Next Summer…

Next summer, you say.  But why?  I haven’t even begin this new school year yet. I just cleaned the lens of my document camera and tested out last year’s white board markers to see which were still keepers.  And I did such fabulous PD this past summer that I’m itching to incorporate into this year’s curriculum and pedagogy.

And gee whiz, my husband and I bought a condo in Kauai this summer so why the heck would I do ANYTHING but go here next summer?

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Darryl Yong just published a blog post on how he and Bowen Kerins create the morning math sessions at the Park City Math Institute.  Read it now, before you read any more of my post.  If you haven’t attended PCMI, you should, and Darryl’s blog post leads you to more information about it and how to apply.

Today was my first day of work at my new job, Instructional Technology Coordinator for the Berkeley Unified School District.  I’m a teacher. I’ll always be a teacher.  So explaining or even stating what my new job is seems to only happen with some contortions as I try to explain that I’m a math teacher, but I guess I’m not a math teacher anymore, but I really am a math teacher.  This summer as I have met new people while on various travels, I’ve been asked what I do.  I can’t seem to say the title of my new job without a paragraph intro about how I was a middle school math teacher, then had a second child, then wanted more flexibility and became a TSA and then and then…and now I am…blah blah blah.

However, while a lot of experiences have shaped who I am as a teacher and now as an administrator, over the past 17 years, nothing has had as lasting impact as the summer of 2011 when my husband and I packed my then 13 year-old-step daughter, 2 year-old son, Bernese Mountain dog, two mountain bikes and who knows what else into our Subaru Outback, stopped at every McDonalds Playland between Lovelock and Winnemucca, and landed in Park City Utah.  Following my participation in PCMI’s 3 week course, I started a blog (yep, you’re reading it now), got connected to a bunch of regular math bloggers from whom I have bounced countless ideas off of, and found myself immersed in the online support world of math teachers.  Darryl’s post suggests that PCMI’s curriculum limits the amount of technology which is used.  While this is true, without a doubt, I wouldn’t have the job I have today (Instructional Technology Coordinator operating in the body of a middle school math teacher) were it not for Darryl and Bowen introducing me to Geometer’s Sketchpad and how dynamic mathematics software can allow students the opportunity to play around with visual representations of big mathematical ideas and  explore open-ended problems which elicit incredibly rich discussions.  My use of Sketchpad morphed into GeoGebra which more recently has morphed into Desmos, however the purpose of these tools remain the same.

So Thank You, Darryl, for your post and for reminding me of how I got here.  And speaking of gratitudes, Thank You Math For America, Berkeley, for urging me to go and paying my way.



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