The Math Sauna Saga

The AC is dead in my classroom (and, being that this is Georgia, we still very much need AC in October). I was told the repair will take at least a few days. I brought the little black fan from home, and the janitor kindly brought me the big fan in the back. The vents in my room are blowing out air that’s 83 degrees, y’all, it is HOT. My students had many colorful similes for how the room smelled, with 30 of us all in there sweating and stinking the place up…

Check, Check…

…is this thing on?

Yes, mathtwitterblogosphere*, I’m still here, and still teaching.

About this time last year is when I really started to feel overwhelmed with it all, and then… it’s all a bit of a blur, but I got through it, and inexplicably, I came back for more.  Blogging was the last thing on my mind, because that first year was rough, y’all.  So, huge props to anyone who blogs their way through their first year.  I couldn’t manage.

This year has been substantially better so far, for a long list of reasons.  Smaller class sizes, teaching two consecutive courses which helps me plan “vertically,” smaller class sizes, having a better handle on this whole “teaching” gig, smaller class sizes, understanding that sometimes I’m too darn nice and need to be The Bad Guy for a while, and my class sizes are smaller…  🙂

Meanwhile, I became a big Instagrammer over the summer.  (Driving on a cross-country road trip and taking 3000 pictures can have that effect on you, it turns out.)  But… I’m not really down with Instagram’s ToS.  I’m no artist, but I like owning my photos.  I stopped posting on Facebook a long time ago (even though it’s very well locked-down from kids seeing much more than my face and name, I’m still not comfortable with their policies), and I feel like I should start backing away from Instagram too.  Pressgram sounds like a good alternative, and hey: most of my Instagram posts are of my classroom anyway.  Pictures and captions I can handle.  Real written-out posts (like this) take time to edit, and I am a perfectionist.

TL;DR: I’m not quite dead yet, and I will be experimenting with Pressgram.  It may lead to me posting more often.  Or not!  Time will tell.  We’ll see.  But in any case, I’m still here, and already nearly a quarter of the way through #year2.  🙂

* I thought to myself, not having read hardly any posts in the last year, Surely someone has started calling it MTBoS by now, and verily, they have.  Good stuff.

** More people should end blog posts with a TL;DR.  Sometimes I see my math ed Feedly piling up with posts and I’m all, ain’t nobody got time for that!

#Made4Math Monday #2 – Keep Calm & Math On

I’ve actually done a lot of crafty business over the last week or so, but this is all I have time to blog about, and that’s only because the draft’s been sitting here for a while.  Off to bed!  🙂

Project #1 – Keep Calm and Math On

Now, I think this is nifty.  Throughout the chaos of wedding planning, I needed to step back & try to relax quite often (natch), so naturally I became drawn to the Keep Calm and Carry On trend.  Since math can be a panicky subject for some kids, I thought they might appreciate this sign:

I made it using the Keep Calm-o-Matic, and I matched it to school colors.  (See mine here.)

To insert the pi, I opened up PowerPoint, typed in my π (there, now you can copy & paste it!), and matched the colors to what I was using on the website.

Matching the PPT colors to the site

I set my font size to 260, then took a screen shot, cropped it to about 150×150 pixels, and inserted it.  Despite trying varying combinations of font and crop size, it still came out looking a bit fuzzy in the image, but my printout turned out okay.  Your mileage may vary!

They also have symbols you can choose from, if you click on the crown, in case you don’t want to go to the trouble to match it up.  (For example, there’s a plus sign that would work better for younger audiences.)

Once you’re satisfied with it, you can save it, and they’ll give you a link to it.  You can save the image (a PNG) or save a PDF version.  The PDFs will look wonky if you use your own image, so again, do so with caution.

Personally, the PNG (using their default dimensions) came out plenty big enough for me to print it out on some 8.5″ x 11″ cardstock.  Alas, my printer wasn’t up to the challenge of all of that blue, and I’m still waiting on the prints to show up (I had some big drama over my $3 prints at FedEx Office, don’t ask), so unfortunately I can’t show you the finished product, but I think you get the general idea.  I’m sure you folks will come up with plenty of neat ways to use this!

If you’d rather do something else with the font, you can download it here.

Lots more to come next week!  🙂

#Made4Math Monday #1

Made4Math Monday

I didn’t plan on jumping into these quite yet (we start training Wednesday and pre-planning on Friday, and given that all I know about my room at the moment is the number, there’s only so much I can do), but I realized that, while customizing my blog, I did something that others–particularly my fellow new teachers–might fight useful for their own blogs and twitter profiles.

Though I’m not completely happy with it yet, I made the background image for this blog myself using ColourLovers.  (I’m trying to match my school’s colors, but making an attractive combination of hunter green, navy, & gold is tricky!)  If you’re not familiar with it, ColourLovers is a site that lets you play with colors and palettes, and it lets you turn your palettes into patterns.

Using the green “Create” button on the right side, you can play with palettes first or jump straight into patterns.  They have all sorts of pre-made patterns to choose from:

I seriously could spend hours messing with this, there are so many options.

Once you have your pattern created and saved, you can click the pattern itself to see a larger version of it.

They used to give you a way to download a background-sized image of your pattern, but I don’t think they do that anymore.  (Either that, or I can’t find the link.)  In any case, you can take a screen shot of your pattern, crop it so that the edges line up neatly, et voilà, you have a background image for your blog, twitter account, or whatever else.

(If you’re not familiar with taking screen shots, it’s the “Print Screen” or “Prnt Scrn” key on a PC, which will take an image of your screen and put it on your clipboard.  You’ll have to paste it into some sort of image software.  Paint works in a pinch.  On a Mac, hit Cmd+Shift+4, then select what you need.  The image will be created on your deskop automatically.  If you need to trim it, open it in Preview, select what you want to keep, and hit Cmd+K.)

Since you’re using their website to create it, it’s courteous to link back to ColourLovers somewhere on your blog, such as on your “about” page.


About the Name

I recently (as in, three weeks ago recently) became Mrs. Smith.

Though my inner feminist wouldn’t otherwise be too crazy about the idea of changing my last name to match his, she’s appeased by a pleasant coincidence in this case: Mr. Smith’s middle name is my maiden name.  (One of my bridesmaids jokes that she’s going to tell everyone that he took my name too, which irks him to no end but doesn’t bother me a bit.)  So by taking his last name, and bumping up my maiden name, the groom and I now have the same middle and last names.  In my book, this is pretty awesome.

I’ve had a few people tell me that they’re not sure why I would willingly jump on to take such a “bland” and “common” name as Smith.  (Honestly, the sheer rudeness of some people can be astounding, particularly when weddings are involved.)  Personally, I love the name!

I could list several reasons that I like the name, but the reason that’s relevant here is that I like its meaning.  To be a smith is to be a creator of something from a certain raw material.  A blacksmith crafts tools from iron; a silversmith makes things from silver.

So I realized, as a math teacher, it’s like I’m taking the raw material of mathematics, and using it to create…well, I suppose you could say a lot of things here.  “Critical thinkers” comes to mind first.  “Lifelong learners” too, though after grad school that sounds too cliche.

Of course, at this point, I still feel like more of an apprentice than a fully-fledged mathsmith, but I’ll get there.

Coming soon…

Here’s that requisite awkward “hello world!” post.

This August, I will finally be embarking on my teaching career f’realsies.  I’ve finished my MAT, gotten my certificate, and signed a contract to teach at a great high school.  I’ll be diving head-first into the new common core curriculum with the Coordinate Algebra course (also known as Algebra I to most folks).

But before that happens, I’m getting married in 12 days (OMG)!  So the blog will be starting after the honeymoon and whatnot.  I will start sorting out my teaching thoughts here once I have time to have teaching thoughts again.

I mostly just had a good idea what to title this thing (finally, as I’m awful with titles and usernames), and wanted to stake my claim in the twitterblogosphere.

Hello, teaching world.  See you soon.