#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.

Enjoy!

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.