The link to these slides is found here.

Good morning. My name is Lisa Henry and I teach high school math at Brookfield High School in northeast Ohio. I am also the lead organizer for Twitter Math Camp. Our first Twitter Math Camp was held in St. Louis, Missouri in July, 2012. Twitter Math Camp was a 3 ½ day conference that we put together ourselves. We wanted to get together in person to work through the Exeter Academy math curriculum problems and share what we are doing in our classrooms. Along the way, one of the most powerful professional development experiences for the participants happened and friendships deepened. What happened at Twitter Math Camp didn’t happen overnight. To understand what happened, I’d like to share the journey we have shared.

Good morning. My name is Lisa Henry and I teach high school math at Brookfield High School in northeast Ohio. I am also the lead organizer for Twitter Math Camp. Our first Twitter Math Camp was held in St. Louis, Missouri in July, 2012. Twitter Math Camp was a 3 ½ day conference that we put together ourselves. We wanted to get together in person to work through the Exeter Academy math curriculum problems and share what we are doing in our classrooms. Along the way, one of the most powerful professional development experiences for the participants happened and friendships deepened. What happened at Twitter Math Camp didn’t happen overnight. To understand what happened, I’d like to share the journey we have shared.

Around
2008-2009, there were a few math education blogs that existed. The math
teachers who were online at the time would blog and comment on each other’s
blogs. Conversations were taking place online, but not in real time. The main
bloggers at the point included Dan Meyer, Kate Nowak, and Sam Shah. Once
Twitter gained prominence, conversations moved from the comment sections in
blogs to Twitter. Twitter allowed real-time conversations to happen (and some
not-so real time conversations too). Friendships began to develop. For example,
on Halloween, 2009, Sean Sweeney changed his twitter avatar to look like Sam
Shah’s avatar, and Twittereen was born (see also here and here). After it happened, Sam shared on his
blog that blog buddies had become friends. In late 2009, while grading student
exams, one of the math teachers tweeted there should be a red stamp for a
certain common mistake on her exams. The math teaching community responded
enthusiastically, venting about common student errors using the hashtag “need a
red stamp.” Eventually, Sam created a t-shirt that several of us purchased with
“I only Twitter with Math Teachers” on the front and “#needaredstamp” on the
back.

In
the Spring and Summer of 2010, the math teacher community became very active on
Twitter. Several teachers wanted to learn about Standards Based Grading and
began a book chat via Twitter over the summer. It was really during that summer
that the math teaching community became very active. There were many new
bloggers, including myself, and lots of sharing was happening. Teachers who
were using standards based grading in their classrooms were blogging about it
and conversations about it happened on Twitter. We started sharing what we were
doing in our classes, both via Twitter and blogs. At some point, we even
crossed the line to become “Facebook Friends.” I remember it being a big deal –
we had been talking about what the difference was between being “tweeps” versus
being “Facebook friends” and how “Facebook friends” were “real” friends.
Several people “facebook friended” each other and we continued to share more
about ourselves.

At
some point, it had to be that we meet. Over the years, there had been several
“tweetups” – face-to-face meeting of Twitter friends. Mostly these occurred
around NCTM or other math conferences or workshops. I met several of my Twitter
friends at NCTM in Indianapolis in 2011. Some had attended PCMI together.
Others would be traveling and arranging to meet. I think it was late in 2010
that we started talking about planning a “Twitter Cruise” – we’d all go on the
same cruise and do math and talk math and visit. We did look into it a little
bit and found it would be kind of expensive and figured it would be a bit
difficult to get our districts to pay for this kind of professional
development. Over Christmas Break 2011, we were talking about what we wanted to
do over the summer. I had shared with a fellow math teacher that I wanted to
work through the Exeter problem sets over the summer. She said that she wanted
to also. A few others chimed in that they would be interested and someone said,
“Wouldn’t it be cool to do that in person?” We all agreed and Kristen Fouss
organized a Google Form to find out who was interested and where they were. We
had about 10-12 who were initially interested and the central location for
those who were interested was St. Louis. Once we figured out where we thought
would be good to have our gathering, Shelli Temple and I started looking into
possible locations. We formed a Facebook group to organize our thoughts on
where and when and what we would do. Kristen had suggested a particular weekend
in July since the St. Louis Cardinals would be in town and maybe we could all
go to a baseball game together. Shelli realized she had a friend who taught at
a private school in St. Louis and by early March, 2012, we had a confirmed
location for what we dubbed “Twitter Math Camp.”

Others
in the math teaching community stepped up to help. Sam Shah offered to put
together a website so we would look “official” for anyone who was trying to get
professional development money from their schools. His website has now morphed
into our current website at twittermathcamp.com, which is hosted by one of our
attendees. Elizabeth Statmore offered to put together t-shirts. Registrations
were taken via Google Form and Speaker Proposals were submitted via Google
Form. When we first started putting this together, I think most of us expected
to get about 15 people to show up. We had 37 teachers attend Twitter Math Camp
– including teachers who teach in Canada, Jordan, and Argentina, and 19
different states. There were some teachers from the St. Louis area who heard of
us who came, but the core group of teachers who had been on Twitter was about 30.

We
spent 3 ½ days together. We worked Exeter problems. We shared what we did in our
classrooms – both formally and informally. We had an amazing experience – hands
down the best professional development I have ever attended or taken part in. I
have never attended a professional development session where every person was
engaged in every session. We socialized together. 30 math teachers toured the
Budweiser Brewery. 20 of us attended a St. Louis Cardinals game, while another
group of about 10 went to the City Museum. We ate dinner at Pi Pizzeria. We
went to a German restaurant together. We went to the movies together. We spent
3 ½ days talking about teaching, math, our lives and growing as a community. It
was hard to leave. After spending time with other people who “get” who you are,
heading back to reality was difficult.

We
continue to grow. Around the same time Twitter Math Camp happened, Shelli
Temple started “Made for Math” – a blogging initiative where math teachers
share on their blogs something they have created for their math classroom. It
could be an arts-crafty type thing or a worksheet or activity. Pretty much
every Monday since July, math teachers have blogged something they use in their
classroom life. We started My Favorite Fridays also, where we share something
that we use that’s a “favorite” – an outgrowth of one of our Twitter Math Camp
sessions. We have a website to welcome math teachers to the
“Twitterblogosphere” that was an outgrowth from a session that Sam Shah did at
Twitter Math Camp. Megan Hayes-Golding started up the Global Math Department –
a weekly meeting on Tuesday nights at 9 pm Eastern where someone or a small
group of people share via video and chat about something we are doing in our
classrooms or something applicable to math education. These meetings are
recorded and archived online at BigMarker.com. We continue to blog and tweet
and share with each other, although not as often as we would like sometimes.
But we remain connected. We are looking forward to Twitter Math Camp 2013,
which will be at Drexel University in Philadelphia this July. We opened registration
December 26

^{th}and as of this morning 31 are registered to attend.
Why
does this work? Quite simply, we

**want**to be part of this. We have chosen to be on Twitter. We chose to attend Twitter Math Camp. We want to be better teachers. Why do people stay part of this community? The relationships we have developed over the years have kept us together. We have shared with and learned from each other. The best things that I do in my classroom are mostly a result of my interactions on Twitter and blogs. When you have worthwhile interactions, it keeps you coming back. If you don’t get anything out of it, what is the point of coming back? In today’s teacher’s world, that is wasting valuable time. We are taxed with many responsibilities related to our jobs, so if I am going to spend time somewhere, I need to get something out of it. Provide meaningful content and interactions for the participants. Encourage discussion. Make it worth their time. You can’t force people to take part – but make it engaging so that they want to. Many of our teachers teach in situations where they are looking for other input from others who are not in their districts. They may be the only (whatever) teacher or they haven’t gotten anything useful from others in their districts, so they go to the internet. Somehow they ended up at Twitter. Those who stick around are the people who engage others in conversation and get responses that they find useful. They may drop off for a while because life gets busy, but they come back because of the relationships they have developed over time.
## 1 comment:

thanks for share..

Post a Comment