Sunday, March 20, 2016

CUE 2016 Takeaways

This past weekend was CUE 2016 and I only attended one day of the three conference days. Even though it was just one day, I was able to leave with some great takeaways.

Session 1:
Making the Hard Parts Easy: Teaching in 2016 and Beyond
by Matt Vaudrey
Great session. Matt is always a treat to watch in a presentation, and he continues to deliver solid, engaging, practical, and useful sessions. He had us up talking with each other, moving around the room, learning from others in the session. He modeled music cues by giving us a 60 seconds to discuss focused questions with a partner (different every time). The music stopped and we knew to stop our conversation so that Matt could allow two teachers the opportunity to share out their conversation.

The session was focused. I love when a presenter tells the attendees in the beginning what we will be doing and sticks to it. We focused on:
  • Focus on what matters
  • Mess with Curriculum
  • Give students authority 
My biggest takeaways:
  • Look into Kaizena to offer students voice feedback inside Google docs. 
  • Assign less work to students... just one way to make grading easier.
  • Quicken transitions in class with music cues by Matt Vaudrey (found here).
  • Matt's slides can be found here.
Session 2:
Another great session. Both JR and Gerardo encouraged the attendees to focus on the "why" when preparing professional development for your site (teachers and admin). Essentially, define the purpose of your session because time is valuable for everyone. I also loved how they had us take a PD title we recently used and rewrite it so it includes the "why" (purpose). Great idea!

My biggest takeaways:
  • Use empathy with teachers and administrators
  • Value everyone's time!
  • Start with the "why".
  • Their goods can be found here.
Session 3:
It was an extreme pleasure to prepare and present with JR. I love his enthusiasm and excitement for science, good PD, and Desmos. The focus of our session was simple: play, tips, and build. We allowed attendees to play two Desmos activities (one from JR and one from Cathy Yenca). We showcased the teacher dashboard for each activity and then we shared our activities so the attendees could see how the activities were built in order to explore the building part of desmos activities. We reassured the attendees that they don't need to necessarily build their own activities, because they could find one in the Desmos library or the Desmos Bank and adapt it for their needs. Thanks to all the teachers who came to our session. We hope it was helpful and you will let us know how is transforming your classroom.
Thanks JR. It was a blast to collaborate. I learned a lot.

Session 4:
I came in late to this session, but it didn't matter. It was easy to know where they were in their presentation.  Within minutes, we were working on the floor categorizing these cards with different colored shapes as a segue to the importance of the Periodic Table. It was a splendid activity. Both Dan and JR shared their experiences in their science classes. A big part of their class was using media to create mystery so students are asking questions. Similar to a 3 Act task. It was a wonderful way to end the conference.

My biggest takeaways:
  • Create mystery with students. Use stories to explain the mystery
  • Our brains, chemically, enjoy stories. Use them more often in class.
  • Their goods can be found here.
Thank you to all the presenters who worked so hard to prepare great sessions. By reflecting on the highlights, it will allow me to incorporate many of the techniques, resources, and ideas with the teachers I support and the professional development I offer.


I loved this on display at the Hard Rock Hotel. Sorry, I didn't grab the artist behind this gem. Look close, those are vinyl records. So cool!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Classroom Clock Questions

I'm curious about the precious classroom time we [math] teachers have with students.
Enlighten me.

Please take 1 minute to fill out this form as I prepare for an upcoming Ignite talk at NCTM.