What Are You Thankful For?

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This time of year always has me thinking- typically not about what it represents, how it originated, or how it should be changed- but about how I have done over the past year in Giving Thanks.

I can’t begin to describe how much I have grown this past year: how many great ideas have been sparked, how my student interaction has changed and grown, how my confidence in my teaching has increased.  Today, with this post I want to thank 10 Tweeps for making me a better “Me” than I was last year.

  1. @Veganmathbeagle: Megan, while has quick wit and likes to tease me on Twitter, asked me to help out with the #MTBoS booth for NCTM Regionals MN.  It was absolutely the best thing that could have happened to me.  It was great making F2F connections with all the incredible people I interact with on Twitter.  She also has this uncanny knack for asking the simple questions to get me really thinking about what I am doing and why.  I really appreciate the friendship formed.  Thank you Megan (Labs are better BTW).
  2. @Trianglemancsd: Christopher really encourages me to interact within the math community and give me the gentle nudge to present at conferences to share my experiences.  I appreciated his honest, humble presence on Twitter- he has always been there to help if I ask.  I thought Christopher was cool even before I found out he worked on a math series that I really enjoy- CMP2.  He goes out of his way to meet and interact with Twitter people, has great vision and ideas of how to make math better for kids, and reminds us all of how just wanting to make a difference isn’t enough- you CAN go out and do it.  Thanks Christopher, I’ll be calling on you often throughout the rest of my career.
  3. @Fawnpnguyen: Fawn is pure awesomesauce.  Like Christopher, she readily accepted my reaching out to her about ideas for my classroom.  I use her website www.visualpatterns.org daily.  Although she started to referring to me as “Zombie Monkey”, I love how we can joke and interact while still discussing hard math concepts and practices- always showing me the fun side of what we do: teaching Middle School Students.  Thank you Fawn, I love you to death even though you like the Ducks.
  4. @jreulbach: Julie doesn’t really know it, but she opened up the realm of Twitter to me.  I stumbled upon her blog looking for lesson ideas, and found her twitter handle.  I joined twitter to check out the scene.  I started looking at who she followed- and my experiences on Twitter grew.  I get to give Fawn some heck alongside of Julie, I’d hate to see what would happen if we all got together.  Thank you Julie, you were my gateway to the great resources available on Twitter.
  5. @robertkaplinsky and @Math_m_Addicts: Robert and Nanette are the founders of Open Middle.  I came across this site after Julie got me searching the #MTBoS, and their twist to skill practice and problems really hooked me.  I kept bugging Robert about problem design enough that he must have decided it was easier for me to be on the team.  I will forever appreciate this extension, it has changed me immensely.  I only hope I can maintain the incredible standard they set.  Thank you Robert and Nanette for accepting me into a new PLC, a digital one, and considering me an equal.
  6. @JustinAion: I met Justin through #msmathchat.  It was an incredible resource for me for two years, until Justin had a change of assignment.  Justin and I became fast friends, having great talks about everything and nothing- sometimes all at the same time.  When he knew of his job change, he approached me and Shlag about continuing the chat.  I was not sure I was an appropriate choice for the job, but I valued his opinion and trust, and am trying to continue his great vision for a weekly online chat where Teachers can learn in a new way.  Thank you Brotha, your friendship and trust means a lot.
  7. @shlagteach: I met Adrienne through #msmathchat as well, where she continued to keep Justin on task (as much as you can).  Now we share the load moderating the chat and I am continually amazed by this woman.  She is a great resource for teaching, yet is super easy to work with.  I couldn’t ask for a better partner in crime for our chat.  Thank you Shlag, I rely on you so heavily for #msmathchat I can’t express it in words.
  8.  @ddmeyer: I love how just because you are your own entity in a school system, it doesn’t mean you don’t have the right vision for teaching and Dan really solidified that for me.  His blog, 3 Act Math Tasks, 101Qs and Graphing Stories hit so close to home with me that it was almost like I personally knew him.  I appreciate his vast resources that are available, and use these as templates to create new problems and tasks that are relevant to my classroom, students and teaching.  I was able to attend one of Dan’s workshops this summer and it was great being able to talk to him.  Thanks for being a very public face for math education reform Dan.
  9. @mr_stadel: Estimation 180, do I need to say more?  Andrew, like every other person already mentioned, surprised me with how warm, friendly and accepting they were of me when approached by my questions.  Andrew’s site is a staple in my class, so much so that they call him Andrew in class.  “What is Andrew going to have us estimate today Mr. A?”  I love it.  Thanks Andrew, hope we get to chat and then I can really show my students how tall you are compared to me!
  10. @TracyZager: Tracy rounds out my list of 10 this year.  Tracy was another of my firsts on Twitter.  I enjoyed many a conversation we have shared.  She also instills in me a wonder for teaching, and the fun that goes along with it (and should be shared to your students as well!).  I was even honored to be able to read a short excerpt from her book, adding any input I would have on the content.  I’m glad things are better for you Tracy, and I can’t wait for your book (How can I get a signed copy?)  Thank you girl.

This is by NO MEANS everyone who has positively influenced me this past year, it is only a small part.  I don’t mean to make any of you upset, know that if I talk with you- I really value your opinion, experience, knowledge and friendship.  Thank you all for making me a better teacher than I was a year ago.

Bryan

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