November 22, 2015

What's Coming Up Next?

When Christopher Danielson spoke this summer about finding what you love and doing more of that, I wasn't really sure what my thing was. I mean, I love teaching and I made a commitment to spend more of my time in the classroom, which means presenting at fewer conferences this year and avoiding my department head whenever she talks about wanting to be done being department head (she only gets to teach two classes and spends the rest of the day in meetings - yuck!). But this fall I figured out what it is I love doing, and I must love it because I signed up to do it so many times things got a bit overwhelming for a while there.

I love organizing.

Not just my desk (which I do like to keep organized, my system incorporates three accordion file folders this year). Not just my file cabinet or computer files (which are both sorted by course and then by unit). But big things, like events. There was a week recently where I was working on the Explore/Blogging Initiative in December/January, a PCMI conference in December, two NCTM MTBoS booths in November and TMC in July. For anyone who had to interact with me that week, sorry you didn't get my full attention. And major kudos to Ashli for listening to me whine about how four things that were occurring in four different months all somehow needed my attention simultaneously and why do I do this to myself?! (I have the best best friend.) But secretly? I loved it. I love the spreadsheets and the mental decision trees, the excitement of things coming together. I love helping other people accomplish their vision. I love problem solving as we hit snags, and sometimes stumbling across even better ideas as we plan.

So, what are these things that I'm organizing?

Explore MTBoS Mentoring Program
There's just about a week left to sign up to mentor or be mentored! We want to spread the word about this community but sometimes large scale initiatives aren't the right mechanism. Sometimes people really need tailored help. Maybe they read blogs but don't know how to use Twitter. Maybe they are on Twitter but don't know how to connect to the 'right' people. Maybe they are comfortable lurking but not so sure when it's okay to jump in. In those cases the generic instructions aren't sufficient. If you feel comfortable blogging and tweeting with other math teachers, we really need your help as a mentor! If you want to get started blogging and tweeting with other math teachers, get yourself a mentor! Sign up (by clicking the title above or images below) by December 1st and we'll get you all paired up for a month of exploration in December.


Explore MTBoS Blogging Initiation
We hope you'll join us in making a new years resolution to blog more. To help you carry out that resolution we will be posting weekly prompts in two strands - one geared toward new bloggers and one geared toward seasoned bloggers. I'm excited for the plans we've worked up!

MTBoS Booth at NCTM Regionals
You're probably thinking, hey Tina! December is pretty busy for most people, why would you want people exploring then? And I'll say, hey reader! Thanks for reading! We chose December because the NCTM regional conferences (plus a variety of state conferences) just finished up and we wanted all of the people we invited to check out the MTBoS to have a mentor.

After we closed down the booth in Boston in April, Justin and I took notes on what future organizers would need to know, split the supplies into a couple boxes and got ready to pass the torch. Megan was the first to try her hand at exhibiting. She and Carl each wrote about that experience. Robert's chance followed shortly after and his exhibition concluded just a couple days ago. The supplies are headed off to San Francisco but the conversations don't have to wait until the next conference - because that's the beauty of the MTBoS - conversation is available for your perusal and contribution 24/7.

PCMI December PD Weekend
This event has definitely been the most work to organize. It's new - so new that the website is still in development and I have yet to decide if it's a conference or professional development opportunity or whatever other phrase surfaces as I type yet another email trying to figure this thing out. No matter what we call it, it's gonna be awesome! It's too late to join this event, but there are two more planned (in Salt Lake City and Chicago) for this school year, and as long as I don't screw things up too badly this year the plan is to really ramp up next school year and offer a lot of mini-PCMI experiences all over the country. One of the benefits of organizing events is that I get to make sure my friends know about it - two of my colleagues from school and several twitter friends applied before we reached capacity. I sent approximately 15,000 emails in the past couple months preparing for this but I'm confident it's gonna be worth the effort I put in. I'm so excited for the chance to do math, talk about education, hang out with awesome people and spread the amazing culture of PCMI.

Twitter Math Camp
Speaker proposals will be open soon. We're looking at last year's survey results and thinking up new ideas and generally getting excited! Mostly I'm excited about how much sun there is in summer. I love New England but waking up in the dark and leaving school at sunset is really depressing. Thoughts of summer fun with all of you counteract that!

So that's what I've been up to. What do you love? How have you been doing more of that?


  1. Great that you're figuring such things out! I am seriously impressed at all the communication you seem to have to do to handle all your events (I rarely initiate emails, let alone thousands of them). I'm definitely more of an organizer in terms of handling scheduling and paperwork - and talking to as few people as possible. :] Though I guess more than that, my thing might be to entertain... which is why I keep writing and drawing, for better or for worse. Keep on enjoying!

    1. I fully understand that. I'm great at email but avoid the phone at all costs! I'm still putting off booking transportation for people for the PCMI weekend because I just know I'm not going to be able to do it online.

      Thanks for sharing your thing, I hope you get to do more of it!