TMC13 Brain Dump

I can’t believe it’s over.

A year of waiting and anticipating (and stressing!) and it’s already over.

This was my 2nd year to attend Twitter Math Camp. TMC12 was a very emotional time for me and, as you can read here, totally ruined my reputation. I was afraid that the increase in attendees for TMC13 would make it difficult to develop new relationships. That was true and then again it wasn’t.

Wednesday morning started at 4 a.m. as I headed for the airport in New Orleans. To say I was wicked-hyper-excited would be an understatement. But as much as I was looking forward to TMC, there were several people I knew I was going to miss. @druinok and @fouss were not going to be there and, as expected, TMC13 wasn’t the same without them. Also missing from my adventure was my partner in crime @mesimmons5. Traveling with him is always amazing and I was completely bored in airports and on planes without him. Our ability to make people uncomfortable with our honest conversations is so entertaining. I missed him very much. And also missing from the original crew were @colinmac10 and my brotha-from-anotha-motha @troystein (who was being the Super Dad that he is). So three of my best friends and the whole crew of amigos wouldn’t be on this trip. I couldn’t imagine what TMC13 would be without them.

My original plan was to meet @mathdiva77 at the airport, wait on @justagirl24, and then catch a ride with @hfxmark to the hotel. But as usual, airports said “Oh you made plans? SURPRISE!!!.” Poor Summer was stuck and had plane delay after plane delay. And poor Roxie was the first tweep to incur my excitement over TMC. I may have hugged her in half (sorry, babe!). We made our way towards baggage when I saw this sign:

Mark got his nieces to draw it for me and I absolutely loved it! At baggage, we met up with @_mattowen_ and the four of us piled up and headed to the hotel.

That poor hotel staff didn’t know what to think when we got there. I was hugged, spun, picked up and thrown around by @mythagon, @aanthonya and my favorite Brit, @nik_d_maths. I squealed like a little girl and didn’t care about the looks I got. That night we all went out and witnessed the craziness of a crew of kids on the streets of Philly. The kids were pushing people down, stealing, throwing things through windows, etc. (a real “WHOA” moment for me). We started with dinner and seeing @fawnpnguyen‘s obsession with “muscles” and @wahedabug‘s notorious sassy loud personality.


I also got my awkward-small-child-hugging-me reaction from @sarcasymptote and it was as awesome as I’d hoped it would be.

Thursday morning:
It didn’t seem real until all of us piled into this large room at Drexel and I got to see @maxmathforum. There are few people in this world that are as helpful and humble as Max. I think he’s awesome.

After the announcements, we headed to the morning sessions. When I got to the stats session, I realized that there were fewer “stats” people and more that were interested about learning about stats. Kinda threw a monkey wrench in my plans, but just like we do in the classroom, we rolled with it. We discussed the overview of the course, different ways to approach it, and some of the ways we tried to bring life into the course.

After lunch and the “my favorites”, Max presented his “I Notice, I Wonder” session to the whole group. Max is so awesome to watch, whether in a 5-min Ignite session or for a full hour, I’m always completely fascinated. He makes everything about math so interesting and wonderful. I would have loved to have him for a teacher/instructor.

I attended @trianglemancsd‘s “5 practices” session. I found this session so interesting and helpful for the upcoming year. Using something as simple as a Tootsie Roll, we did some pretty intensive modeling and conceptual mathematics relating to fractions. I really needed this because it’s my job this year to try and help elementary teachers do more of this type of teaching than the standard algorithmic instruction. I wish I could steal Christopher and bring him to our local university to teach our elementary teachers. THIS is the type of instructional modeling they need to see. Although I think he would be a fantastic teacher to kids, I understand the value he has in post-secondary education. And he’s even nicer in person than I thought he’d be. Let me clarify – I didn’t think he would be a snot, but he COULD have been. I always think “brainy” people are going to blow me off, but Christopher is extremely friendly and witty. It was an honor to meet him.

Afterwards, I attended @johnberray’s “Make Math Memorable” session. John is freakin’ hysterical, to say the least. I’m betting that middle school kids fight over having his classes and rightfully so. He had some very funny ideas for engaging kids in the classroom: “hot carrots”, “I’m a REAL” boy, the “future/past” phone, and bananas. I laughed a lot in this session and took some cool ideas away to bring to teachers in my district.

At this time, I would like to formally request that “karaoke night” be a new standard to Twitter Math Camp. I loved it. Here are a few recap pictures:

And I finally got to have a “sit down” conversation with @absvalteaching. Didn’t think it was possible to like and respect him more than I already did, and I was mistaken. Chris is just awesome. And TAAAAAAALLLLLLL. And I got to do burpees with @mgolding – I’m not sure what the purpose was, but we did them (much to the confusion of @lustomatical, but he thinks I’m a weirdo anyway).

After the morning session, the stats group went to work compiling resources and discussing sampling distributions and Central Limit Theorem. @gwaddell had a great method for teaching CLT using pennies.

I also got a new source for stats. “The Code” may be my new favorites series – here’s a clip we watched that’s prettY cool:

Team Mathalicious rolled out a preview of some secret stuff. I think that the new direction they’re going is pretty awesome and I look forward to seeing the final product with all the “bells and whistles”. I think that’s all I can say without fear of death. Although I will say that what @cheesemonkey noticed about the “RoCo” gave me the giggles.

I went to @cheesemonkey’s “Adding “Stickiness” to Rich Tasks & Math Projects” session and wasn’t disappointed. She had some great activities for making us think “outside the box” on those lessons that are tough (or boring) to teach. I think I got a lot out of it because helping teachers make rich tasks will be part of my job this year. So once again, E totally saved me. And she’s deliciously funny. 🙂

Later than night was a trip to Jolly’s Dueling Piano Bar. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but had to eat my words. SO much fun – if you’re in Philly, YOU HAVE TO GO.

We danced. We sang. We roasted @sweenwsweens

Can I just say how much I love my sister, @mgolding? Like L.O.V.E.

Her session on INBs was even better than I could’ve expected. I think the way she let us put together a notebook just like her kids was exactly what I needed to experience. Being able to cut/tape/experiment with our notebooks helped me see the awesome possibility of the INB. It was here that I started having my first regrets of leaving the classroom (and that’s a compliment, Megan).

After lunch was the most terrifying moment of my educational career, Stats Bootcamp. Please understand, I don’t get nervous. I don’t get scared. I’ve presented at conferences for 150+ people like it’s nothing. But this was different, and I wasn’t sure that what I’d planned would convey the awesomeness that is statistics. Especially not to the MTBoS! Poor @druinok had to go through about 3 or 4 drafts of my presentation before I finally felt it was “ok”. And had she been there, it would have kicked SUCH major butt because EVERYTHING that I love about stats really comes from ideas and conversations and brainstorms with her. She’s the godmother/guru of stats in my mind. And poor Summer – that woman was a blessing that day. She was able to “sass” me out of my panic attack and helped me prep when she didn’t have to. I think that those who attended Bootcamp got something out of it and I plan to submit a 2-hour “Stats Basic Training” session for TMC14 where we actually go through 3 or 4 of the stats labs I talked about. Just not the ones with the pigs. My eyes can’t go through that again.

After my session, I led a little horsepower lab that I stole from Penny Smeltzer out in the the lobby. I only had a handful of people to show up, but I hope they enjoyed the lab as much as I did. See if you can match each person with their horsepower:

And here’s Eli from Desmos with the fastest horsepower. As I said, that is one fast little booger:

That night I thought we were going to eat sushi, but we ended up eating… well, I don’t really know WHAT we ate. Indian? Thai? Mush? All I know is that I had a one night stand with that buffet and I do NOT plan on ever calling it back again. YUCK. I felt awful because @samjshah felt bad that I didn’t like it. But I did TRY it, so I get props for that, right Sam?

I hate the last day of TMC. HATE IT. I told myself I would NOT cry this year but UUUGHHH. I gave in. I held it together until Fawn hugged me. HARD. I don’t live close enough to this woman who I’m blessed beyond measure to have found. Same with @jamidanielle, @jreulbach, @marshafoshee and @mathdiva77. It’s so hard to say goodbye to the women in my Twitterverse who make me feel normal. I don’t get that feeling anywhere else because I’m so ABNORMAL in my corner of the world. But… I hope they know how much I love them and appreciate them.

To lighten my mood, Nik talked me into going to eat Mexican food. I misunderstood “Dining Days” and before I knew it, each of us had 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and a dessert. That’s 10 PLATES of food. Deliriously full as you can see:

I’ve never wished for a wheelbarrow so bad in my life. I had a “food baby” for reals, y’all. Came back with 10 extra pounds, I bet.


Flight cancelled. Drama ensued. How much drama?

this wasn’t the end of the call – just a brief pause at almost 2 hours. TWO FREAKIN’ HOURS!! Y’all, I don’t talk to people I LIKE that long, much less airline reps. Just get me on a plane and get me home, y’know? Summer and I walked Nik to the train station and we said goodbye to our baby Brit (who still can’t believe we haven’t been on any trains other than subways).

Summer and I made our way to the airport and I walked her to her gate. Talk about a tough goodbye. Anyway, I bounced around from gate to gate and airport to airport, finally making my way back to New Orleans after midnight and getting home around 2:30 a.m. That actually worked out for me because I had a presentation the next day and was still wired from the flight. I’m weird, I know.

Some insight from TMC13 that I couldn’t fit anywhere else:

@calcdave has some cool shirts

Mussels are GROSS (no matter WHAT Fawn says)

@ultrarawr is a super nice guy and was gracious enough to let me spend a lot of time pouring over some INBs from his class.

His “my favorite stupid point system” talk was pretty funny and also really great.

@sophiegermain is amazing. I’m fascinated when she talks and she’s the best karaoke buddy ever. She and @rdpickle are so much fun to watch.

I didn’t spend enough time with @sarcasymptote. And I absolutely loved that he serenaded me at karaoke. Might have been the highlight of my TMC13.

@samjshah can talk me into anything. Karaoke, leading a crowd, etc. I can’t say no.

Drexel University is gorgeous.

I’m adopting @aanthonya and @hfxmark as my new big brothers. I love these guys so much.

Teacher Proof” is an awesome book. I highly recommend it to help you wade through the fluff of educational research. And Ch 2 should be used in every stats class.

So although I got to spend time with old friends and make new ones, there were still SO many people I didn’t get to meet. To be honest, Sunday I looked around the room wondering, “Who is THAT? Where did he/she come from? Have they been here the WHOLE time?” And that wasn’t the case at TMC12. We knew everybody. I’m not 100% sure how I feel about the increase in attendance, but I know I missed out on some amazing conversations. And that’s just the consequence of the awesome family we have in the MTBoS. The stronger we are in numbers, the less connected we *could* become. But that’s a debate for another day.

Thanks for the fun, peeps. See you guys next year.


4 thoughts on “TMC13 Brain Dump

  1. That “The Code” clip is amazing! I'll have to try to hunt down more. Thanks for the tip off!


  2. I think that picture is the only evidence that I was even at this conference…


  3. I was thisclose to making the comment that you spelled mussels wrong (repeatedly). I should've known better. 🙂

    I missed being there! Thanks for the awesome recap.



  4. It's so awesome that you mentioned almost every one of my Twitterverse heros that I have never met or talked to in one post, with the huge exception being @ddmeyer. Hope to be a part of conferences like this one day, from my little spot in Raleigh, NC.


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