How Do You Use Rocketbooks?

This spring at NCTM, the amazing Bill Thill introduced me to his Rocketbook Wave notebook. I loved what he was doing with it in class, and ordered it right away! But of course I haven’t had time to play with it until now.

My initial thoughts for using the Rocketbook were pretty simple, I want to upload solutions to problem sets into a shared folder for my students. This morning I tweeted out for more ideas, and Mr.Brennan sent me a fantastic Rocketbook Hacks video from the Sons of Technology.  After watching their video, I am bubbling over with ideas!

My students told me that uploading their work to PowerSchool was a pain, so I love the idea of using the printable Rocketbook pages to help make this easier for them. Maybe I can give each student a template to keep in their binders, so they can easily upload any of their work. I would love for students to be able to upload their One Sheets to share with other students.

I did the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek club this past year and loved how it helped me get organized.  I plan on making my “To Do” lists in sharpie on the first few pages of my Rocketbook.

I would love to hear how other math educators are using this in their classroom before I get started creating folders. Please comment to let me know how you are using Rocketbook! Thanks in advance!

Julie Reulbach

Pascal’s Triangle, Patterns, and Binomial Expansion

Today the CPM lesson in my Algebra 2 book started with a lesson from my MS past, Pascals Triangle. I only have two new lessons of the year left before our final assessment and then exam review begins. So I gave them extra time to discover the patterns and then play with Pascals Triangle after their quiz. They’ve had a stressful week (it is May!) and the quiz was tough, so coloring was definitely the right call! Some kids got so into coloring they didn’t even care about the patterns. I didn’t mind at all because they were coloring one of the patterns!

After discovering and then sharing the pattens by groups, we moved on to the main part of the CPM lesson, discovering binomial expansion within the Triangle, then using substitution to extend it to more then (a + b)^n.

I don’t know if it was the all of the cool patterns or the coloring, but my students really got into this lesson today. We usually work in groups in my class, but a couple of students got really involved in the math and extended what they were learning. I usually bring students back to group work when they go off on a tangent, but they were so excited that I just let them go! I’m so glad I did bc they developed these beautiful ideas. Drake was so proud of his that he labeled it and left it for the rest of my classes to see!

My students also created beautiful triangles. Next year I am going to make the Triangle larger so they can see the Sierpinski pattern even more through their own coloring. We decided to do a Pascal’s triangle photo shoot in a couple of my classes. What an amazing way to end the week.

Learn to Code Desmos Activity Builders!

Yes, you can code Desmos Activity Builder’s to personalize them and make them do more! If you have been creating Activity Builders but want them to do more, coding is the answer! The coding in Desmos is called Computation Layer (CL). I highly recommend trying it out, as it’s great fun to program a small bit of code and then see it work in Desmos!


Jay Chow

By far the best resource I have seen out there to learn CL is Jay Chow’s blog post, A Fool’s Guide to Learning CL.  Jay is a Desmos Fellow and CL extraordinaire, plus I think he’s probably the nicest person I have every met. His blog post includes step by step instructions, hints, fun scavenger hunts, and even webinars to help you learn CL.  Bonus – he’s holding 4 more Webinars starting in February!

screen shot 2019-01-27 at 11.30.07 am

Jay also has many other gems on his blog (I’m so thrilled he’s blogging), like several Breakout! Desmos activities! Thanks for all of your great work Jay!  🙂

Bloggers, 2019

This year I taught a Blogging 101 class at my school during “Winterm”, which is a week of special interest classes or trips between the fall and spring semesters. Here are the blogs my students created if you are interested in reading them. Happy reading!

Winterm Blog


  • Isabella – mylifeasizzy, Blog about just a personal blog; just for fun 🙂
  • Maddie – Maddie’s Take, Blog about food, fashion, makeup
  • Aidan – Aidan Finn, Blog about cars
  • Ethan – The Robotics Brainstorm, Blog about Robotics new and design concepts
  • Miles – MilesBlogs, Blog about I wants to blog about sports events that are going on in the country.
  • Jake – Artist’s Block, Blog about It will be away for me to showcase my art portfolio and blog about different techniques you use when drawing, whether it be digital or physical
  • Erin – Erin Kohlhepp, Blog about not sure
  • Amaya – Whatever World, Blog about Going through life and saying whatever to the negativities the world throws at me!
  • Jahnavi – Jahnavi Dotes on Totes, Blog about How plastic effects our planet
  • Anshul – Anshul’s Blog, Blog about Everything

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First Week Back to School Survival Guide

This is just a survival guide for me to read next year, so I will know what to do, and how to best survive, the first weeks back to school.

Week 0 – Preservice

Waking up early and putting on real clothes is the worst.  But it’s SUPER fun being back and seeing everyone!  It is a busy, busy week.  Do not expect to get too much school work done (or any work at all done) this week.

Week 1 – STUDENTS!

Even though I’ve been teaching forever, I still freak out the night before school officially starts.  I don’t know why, maybe it is the fear of the unknown?  Maybe it is just the death of my summer schedule – getting plenty of sleep, working out whenever I want, shopping, vacations, TV, and reading books?  Most likely I’ve just forgotten how much I love what I do.

Day 1 – It just takes ONE class period for me to be in love (ok, obsessed) with teaching again.  The drama of the night before is forgotten and I look back at myself and laugh (shake my head).  But I’m glad it happened this way, because hopefully I can console my friends who feel this same way and will go back later this month.  Feeling this way before the first day is REAL and TERRIFYING.  But it is also ok, and will hopefully dissolve instantly on Day 1.

The word for this week is SURVIVAL, and maybe DON’T FEEL GUILTY.  No, you will not have time to plan a lesson at school so you will have to do it at night.  Yes, you will have to meet with someone every planning period.  NO, don’t you DARE try to make dinner (I did, it was a disaster).  Take out is your best friend forever.  Don’t feel guilty if you can’t exercise, AT ALL.  It will come later, but not this week.  YES, it is OK to go to bed at 7PM.  As much as you love it, you can’t go from Netflix to 100% people contact without some casualties.  You WILL be crying on Thursday night.  Your family will not understand.  That is ok, because it is normal.  The priority this week is SELF-CARE, or rather, self-preservation. You can’t do ALL of the things this week.

Weekend Interlude – SLEEP, exercise, and be nice to your family so they don’t worry too much about you after your Thursday night breakdown.  Take Saturday off so you will feel human again.  Take Saturday off. Take Saturday off. Take Saturday off.  Sunday, plan like crazy and pick out your clothes for the week (thanks Meg).  Go to bed early.

You’ve got this. You LOVE this, and that will get you through. ❤️


Add Events from Google Sheets to Google Calendar Automatically from Thom Gibson

If you have a spreadsheet of your assignments for your students, then have all of the assignments automatically added to a Google Calendar, this post is for you!  This post will also help those who have MANY dates they need to enter onto a calendar at one time.

As a mom of three teenaged boys, I have many, many sporting events to attend this fall, 49 in all.  The though of adding ALL of these events to our family calendar was daunting, so I decided that I wanted to try to automate it all.  Yes, this took much longer the first time as I had to figure it all out.  But it was worth it as I’ve since used this method to add other events, en masse, to my google calendar.  So, it has saved me tons of time!  I’m blogging about it so I won’t forget how to do it the NEXT time (lol) and so you can try it too if you want!  I’m a newbie, so I probably won’t be able to answer technical questions if you decide to try it out.

I first tried a Google add on, but the creator was in Paris, so it took me hours to figure it out.  Then Thom Gibson tweeted me, so I used his script and it was much easier!  This is the one I will use from now on. Thank you Thom!  🙂

To learn how to add Google Calendar events from a Google Sheet, watch Thom’s video.


  1. Spreadsheet: You will need to copy his Google spreadsheet to get the FormMULE script.
  2. Permissions:  You will need to permit Google to let you use this.  It will say it’s unsafe bc it isn’t a Google Add on.
  3. Date Time:
    1. Be sure your cell is formatted in the Date Time format if it is not an all day event so you can add the start time.  Screen Shot 2018-09-01 at 2.27.04 PM
    2. I used the same end time as the start time.
  4. Updates:  There is a way to update it the calendar, but there is a different Update video.

Have fun!

Blog Posts for the First Days of School!

It’s back to school time!!

Here is a compilation of posts that will hopefully help with all of your “Back To School” planning.  I thought that putting them all in one place would be helpful. Happy planning and welcome back to school!

Customized Sticky Notes and Stickers!

I love the fun stickers that Sam Shah and Allison Krasnow make for their students!  I haven’t created customized stickers for my students in the past. Instead, I usually make customized sticky notes.  I love using sticky notes because the students can return them to me.  My favorite new sticker that I made is one that students write their name and number (for quick alphabetizing) on, and then I stick it on their group folder.  I love that they are sticky because I can easily re-arrange them when I change groups.

Individual Sticky Notes

Name sticker for group folder.

Group folders are another awesome Sam idea that I keep meaning to blog about! At the beginning of the year I use a “Home Enjoyment” sticky note where I can check off improvements I would like to see in their homework.  I have an, “Oops, I’m tardy!” sticky note, where they write the reason for their tardy on the note.  I also made a “See me after class” sticky that they return to me. Once they return them to me, I stick them onto a page in a binder so I can keep an accurate record. These come in handy for parent meetings. Sticky notes are usually cheaper unless there is a sticker sale, especially when you cut them in half!

I completely forgot to order more sticky notes last year.  But seeing Allison Krasnow’s My Favorite at TMC19, reminded me, and even made me want to order stickers!  I can’t wait to encourage students with these stickers, on their best as well as their worst days.

Here are the sticky notes that I created, and the notes and stickers that I created from Allison (and Sam’s) posts.  The round stickers are 1.5″ because they were cheaper.  I usually shop at Vista Print when they have a sale!  The stickers and notes are so easy to create because Vista Print has so many ready made templates!



My Favorite (Cooking) Things with Recipes!

As a full time teaching mom with three teen boys in sports, I have a few important requirements for dinner.

  • Quick and easy:  I am the worst with meal planning and prep. Before I went back to work, and the kids were into so many sports and activities, I would plan out meals, prepare things in advance, and even make freezer meals sometimes.  I was so together.  Yeah, that is over.
  • Healthy:  I have three teenaged boys who play sports and prefer to eat healthy as much as possible.  So my comfort meals are nice, but need to be sparing.  I need to make healthy meals as often as I can.
  • Quick and easy clean-up:  In addition to sports, and my two oldest are taking four AP classes each next year.  So as much as well all love a good home cooked meal, clean up cannot take forever.  They have too much work at night, and often, so do I .  I want my kids to look forward to a great meal with their family, not dread it because there will be a huge clean up process afterwards.

main_variation_Default_view_1_425x425..jpegSo far, I have found two things that fit all of these requirements, my Staub cast iron skillet and my InstanPot.  I am probably WAY late on the band wagon, but I just discovered “One-Skillet” meals using a high quality enameled cast iron skillet.  And I am telling you, I AM IN LOVE.  Busy teacher moms, you need this Staub Skillet.  You can sear your meat, throw on some veggies, and then throw it in the oven to finish cooking!  It is a time saving game changer.  I love this skillet because it was easy to use and clean up, thanks to the enameled coating.  But what made me love it even more was that my entire family loved this really simple (and healthy) meal!  OK, I know I sound like an infomercial, but busy teaching moms need help.  And if I can make a dinner in 10 minutes of “work time” I am in!  I got my 10″ skillet from Sur La Table, and they even have free shipping right now!  A 10″ skillet will fit four large chicken breasts.  But that isn’t enough for my family, and I love left-overs, so I just ordered a second 10″ skillet.

Cost of two 10″ skillets = Cost of one 12″skillet

7180ANtxfGL._SX569_.jpgMy other favorite thing is the InstaPot.  It makes soft boiled eggs in under 10 minutes.  I steam fresh green beans in it.  And most recently, I cooked perfect brown rice in it.  Tonight my son was so disappointed that I didn’t make white rice like he has at school, until he tasted it!  And it was so easy.  I put my recipe below.

I’ve only tried two recipes in my skillet, but my family raved about how great it was so I had to share!  I would love more recipes if you have a favorite!


Basically, don’t make skillet cooking hard.  Season and sear the meat, remove the meat from skillet, put liquid of your choice in skillet to get the seared stuff unstuck from the skillet, put meat back in, top with fresh veggies if desired, then transfer to the oven to finish.  You can add your seasonings, extras (GARLIC!), and liquid. I recommend wine, but you could also use broth.

Skillet Garlic Lemon Chicken

  1.  Season chicken.  I used garlic salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper (for some spice).
  2. Heat some olive oil in the pan and then sear it, for about 3 minutes on each side.
  3. Remove the meat and add some liquid to get the stuff in the pan loose and in your sauce!  I probably use half a cup of wine, and about half a lemon. This will bubble up so beautifully, and you can whisk up all of the stuff in the pan.
  4. Optional:  Add more stuff, like garlic or herbs! I press at least 3 bulbs of fresh garlic into my bubbling broth.  Garlic cooks fast and you don’t want it to burn!  So as soon as it starts sizzling, turn off the heat.
  5. Put the chicken back in the skillet, and then add chopped veggies on top!  I then sprayed them with Olive Oil and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.
  6. Cook for 10-15 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees.

So, the entire meal is in the oven and I have 10-15 minutes to chill before dinner.  And then clean up is ONE skillet!  Rice goes really well with this, so I cooked some in the InstaPot.  And I sometimes make a salad.

Perfect Brown Rice in the InstaPot

Warning:  Is is really not “Instant” rice.  It will still take at least 30 minutes to cook the rice in a pressure cooker, 10 minutes to come to pressure, 15 minutes to cook, 5 minutes to release pressure.  So plan accordingly.  It’s not really much quicker, however it’s just worth it because it is low maintenance and comes out perfectly every time.  

  1. Use equal parts rice to liquid. Too much liquid will make your rice mushy (yes, this happened to me the first time).  I used chicken broth instead of water because it makes the rice very flavorful.
  2. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
  3. Once it finishes, let the InstaPot release the pressure naturally.
  4. Season it how you like.  My kids like some butter in their rice, but it doesn’t take much!

Creamy Cilantro Chicken

I also have to include this recipe, Easy One Skillet Creamy Cilantro Lime Chicken, as my son loved it!  I used reduced fat sour cream and it still made the most incredible sauce!

Again, I am sure that I am the only one who is not already making one-skillet meals!  So please let me know if you have a great one!