It happened too fast and ended too soon.
That’s really the first thing that comes to mind when I think of #TMC12. Which might be why it’s taken me so long to write this. I just want to write and not really think, so please forgive me if it comes out weird or stupid, or… you get the idea.
I was honestly kind of nervous about TMC because I know I’m pretty much just a smartass juvenile in the Twitterverse (YES, I’m aware you didn’t need me to say this outloud). I don’t contribute much mathematically because I really don’t think anything I do is worthy in comparison to the other tweeps I follow. I’m afraid people will think it’s stupid and make fun of me. Yes, I still have scars from the mean girls that tortured me in high school (“Oh, did you shop at the Salvation Army for that outfit? How sweet.” “Did they ever catch the criminals that beat you with that ugly stick? No? What a shame.”). Plus, let’s just say I have to put on a different persona in FaceBookLand and in my “real life”. Twitter is honestly the only place where I’ve felt 100% comfortable to be ME. So if I put something out there that my tweeps viewed as crappy, that would be hard for me to deal with because of the respect I have for them. I don’t want @k8nowak or @samjshah or @calcdave to know how dumb I really can be am. So, in short, meeting everyone was going to be intimidating as hell. What if I AM as annoying as I think I am?? Oh well. I was about to find out. Balls to the wall, love me or hate me, I decided I wasn’t going to be anyone but me.
I conned convinced my new parter-in-crime (@mesimmons5) to go with me to TMC. He’s still relatively new to tweeting with my math peeps, and I thought this would be a good initiation for him. However, I really think everyone would agree that the initiation was mine. I’ll keep the details on the DL (that’s how much I LOVE you, man), but let’s just say it was entertaining to say the least. And I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have for a colleague. That guy has some great ideas for bringing media into the classroom and will have SO much to share with you guys at #TMC13 (and I mean that in the non-Jerome/Tyrone way). Please follow this guy and hopefully I can get him to blog soon. His creativity impresses the hell out of me, but don’t tell him I told ya.
By the way:
Simmons + airplanes = ohmygoshmysideshurtfromlaughingsomuchI’msosorryyouhadtoseethatTSA.
When we got to the airport in STL, the first “real” tweep I met was @jreulbach. Well, let’s just say it was love at first sight. She is BETTER than what you think she’d be but just better live and in stereo. Not only will she belt out “Country Road” anywhere (and get EVERY stranger to sing along with her), but she is genuine and funny and NOT OBNOXIOUS. I think everyone at camp would drive to North Carolina anytime to hang with her on the lake. You can’t NOT love this girl. TOO much fun in such a tiny package, and she rolls with anything you throw at her (even if it’s a huge corn dog). As I tweeted during camp, I really wish I could be one of her students. Her kids are so lucky to have her and I hope they know it.
I also got to see @troystein again. I don’t consider Troy a colleague anymore. Troy is like that awesome best friend from college that you know will always have your back. I’ve known him so long that he honestly feels more like family. I wasn’t prepared to introduce him during camp (and don’t have a clue what I said), but I hope you all experienced what I was trying to express. Troy wants kids to succeed and wants to enable teachers with whatever tools they need to make that happen. Yes, he’s a TechSmith guy, but his conviction is about the kids. He LOVES great teachers and what they do in the classroom. I really have to thank you guys for letting him into our weird little world and sharing with him as openly and honestly as you did. That meant a lot to me.
As always, I was happy to see my BFF @druinok! One day we’ve got to blog about how we “met”, because it’s a crazy story that turned two total strangers into BFFs. I appreciate everything she does for me during the year with AP Stats, and she motivates me like no one else does. I appreciate EVERYTHING she did to help organize TMC12! Mad props, girl. MAD props. She also didn’t kill me, which is always appreciated. Sorry, mom. Maybe next time. <— LONG story. Hopefully next year won’t be so crazy and we can hang like we usually do. I don’t think she was able to sit longer than a few minutes at a time and I MISS that collaboration that I usually get to do with her. Had a wonderful dinner with several people, including @lmhenry (and hubs). I also have to thank Lisa and her hubs for everything they did to prep and carry out this conference. I owe Lisa so much. And I’m going to apologize to her in advance for anything that happens at TMC13 (it wasn’t my idea, I swear).
Later on that night, we had a “tweet up” in Lisa’s room. I saw someone I didn’t recognize, and it took me a minute to realize it was @mathbratt. That girl is SO cool and funny. She was definitely one tweep that surprised me because we didn’t really talk much on Twitter before (but she can organize a photo shoot FO SHO). Now that I’ve met her in person, I think that will change (whether she likes it or not). Also met @jamidanielle who was new on my radar. But I have to say that I liked her immediately. Sometimes you just “click” with someone and you can tell them ANYTHING. That’s Jami.
I also met “it” and, like clockwork, we started fighting and insulting each other.
Twitter is weird for me. I feel like I’ve really “known” these people the last three or four years, but how could that be? I’d only really MET one. But some you just click with and that’s why I’ve always felt like @fouss was on my team. She’s wicked smart, supermom^2, has great ideas in the classroom, and always seemed “real” on Twitter. I’ve overshared personal stuff with her many times and she’s always had my back 100%. I was SO nervous about meeting Fouss because I have CRAZY respect for this woman on so many levels. Guess what. She was so much more than I hoped she would be. She is witty and sweet and one of the most admirable/adorable women I’ve ever met in my life. When you see her, you can’t help but smile and just feel like everything is right with the world. That might be an overshare, but I don’t care. I love that lady (as you can clearly see by my Twitter avatar – sorry I attacked you, Fouss, couldn’t help myself).
And as we were hanging out, the newsflash came in – Sam was in the building. I ran out of the room, down the hall, off the elevator and OHMYFREAKINGCRAPTHEREHEWAS. As he was getting onto a different elevator I sprinted (a.k.a. was RUNNANNNG like Forrest Gump) towards him, only to have the doors close in my face. Not to be deterred, I watched what floor he stopped on and took the next elevator up. I ran up and down the halls looking for any sign of Sam, but found nothing. I sulked back to Lisa’s room in defeat. And then it happened. Sam walked in. I went from obnoxiously extroverted to curling up in a ball and staring at him for an awkward period of time. I couldn’t say a word (which is NOT like me). SAM. WAS. IN. THE. ROOM. And so began the first of MANY embarrassing events for which I will apologize. Sam is the CUTEST thing I have ever seen and after he told me I was being weird, I loosened up a bit and was able to talk to him without making him extremely uncomfortable.
Exeter problems to start the day and it was really amazing! TWITTER MATH CAMP WAS HAPPENING!! It was so surreal I just couldn’t really wrap my mind around it. Having the opportunity to experience problem-solving with my tweeps and discuss student thinking was great. I think this was the first time that I really got to hang out with @mgolding. And whether she likes it or not, I am adopting Megan as my new sister. She is so much funnier and wittier than you could ever imagine, and yet she has NO idea how awesome she really is. More on our misadventures later. I also got to get to know @mwmathews – talk about not what you expected (but in a good way). I’m hoping he’ll pipe up more on Twitter now that he knows us a little better. He’s funny!
My Favorite Thing – ok, can I say I have never been so nervous in my entire life??? I’ve done presentations on marshmallow guns at NCTM national conferences for 150+ people without a second thought, but the 39 of you just made me want to pee my pants. Apparently I say “twine” with an annoying Southern accent (thanks DAVE…)? My bad. But I hope I made SOME sense. If not, you can read it in print here. Thanks for not laughing TOO much (to my face, anyway, hahaha). And thanks to @maxmathforum for letting me shoot him.
I was honestly nervous for Troy’s presentation on the Flipped Classroom. I know that when we say “flip” some people assume we mean Khan Academy and that’s not the case. I didn’t want anyone to tune him out because they stereotyped “flipping”. THANKFULLY no one did. As Troy showed us, you can flip your classroom as uniquely and individual to your needs as you choose apps for your phone. Your videos don’t have to be straight lecture or procedural. They can be investigatory, open ended, summaries, if-then-try, etc. I always love how open and honest Troy is about what his kids go through and I was glad to know that it made some of your reconsider how you view this new area of instruction. Still might not be your jam, but your questions and dialogue really helped me rethink some ideas myself.
Afterwards, it was time for @bowmanimal‘s Geogebra session. Holy crap, this guy is a mathematical rock star. I’ve always liked Bowman and thought his blog was unbelievable. But watching his thought process (especially during Exeter probs) just impressed the hell out of me. No joke. He’s so smart and funny and TAAAALLLL (but he’s on the “good” tall list, so it’s ok).
And of course, I had to go to Julie’s “Foldables” session. I got some great ideas for statistics and Algebra2 that I plan to put in use the first week of school. Also learned what a “cootie catcher” was – one of the MANY things I learned at TMC12.
I have to admit that, although I was having a blast, I was starting to miss some of my tweeps that were not at camp. I realized quickly I could NOT “camp” and “tweet” at the same time. This was difficult because there are some people I tweet EVERY day. I was having withdrawals. I told @fawnpnguyen I would take her with me to camp. And I did (even though it made her mad). 🙂 I also missed my sista, @wahedahbug and the 3-Acts king,@mr_stadel. And I missed trading quips with the always witty @MrPicc112. I wanted them with me at TMC12, but I heard they started a camp of their own (some sort of “jealousy camp”?). Next year, you four WILL be at TMC13 (and Timon, you can’t say no cuz you’re Canadian – we had TWO Canadians at TMC12). Hedge has spoken – make it happen.
After camp, we had to haul butt over to the Budweiser brewery to catch the last tour. The gift shop was unreal (you know how I love Bud Light Limes), but I (somehow) resisted buying anything. The tour itself was really cool. The strangest thing for me was the extreme change in temperature from building to building on the tour. One minute we’re outside in 100 degree weather, then we’re in a cooling area where it’s 50 degrees, then in a boiler room of some sort where it’s 90+ degrees again. It was cray cray!! [Oh, speaking of cray cray – let me PLEASE apologize to @rdkpickle for making her uber-uncomfortable. My bad, girl. MY BAD.] The Budweiser grounds were really awesome and we were extremely juvenile during the whole tour (which I LOVED). But THE BEST part of the tour? Like the UNBELIEVABLE part of the tour? Like the TOTALLY MOST AMAZEBALLS THING that would have ONLY happened in my DREAMS part of the tour??? Sam gave me a piggy back ride for like TEN minutes. OMG. *sigh* Yes, THAT was my Bieber moment. After the official “tour”, we got to “taste” some of the Budweiser beer and hang for a bit. I got to meet @colinmac10 (what’s the 10 for again?) and found out I’m not the only teacher who had students get in trouble for being, er, “hands on”. So it was cool to be IRL buddies with someone BEFORE we were Twitter buddies. Colin seemed like a sweet and reserved Canadian at this time. I realized quickly this was just a front (more on that later).
So you get your 2 beer limit (well, really – they weren’t exactly keeping track and we totally took advantage of it) at the Budweiser tour and then what do you do? Go for pizza at a restaurant who themes its decor and menu around PI. We all got to sit together in the same area and I got seated next to @jamidanielle, @justagurl24, @calcdave (and his beautiful genius wife), @troystein, @bowmanimal, and @mesimmons5.
Here’s where the problem came in – I was so busy talking to Jami, Troy, Roxi and David, that I didn’t really notice the bonding between Simmons and “it“. Apparently the bonding started over the “green” and “silver” buttons in the bathroom (for which there are pictures somewhere that you shall not see for your own good). At one point, Simmons whispered, “Hedge – I’m sorry but I think Seiler is kinda cool.” HUH? My ENEMY?? SERIOUSLY??? OMG. I had to leave the table at that point (Et tu, Simmons?) and I found a spot near @karimkai. Because I’ll talk to anybody (yeah, sorry about that everybody), Karim was my next victim and was nice enough to let me sit next to him for a bit. After a minute or two MAYBE I might have taken a friendly shot at my friend @fnoschese, but Karim totally stuck up for his buddy and clipped me with a few shots at my Southern roots. I appreciate someone who can give insults as well as take them, and Karim did just that. I didn’t expect him to be funny, so he’s on the “good” tall list. He also told me the story of how he got into Stanford (which is a great one, but he’s full of crap if he thinks I buy that’s the ONLY reason he got in). After 20 minutes of listening to him talk about Mathalicious, I really gained a new respect for the guy and he’s now on my very short “hero” list. Mad props and respect to him for what he’s given up over the last 3 years to put Mathalicious together. At the end of the meal, the waiters told us our meal was taken care of. I don’t who or why, but that was BAD ASS. Just saying. There may or may not have been some pole dancing on poor @jruelbach, but she laughed it off and didn’t appear to be TOO traumatized.
So back to the hotel we went and down to the hotel bar we collected. Most of us anyway. I have to keep much of those details on the D.L., but Simmons, Colin, and Seiler started to bond in this trifecta of evil that they soon dubbed “The Three Amigos” (–>0:48 to see what they continued to do the whole night). Honestly, it was more like “The Three Stooges”, but y’know – whatever helps them sleep at night. This was the first time I got to really hang out with @marshafoshee, who is a TOTAL sweetheart. But don’t let that sweetness fool you – she is quick-witted and and can throw an insult around here and there like nobody’s business. But I think that @mgolding and I both experienced the first of many scarring events. Let’s just say there may have been some booty-shaking and stripping that we all witnessed, but Megan and I were particularly subjected to specific events that neither of us will forget. Some of us left with different clothes than we arrived in, but we still loved each other enough not to judge. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
Holy frick-n-frack, Batman! Exeter problems day 2 and Simmons and I just started looking for things we could use in our classroom. If you’ve never looked through those problems, I HIGHLY suggest you do.
Another great day of “My Favorite…” – I can’t remember who did what on which day, but I’m sure other bloggers posted better than I did. I really love this part of camp and I hope that TMC13 has daily hour sessions of this. Just 5 – 15 minutes of what you do that you love. So many great ideas!!
Karim showed us some discovery ideas on Mathalicious that were so freakin’ cool. I know I was supposed to tweet the crap out of this session, but SOME of my #TMCjealousycamp peeps (*cough* @wahedahbug, @mr_stadel, @mrpicc112) did some serious voodoo on my phone that killed my battery. But Karim did a great job (no shocker there) showing us how Mathalicious is transforming the usefulness and coolness of mathematics. (And Karim is a cutie, for all those single ladies out there… Just sayin. I’m trying to play Cupid, cuz he’s a nice guy.) Afterwards, I went to the Google Docs presentation w/ Glenn and Julie. Again, this gave me so many ideas of keeping up with student work in my statistics class. Not to mention keeping track of student info. Love love love to these two for showing how to simplify your life w/ Gdocs and Gdrive.
Then I had to support my former Southern brother @calcdave on his “You Might Be a Mathematician If…” session. David had some great quotes from this one. “Mathematicians are like 2 yr olds – always asking, ‘Why? Why? Why?'” “What if 1+1 isn’t equal to 2? Like in combining drops of a water?” “How many grains of salt until it becomes a ‘pile’?” And my favorite: “Telling me you hate math is like going up to a full-time mother and saying, ‘I hate babies'”. Side note: I didn’t get to hang out with David as much as I wanted at TMC12. Hope it wasn’t because he found me too obnoxious/embarrassing. But there’s always TMC13. 🙂
A quick return to the hotel and then STL CARDS GAME!! For those of you that didn’t attend, you missed some great silly fun. After a few rounds of musical chairs, we all kind of found a spot to chill in for the majority of the game. Sam got a helmet of nachos, and Julie was presented with a humongous corn dog by some obnoxious tweep (who appears drunk in EVERY picture, yet she WASN’T). The “after game” party was the best, though. WHO KNEW that @colinmac10 (a) would break into the Cupid Shuffle with some random poor drunk girl (to make her feel better) and (b) be the BEST DJ EVER??? We had a serious music war with the people in @fouss’ car, but we won that battle HANDS DOWN.
Back at the hotel, we gathered in @mgolding’s room for an “after game” party where the DJ blast continued. I think we only got security called once (or maybe twice?). But it was a ton of fun. Colin continued to DJ, Fouss was chillin’ and keeping the peace, “It” made my beer volcano, I had to climb him like a brick wall to get my sunglasses back, but Troy helped me get SOME revenge. Then Troy picked @druinok’s brain for some ideas about why (some) teachers are afraid of constructive feedback – I think they had some really good open and honest dialogue. But I crashed early. My brain needed to reboot. 🙂
Instead of working on Exeter problems, I spent the morning with Simmons collaborating on Algebra 2. @aanthonya joined us after a while and started showing Simmons and I some of the things he’d created for his class using media. This is Simmons’ JAM. So he started showing Anthony some of the things he’d created and I think the two of them sort of started planning their TMC13 presentation. How cool??? By the way, Anthony is a total troublemaker. Just sayin’. hahaha
And I loved that we all showed our immature “camper” mentality during Shawn’s presentation via Skype. How funny was it to continually throw him off track typing random stuff on his Gdoc? He should know that teachers are the WORST students. Mad props to those of you who let your juvenile side show. It was entertaining. My apologies to Simmons for the things I wrote on his notes. I know I’m awful. And I love that you don’t judge me. Much.
Then I went to @mgolding’s interactive notebook session – AH-MAH-ZHANG. I seriously could’ve spent 3 hours in that session and been 100% engaged the entire time. Sure she’s blogged and tweeted about it, but to hear her talk and answer questions in person was really super awesome. Megan is just SO freakin’ cool. LOVE this girl fo sho. And I think the most endearing thing about her is that she’s CLUELESS as to how engaging,funny and lovable she really is. After her session, she was worried about how it went – are you KIDDING me? She rocked it like a hurricane and was so humble about the whole thing.
Subject area breakouts – STATS PEEPS!!! I had my first real opportunity to learn from @stwillott, who I have stolen from for YEARS without his knowledge. Thankfully he was pretty cool about the whole thing and offered some great ideas during our collaborative time. We all talked about assessments (because stats is so different from other math courses) and how we can get the most bang for our buck. I think a few of us are going to collaborate on flipping in the AP courses so we can work more on FRs and applications. Should be some good stuff to blog about soon.
After camp, we all had the munchies and there was a GREAT German bar across the street from the hotel called Schneithorst’s (which I can’t pronounce to save my life). You can tell by the picture it’s a GORGEOUS bar. And although we’re all math teachers, let’s just say some of us were not aware of how much a liter (litre, for you Canadians) of beer REALLY is. Then again, some of us chugged it like it was a can of soda. And Julie led us through several rounds of some “ziggy zaggy saggy bottom boy oy oy” something or other that I couldn’t ever figure out (not her fault, I’m just dumb sometimes). And I found out that Fouss loves me enough to share. 🙂 The only problem was she left earlier than I did. And for those who stayed, FRIENDS DON’T LET FRIENDS CARRY “IT” ON THEIR BACKS and then take pictures. Just saying. *cough* MEGAN *cough*
But we couldn’t stay there all night – THE DARK KNIGHT was calling. Ok, SOME of us went to see Batman and SOME went to see Magic Mike. I’m not judging them and they’re not judging me. Megan was kind enough to drive since I’d been getting lost and making people mad driving all week. At a stop light, @jryske stunned everybody by jumping out of Megans jeep and running around Fouss’ vehicle – NEVER saw that one coming and it was SOOOO awesome. I didn’t have to wait in line for a ticket at the theater for some reason (GRRRRRRRRR, FOUSS, GRRRRRRR). And luckily we all got tickets for the same show, but we had to sit on the 3rd row from the screen. That was kind of freaky (tall things frighten me). As was the reaction that some of us had to the previews (LOTS of hand holding and awkward moments – sorry, Fouss). Batman was pretty cool – I spent more time laughing at people as they watched it, though. (And I think I fell asleep a few times… shhhh!). Oh, don’t judge me… SOME PEOPLE were texting. #busted
Afterwards, we came back to the hotel. @jryske and I tried to help Megan find a parking spot. What we found, however, was a unique view of the moon – in triplicate. FYI – just like an eclipse, that will burn your retinas and scar you for life. Just sayin’. We found our way to the bar to recover, but… yeah, more stuff I can’t talk about. Security came through at some point and told us we had to leave (party pooper). So we went into the lobby to bug the crap out of the front desk. That was fun. I finally got to thank @sweenwsweens in person for the life lesson he taught me (“LMGTFY”). Might have been weird (sorry, Sean, that you had to be included in my “awkward moments” club) to say that outloud to him, but it was the truth. 🙂
Because the “My favorites…” run together in my mind, I don’t really remember who said what on which day. I do remember that I loved @misscalcul8’s “2 nice things”. Basically, if a kid says something rude or mean to another kid (or about themselves), you tell them to immediately say to nice things about that person. She said it grew into a culture of the kids calling each other out if they were rude, which I like. And who can forget @justagurl24 ‘s “thank you”. She’s so stinkin’ cute and sweet – that was just so touching (even though I didn’t write anything for the blog she was referring to). Then Colin got up and became the ROCKSTAR by showing us SOCRATIVE. And in case you don’t believe me, let’s just say @cheesemonkey (who I ADORE soooo much!!) was VERY VERY excited to see it. So much so that I almost fell OUT of my chair. I think that she should get an award for that. I’ll go make her one (but send it on the DL as it’s not going to be very appropriate – but it WILL have a unicorn). Then the AWESOME “Tweet Me Maybe“. Holy crapola did I LOVE that. It was awesome. No surprise, considering who wrote and performed it.
But after my favorites… it happened. I’m ashamed of it, and I know it’s going to ruin my tough and scrappy reputation. I didn’t want it or expect it, but it happened and I have to admit it.
I cried like a wuss.
But WHY??? I talk to these people EVERY DAY!! I see their little avatars and I banter, joke, laugh with them all the time. It’s not like this was the last time we’d ever communicate. What was wrong with me? Why the HELL was I crying?
Because what we did was special. No. What we did was KICKASSAMAZEBALLS all rolled into one. We proved that you don’t HAVE to pay $250 in registration for a national conference and walk around like zombies in silence among strangers HOPING for that ONE amazing new idea to take back to your classroom. We proved that a few great friends can put on one hell of a PD camp and we all grew from it and each other. We proved that you can’t stop great collaboration. We proved that WE KNOW what we need and WE can help each other grow professional and personally. We proved that our Twitterblogomathematicrazysphere WORKS. TMC12 was like the most amazing math department on the planet that just happened to consist of about 40 of my closest friends.
And it was honest to God one of the best weeks of my life.
So thank you all.
NOW GET OFF MY BLOG BEFORE I BITE YOU!