Experience (or Re-live) #TMC16, Virtually

The #MTBoS (Math Twitter Blogosphere) is an amazing community of math educators who share ideas and resources freely with others through blogs and Twitter. It is a strong online community where we are constantly learning from one another and growing better, together.


Twitter Math Camp 2012

 Twitter Math Camp (TMC), an amazing “grass roots” conference for teachers, by teachers, was born when we decided to finally meet in person five years ago in 2012. This initial small meeting of 37 teachers (#TMC12) has grown to a conference of over 200 in just five short years. I have been to all five, as it is the one conference that I do not miss, and it is one of my favorite experiences of the year!

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 7.43.15 PMI love Twitter Math Camp so much that I want to share it with everyone. And I want you to get to experience it, even if you couldn’t be there this year to experience it with me! Luckily, it is TWITTER Math Camp, so almost everything can be accessed online!
Here is your how to guide to virtually “attending” TMC16 online. The best thing is, you don’t have to decide which amazing session to attend (out of 12!) during each block, you get to read about them all! In fact, I will be virtually attending all 11 sessions every block that I did not get to attend because I was in a different session!

1) Search the #TMC16 hashtag on Twitter and read the tweets. You will find amazing quotes, pictures, and most importantly links to many of the great resources presented at the conference.  Note: There are a ton of tweets so it will take a while to read through. In fact, there were so many tweets that #TMC16 was trending multiple times per day during the three-day conference. Additionally, since it is a Twitter conference, the teachers are constantly communicating with each other through Twitter, all using the #TMC16 hashtag. So you will see many tweets that are not resources as well.

2) Go to the Twitter Math Camp website. Here you can read more about Twitter Math Camp. After that, I would read the TMC16 Complete Program with Descriptions so you will know what sessions you want to learn all about.   There are a ton of sessions so take notes! You will need them when you access the TMC Wiki to get the session materials (see #3). The Twitter Math Camp website will also contain the #TMC16 Archive, which is all of the videos recorded of the conference as well as many reflection blog posts by other teachers about the conference. Many math educators blog about their experience. These blog posts are excellent as several teachers will give specifics and details about each session to supplement the raw materials that you can find.

3)  Watch the videos from #TMC16. (They are all not up yet, but will be).  The keynote speakers and the “My Favorites” were recorded each day, plus a few extraneous moments. “My Favorites” are 5 – 15 minute mini-talks teachers give about a favorite thing from their classroom. The “official” videos were taken by Glenn Waddell.  You can also watch the  videos I took with Periscope. Periscope is fun because viewers can heart moments they love and write comments, all of which you can view when watching the replay of the video. I discovered that I could sketch on the video while people were talking! So, I had some fun with that too. I am working to put all of the videos in one place permanently, but haven’t had time yet. Also, I had never used Periscope before this conference, so my first videos are untitled and the orientation is vertical. Sorry! Thank you to Sam for showing me Scopedown so I could download all of my Periscopes before they disappeared!  However, for some reason the orientation is all messed up when I downloaded it.  Ugh.

4)  Check out the Twitter Math Camp Wiki for the resources! The TMC wiki contains most of the materials from each of the sessions. It is packed with links, pdfs, and sometimes even the presenter slides! Bonus: It also contains all of the information from every Twitter Math Camp session since it was created in 2012. Be patient, as some presenters have not had a chance to upload their files. You can also tweet a presenter and I am sure they would be happy to send material to you.

FINALLY, once you are all done “attending” TMC16, you should share your #1TMCThing on Twitter. This is the ONE thing that you learned from TMC that you would like to implement this year. Please tweet it out, and don’t be shy! Think of TMC16 as an online school. You have earned your virtual certificate and should definitely tweet along with us. Because you are one of us. If you are still not convinced, here is Shelli’s tweet. She was not able to attend TMC this year, but followed the hashtag during while TMC16 was in session.  She even discovered and shared her #1tmcThing. Missed you Shelli. ❤

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Going forward, if you are NOT on Twitter, interacting with math educators, you should be. So sign up now before you miss any more of the amazing things math educators are doing there! I’ve grown more in the past few years than I have in my entire career. If you want to meet more of us, the MTBoS directory is a great place to start! Follow people on Twitter. Follow @TMathC. Follow me at @jreulbach. Say Hi to me!  Ask questions!  We will help you!  Search hashtags and use hashtags when you tweet. It will be life changing.

Some hashtags I frequently use:

#MTBoS – Talk to the math educator community

#alg2chat – Algebra teachers (alright, so right now this is mostly me – but I’m not going to quit trying to make it happen!)

#msmathchat – Middle School Math Teachers

#tmc16 – Everything TMC16


Once again, I am in the wonderful world of #TMC16.  These are my people.  It is an overwhelming, exhausting, but most importantly exhilarating experience even for a seasoned TMCer like me (this is my 5th TMC).  In fact, I am going to my family vacation to the beach one day last so I don’t miss the closing ceremony on Tuesday.  I only get this experience once a year and can’t miss a moment of it.

I am doing Chris and Mattie’s “Talk Less, Smile More” morning session.  It is amazing.  Right now I am working with a group of Algebra 2 teachers to develop questions around quadratics.  I will share it once we get something on it.  We are having great discussions, and much laughter, together.

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Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 11.01.37 PMI saw a request on Twitter for Periscope so I decided to video some of the action here.  I have never used Periscope so the first few videos are untitled, shaky, and turned the wrong way!  But, I am getting better and hopefully sharing some of the TMC16 goodness with all of the wonderful math teachers that wanted to come but couldn’t this year.

I loved Sam’s My Favorite today about Math Exploration Projects.  He was inspiring and I can’t wait to try this with my students.

Tracy Zager truly moved me with an inspirational keynote today.  You need to watch this. Her well prepared talk was full of humor, math, and emotion. I adore her. I could not even believe that she added a Desmos Activity builder into her talk for 200 people after just learning it two days before.  I loved everything that she had to say, and am going to be more intentional with vertical alignment.  TMC has made me acutely aware of the need to vertically align mathematics education, and that we all need to play a part in this in order to affect change.  I learned that it was important to close each class.  This is something that I rarely do, and don’t know how to do effectively.  After an SOS tweet, David Coffey sent me a link to “22 Powerful Closure Activities“.  I love this community.

I went to Jonathan’s awesome session and sill have so many questions.  We examined the standards (my group used a Wordle), watched Marble Races, were blasted with the inception button, and just absorbed Jonathan’s brilliance.

CnmWX7JWYAIDhQjEveryday after the sessions, Sara Vanderwerf  brings her backward bike for people to try.  This is a very “feel good” way to end each day.  Instead of us just walking our own separate ways, people gather outside to sit in the sun, chat, and watch each other try out the bike.  As Sara said, it’s such an awesome community builder.  I have really enjoyed getting to know Sara these past couple of days and love working with her.  I admire her energy and passion.  I can’t wait until I have time to pour over her blog in detail. As with so many others here, I wish we lived closer so I could work with her on a more regular basis.

FullSizeRender 24We ended the day with Math Trivia night hosted by Mathalicious.  My team sang between rounds, Disney songs, Madonna, Sweet Caroline,… It was a blast, and my team won!  I have never come close to winning trivia before, so it was pretty exciting.  My team even got a badge that we can wear tomorrow AND on the first day of school. Life goals.

There was so much more today.  So many great tweets, links, pictures, and moments.  But I’m exhausted.  Night all.  ❤

Twitter Math Camp Is All About Love – TMC15


Twitter Math Camp 15 – 200 Strong!

This may be my longest post ever.  It was tough to write.  It’s a hot mess and just all over the place, but I can’t look at it anymore.  I just need to post it. I almost did not go to TMC15.  I changed schools for the 2014-15 school year.  As an experienced teacher I was not really worried about changing schools.  I did not take into account the added stress I would encounter from new people, preps, procedures, and new culture.  I did not take into account how difficult it would be to be “unknown” by students (and everyone) in a much larger school.  But I found that it was a tremendous change for me. I had switched divisions, from middle school to high school, and had two new preps.  I had never taught Geometry before.  My co-teacher (who I had grown close to) quit mid-year.  My three children also changed schools with me and it took them a while to adjust.  Plus, as much as I love high school students, I really missed teaching middle school students.  I was overwhelmed and under water most of the year. Luckily, I have an amazingly supportive administration at my new school.  That, and a few key people completely saved my year.  But it was still hard.  So hard that I haven’t recovered enough to think about education, or read educational books.  For the first time since I returned to teaching, all I did in this summer was SUMMER.  I was anxious about going to TMC because much of my time there involves intense math education conversations.  I just didn’t know if I was ready to be immersed in education yet.  At the same time, I was worried that if I didn’t go, I would still feel this way on the first day of school.  I love teaching, and I adore my students, so I didn’t want this to happen.  In the end, I decided that I HAD to go to TMC, because I was hoping it would inspire me.  Enter Fawn. My most impactful “non-lesson” TMC thing was Fawn’s keynote.  Fawn’s talk deeply moved me.  She reminded me how much I love my students.  Her talk created the shift in me that I had been hoping for the entire conference.  It wasn’t about pedagogy and activities.  It was about the heart, because that is why we teach.  Students are why I love teaching.  Fawn’s talk affected me emotionally.  It makes me tear up, even now, just thinking about it.  I am excited to go back to school now, and I can’t thank you enough Fawn. Screen Shot 2015-07-29 at 5.21.07 PM Of course, the rest of Twitter Math Camp was amazing as well.  Lisa Henry said that it was like a family reunion, others jokingly referred to it as a cult.  There are many things that set this conference apart (and above), other conferences or professional developments, but the most impactful difference is the support, and even the love that is there.  Fawn’s talk was even titled, “A Love Letter to the MTBoS”. Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 9.36.54 AMTeachers do not attend TMC just to learn how to become a better teacher, they attend TMC to connect with other progressive and like minded math teachers.  Last year, I connected with many Geometry and Alg2 teachers at TMC14.  These connections not only carried me through the year, they saved my year, especially in Geometry (special thanks to Jim Doherty and Peg Cagle).  Connections like these are the “special sauce” that makes TMC better than other conferences. Last year after TMC some of the amazing things I implemented were Glenn’s (h,k) forms, Cindy’s Conic Cards, and Plickers.  I have an even longer list of new things I can’t wait to try this year.  My number one TMC15 thing (#1TMCthing) is to try to include debate in class.  Who doesn’t love a great debate?  And it totally fits in with my class personality.  Other things from TMC15 that I want to try are:

Lisa had a great idea that we could all pick the one thing that we most wanted to implement and tweet it out to #1TMCThing.  Then, on Oct.26th, we are all going to check in on other people that picked our same thing.  This is support and community.  And this is why I love TMC and the #MTBoS so much! This year I had a blast at game night, where Deborah Boden was nice enough to give me an amazing pink math teacher shirt!  Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.53.52 AMBefore the conference even started, I got a shout out from Jonathan that made my heart smile.  I presented a session with Sam and Brendan (even though I complained so much because I wasn’t in the mood to prepare).  Thankfully, Sam didn’t let me off the hook, and it felt great sharing my story.  IMG_4606I finally got to go to IN-N-OUT burger with tech genius John Stevens and posted the pic on Instagram for my former students.  I was excited that they remembered the lesson from 2 years ago!  I got to do Barbie Bungee with Fawn and Matt!  I also learned how much preconceived ideas can affect your math.  Matt had mentioned quadratics to me and even had a quadratic option in the Desmos model so I totally went for it.  And totally failed (sorry Hedge and Ashley)!  But it was such a great experience and I would not have been satisfied if I hadn’t tried it.  Sam, Tina and I conducted a lunch meeting on the next blogging initiative, and I presented a short “My Favorite” on Kahoot.  I had a blast collecting money for a gift for Lisa, posing as a raffle, especially when she bought five tickets!  And, even though I didn’t help write it, Sean and Rachel and David still asked me to help sing the amazing song they created.  ❤ But one of my favorite things about Twitter Math Camp is all of the Tweeting that is going on.  The backchannel is almost more active than the conference.  It is almost like there are TWO conferences going on at all times.  It gets pretty bad (in the best way).Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.53.27 AM Finally, I just had an amazing time reconnecting with the best friends I have ever had.  My only regret is not spending more time meeting and talking with new people.  I am sorry about that.  After all of the changes this year, I really needed serious quality (healing) time with my closest friends.  I needed to sing and dance, a lot.  I tried hard to be myself, even though I wasn’t feeling like myself.  Thank you tweeps, for being there for me this year.  And even though I wasn’t in the best frame of mind this year, TMC, and the love of the people attending, inspired me again.  They are not only “my people”, they are my soul mates. Special thanks to my dear friend Lisa Henry for all of the work she does for this.  I don’t know how she gets it all done (and done so well), but I am very thankful for her!  Also thanks to the TMC Planning Committee, Darryl Yong, Harvey Mudd College, and our barbeque hosts.  I can’t even imagine the amount of work that went into planning and pulling this off for so many people.  Twitter Math Camp is all about love. Piano, piano on tweeps! Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 12.53.35 AM Camp Song – “Party at the TMC”


Party in the TMC Slideshow with lyrics and pictures


“Party at the TMC” I hopped off the plane at L.A.X. Because I didn’t realize there was a closer airport Welcome to the land of awesome tweeps (whoa), Am I gonna fit in? Jumped in the car, Here we are for the fourth time (beat) Look to my right and I see the Harvey Mudd Sign This is all so crazy Everybody seems so famous My phone is buzzin’ with the fav-rites and the retweets So much excitement and I’m nervous, That’s when Lisa turned on the microphone And then TMC was on And then TMC was on And then TMC was on [Chorus:] So I put my hands up I’m giving high fives The MTBoS is here to stay We’re starting on time like yeah Movin’ our thumbs like yeah We got our phones out, We’re tweeting along, There’s awesome packed in every day Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play (breathe!) Get to Friday gonna share my fav Everybody’s tweeting at me now Like, “Who’s that chick that 3D prints?” I gotta go and track her down. (beat) Sooo hard to choose, why can’t I pick three? It’s definitely not like normal PD ‘Cause all I see are teaching pro-s Sha-kin’ it in front of two pianos (breathe!) My tummy’s rumbling’ and I gotta pick a food TRUCK Gonna count the times that fawn will say f…. whoa whoa whoa! -something incredibly heartfelt that makes us all feel very emotional- That’s when Chris Shore dropped and did the worm And then Fawn put a wig on And then Fawn put a wig on And then Matt put a wig on So we put our hands up We’re two hundred strong And growing bigger ev’ry day Bar-be-que-ing like yeah Nixing the tricks like yea Now look at these pics Which doesn’t belong? There’s awesome packed in every day Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Soon I’m hoppin’ on my flight (on my fllight) Wish I’d won The Price Is Right (Price is Right) Hard to leave you every time (every time) But then I’ll just log on and I’ll feel alright So we put our hands up We’re waving goodbye We’re sad to all go away: Courtyard chil-ling like yeah Raf-fle-ing stuff like yeah We found what we love, We’re doing that now, And did it for the last four days Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play Yeah, twitter math camp where your work is play And of course, my favorite moments at TMC, in pictures!