At least I apologized.

I am totally in love with this "distance" calculator that uses the Pythagorean Theorem to make its point.
(From PBS Learning)

We started the morning in Geometry with a warm-up of "I notice, I wonder" on the the animations from the above distance calculator. I love that it starts with two points and when you release the left click, it makes a right triangle whose leg lengths are given. It is good to warm up, gets your mind going. Yes we have a test today, and believe me, it won't take 95 minutes to complete.

Part of the test is on the distance between two points and the midpoint of the segment between them. This graphic is just lovely for that. I pull up the screen and pretend I have I Smartboard (LOL), and ask, " what else can the lengths of the sides tell us?" Two things come up. How far the midpoint is from either of the x-coordinates  and same from either y-coordinate (especially if we know the coordinates of point C.
The second most popular idea is slope. How cool, right? So...

This one boy raises his hand and says, "Ms Zimmer, if we have a test why are you teaching us new stuff?"

Well, I unproudly lost my cool. AND, I did explain my reasoning, (that's the better part, cause I read Make it Stick, and well, because I am the teacher, that's why).


"If you have enduring understanding, like I have been coaching and preparing you to have, you won't lose what you know, you will enrich what you know. And if you don't have that kind of understanding of the material, I would have hoped to see you today at lunch (before the class), yesterday, the day before or the day before, and ..."

Then I lost it.

"Um, AND this is actually review from Algebra, right, or 8th grade, right?"

I did apologize to all the tables for losing my cool, except for that one kid. At that moment, I was channeling Fawn. Maybe I will have a one on one chat with him next time.

Happy Fall ya'all!
Why I need access to Facebook and Twitter at School

Dear Esteemed Colleagues,

My PLC's live on Twitter and Facebook. I travel once per year to meet my MATH and EDUCATION colleagues , at mostly my expense to meet with some of the top people in my field. WE connect regularly through social media (that is why we are the Math Twitter Blog O Sphere).

You can't get something to what you want on Desmos. 2 team answers and 5 colleague answers in two minutes via Twitter. You need a lesson tweak for stats, 4 responses in under 5 minutes, you want to get another Geometry Class' opinion, send word on FB. You need to know if you are on the right track? Tweet. You want to share the BEST thing you've ever done so that 500 other teachers can try it, Tweet it. 

Who's on? Well, there is Jo Boaler, Dan Meyers, Eli Lubevich (founder of Desmos), Sara Vanderwerf, Jose Vilson, Hedge, Ilana Horn, Christopher Danielson, Rafranz, Mathy Meg, Fawn, Sam, Glenn, Jim, Alex, and...If you don't know who Tracy Johnston Zager is, get on it, and 300-400 of the smartest, kindest, wisest, most supportive K-12 +++ teachers you have ever, ever known. 

That is why I need access to Twitter and Facebook, NOW.

With warm regards, 

Amy Zimmer
Closing the Lesson
Tracy Zager emphasized, "Close the lesson," at TMC 2016. Although my
#1TMCthing is to be a math evangelist, I am focused on CLOSING every lesson because, well, I got the message.

My goals for the first week are twofold. We do mathy things in here from day ONE and our classroom culture supports everyone's success. Fast forward to Friday, the end of the first week of school. I was introducing the idea of precision when generating definitions in Geometry. Fondly called, the "unbreakable" definition. Can one draw what you write, meet the criteria, AND not draw what you meant? Time to revise your definition then. We started with Widgets and a lesson Lisa Bajerano wrote about two years ago:

I had the students make a list of the characteristics of a Widget and then write a definition. I told them we would put all of thoughts together to build the most precise definition. My brain did a silent little leap and went to, "like when we used to play Monster with the girls." Monster went like this:

Everyone (usually four) of us started with a blank piece of paper folded from portrait direction in quarters. 

Hiding their drawing from everyone else, we each drew a head, neck and shoulders on the first quarter of our paper. We each drew the connecting lines about a quarter of an inch onto the next quarter, and then folded the first quarter back, so the next illustrator could not see what we had drawn. 

The next person adds on (again without seeing what the first person drew) the arms and torso in the second quarter and the connecting lines 1/4" into the third. 
Arms and Torso
The paper gets folded back again, so that the next illustrator cannot see what drawer 1 and 2 have drawn. The third drawer makes the waist and the legs to the knee and the 1/4' connector lines into the fourth quarter and again folds the paper back so the next person cannot see anything but the connector lines that have been drawn so far. 
Waist and To Knees (ignore yellow for now)
The fourth person finishes the drawing with by adding the rest of the leg and the feet. The paper is then handed back to the original person to admire, laugh
Okay, so waist to knee was open to interpretation. 
at, and give the creature a name. SO. MUCH. FUN!

The activity takes a full ten minutes.

Here's me, @druin and @mathymeg07 and a few others were discussing stress relief and I think it was Meg Craig who said she recommends picking your clothes for the week the weekend before(!). I can't even pick a menu for the week. But I did do as we thought we might and take a first day photo.
Nothing new in the picture. But Meg would be happy that I have tomorrow's clothes laid out and my lunch is in the fridge.

I had Geometry today. SO freakin' yummy. The kids were so engaged and smart, and happy and I saw only one phone out the entire day! (I felt it was my fault b/c the S had some down time--I immediately asked her, what else?)

We did Lines and Blogs (thanks Jennifer Gonzales) Lots and lots of WODB and an exit ticket, Complete the sentence, "The classroom culture that best helps me to be successful is..." (I will compile these and they will become the class norms)
Homework is to create your own WODB and have a SEPARATE justification for every quadrant. Here's mine, can you find WODB in every quadrant?

We were trained in Restorative Practice Cirles (Talking Circles) this summer. Our entire school is embracing this method of approaching community and resolving conflict. The other day, our trainer said, "When a student feels a part of community, then he or she will want to take responsibility for harming that relationship." I like that harm becomes a mistake that is repairable.

My classroom is small, so instead of cirlces the first day, I thought I would try this approach. Below are two emails I sent to a colleague trained in the method. He said, "I don't know what you mean by concentric circles, but go with your gut." Encouraging, AND, maybe I can get a little more feedback from my MTBoS pals and YOU all can take away a possible ice breaker.

Email 1)
Hi Gene and Jessica,

I want to run concentric circles facing each other on first day, 

Why: Room not large enough for all, outside voices get lost in big groups
Pedagogy: Instead of students meeting his/her "group" meet all as fluidity of first two weeks makes seating charts difficult. Also, everyone will work with everyone, might as well start!

Question: after two or three fun ones, I like Gene's, "what's annoying about social media?" I want to ask, "what does community mean to you? Have them write as few words as possible on a notecard. Read to each other. Then do what Todd did, and ask them to write what that looks like to them. 

This will be the center, like the ones we created. And sets up the norms for keeping the community whole and safe.

What do you think?

Cheers, Amy

Email 2)
Thanks Gene. Concentric circles would be dividing class in half. Half students in inner circle facing out, outer circle of students facing in . Outtsides are "A" inner "B" . A's share, B silent, then switch.  The inner students move  counter clockwise one, then repeat for a few rounds, change questions. 

Hey MTBoSers,

What do you think?