By Teachers, For Teachers! #TMC13


Twitter Math Camp, a place that you show up and everyone knows your name. A place where people know you before meeting you in real life because you interact with them on a daily basis via twitter. It’s a professional development conference that is designed BY teachers FOR teachers! GUERRILLA STYLE!

I have gone to some PD in my years of being a teacher and I have to say that nothing gets better than a session that a teacher is sharing something they have used, within this past year, IN THEIR CLASSROOM. It is hard to “unsell” me on this concept, that I should at least TRY their ideas they are sharing with me. Why you ask? Because this teacher is not a company selling their product or marketing their new teaching strategies or whatever else shenanigans you have experienced at other PDs sessions. Instead this professional development consists of  teachers sharing ideas that have worked for them.  They aren’t getting paid by TMC (as far as i know) to present on ways to make their class more engaging, how to orchestrate a math discussion or what determines stickiness of a lesson.  This is one main reason why I was determined to attend TMC this year (not to mention meeting amazing like minded people).

I can’t say enough about my state of mind  at TMC.  It was very similar to ____.  Being surrounded by people who have shared ideas with me to help me become a better teacher.  Being surrounded by people who one of their main reasons for being a teacher is to make a difference in children’s lives.  Being surrounded by people who when they say they are student centered truly mean giving up a piece of them to create a classroom focused on student success.  Being surrounded by people who take the utmost pride and honor in being a teacher for the future of our up and coming communities.  Being surrounded by the only math department I could ever have, being the only high school teacher at my school.  Being surrounded by people who love mathematics and nerd out on it even more than I do!  How do you describe this experience in a word or phrase?

I got to fly from LA to PHL sitting right next to the biggest ROCKSTAR EVER, Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen).  Get greeted and hugged in the middle of baggage claim by the most generous, Nathan Kraft (@nathankraft1). Ride backseat with Julie Ruelbach (@jruelbach) as I RT her tweets.  Get tackled by my sister Hedge (@approx_normal) as my friend, Nik (@nik_d_maths), from the UK is somehow in front of me in real life!!  Getting twirled by Justin Aion (@justinaion) and being welcomed by the amazing Philadelphia street arguments (yes someone punched a glass door and shattered it).

Thursday starts the real reason I came to TMC#13, TO LEARN!  But I can’t forget my long awaited hug from Karim Kai Ani (@karimkai).  And WHAT!!!!!  Ms. Ginny Stuck (@gstuck)!!  HOLEY MOLEY I have been waiting for this day forever!  We start our trek to our Algebra 1 session.  Michael Pershan (@mpershan) pushed us to produce a usable product out of this session.  Oh boy did we accomplish that.  After two days in the Algebra 1 session we came up with a pretty sweet progression for teaching linear equations.  My team members were amazing to work with Sara (@msrubinteach), Matt Owen (@_MattOwen_), Caitlin (@caitbbrowne), Peter O’Byrne (@pwobyrne).  Our progression can be seen here and we are still working on updating it.

In the afternoon the MAGNIFICENT Anne (@sophiegermain) told me to “SHUT UP AND LISTEN!” and Mr. Max Ray (@maxmathforum) helped me notice and wonder much more than what was around me.  Both of these presentations gave me some great strategies to add to my “teacher toolbelt”.  Next up was, Mr. Christopher Danielson (@trianglemancsd) who showed me more ways to use the 5 practices for orchestrating math discussions and how to use tootsie rolls in an amazing fractions lesson.   And to finish off my first day at #TMC13, Mr. John Berray dazzled me with ways to make math more memorable in your classroom.

After all the fun learning I did on Thursday I couldn’t wait to hangout with some of my tweeps at the karaoke (NOT care-e-oki) bar!  But first my long awaited room sharing with THE MAGNIFICENT…..Kate Nowak (@k8nowak).  OH EM GEEE you guys!  She is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  Can I be like her when I grow up?  I have no other words to describe how awesome it was to share a room with this woman and thank you for allowing me to do so Ms. K8 😉

Dinner preceded the karaoke bar and I got to sit, eat and chat with Mr. Francesco Noschese (@fnoschese).  Meeting him and chatting with him is something I can CROSS OFF my #bucketlist.  It was so amazing to actually meet him in person!  I can’t wait til we open our own school together (I am kind of not joking here Francesco).

Karaoke night was amazing!  Besides the fact that we were all breathing each others breaths the whole time!  It was so extremely hot down there!!  However, the night was fun and I got to do something I have been waiting forever to do…..DANCE WITH MY SISTER, HEDGE!!  I will not go into detail about the type of dancing that happened but let’s just say I….PLEAD THE FIFTH! 🙂

Friday morning was filled with finishing our Algebra 1 product.  What was kind of cool was I got to chat a little with Steve Leinwand (@Steve_Leinwand).  Need I say more??? #speechless.  The afternoon was filled with lesson sharing from my favorite math team Mathalicious (aka The `Lish, @mathalicious).  They were using their fancy new @Desmos stuff and I was totally jealous!  I also figured out why Chris Lusto (@lustomatical) tweeted a while back about disappearing after planning this TOP SECRET lesson.

My next session was run by none other than Elizabeth Statmore (@cheesemonkeySF) where she showed us how to make lessons “sticky” (icky).  I learned some GREAT strategies that I would use in my classroom.  My favorite was when Marsha (@MarshaFoshee) and I sat back to back and had to take turns describing step by step how to calculate the slope of a line.  It was a great strategy that I am TOTALLY going to use in my classroom!

Next up was my own presentation which went well.  I just need to make the time to get the resources fixed up and posted on the wiki.  I know I am a slacker.  I am hoping to get it up by the end of the month at the latest (no promises).

Friday night’s activities consisted of a DUELING piano bar, which was a first for me!  I had never heard of  (let alone been to) a piano bar.  It was super cool!  Many requests were made, the SWEENSTER (@sweenwsweens) got roasted and Nathan Kraft (@nathankraft1) did quite the Beyonce cover (Single Ladies).

Saturday morning had me sitting in the high school “Peel It Back” session with The `Lish (@mathalicious) team members Chris Lusto (@lustomatical) and Kate Nowak (@k8nowak).  I learned quite a bit of strategies and questions to add to my already extensive and time consuming lesson planning techniques.  There were great discussions had and many of them ended with more questions than answers (as it should be).

Saturday afternoon was where all of us math teachers and oober-nerds were ooohed and aaaahhhed by the captivating and extremely genius Eli Luberoff (@eluberoff).  He showed us the new happenings of the @desmos team and also showed us some up and coming features that are shortly to be revealed.  I just want to point out that this @desmos team is basically amazing and as Michelle (@park_star) said:


My last session was not picked by me.  I was basically following people and ended up in DOCTOR Raj Shah’s (@drrajshah) Using games to promote mathematical thinking session.  OH BOY!! Was I glad to have followed my friends because they did not lead me astray…This was an awesome session with some great games!  There were 3 games, that I saw, that forced us to use logic and reasoning to play.  I am guaranteeing that I will be using these games in my classroom.

We got lost trying to get out of the building and broke Chris Lusto (@lustomatical) PROOF –>


Got out when we ran into Max (@maxmathforum) and learned a fun fact about him – he trains service dogs!

We made it to the main lobby thing where THEE most AMAZING stats teacher was collecting data (@approx_normal).  DOCTOR Raj Shah (drrajshah) and I teamed up to calculate our horsepower.  I was worried about falling down and making an ass of myself so I ran up without skipping stairs.  Turns out this is the best strategy to get the slowest horsepower! #LAME

I ended up at New Deck Tavern with @rdkpickle (sexy woman), @sweenwsweens (hilarious jokester), @calcdave (Calculus Davidson), @sarcasymptote (cool city cat), @jruelbach (dancing queen), @lustomatical (tattoo junkie & soft teddybear) and @k8nowak (superwoman) where they collaborated on #TMC13 theme song.  This is where we met one of the MOST AMAZING servers EVER!!!!  MACKENZIE!!!  Chris basically said it “Its hard to find good sass these days!”  Mackenzie could not even be topped!

New Deck

Our group migrated to the Farmer’s Cabinet where we got to see an amazing old timing band and Karim (@karimkai) showed off his knife drumming skills 🙂

old band

My night ended with a trip to the convenient store with @samjshah (queen bee), @jruelbach (dancing queen), @compactspaces (David Price), @k8nowak (superwoman), @j_lanier (chuckles) and getting some amazing FROYO that put all of us in a food coma!

OH NO!!! wait… could I FORGET!!  MY GOOD NIGHT HUG!!! Given to me by one of the sweetest persons I met.  Greg Hitt (@sarcasymptote).  This guy plays ukulele to his students to be less helpful in his class.  He is also the one person who I said HI to every second I saw him and I had to also ask him what his last name was because I just kept referring to him by his twitter handle (yup that is how famous is air bud jokes are!)  Thanks Greg!  YOU are awesome!  And he gives great hugs people!  go out and get yours from him!

I left Sunday morning with Calculus Davidson (@calcdave) graciously taking me to the airport so Miss country bumpkin didn’t have to be so scared to ride the bus, taxi or train.  I am not going to lie I am ALWAYS scared to ride public transportation even on my small little island.

There are so many people I have missed and I know it!  Please don’t be offended!  I am very good at remembering your FACE but not the name verbally (visual learner).

I want to close with something that has stuck in my brain since being a part of this MTBoS.  There are so many amazing teachers out there in this world and there is no way that we can do it all by ourselves but when we get together and share these ideas with each other and push each other to be better teachers there is no stopping the difference we can make in a child’s life.  As the saying goes here in Hawaii:

`A`ohe hana nui ke alu `ia

No task is too big when done together by all!

Thank you all for pushing me to be better than I ever thought I could be!


*Kate Nowak (@k8nowak) falling out of the elevator because we were laughing hysterically at being in the “cool elevator” HAHAHA!!


*Being taught about how avenues and streets work and the distance involved in the unit of “blocks” by the coolest city cat Greg Hitt (@sarcasymptote)

*Christopher Danielson (@trianglemandcsd) recommending that I present about counting circles at other math conferences.

*Anytime I was able to interact with the FAMOUS Francesco Noschese (@fnoschese).

*Dragging my two friends Mitzi Hasegawa (@mmhasegawa) and Judy Keeney (@JudithKeeney) to #TMC13 and them TOTALLY enjoying themselves.

*Riding the plane with this amazing woman named Fawn Nguyen (@fawnpnguyen)!

Camera 360

*Meeting Chris Lusto’s (@lustomatical) parents.

*Waiting for our trivia and watching the mishappenings of Philly with these characters!

Camera 360

*Meeting Optimus Prime (@rawrdimus).

*Sitting adjacent to the superhero loving woman, @mgolding!

Camera 360

*Witnessing this amazing bromance evolve! @eluberoff @karimkai

Camera 360

*Getting an amazing hug in the lobby by the tallest woman in the world, Ashli (@mythagon)!

*Getting drooled on by this handsome English Bulldog.

Camera 360

*Dinners with Team`Lish (@mathalicious) and the most genius and cute Eli (@eluberoff).

*My first taste of a cheesesteak and chicken and waffles with my laughing buddy Matt Lane (@mmmaaatttttt)

*Chatting it up with Steve Leinwand (@steve_leinwand) and him saying he will NEVER drive to my town again.  (yup that is how bad the road is people, consider yourself warned/lucky but also please come visit sometime)

*Smelling sweaty armpits with Nathan (@nathankraft1), you had to have been there to understand 🙂



*Making sexy eyes with Rachel Kernodle (@rdkpickle) every time I saw her.

*Being extremely jealous of EVERY SINGLE outfit Anne (@sophiegermain) wore at #TMC13.  (Plotting to steal her wardrobe as I type this)

*Meeting Chris Robinson (@absvalteaching) and realizing how skinny and tall he is!  Which is basically not equivalent to his amount of amazing-ness!

*Hearing Elizabeth’s (@cheesemonkeySF) radio voice.

*Seeing in real life how absolutely ADORABLE Michelle (@park_star) is!  Girl you are too cute!

*Being yelled at by the Queen Bee (@samjshah)

*Walking around a REAL city and living in the eastern time zone for 4 days.

*Spending 4 amazing days with a group of people who truly know me and share the immense passion for teaching with me.

By Teachers, For Teachers! #TMC13

4 thoughts on “By Teachers, For Teachers! #TMC13

  1. I. LOVE. YOU!!!!

    I miss you like crazy when I read this. You are amazing and I’m so glad to have finally hugged my sistah in person. As for the dancing… I dunno what you’re talkin’ about… 😉

  2. Wow! I was jealous before I read this, but now I’m super jealous! Sounds like you guys had such great times and I’m so happy. I wish I could have been there, but am grateful for your recap! Hopefully I can make it next year!
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Girl, this post was AMAZING! I love how well you described everyone and everything! It makes me miss everyone – but especially YOU right now! I’m so lucky that I got to meet you TWICE now. You are such an incredible person and so full of life! I hope that you can come next year! MUCH LOVE!! Me

  4. This post has two great purposes for those of us not there: 1) to make sure we get there for #TMC14, and 2) to give us a list of people to make sure we’re following.

    Many of them I recognized and some I even know f2f. But to have been there – wow!

    Thanks for the recap!

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