The Girl with the Pencil Case

photo-2Among the many wonderful things I learned at Twitter Math Camp, I discovered in the Interactive Notebook Workshop run by Megan Hayes-Golding (@mgolding) that I am The Girl with the Pencil Case, easily spotted as the Teacher’s Helper.  Truthfully I didn’t know this about myself until Megan’s eyes alit on my desktop as she described her process for supply distribution in the INB classroom.  Naturally, I LOVED being designated for this coveted spot.   I don’t think Megan knew how truly prepared I was, so I have inimagescluded this annotated photograph of the contents of my pencil case.  Nice, huh?   You can just imagine what is doing in my portable toiletry kit.  My trusty LLBean backpack has been likened to – you guessed it.

I have been incredibly fortunate this summer to attend two – not one, but two – fabulous professional development conferences, the Anja Greer Conference at Phillips Exeter Academy, and Twitter Math Camp 2013.  I have not only learned new math, new strategies, and new technologies for my classroom, but I have expanded my professional (and personal) circle by over 200 dedicated and enthusiastic teachers, whose locations span the globe and whose schools include massive urban high schools (like mine) and tiny rural K-12 schools with a math department of 1.  All of these teachers have in common, at the very least, an interest in improving their practice and thus their students’ learning experience, and in the case of Twitter Math Camp, are willing to pay their own way in order to achieve that goal.    So, to anyone who is publicly lambasting teachers – well, you just aren’t paying close enough attention!

The sessions I attended this past week at TMC13 ran the gamut from being incredibly fun IMG_1158(what could possibly beat collecting balloon data with Eli Luberoff, founder of or Peg Cagle’s tissue-paper exponential growth activity?), provocative and collaborative (Hedge’s Stats Boot Camp – do the numbers really condemn Kristin Gilbert?), and like the aforementioned INB Workshop, hands-on and downright crafty.  I learned about new units of measurement (the ootsie subdivision of Tootsies – who knew?), when to answer and NOT to answer questions (David Wees), and when to Shut Up and Listen (@sophgermain).  And I have put voices and faces to the people whose blogs I pore over, and who I have been chatting with on line for months.

Many who attended the conference are or will be blogging about their experience, so I just want to list some personal highlights, thanks, and kudos.  Even as I am writing this, all of the conference materials are being shared on a wiki, so I am benefiting from those sessions I was not able to attend.  GADZOOKS!

  • Thanks to Drexel University IMG_1162for their generosity in hosting the conference for FREE!
  • Made my first paper crane, IMG_1151thanks to Ashli’s (@mythagon) excellent (and patient) tutelage,  and look what she did with all that origami! IMG_1171
  • I attended an excellent panel presentation on Devising a System of Organization, in which teachers whose work I greatly admire shared their preferences.  I loved that the methods ranged from various forms of tekky (Virtual Filing Cabinet/Evernote/SimpleNote/Dropbox) to page protectors in binders (a personal favorite supply of mine).  Something for everyone.
  • Jen Silversmith’s pyramids into cubes – how cool was that?  (only to be topped by her rhombic dodecahedrons!)
  • Great ideas I just learned about:, Google Voice, and Math Munch which has, among many other things, completely addictive games artbegotti-impasse-snap(
  • And at our very last “My Favorites”, Glen Waddell’s ‘vertex form of a line’ share.  Genius!  I can’t WAIT to UNCONFUSE some students.
  • And a huge thank you to @mrbenzel, for my first ever karaoke song!

As for next year, I refer to M^3 (Making Math Meaningful)‘s aspirations:

  • talk to/meet more people;
  • share something of mine in addition to being the recipient of so much sharing.

One last thing – the beautiful lobby of this building at Drexel is reminiscent of the library at Exeter, don’t you think? IMG_1143


  1. Mary Bourassa

    Lovely post, Wendy. I, too, feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend both conferences. TMC was extra special in that I didn’t lead a workshop – so much fantastic PD! I look forward to seeing you next year!

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