Articles by Ashli Black, Andy Gael and Andrew Stadel
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This Week's Global Math Department Meeting

Happy Winter, Everyone! No Global Math presentation this week but the awesome will continue in January so stay tuned.

Not sure what to do with your extra hour tonight? Perhaps make some nerdy snowflakes? Some last minute ornaments? A shout out on the Twitters for something (or someone?) you are #tweepful for this season?

Free Everyday Professional Development

What would be on your long list of things you typically do during your prep period?

Would professional development be on that list?


Joe Schwartz’ blog post The Most Important Period of My Week reminds me how precious our prep period is. It also pushed me in another direction.


How lucky are we as secondary teachers to have a prep period almost every day of the week?


If the average prep period is 40 minutes, that’s about 7,200 minutes per year. I think we can all afford to use our prep period for professional development by observing a colleague at our site, regardless of subject area.


Could you spare 10-15 minutes of your prep once a week to observe a colleague? YES!

  • Email the teacher ahead of time and ask if it’s cool to stop by.

Teach every period? Could you ask your principal to cover your class for 15 minutes? YES!

  • Email your principal or AP why and when you’d like to observe a colleague.


Observe classroom management. Observe students. Observe time on task (or off task). Observe. Observe. Observe.

  • Follow up with an email thanking the teacher and ask them to tell you more about one thing you noticed.


Can you afford to do that? YES!

That’s free professional development. Wait a minute. It’s not free, you get paid!


By Andrew Stadel (@mr_stadel)


What do you get when you mix cautious optimism, nervous excitement, math nerds, pedagogical dreamers, and the internet?

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The answer: #NYCMathTweetup.


The Friday before last, a group of #MTBoS and Global Math Department teachers and pedagogues combined their love of math, teaching, twitter, and bite-sized food into what could only be described as “like professional development, except, you know, fun!” (Chris Burke, @mrburkemath).


New Visions for Public Schools, a NYC non-profit organization, which is “dedicated to ensuring that all New York City public school students, regardless of race or economic class, have access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the rigors of college and the workforce,” hosted the shindig.  New Visions staff member and prolific blogger David Wees (@davidwees) was the master of ceremonies and led a rousing game of “Does This Suck?” which included such polarizing topics as homework, regents exams, technology in math class, and grouping students by ability.  You can read more from New Visions and see photos of the event here.


Our own Carl Oliver also blogged about the event and the after party here.

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Overall, the first #NYCMathTweetup felt like a success because it brought together local math teachers in a less formal setting than a conference or a typical PD.  Attendees were able to let their hair down and finally tell that math joke they’d been cultivating, but were too embarrassed to tell their non-math teacher friends.  


Here are some thoughts about the #NYCMathTweetup from the #MTBoS:


“It was so natural talking with all of these people about things we love that we didn’t even use the opening icebreaker!” - James Cleveland (@jacehan)


“It was an awesome opportunity to meet with like-minded professionals for productive conversation and fun!” - Wendy Menard (@wmukluk)


“So often the scope of what is possible in our classrooms is limited by the bounds of our own imaginations and creativity.  Through the tweetup, I found the inspiration and energy to try new things. Making real-life connections brings the possibilities and partnerships to life!” - Abbey (@absmarie)


“It was a blast!” - Justin Lanier (@j_lanier)


Another #NYCMathTweetup is in the works for the springtime, so if you’re a NYC based math educator follow the hashtag for updates!


I hope to see you there!


By Andrew Gael (@bkdidact)


On a smaller scale than the over in NYC and a day later, @WHSRowe, @heather_khon, @mythagon, @crstn85, and @senmorteco met up in Boston for dinner and chatting about all things math ed. Conversations ranged from sharing resources like EDC's balance problems, pondering the effects of student sleep schedules & caffeine, and the pros/cons of the various math pathways students are placed on (Honors? Advanced? Algebra in 8th? Algebra in 7th?).
I think that the positive effects of spending some unstructured time with peers who are dedicated to the profession and so interested in sharing and learning from others cannot be under-rated. Getting to shake hands and share smiles with people who are out there and really do have your back is a fantastic way to spend the evening.
My favorite aspect of tweetups are all the little stories that come out about things seen in classrooms that make us smile. After the dinner I realized that I hadn't checked over at One Good Thing in a while, so I spent some time getting caught up this past week. For everyone on break right now looking for some lovely snapshots into fellow tweeps' classrooms and some words to recharge the batteries, I highly recommend heading over and reading some entries.

By Ashli Black (@mythagon)

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