Mission #1: The Power of The Blog

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Sam Shah here, and I’m beyond floored by how many people are interested in participating in Exploring the MTBoS. Floored, and overjoyed.

wowie

[this was a picture from my birthday, but I pretty much look like this all the time]

I honestly thought we’d find a few people out there who were interested in this beautiful, amazing group of math teachers — and BAM! There are a zillion of you, from all over, teaching all sorts of different things, all with differing experiences with blogs and twitter. I can’t tell you how much my heart swelled when I was reading through all the comments of people who signed up. I’m in heaven.

Now let’s see if we can’t make this worthwhile for you.

Almost all of you have read a few math teacher blogs — and that’s what brought you here. So we thought we’d center the first week around blogging… Each week a different one of us (Sam Shah, Tina Cardone, Justin Lanier, and Julie Reulbach) are going to be leading up a mission. This week (obviously) is my week.

So let’s go! Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start.

Mission #1: The Power of The Blog

For this Explore the MathTwitterBlogosphere program, you’re going to be doing a bunch of different challenges. Each of them is going to end with you doing a little reflection related to what you did. Thus, it’s important (at least for these few weeks) to have a blog to write on. Although we are going to be asking you to keep a blog for these 8 weeks, we are not going to be making you continue it. If you know me, you know that my current mantra about this online community is “There’s no right way to participate in this weird disjointed passionate community. Do what moves you. Do what makes sense for you.”

Part of this experience going outside of your comfort zone and exploring various things to see if any of them will prove useful for you. So try out keeping and writing in this blog for the next few weeks and see how it goes. If it turns out you find it useful and want to continue posting regularly, great. If not, that’s just as great. You have to do what’s useful for you! That being said…

We have two different missions for you, depending on if you have a blog or if you don’t.

If you don’t have a blog, look for the section of this post titled “ACK! I need a blog! Stat!” and only read that. Just skip to that part. Like now! GO!

If you already have a blog, look immediately below to find the section titled “I have a blog… Now what, Mister?!” 

I have a blog… Now what, Mister?!

Your mission is threefold.

1. You are going to write a blogpost on one of the following two prompts.

  • What is one of your favorite open-ended/rich problems?  How do you use it in your classroom? (If you have a problem you have been wanting to try, but haven’t had the courage or opportunity to try it out yet, write about how you would or will use the problem in your classroom.)

  • What is one thing that happens in your classroom that makes it distinctly yours? It can be something you do that is unique in your school… It can be something more amorphous… However you want to interpret the question! Whatever!

Just pick one prompt and post about it!

<rant> Now some part of you might be thinking: my rich problem isn’t rich enough! I’m embarrassed by it! I am new to teaching — so my classroom isn’t really distinctly mine yet. So I don’t have a perfect answer to the prompts! If that happens to you, just write about something similar. But I said this last year when getting people to write their first post: If you feel like you aren’t awesome at teaching, welcome to the club. If you feel constantly like everything else you see out there is better, welcome to the club. So if you’re new to teaching and have material that you’re proud of it, post it! We’re all starting this at different points, but the one thing I’ve learned is that I can steal ideas or be inspired or commiserate with first year teachers as easily as a veteran teacher. So try not to be self-conscious and obsessive. We’re all here to reflect on what we do, and to learn from each other. We’re not trying to be the best and we’re not out to impress each other. We’re out to get better. No one in the mathtwitterblogosphere is judging you, but yourself. So if you’re a sucky writer, own it and don’t worry about not being Tolstoy. If you feel like what you want to write has already been said on a lot of other places, write it anyway. This is you, for you, by you. Phew. </rant> 

2. You are going to write a comment on this blogpost. Your comment will say:

Your name (or pseudonym, if you’re using one)
Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
Your blog name
The title of your post
The URL of your post
One (or two) sentences from your post to capture a reader’s interest

Example:
My name is Sam Shah (@samjshah) and I’m blogging at _Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere_. The title of my blogpost is “Senior Letters 2012” (http://samjshah.com/2012/05/31/senior-letter-2012/).

To whet your appetite: “Each year at the end of the school year, I say goodbye to my seniors. And each year, I’ve written a letter to the seniors with some imparting thoughts as they go off in the world.”

3. Once you’ve posted your comment advertising your blogpost, look at the three previous comments (the ones above yours). Read the posts of these three people and write a comment each of their blogs! If you are one of those eager beavers who are the first three to post, just find three comments as people begin to post!

Seriously, that’s it for this week for you! Trust us — we’re going to have more in the coming weeks. But we’re starting with the basics!

ACK! I need a blog! Stat!

You made it here! Phew! Now for your mission. Your mission has a few parts… but don’t be daunted…

1. Come up with a blog title. It can be funny, it can be serious, it can make no sense, whatever. However, my one admonition: don’t spend more than 10 minutes coming up with this blog title. The more you struggle to choose it, the more annoying it is going to be, and I’m afraid you’re going to use this hassle of coming up with a blog title to be enough to stop you from blogging. This cannot happen. Not on my watch! So 10 minutes is all you have.

2. Start a blog. If you have no idea how to do this, go to my favorite blogging site wordpress.com and get a blog! Here’s an awesome two minute video showing the process.


The link is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9N0zXEwtjCI

3. Write a short blogpost on one of the following prompts. Yup, you’re already ready to go. See how easy setting up a blog was? EASY!:

  • Who are you? Introduce yourself to the MathTwitterBlogosphere! How’d you get into teaching? What do you like most about your job?
  • What is one of your favorite open-ended/rich problems?  How do you use it in your classroom? (If you have a problem you have been wanting to try, but haven’t had the courage or opportunity to try it out yet, write about how you would or will use the problem in your classroom.)

  • What is one thing that happens in your classroom that makes it distinctly yours? It can be something you do that is unique in your school… It can be something more amorphous… However you want to interpret the question! Whatever!
  • What brought you to the MTBoS? What do you hope to get out of participating in the #MTBoS?

I suppose it can be a long blogpost too. Whatever floats your boat. If you’re adventurous, bonus points (okay, there aren’t really points) and twenty unicorn rainbows (there are real, however!) if you include an image or a video or a link.

<rant> Now some part of you might be thinking: my rich problem isn’t rich enough! I’m embarrassed by it! I am new to teaching — so my classroom isn’t really distinctly mine yet. So I don’t have a perfect answer to the prompts! If that happens to you, just write about something similar. But I said this last year when getting people to write their first post: If you feel like you aren’t awesome at teaching, welcome to the club. If you feel constantly like everything else you see out there is better, welcome to the club. So if you’re new to teaching and have material that you’re proud of it, post it! We’re all starting this at different points, but the one thing I’ve learned is that I can steal ideas or be inspired or commiserate with first year teachers as easily as a veteran teacher. So try not to be self-conscious and obsessive. We’re all here to reflect on what we do, and to learn from each other. We’re not trying to be the best and we’re not out to impress each other. We’re out to get better. No one in the mathtwitterblogosphere is judging you, but yourself. So if you’re a sucky writer, own it and don’t worry about not being Tolstoy. If you feel like what you want to write has already been said on a lot of other places, write it anyway. This is you, for you, by you. Phew. </rant>

4. You are going to write a comment on this blogpost. Your comment will say:

Your name (or pseudonym, if you’re using one)
Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
Your blog name
The title of your post
The URL of your post
One (or two) sentences from your post to capture a reader’s interest

Example:
My name is Sam Shah (@samjshah) and I’m blogging at _Continuous Everywhere But Differentiable Nowhere_. The title of my blogpost is “Senior Letters 2012” (http://samjshah.com/2012/05/31/senior-letter-2012/).

To whet your appetite: “Each year at the end of the school year, I say goodbye to my seniors. And each year, I’ve written a letter to the seniors with some imparting thoughts as they go off in the world.”

5. Once you’ve posted your comment advertising your blogpost, look at the three previous comments (the ones above yours). Read the posts of these three people and write a comment each of their blogs! If you are one of those eager beavers who are the first three to post, just find three comments as people begin to post!

We know this is a lot, asking you: hey, start a blog. But you did it! And you’re going to try it out! And for that, we are proud mama and papa bears! You are awesomesauce!

** Also, please be sure to comment on other bloggers posts on THEIR blogs instead of here.  Everyone loves getting comments on their blogs! 

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288 thoughts on “Mission #1: The Power of The Blog

  1. Name: Ted Berry
    Twitter handle: @TedBerry6
    Blog name: Berry Blog (original I know)
    Title of Post: Mission one (again original)
    URL of Post: berry.ggmatter.com
    I wrote on a game I used to play in the classroom

  2. Name: Leah Briggs
    Twitter Handle: @BriggsLF
    Blog: Good Mathematical Practice
    Title of Post: Exploring the #MTBoS: Mission #1
    URL of Post: http://goodmathpractice.blogspot.com/2013/10/exploring-mtbos-mission-1.html
    I wrote about some of the things that have become routines and habits in my classroom.

  3. Adrian Pumphrey
    @PumphreysMath
    Blog: Pumphrey’s Math
    Post: Seven Squares – The Essence of Mathematics
    URL: http://pumphreysmath.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/seven-squares-the-essence-of-mathematics/
    Without doubt mine is nrich’s Seven Square’s problem. To my mind, this captures the essence of what mathematics is all about: Patterns. I love starting my Algebra 2 course with this to give them a sense of why we do the Math.

  4. Jake Hannon
    @jhannondelhi
    Blog: http://nonlinearprogressions.wordpress.com/
    Post: The Border Problem
    URL: http://nonlinearprogressions.wordpress.com/2013/10/14/explore-mtbos-1-a-favorite-problem/

    This problem provides an awesome way for kids focus on how they express their thinking numerically and how they can use expressions as a window into someone else’s thinking. Take a look!

  5. Hi, I’m Prof Gra (@profgraorg).
    My blog doesn’t have any name, just my professional website, sorry! Let’s call it Prof Gra dot org.
    I just posted an article called «introduction to limits»:
    http://profgra.org/lycee/blog.2013-10-16.Introduction_to_limits.html

    I describe a very simple series of questions like «Find a number greater than 1000» which range from absurdly easy to profound. They lead smoothly to the definition of a series which limit is infinity.

  6. Pam (@pamjwilson) I blog at the radical rational. My post http://pamjwilson.wordpress.com/2013/10/15/one-thing-that-happens-in-my-classroom-that-makes-it-distinctly-mine-explore-mtbos-week-1/

    What students take-a-way from my classroom is more about life, respect for others and some silly fun we have with math songs and crazy advice for life.

  7. Chris Hill (@hillby258), my blog is “Math is a Shovel”
    My post is: “MTBoS Challenge 1 – Constructions & Sickness”
    http://wp.me/pXt6A-42
    I posted about matching up math with diseases (epidemiology) and using real credit card offers to make an exponential lesson.

  8. Andrea Dutton
    @livelearnmath
    Blog: http://adutton24.wordpress.com
    Exploring the MathtwitterBlogosphere
    http://adutton24.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/exploring-the-mathtwitterblogosphere/
    One of my favorite problems that I start the school year with is Crossing the River.
    There are 8 and 2 children that have to cross the river but only one adult or one child or two children can be in the boat. How many one way trips does it take to get everyone to the other side?

  9. Kevin Cunningham

    Kevin Cunningham
    @bt2bn
    Blog:http://joiningupthemaths.wordpress.com
    Post: http://joiningupthemaths.wordpress.com/2013/10/17/mtbos-mission-1-rich-task-painted-cube/

    “I love that from a simple problem we can get so much Maths that connects to everything else – when they come back on Monday we’re going to mindmap all of the Maths we used in this one simple problem and marvel at the wonder of Mathematics!”

  10. name: bill carrera
    twitter: bcarrera
    blog: new tricks for an old dog
    How many books in the library?
    http://bcarrera.edublogs.org/2013/10/17/how-many-books-in-the-library/

    Because we have a new librarian, we are going through the library and adding new books to our catalog. Mrs. Tiffany wants us to help her determine how many books we have in the library.

  11. Hi I’m Cav, and have arrived late to the MTBoS party. On Twitter I am @srcav and my blog is http://cavmaths.wordpress.com/ .

    I’ve not written a mission one post, but there are two old posts I think are fairly relevant:

    Here’s one on ratio with some interesting tasks: http://wp.me/p2z9Lp-2z

    And here’s one on an idea I borrowed from @mrprcollins which makes my classroom fairly unique (in my area at least!) : http://wp.me/p2z9Lp-1V

  12. Name: Graham Fletcher
    Twitter: @gfletchy
    Blog: Questioning My Metacognition
    Post Title: MTBos Mission #1: 3-Act Hanging by a Hair
    http://gfletchy.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/mtbos-mission-1-3-act-hanging-by-a-hair/
    Fav Lesson Sneak Peak: An elementary 3-Act task that has students determine the tinsel strength of their hair and then determine how many strands of hair they would need to support their body weight

  13. Name: Jane Kise
    Twitter: @JaneKise
    Blog: Differentiated Coaching Associates
    Post Title: The Right Kind of Lazy for Math
    http://www.janekise.com/2013/06/the-right-kind-of-lazy-for-math/
    Preview: My favorite exercise for helping educators understand the values of teaching algorithms AND alternative problem-solving methods

  14. Kristin
    @KristinABC123
    HoppeNinjaMath.com/teacherblog
    Distinctly Mine: Mission #1 Exploring the MTBoS
    http://www.hoppeninjamath.com/teacherblog/?p=349
    Read about how lucky I am to have a free mentoring program at my school.

  15. Ashley
    No Twitter 😦
    Ayurnamat: Reflections http://ayurnamatreflections.blogspot.com/
    I haven’t written a post yet… but I am going to, soon. I’ve had fun so far as a first year student!

  16. Name: Lynne Yarrows
    Twitter: @numerzgal
    Blog: http://wp.me/s41X89-3
    Post Title: An Introvert on Twitter
    Preview: I am a lurker…stalker……

  17. Jessica
    @algebrainiac1
    Algebrainiac – Are you pondering what I’m pondering?
    Explore the MToBS Mission #1
    http://algebrainiac.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/explore-the-mtobs-mission-1/
    I wrote about what is unique about my classroom by asking my students and creating a wordle for visual appeal.

  18. OK, so I’m a little late to the game, but I finally started my blog – something I’ve been thinking about for ages. Make a girl feel good and visit me at http://willitbeonthetest.wordpress.com/
    I’ve just posted an intro and about an activity I used to promote thinking about the Index Laws.

  19. My name is Sabrina Bernath @mathwithbernath and I’m blogging at http://mathwithbernath.blogspot.com The title of my blogpost is “My open ended mission one question” http://mathwithbernath.blogspot.com/2013/10/my-open-ended-mission-one-question.html. I would love to connect with another math teacher at a Jewish Day school. I am a little behind on my missions but thrilled to be part of this initiative!

  20. Well, here I go with Mission #1–better late than never. I am on Fall break now, so I will try to get caught up soon!
    Jane Taylor
    Twitter: @mathnerdjet
    Blog: Musings on Math by an Experienced Amateur mathnerdjet.wordpress.com
    Blog Post: An Experienced Amateur starts to blog http://mathnerdjet.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/mission-1-my-first-blog-ever/
    “Maybe this blog will help. Help me to improve. Help me to realize that I am not the only crazy perfectionist out there. Help to realize that it is OK to strive and fall short of perfection and remain joyful and optimistic while doing so.”
    (I didn’t do either of the prompts. I just told a little about myself and why I want to join MTBoS)

    • What I would be more inseertted in is being able to buy the game at retail and get a code to also download the game so I could have the game card and a digital copy thats always with me.

    • "Given the substantial discontinuity between Mesolithic and Neolithic in Europe"We cannot overlook the probable impact of air and cremation burials on Europe. These are likely (given the climate and legends) to be the dominant local practice. And they leave no DNA.

  21. My name is Emma (@mccreaemma) and I’m blogging at http://mccreamusings.wordpress.com/. The title of my blogpost is, very originally: Mission #1: The Power of The Blog.
    Thinking of having a look? This might entice you further “bewilderment” 😉

  22. Your name Jasmine Walker
    Your Twitter handle @jaz_math
    Your blog name jaz_math
    The title of your post TI-83 Programming Project for Coordinate Geometry
    The URL of your post http://bit.ly/1dy43w5
    One (or two) sentences from your post to capture a reader’s interest
    Assign your students a rich computer programming project without needing to know a lot about CS yourself. I presented on this project at TMC13.

  23. Your name: Nichole
    Your Twitter handle: m4thn3rd
    Your blog name: Learn Sum Math
    The title of your post: My Massive Math Word Wall
    The URL of your post: http://learnsummath.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/my-massive-math-word-wall-mission-1-exploring-mtbos/
    One (or two) sentences from your post to capture a reader’s interest:
    You might be thinking, “There are so many words, that is so overwhelming!”. I agree, there are a lot of words and that makes it very overwhelming. What makes a word wall useful is not just about the words that you have on the wall, but it is also about HOW you use it.

  24. Name: Paul Drake
    Blog Name: Teacher Drake
    Post Title: “And So it Begins…”
    Post URL: http://teacherdrake.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/and-so-it-begins/

    From the Post: “I began teaching because I loved math and I hated math classes. In fact, I loved math so much that I decided to get bachelor’s degree in it, and I hated math class so much that I just barely got a bachelor’s degree in it. I want to change that disconnect in classrooms.”

  25. Name: Robin McAteer
    Twitter handle: @robintg
    Blog name: Connecting Dots
    Title of Post: Courage and Fear
    URL of Post: http://wp.me/p44hXH-5
    I wrote about the similarities between courage and fear

  26. Diana Fesmire
    no Twitter – yet
    Blog Name: Does That Make Sense? Musing of a Math Teacher
    Title of Post: Who am I?
    URL of Post: http://dianafesmire.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/who-am-i/
    My name is Diana and I am a middle school math teacher from New Mexico. This is my 27th year of teaching, but I haven’t taught my first year 27 times.

  27. Alicia Bates
    still working on a twitter
    Blog Name: Making Math Accessible
    Models in HS Math – Really?
    http://makingmathaccessible.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/use-models-in-high-school-math-really/
    I wrote about using models in the high school classroom.

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