Happy Monday! Today was my first day back to school for the new year, not with the students…I will see them on Thursday, but it was good to be back and see everyone. Between all of the normal start of school year administration items to cover, we didn’t get any time to work in curriculum groups or share ideas yet. We should have some time tomorrow (hopefully)! I wish they could make this day more interesting or more interactive, I keep thinking of all of the things I want to do in my classroom and redoing these first day meetings with those type of ideas. How much fun would it have been to cover the same back to school information like rules, reminders, changes, hints, by a scavenger hunt through the school for QR codes that brought us to websites or recordings of the information they needed to share. We would learn a new(er) technology and how it could be used AND get those pieces of information that are necessary to share without having to sit just about the entire day. Sitting around today listening to all that stuff (while also multi-tasking on the laptop 🙂 ), gives me a pretty good idea on what it is like for the students to come back to school. That’s why I don’t go over my rules or syllabus until next week and even when I do, it is not me just telling them, there is an activity with it too. When I start a box.net subscription, I will post stuff there. Goal to Remember: students need interaction, movement and fun while they ease back into the school year (heck, they need it all the time!)
Okay…let’s get to my post! I am so excited to finally be blogging, I feel like this initiative was a open door to join you all in the blogging world. I know I didn’t need anyone’s permission, but it is a little daunting, especially when I have been following so many of you for years. (Can you say LURKER?!?!) We were given six prompts to choose from and I appreciated that they included a variety of topics.
I am responding to the following prompt: Where does the name of your blog originate? Why did you choose that? (Bonus follow up: Why did you decide to blog?) – I’m wondering how many points I get for the bonus? 🙂
A year ago I considered starting a blog because I kept responding on many of your blogs, but didn’t have a login to use so it would come up anonymous most of the time. And I had a few fun things I wanted to share. What stopped me? Trying to pick a name! I’ve read many of your posts (and recently the thoughts posted on Mathtwitterblogosphere) about how some think it is important and others say it doesn’t matter so much. But to me it did/does because I have to be anonymous due to school policy and all that jazz, not that I plan to say anything bad, but it is a little easier knowing that parents and students and administrators can’t find me. So my blog name was important because it is my online math teacher identity. A year ago I had a list of blog name ideas, a GREAT list of ideas, written on an infamous purple post-it that magically disappeared into the world of important lost post-its, similar to the land of lost socks. (I can never purchase the ones that actually stick long enough for the post-it and what you wrote on it to be useful, but I continue to use them.) Of course I couldn’t for the life of me remember any of them, so I had to start over. And I had to start over fast because I signed up for this initiative right before the last minute and realized I needed to set up a blog, pronto…while getting all of my school stuff planned. I racked my brain for words, thoughts ideas, then I looked through an online math dictionary for words I liked. Most were too long and I wanted the blog name AND my new Twitter name to be the same, so I was checking them in both places…that was FUN. I came up with two that I ultimately liked and put it to a vote. They were Teaching Pi-oneer (which was still to long for Twitter, but I liked it too much) and Algebrainiac. A funny thing happens when you put things to a vote to your friends and family via text, you realize which one you want them to vote for. So, Algebrainiac I became!
What does Algebrainiac mean? To me, I say it Alge-brainiac, long e like Alga or something like that. Since I teach Algebra and it is my favorite subject to teach, that’s where Algebra came from. I thought the ending fit as brainiac, however at times I feel like I could get away with Algebra – Maniac, like the middle of the year time when things need a little shaking up. Either way, I just liked the way it flowed when I said it. I mean, it would be cool if my blog became a “household name” like Sam Shah, Kate Nowak, Dan Meyer (and many others that I am failing to mention…sorry!); I nearly fell out of my chair at a district PD day in the spring when someone mentioned Dan Meyer’s blog and we watched his TedX-NYED talk. I kept thinking, I’ve been following him for years and all of the fantastic math teachers that I found online because of him and his blog! They have changed the way I teach, I was so happy they were sharing it. While my district likes to think they are cutting edge, they are entirely too large to actually be cutting edge, so they tend to come late to the game, but as a teacher we are allowed freedom to do what we want in order to hit the curriculum goals. With CCSS, that freedom is changing a bit, but not too much.
Why did I decided to blog? Because of TMC12, mainly. Because it was free and you gained so much, example I just found out Dan Meyer is coming to Chicago to present in April and I WANT to go, but it will cost me $225, ouch (but I know it would be worth it). Insane jealously over everything that you learned and I missed. I feel like the absent student who returned after some fantastic lesson/activity/lab and finding out it was awesome saying “What did I miss? What? You mean it was that cool? Darn it! What was it about? Can you explain vvveeerrryyy slowly so I can write it all down and soak it all in?” And I decided to blog to better myself, to reflect more on my teaching and what I am doing in the classroom, to share ideas, to get feedback (from people who don’t immediately say “we can’t do that here because of x-y-z. or The schedule won’t allow it.) to get feedback from people who share suggestions or ask questions about why I set it up this way instead of that way.
PHEW! I am SO very sorry this was so long! I will try to be a little more concise in the future. I guess my excitement to put myself out there makes it easier to write! Have a great Tuesday!
P.S. My district just started using edline for our teacher websites and such (we can’t use outside class websites), does anyone use it and can offer helpful suggestions? I have already played around with it, but it is quite different than Blackboard that we have used for 10 years, even though it is made by the same company. Thanks in advance!