our and our students accomplishments. Teaching is exhausting and burnout happens all too often, One Good Thing reminds us why it’s worth the effort.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts
    For your blog post: Write a one good thing post on your own blog and if you want to regularly contribute, you can request to be added to the blog (tweet @rdpickle, @samjshah or @crstn85).

productive struggle

  • Productive Struggle, @crstn85: We ask students to engage in productive struggle, but often forget to engage in the same process as teachers. We have lessons that flop despite careful planning, and that’s normal! Productive Struggle is a place to get advice and put all of our expertise together to turn failures into successes.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog if possible)
    For your blog post: Write about your own lesson that went poorly, ask for advice and then submit it!

made4math

  • Made4Math, @druinok: Love the dollar section at Target, fabric on your bulletin board or your label maker? You’ll be in good company at this blog!
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about a crafty-project you created for your classroom and submit it!

mssundayfunday

  • MS Sunday Funday, @jreulbach: Middle school teachers are taking over the blogging world, one theme at a time. They pick a theme to write about each week and then share all the posts on this page. They are playing along with Explore MTBoS instead of asking people to double post now, but don’t let that stop you from submitting!
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about a recent theme and submit it! (scroll down for the form)

matheme

  • #Matheme, @crstn85: Not a middle school teacher but still want to write about a theme? Check out the Math Themed Meme page. This page archives some topics that many people wrote about, either because it’s such an interesting topic or because someone organized a theme.
    To complete this mission: Read some posts and leave comments (on the original poster’s blog)
    For your blog post: Write about any of the themes and submit it! Note: we are going to have a Day in the Life week as part of Explore MTBoS, so don’t use that theme unless you want to do it twice!

mathagogy

  • Mathagogy, @pepsmccrea: Is the written word just not enough for you? Itching to get inside of all these classrooms to see how it really works? Mathagogy lets you do just that, in two minute videos of classroom activities.
    To complete this mission: Watch a video or three and leave a comment or three.
    For your blog post: Write about a lesson you watched and how it will change your approach to that topic, or take some video of your own, write about the lesson and submit it!

collaborativemathematics

  • Collaborative Mathematics, @CollaboMath: Here’s another site with video. This one poses a problem via a short clip, then people respond via video as well. The challenges are intended to cultivate creativity, resourcefulness, self-confidence, and perseverance.
    To complete this mission: Pick a challenge, ponder it, watch the video responses, leave a comment.
    For your blog post: Write about your solution or your analysis of other solutions or post a video and submit it!

I know these aren’t all the collaborative sites out there because while brainstorming this list with the Explore MTBoS team I was introduced to two new ones! So, feel free to share other sites we should add to this list and please don’t feel left out if I skipped your pet project!

When you’ve completed this week’s mission:

  1. Leave a comment on this post – include a url that leads directly to your blog post and a snippet that might convince me to follow the url.
  2. Comment on the blogs of the three commenters above you because they’re awesome and deserve to hear it!
  3. Just because last week was Twitter week doesn’t mean we’re done with Twitter! Tweet your blog post. Use a hashtag and include some extra words (beyond the title which is all wordpress autotweets) so people are more likely to find the post and want to click on it. Go ahead and mention the Twitter account associated with the site, they’ll be excited to see you wrote about it (even if they’re too busy to say thank you, I promise they’re excited).

Mission #2: Twitter Me This

(Mission title runner-up: Tweet Yo Self)

Welcome back! This is Justin Lanier—on behalf of mis amigos—here to present you with your second Explore MTBoS mission. No worries if you haven’t finished Mission #1 yet—I haven’t—but let’s keep the ball rolling, shall we?

mission-mtbossible

Mission #2: Twitter Me This

Your mission—should you choose to accept it—is to try your hand at Twitter. Maybe for the first time, maybe for the first time in a while, maybe in new ways, maybe with new people.

This mission, combined with our blogwork in Mission #1, will provide you a sure foundation for all future Explore MTBoS enterprises. You’ll be platformed up and ready to mingle by the week’s end.

Twitter is chatting with the world. It’s microblogging. It’s the world’s best teacher’s lounge. It’s a free-flowing and wide-ranging conversational tapestry, a place to ask a pressing question, let off some steam, share and reshare resources, find inspiration and encouragement, and crack hilarious jokes. It’s a great place to listen in, vet an idea, and let your colors shine through.

All this in 140 character bursts. Day and night. With #copioushashtags and @KimKierkegaardashian.

Having timely, thoughtful, and charming interactions from a whole world of online colleagues? Yes, please.

Step 0: The Account

First of all, if you don’t yet have a Twitter account, let’s get you set up with that. Note that in addition to what I say here, there’s a Twitter sign-up how-to at the “Welcome to the MathTwitterBlogosphere” weebly site. (If you’ve already got a Twitter account, just scroll on down Step 1, demarcated by a picture of a cat.)

First up, head over to twitter.com and start filling in some info under New to Twitter? Soon enough, you’ll need to come up with a username. Remember, characters are at a premium, so you might prefer shorter over longer.

Next, Twitter has you go through a short tutorial. You can probably follow through with these steps on your own, but I’ll provide some commentary anyway. Twitter asks you start “following” people. These are the people whose tweets will populate your Twitter feed. We’ve made a little list of mathy folks to follow if you need help getting started, and there’s a larger list on the mathtwitterblogosphere weebly site.  And there’s a recently compiled list in this spreadsheet, which you can also add yourself to.

If Twitter forces you into following accounts that you aren’t particularly interested in, not to fear—you can unfollow them as soon as you finish the sign-up process. Note that after you follow ten accounts, you can “skip” following more with a small grey button at the bottom.

You’ll want to upload an avatar, or else present yourself to the world for the time being as a dashing and comely default egg avatar. And in your Twitter profile, it’d be a great idea to include the URL to your blog. That’s a great way for people to find their way to your site!

Your first tweet. What will it be? Anything you like. :D

For funsies, here are our first tweets:

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sam2

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(Turns out Tina had no idea there was a math community on Twitter for her first two years of tweeting. Now she only twitters with math teachers. :D )

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The next step in your mission will help you to get going further with Twitter, but if you’d like some further orientation on how math teachers can use it, there’s a great guide over at the weebly site. Here are just a few small thoughts that might be useful to you.

Different people use Twitter in different ways. You’ll find the way that works for you.

Don’t be discouraged if someone doesn’t reply to you. It may mean they are super busy and might not be checking their tweets a lot—Twitter is a funny combo of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Or it may be that they have a zillion followers and they get overwhelmed and they also have a mile-high stack of papers to grade. And sometimes, you know, they may just not have anything to say. Twitter’s a nutty, fragmented, free-for-all. Things get lost in the shuffle. But think of the insanity as a feature and not a bug, and please don’t take it personally if someone doesn’t respond to your tweets.

Since there are only 140 characters in a tweet, people sometimes write tersely, which can come across as very direct — but mainly that’s because of the lack of characters to type things like “oh wow, neato! one thing i was wondering is if…”. Often sentiments can get truncated. Tone can be tricky on Twitter, but practice helps and you can always ask for clarification. Also, don’t forget that you can always send multiple tweets if your thought needs more than 140 characters to be expressed.

For Twitter to really work, you are going to want to commit to trying it out for a week or more, and that means hanging out. If you just sign up, tweet the mission, and then sign out, you aren’t going to be having mini-discussions and reading other peoples’s mini-discussions! So for this week, at the very least, check your Twitter feed regularly! Write to people and reply to people! Toss out your random musings. Really give it a chance. See what it’s like —and we hope you’ll see what’s caused so many math teachers to fall in love with Twitter.

You might be tempted to make your Twitter account private/protected when starting out. This might provide you with a sense of security, but people can’t see what you tweet if you’re private. It’s a good idea when you’re first starting off and trying to find good people to interact with—and they’re trying to find you—that you should probably keep your account public. And in a while, when you have a good number of people to tweet with, then you can switch your account settings. Also, I’d say the majority of math teachers hearabouts have public profiles. Again, you’ll figure out what works for you

The advice on this page for getting started with Twitter is good to read if you’re still apprehensive. And if you think it will help, you can read the experiences of how some math teachers started out with Twitter here. But our hope is that with this flurry of people using twitter this week, you’re going to have a comfortable way to get involved. Jump in!

This is the cat picture.

This is the cat picture.

Step 1: The Mini-missions

So you’ve got a Twitter account, and you’re not afraid to use it. Fantastic. Below you’ll find a list of some mini-missions. Don’t dawdle, because they’ll self-destruct in three minutes. #jk You’ll engage with them as you wish—as many or as few of them as your schedule and taste admit—but here are two arbitrary goals for you that I just made up, one qualitative, one quantitative.

  1. Make sure you do at least one Twitter mini-mission that sounds superfun to you, and do a Twitter mini-mission that is outside of your comfort zone—that gets you to try something new.
  2. Pick a number between 5 and 10. Got it? Now double it. Add two. Cut it in half. Do at least that many mini-missions.

All right? All right. Let’s go.

Twitter Mini-missions:

  • If you’re new to Twitter, announce and introduce yourself in a tweet and include the hashtag #MTBoS. (Note that a hashtag it’s simply a tiny phrase included directly after a pound symbol in your tweet. That way if you want to see all tweets about the mathtwitterblogosphere, you can tell Twitter hey, find all tweets with #MTBoS in it and Twitter can show you all tweets with #MTBoS in it! At heart, it’s a search tool. There are hashtags for all sorts of things, but no need to worry about then now.
  • If you’ve done Twitter for a while, announce and introduce yourself in a tweet in a way that sheds some new light on who you are. Surprise us. Include #MTBoS.
  • Pick three people you follow, but with whom you haven’t interacted—recently or ever. Say hello and introduce yourself to them, beginning your tweet with @theirname.
  • Pick three people who follow you, but with whom you haven’t interacted—recently or ever. Say hello and introduce yourself to them, beginning your tweet with @theirname.
  • Open up the #MTBoS feed and peruse it. Retweet something that you find compelling.
  • Announce a blog post you’ve written, new or old. Include #MTBoS.
  • Share a blog post that you’ve read recently that blew you away. Include #MTBoS.
  • Share a question that’s been on you mind about your classroom practice. Include #MTBoS.
  • Take a photo of your chalk-or-smartboard, or of a piece of student work. Tweet it and include #MTBoS.
  • Share an online math resource you really love. Include #MTBoS.
  • Tweet something mundane about your life. Include #MTBoS!
  • #makeupawackyhashtagandtrytogetittocatchon.
  • Respond to a famous person or guru’s tweet.
  • Tweet a favorite quotation or fact about mathematics. #MTBoS it up.
  • Share something awesome about your day of teaching. #MTBoS.
  • Share something hard about your days of teaching. #MTBoS
  • Open up the #MTBoS feed and find some new tweeps to follow.
  • And while you’re there, send a reply to a few interesting tweets you see.
  • Tweet a tweet that’s exactly 140 characters long. #sosweet
  • Think of someone whose tweets you appreciate. On Friday, give them a #FF (Follow Friday) shoutout.

Step 2: The Blog Post

After you complete Step 1, you’ll have some new Twitter experiences under your belt. What better way to reflect on them than to blog about them? The interplay between the longer-form reflection and exposition of blogging and the rapid-fire conversation on Twitter is part of what makes the MTBoS tick.

Here are a few writing prompts that you might convert into a blog post.

  • Pick a tweet that you read and liked. Blog about what it made you think about.
  • Or maybe it wasn’t a single tweet, but a conversation you had. Blog about those ideas.
  • If you’re new to Twitter, what is something that has surprised you about it?
  • If you’re an experienced Twitter user, describe and reflect upon how you tend to use it.

Also, something worth noting about blogs is how to handle comments. In your blog’s Settings—perhaps under Discussion or Comments—you probably have several comment moderation options. This video explains it all. Moderating comments give you more control over what shows up on your blog—and not after the fact—but it can slow down conversation. Not moderating comments can let conversations proceed more naturally, but it may mean having to delete a little spam here and there. Just some thoughts for your consideration.

And speaking of comments…

Step 3: The Comment (Comment, Comment, Comment, Commet Chameleon)

Once you’ve written your Twitter-themed blog post, drop a comment at the bottom of this here Mission #2 post announcing it and offering it up for others to comment on. Also, you should tweet out your post on your Twitter account! Include #MTBoS.

Finally, just like last week, you’ll go comment on the blog posts of the three people who commented directly above you. You’re of course welcome to comment on any of the other blog posts, too, and we encourage you to browse the comments to see which posts sound most interesting to you. But, if you play along with this chain mail flashback, then everyone gets at least three comments on their blog—at their site, not a response to the comment here—and everyone likes comments. So please play nice!

Stay safe out there, agent. See you in the Twitterverse!