Monthly Archives: July 2016

The Adventures of Grant the Ant


I remember years ago (circa 1997) using a scenario about Grant the Ant walking toward the door.  Only one problem – Grant would always stop walking when he reached the point half way to the door.  Then he would begin walking again.  Stop half-way.  And so on.  I think the initial prompt was used for sequences and series.  But Grant’s Adventures have evolved over the years.

One year in Algebra 2, I set this up as stations around the room.  Students visited each, read the scenario and sketched the indicated graph.  Once everyone had a chance to visit each scenario, teams were given poster paper and asked to create larger versions of their graphs.

We then did a gallery walk to indicate if we agree / disagree and offer written suggestions and ask questions on the posters.  Several were fairly straightforward, but always a few they brought up some discussion.  I had items available like erasers on a desk with a cup or even mini marshmallows, the pencil sharpener and students were taken to the hallway to walk / model Grant’s walk between two classrooms.

File with scenarios:  Grant the Ant

Usually this lesson either followed-up or was followed by the Representing Functions of Everyday Situations from Math Shell – Painting the Bridge is always one of my favorite graphs to discuss as a class.

Its a great tool / visual to reference back to in future discussions are we went more in depth with studies of each function family.


Make This a Quiz (g-forms)


So yesterday I had the opportunity to share some online resources with colleagues in my district.  What a great day.  I enjoyed the conversations with teachers from different schools, grade levels and content areas.  It really caused me to wonder how these tools might be utilized in their classrooms and their sharing of ideas was awesome!

I’ll be honest.  I was scared.  I’ve done several sessions at conferences or for the sake of sharing information, but never to really teach, with the purpose they would gain a skill or idea and be able to walk out with the ability to use it in their classrooms.  I was very nervous.  What if it was a flop?  What if I went too fast?  What if I assumed too much?  What if I assumed to little?  What if I failed at helping them?  I value their time and wanted it to be beneficial.

The biggest goal of the day was for them to experience google forms from a student’s point of view and then learn to create one; experience quizlet from a student’s point of view and then learn to create one; and finally experience Desmos Polygraph as a student – hoping to peak some interest in learning more about this awesome tool!  We spent the first 2 hours exploring, practicing some skills and the last hour was open for them to create a task/form/stack and/or search for items they could actually use when the school year begins.  I feel this was important.  So many times, we’re given something but never time to really practice using it.

It was an awesome day – everyone was so gracious and great to work with – asking questions, exploring.  Based on their feedback, I feel like everyone walked away with something.  (Thank Goodness!)


This chick was over the moon excited about the Quizzzes tab in g-forms.  What?  I think I’d heard some talk of it, comparing it to flubaroo.  But somehow it had not actually processed until yesterday.  Here’s a follow up video I posted for my colleagues from yesterday – to show their way around, some ideas / things to do.  Please overlook the amateur screen-cast, but you can at least get an idea.

  1.  Once you’ve created your form, go to settings and choose Make this a quiz, make choices and save.
  2. Edit a question, choose answer key to mark correct answer assign points.
  3. Choose feedback to offer feedback for both correct and incorrect answers.  Even better – the option to set up a link to another resource within the feedback.  My idea is to offer questions / suggestions for incorrect responses and a link to online resource/practice/video to help with intervention.  But what makes me even happier is to offer a link within the correct answer feedback to a resource for enrichment/extension.  ***happy dance***  Yes, I realize the question I’ve included in slides is ridiculous, unrelated to links, etc but I was only playing to see what I could do!

Please share other ideas / suggestions you have or run across.  This is so cool!  Very excited about it.

#TMC16 My Tourist Experience


Thursday – Several early arrivals walked to Acadia.  Crunchy fish tacos with a spicy aioli, pickled veggies was exactly what I wanted after a long day of traveling!  Afterwards we walked the area with Amy Z & Bob J.  As we began to make our way back on the bridge of East/West we noticed a shoe tree.  Carazzyyy.  This tree was huge tall and shoes all the way down to the ground…we were on the bridge.


Friday – A morning full of Desmos goodness, now able to hear the graphs – amazing tool for visually impaired!  Some yummy pizza/salad fueled us up for an afternoon of more Desmos!  Can you say Card Sorts and Marble Slides and a new dashboard!?!  Yayaa!

A trip to the ballpark, my first order of cheese curds and a cuban sandwich with spicy mustard.  Eaten separately, ehh, but a big bite to include all components, scrumptious.  I got to meet Lisa Winer, who sent me the coolest Flip & Translate (Whip/NaeNae) tshirt from their math Team!  Enjoyed the Friday Fireworks with Meg and our new TMCer Renee who kindly gave us a ride back to the hotel, being our personal tour guide around down town.  We even got to see the cherry & spoon sculpture!

20160715_191249.jpg  Me & my roadtrip buddy Kristin sporting our vintage Twins caps!  Get this, we walked over with Joel from Nashville and Hedge from MS, when we grabbed our tickets to enter the stadium, now remember Lisa had placed these in envelopes, labled with our names…we all four were sitting in a row.  Now, really, what are the chances of that happening?

Saturday – an outside lunch with lovely new friends at Town Hall Brewery.  The BBQ had a slightly sweet sauce, a bite of heat at the end.  Lynne described the fries as sinfully cooked, super crunchy!  Mary and Tina’s salads  looked amazing!



Saturday night a rather large and lively group of TMCers walked over to Pizza Luce.  I enjoyed the wild mushroom pizza, the crust was light, with a soft edge, light on the sauce and loaded with mushrooms – a great treat!  I swapped a slice for the loaded baked potato.   Interesting. Smashed, small red potatoes with bacon, broccoli, cheese and and smeared with some sour cream.  It was oddly very good.

Sunday lunch I walked over to Seward Cafe with                                                                            a few of my C20160717_131612.jpganadian buddies and a couple of new friends Carol and Debbie.  Several went on and on how delicious the hummus sandwich was.  The half BLT was huge and the creamy tomato soup hit the spot!


Sunday night we took the tram over to Minnehaha Park, made it down the steps to see the beautiful falls, hiked back to the Confluence of the Mississippi and ended the night with some yumm-o Sri Lanken shrimp curry, heavy on cilantro!  Wow.

My amazing roommate, MaryAnn, the gang halfway through our hike and my fantastic dinner!  The evening was quiet and peaceful, exactly a break I needed for some down time and nature.

Monday came and I realized this amazing experience was nearly over.  I ventured out with Audrey and Mark for lunch at a Birchwood Cafe.  I’m normally not an all veggie gal, but something about that tomato-basil brown rice with sauteed veggies caught my eye and it made my tummy smile!  Soooo good!

Monday evening several grabbed the tram over to the Mall of America – one of those places you’ve heard of and think, okay.  But to be there is overwhelming!  The Crayola store is one happy place!  And a little #Iseemath to boot!  Did you know they have Mauvelous!  Granny Smith Apple!  Robin’s Egg Blue and even Asparagus!?!  So many fun colors.  I enjoyed a Bison Burger with Green Chile Mayo at Burger Burger and even a stop in at the SWATCH shop!  This 80’s girl was in heaven!  The Lego displays were massive!


As we walked back from the tram stop to the hotel, we savored the moment, window shopping and chatting.  The following morning I’d start my journey back home.  Everyone in Minneapolis was so nice, not just Minnesota Nice, either.  It was a great town to visit and I’ve got wonderful memories for years to come with some of my favorite friends in the world!  Thank you Augsburg for hosting our TMC16!  You have a beautiful campus!

But nothing like arriving back home to Kentucky – to see the two loves of my life…who support me and encourage me in everything I do.

#TMC16 #CthenC Morning Session Norms


A very quick post about something I’ve thought about since Saturday morning

Our facilitators David, Jasper and Kaitlin were so on point. The models they provided tied many loose ends together for me from previous ideas and routines I’ve attempted to implement.  The contemplate then calculate routine felt a lot like Five Practices for Discussions (Smith & Stein).

I will post more about those specific experiences later.  But for this afternoon – I wanted to share the norms shared from the first day.


We read.  Then discussed which would be easiest, hardest.  I felt many that felt safe to do here at TMC would be difficult at home because I don’t feel safe sharing with colleagues at home – the mindsets are different and its scary trying to share new ideas, so I often don’t.

I like these norms and am fairly confident they will be shared or some version within my classroom with students early in the school year.  I’m curious, which ones do you feel will be most difficult or easiest to do?

The first one I will have most trouble with when discussing strategies because I get so excited.  I will have to focus, pause and really listen,

 Help One Another Speak:  We stay aware of and contribute to the equity of voices in the room.  If we normally don’t talk much, we will challenge ourselves to talk more.  If we find ourselves talking more than others, we will talk less.

The last one as well – Say the Thing – I feel safe here, but at home, I feel conflict, I find myself shrinking, keeping quiet just to keep peace and let things be and keep things moving…like I have no voice or at least one that anyone cares to listen to.  Everything feels like such a battle and at some point, I became too tired to battle anymore.

Say the Thing:  We take the responsibility to say the thing everyone is thinking, but that others may be scared or hesitant to say.  We say the thing that might make us different or sound crazy, but that no one else will ever say.

Self-Responsibility – we take what we came for.


#TMC16 Tools for Teacher & Student Reflection


Mirror, Mirror:

Tools for Teacher & Student Learning Reflections

PDF Slides: Mirror, Mirror TMC16 pamjwilson and video voice over

Links to posts of activities shared:

Getting to Know You Questions – First Days of School

High Five & Hug Clip

Engagement Wheel

2-Minute Assessment Grid

Representing Polynomials Lesson Open Sorts & Gallery Walk

Follow Up Group QuizAgree/Disagree Post-its

Musical Chairs