Carl's Teaching Blog

A place to talk about teaching and learning

Category: Conference Talks (Page 2 of 3)

Hitting The Darn Send Button – #TMC17 Keynote: Slides, Summary, and Takeaways

I still feel kind of weird saying this but, I just gave a keynote at Twitter Math Camp! Actually I gave it a day ago, but I had to process the whole thing, travel home, and help @BwalkerQ get his blog up and running. So anyways, here is the stuff from the presentation for anyone that is interested, and a little explanation of my process after that.

Presentation info




Forgot to put this up easier. Thanks to Sadie Estella for recording this!

Part 1 & Part 2

Desmos Activity:

The people at Desmos gave this one some extra juice, so I can’t share the activity builder yet, but if you want, you can go through and participate it in here.

MTBoS Roll Call

This website links the pictures of people with their first time posting on #MTBoS. This is a temporary thing, as the data is going to get stale, which you can see in the missing profile pictures, so check it out while you can!

Pre MTBoS Interviewees

I was super lucky to be able to interview Andrew Stadel, Christopher Danielson, Michael Pershan, Sam Shah, Dan Meyer, Fawn Nguyen, and Sadie Estrella. whose quotes are included in the presentation in that order. They were super generous with their thoughts and their time. I didn’t mention them on the slides because I wanted people to focus on the words, and not where they came from, but I am very, very grateful.

MTBoS Data

For this talk I used a chrome extension to scrape information from twitter’s website. Twitter doesn’t have a way to get your old tweets, unless you just want to download your own tweets. The scraper led to some errors, and my data isn’t all that great, but if you’re interested in playing around with it, I have a database that I can query with other questions.


Sharing your teaching online in a community like the #MTBoS has lots of research-supported benefits. Potential new educators are often hamstrung by lots of barriers, the biggest of which seems to be feeling like they are not ‘Whatever’ enough (Witty, photogenic, cool, smart, etc.). Data on #MTBoS hashtag shows that these problems haven’t stopped the #MTBoS from growing much larger especially in recent years. A set of interviews with teachers who shared years ago described a community of support, comfort, bravery, and a commitment to reflection, feedback and learning. Lastly, my own journey to sharing online illustrates how important connecting with people are, and asked the audience to think of new ways to make connections for other members of our continually growing community.


My whole plan was to make a big twitter chat, and it worked! Except that the twitter bots came on strong at the end and after the #pushsend hashtag started trending. It got more popular than anyone imagined, way too quickly, and now we have to figure out ways to make sure people’s voices didn’t get lost. Seemed fitting.

I got Sketchnoted!

This whole process left me feeling very vulnerable, and also very supported. Thanks to Lisa, Tina, Kate, Ben, All the people I mentioned earlier, and everyone else who helped me with this. I learned a tremendous amount from the process of making this talk and I’m forever grateful.

Reviewing #NCTMAnnual proposals and the ‘Access and Equity Question’

For a few weeks last June I was one of the¬†lucky volunteers¬†who were able to review proposals for San Antonio’s 2017 NCTM conference. It was a lot of reading¬†and¬†it is a great opportunity to hear¬†what math educators from around the world think should be talked about at the conference. Reading the words from hundreds of¬†speakers provided a¬†glimpse of math education thinking from the minds of¬†teachers and educators across countless numbers of different contexts. It was a rare kind of opportunity that was both a great honor and also genuinely fun.

The Access and Equity Question

After reading over two hundred proposals, I noticed that some of the prompts from the application were better addressed than others. Particularly, the responses to the Access and Equity question were at times brief, or sometimes didn’t seem to address the question that was being asked. This question is the last written section of¬†the proposal application form and asks:

“How does your presentation align with NCTM’s dedication to equity and access?”

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Answering the #Shadowcon16 Calls to Action – Part 1

This year at NCTM I had the honor of helping to live tweet the ShadowCon event. I was super pumped to be sitting in the front row to send messages out about Robert Kaplinsky’s talk, as well as all of the others.

Then I flew home, got back on the grind, and dove into my school work and my home life. For a moment I started to forget about the things I learned at the conference. Luckily, the people behind Shadowcon found ways to bring those ideas back up again and again through twitter. One of the ways the ideas from shadow con are supposed to come back is through the website which provides space to respond to each speakers calls to action.

As a way to connect this #MTBoS30 work with #Shadowcon16 calls to action, I am going to use a few of my 30 posts to address the calls to action. I will post the responses on this blog, as well as on the NCTM website.

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Airport Thoughts after #NCTMRegionals MLPS

It’s quite unsettling flying back to NYC,¬† less than 24 hours after another major world city faced an unimaginably horrific terrorist attack. I’ve found that in the¬†darkness behind the worst acts of humanity is always¬†outmatched by the brilliance of humanity’s acts of compassion. My thoughts, and surely the thoughts of everyone leaving the Minneapolis conference center, are with the people in Paris.¬†

My faith in humanity happens to be at¬†a local maximum after the #NCTMregional in Minneapolis, which hit me with a fire hose of hugs, math, and possibility for 3 days. I feel like I’m still dripping with¬†excitement¬†after spending the time¬†volunteering with the program committee, giving my first ever NCTM talk, and helping out at the MTBoS booth. It seems unlikely that I’ll be able to squeeze all of the cool stuff that happened into a blog post, but it seems like it’d be fun to try. So here goes!

Program committee-ing

My work on the program committee began a year or so go, and so was one of the longest projects that I ever took part in. Robert Kaplinsky wrote an article that summed up the initial meeting. Following that planning, meeting we did our best to recruit a really solid group of speakers that could provide an interesting array of talks. Surprisingly, I only see talks in snippets, as my role as program committee kept me running from room to room during the sessions. It was slightly frustrating to miss talks that are mere feet away, but it was great to help the event run smoothly. 

During the event my role was to monitor every talk happening along one hallway of the center.¬†For each talk I would greet the presenter, thank them for coming, help get them set up, and watch to see if the room would hit capacity. When rooms hit capacity, that meant telling people they couldn’t view it, even if “it’s the only other K-12,” and ¬†“the other one I wanted is closed,” and “I can just stand in the back, no one will notice!” Later on I would stop by each session to count their participants. ¬†This is where I could sit down to enjoy a little of the session, but then I’d have to come back to each room to ensure they don’t go long, when the next¬†presenter should be setting up (assuming the next presenter actually shows up).¬†

Volunteering as a program committee member¬†let me peer behind the¬†curtain and learn how these conferences function. Planning for these took place many years ago,¬†and by the time the conference started,¬†the NCTM event planners already had the difficult work finished. Signs for all of the talks were organized by¬†room before they left NCTM’s Virginia headquarters.¬†Being so throughly¬†planning meant they¬†were free to¬†quickly respond to MTBoS emergencies,¬†and made it so¬†the¬†program committee could focus solely on the presentation content. It made¬†me think about¬†how many logistical things I should try to relive from the shoulders of my staff and students.

Were I to do it again, I would have tried¬†to see all of the people who I invited to talk. It might have been nice to provide a little personal hello, but¬†with all the running around I didn’t have time.¬†I especially want to thank everybody on my Strand who may not have been able to show up for whatever reason, but was still there in spirit:David Wees, Megan Schmidt, Justin Aion, Bowen Kerins, Rafranz Davis, Christopher Danielson, Justin Lanier, Chris Hunter, and anyone else who I may be temporarily forgetting, thank you all!

Delivering a session

Funny story. So Megan and I are getting ready for¬†our talk. There are already about 6 or so people there while we do some last minute powerpoint-ing. All of a sudden Matt Larson president elect walks in through the back door. He doesn’t sit down, instead he walks right up to us and says “Hi Carl, Hi Megan!” I was thinking “oh my gosh, he knows our names! He thinks we’re special delicate flowers!” (Yes, I know our¬†names were in the program book, the sign outside, and lanyards around our neck, but don’t rain on my pararde). He said he was going to watch but wanted us to know he would be leaving early.¬†Hopefully I didn’t appear¬†visibly shaken¬†when we got started.

The talk went great, but was largely a blur. I know that the participants totally got into our statistics activities, and we had good conversation about the data as well. Here are the slides and the handout that we prepared.

Helping at the MTBoS Booth
I was helping set up the booth when it hit me. The NCTM was changing fast. It was less than a year ago that this booth was just an blog post, but¬†the conference staff was¬†speaking about it as a if it was going to be a fixture. Only a few months ago it was running off of Tina’s phone, and now they provided complimentary Wi-Fi and electricity¬†which¬†costs other vendors hundreds of dollars. It’s a small but clear sign that the NCTM is listening, and that more ideas may be brought to life in the near future. Don’t worry about things getting high-brow too soon. While the booth has corporate sponsorship, it still had the shower curtain from my hotel room serving as a projector screen.

The booth still provided was a super interactive time with activities from @mathonastick in addition to others. Visitors could play with the pattern machine,¬†tiling turtles, and some of Andrew Stadel’s Estimation 180 activities.¬†¬†I wasn’t able to get down there for a whole shift, but I did get to sneak them¬†leftover snacks from the NCTM break room. I could hang out for a little while and¬†chat with whoever, including a teacher whose school¬†has a “Trap Team.” It also got to hangout at the Math Forum booth/NCTM booth and chat with them, and contribute to the giant business card menger sponge.

This trip was exactly what I needed to help me get this fall started and I was lucky to have the chance to help NCTM (Thanks Fred!). Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below…

#NCTMBoston Jealousy coverage. All the Storifys, and links to slides, from this years conference.

So a couple of days ago I was in a warm, safe environment, learning a lot about math teaching and interacting with people from all over the country.¬† Yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to be back at home teaching.¬† The last marking period just ended lots of kids need help to finish the projects they need for the grade. We also have this big school-wide field trip that I hadn’t fully planned, we call them “Intensives.” The whole school was preparing for these and it felt like I wasn’t pulling my weight. But mostly, and let’s be real, my kids NEED me.¬† Instead of listening to the advice of @crstn85 and many others, I took the last bus out of South Station and went in to work.

When I got to work I discovered that work was…just another day at work. Noone REALLY would have missed me, except the personnel secretary.

So then I came home and tore into twitter and started trying to piece together what I could have gained from spending another day learning and growing, and I made a bunch of Storifys to sort of capture the thinking:

Storify stories that I made:



Other Storify Stories from around the Blogosphere:

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