August 3, 2013

Twitter Math Camp Mind Dump

Last week I attended Twitter Math Camp (#TMC13) and it was amazing. I arrived in Philadelphia after 6 pm and so went directly to dinner with college friend even though I really wanted to stop by the hotel and say hi to everyone. It says a lot about the people there that I was wishing to be with my tweeps rather than a best friend from college I hadn't seen in over a year.

First thing Thursday morning, before we even made it to breakfast, Heather and I realized we took a class together at BU. We've been following each other on twitter for a while but it didn't connect until we saw each other in person. Weird. I met several people from the Boston area throughout the weekend that I had no idea lived so close. We need to have mini-TMC's (like regional NCTM conferences) throughout the year!

The geometry session was fun and productive. We spent a lot of time working on a skills list but it's not complete (it includes key vocab, SBG skills and CCSS standards). Help us finish and leave feedback?

The Breaking Out of Ourselves session generated some awesome ideas. Check out the projects and sign up for one! The only way this community functions is if people pitch in; you can't do everything, but you can always do something. More projects are appearing all the time. (example via k8nowak: Don't get mad, get organized. #standupandbecounted)

My favorite portion of the My Favorites sessions was @sophgermain's activity where we spent five minutes listening (without speaking) and then five minutes talking (without feedback). Listening wasn't too much of a challenge for me, but that's largely because I didn't have anything else to do at that moment. When I'm teaching, the temptation is to listen while continuing to hand out papers. I know that my students never have 5 minutes of air time during class; after school I can move a bit slower and do stop to listen, but even then there are frequently other students vying for my attention as well. On the other hand, talking for 5 minutes was challenging and revealing. I rarely take the time to talk all the way through something, I cut myself off far more than I do other people. Instead of talking about how I feel about the start of school, I'd rather be doing something to get ready for it. This was the other message of the activity: teaching is rough, teachers need people to listen to them too. Food for thought (or maybe it should be food for discussion!).

Organization Panel (it's rough to look at a presentation without people talking, tweet @crstn85, @samjshah, @borschtwithanna and @fawnpnguyen for more information!)

Friday night was FUN! First there was origami and good conversation at dinner. Then singing and dancing which I rarely get to do. The personalized nature of a piano bar (a new experience for me) made it feel like our party which was awesome. In fact it was so much our own party that they played the TMC12 song

Saturday Morning: Origami Installation. Coming together to create something? Way cool. 
Plus it made an awesome backdrop for the Explore MTBoS crew photo!

Saturday evening: Great conversations on the way to dinner (complete with a "you MUST send me that link"), amazing, deep, thoughtful conversations at dinner and still more awesome conversations on the way home from dinner. On the bus ride home Sunday @mpershan proposed a session next year called "Take a Walk." I'd take this idea a step further and propose that we spend the entirety of TMC14 walking and eating. Maybe there could be some drinking too. Food and wine tour in California anyone? I can say for sure that I had the most fun, built the strongest foundations of relationships and participated in the deepest conversations while walking and eating. Certainly part of that is the lunch meetings I crashed where people were planning great projects. But it's also the personal nature of the conversations. I've heard a lot of discussion about introversion, which I'm particularly keyed in to since I finished Quiet: The Power of Introverts the week before TMC. I'm lucky enough to not be a shy or anxiety prone introvert which means that when I'm sitting on the side of a conversation I'm not wishing I could speak up or worried that other people are judging me for not talking, I'm just content to listen. While walking, though, it's natural to pair off and that's where introverts are at their prime- one other person and a conversation that they care about (and if you're at TMC it's guaranteed you'll have a math ed topic you're both passionate about). So who's in? All we need is a location that will have a restaurant week style deal set up for us so we can walk and talk our way through town.

In conclusion, this post has no big message. Check out the links, they're all great. Talk to the people, they're way cool. If you couldn't make it to TMC this year I'm sorry for making you read yet another "TMC was amazing!" post. If I missed something you thought was important, which I definitely did, it's partly because I didn't even open up my folder of notes since this post has taken too long to publish already. If you don't feel like you're a part of this spectacular community yet, please consider joining us in October to Explore the Math Twitter Blogosphere. I certainly haven't regretted a moment of my engagement with this community.


  1. Great post! I love how your positive energy really comes through!

  2. Great post! I agree, next summer is too far away. Mid-year TMC weekend would be nice!!

  3. Thanks, both of you. We are looking into a NYC tweet up in February for anyone in the Northeast. I say it's never too early to plan fun events!