Summer 2018 Plans & Goals

Since today’s the Summer Solstice, I hope you’re officially enjoying your break.  I won’t rub it in that our students’ last day of school annually is prior to Memorial Day.  Whether you’re just getting used to that alarm clock NOT going off, and eating and peeing whenever you’d like, sans bells, or if you’re just learning how to NOT wake up at regular school time, surely you’re thinking about the 2018-19 school year.  What you want to do the same because it went AWESOMELY well in 17-18… and what you’d like to change… and professional conferences… books to read… and oh ya, VACATION.

Here’s my summer, in 7 chunks.

(1) Conferences

Yes, we dressed alike. On purpose.

Our school district hosted iPadpalooza for six years, and has re-framed it (in beta this year) as LearnFest ATX. Rather than our usual global crowd of 1000, we had a smaller, mostly local crew of 300 this year.  The name of the “Learning Festival” shows the shift away from a device toward a focus on learning.  I had the pleasure of presenting a session with our high school math department chair, Nadine Herbst, featuring Desmos Card Sorts as a way to promote collaboration and communication.  You can find our resources here, which were inspired and created by many of YOU! Thanks, as always, for sharing awesome activities!

I’m looking forward to the Apple Distinguished Educator Global Institute next month.  This year, rather than welcome a new class, alumni from (literally) all over the globe get together for a week of unmatched PD and collaboration.  Can’t beat the location this year… they could have chosen any city in the world… and they chose…. AUSTIN! 🙂

(2) What I’m Reading

I’ve had this Mathematical Argumentation book in shrink wrap for TOO long, so it’s on my list.  I read Denis Sheeran’s latest book, Hacking Mathematics, in two sittings.  It will be great to reference next year!  Our math departments at the middle school level are doing a summer book study on Taking Action, using Google Classroom to respond to questions and one another.  I’m loving it!  And, I’m reading Ready Player One with my sonny boy as our own little book study at home.  We each have our own bookmark, and debrief regularly.  Saw the movie first.  Kind of glad about that, as I don’t think book-first-movie-second is commutative in this case.

(3) What I’m Wrapping My Brain Around

Those who DON’T TEACH often seem to think that our so-called “summers off” are our greatest perk.  I disagree.  The fact that we have the chance to start NEW and FRESH every year is the BEST PART!  We can try new things, fail at new things, and succeed at new things.  We have a clean break right now to make any change or adjustment to our practice that we want to!

I was reminded about “lagging homework” in Hacking Mathematics and took to Twitter.  Conversations and ideas abound in this thread!  I’m trying to figure out a “transition plan” for myself and my students.  Not sure how this might look yet.

Desmos Computation Layer, you are amazing.  I had every intention of sitting down and learning you by brute force, but that’s not working out.  I think I will watch and re-watch these kind webinars by CL Guru Mr. Chow.  For me, the key is creating a need within an activity FOR the CL, and I need to understand more about the capabilities before I create something and give it a go.  BABY steps.

The amazing Sara Vanderwerf shared this blessing of a post, and I’m on a mission to more intentionally include Stand & Talks in my classroom in 2018-19.  Here’s how I’ve started planning!

 (4) Closing My Rings

You know, teaching is a physical sport!  In the summer, when that sport comes to an abrupt end, I have to be intentional about staying active and fit.  Last September 18, it clicked for me that I should be “closing my rings” on my Apple Watch every day.  So, that’s what I’ve done (with the exception of that bout of the pesky flu when I commissioned my son to wear my watch and run laps for me, as I had a high fever and literally couldn’t peel myself from the couch).  It’s important to take care of our bodies AND our brains.

(5) Travel

All the blue pins on my mini-map show where I’ll be traveling this summer.  I’m happy to report that some pins are for “work” but most are for “pleasure”, vacationing and visiting family and friends.  I’m looking forward to riding some roller coasters (my summer OBSESSION) and soaking up some Gulf Coast rays.

(6) Crafty/Mathy Projects

I am a maker.  During the school year, most of my “making” involves designing math lessons and resources.  In the summer, my maker skills usually involve crafts, paint, and weird experiments.  Take my most recent project.  I’ve been tossing empty make-up compacts into a box under my bathroom vanity for… probably 3 years?  I took the time to count my collection (I’ve had an up-cycling art plan all along) and was surprised at how many I’d saved!

Went to the craft store to find something to attach all of these mini-mirrors to, and found a wooden square I liked.  Spray painted it, loved it.  Had NO IDEA it would end up being a 5-by-5 square… I was just trying to create a new art piece for my classroom.  Then it hit me… PYTHAGORAS!!!!  Phase 3 of this project is currently on hold until I use up a bit more face powder.  I’m all outta empty compacts.

(7) Oh Boy

My biggest goal each summer is to maintain my status (see images at the start of this post).  It’s a BLESSING to be able to have the same schedule as sonny boy.  The 2018-19 school year will be his last year of attending the middle school where I teach, so I need to soak up this time THAT I WILL NEVER GET BACK.  P.S. He’s turning 13 next month, and the fact that my son will be a TEENAGER is a bit surreal.  So proud to be his mom.  AND, I’ll be celebrating 19 years of marital bliss, blessings, and occasionally a healthy-level of bickering with the one and only Mr. Yenca.


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