Sunday, August 6, 2017

My Goals

I'm a few hours late with the #MTBoS blog initiative this week for #SundayFunday, which is to write about my goals, but I do want to jump on the bandwagon so that I can think through what I want to set out for next year.

Math (i.e, teaching) Goals: 

(I noticed after I wrote them that they really don't apply much to math at all, but more about making students feel even more comfortable in class.)


Goal 1: After listening to Susan Cain's Ted Talk on the Power of Introverts, I am convinced that not all students ALWAYS have to work in groups. She claims that many students are introverts who do better when they can think and work on their own. I am going to really make note of this as well as having students think on their own while solving a problem FIRST (cue this tweet:)

I need to teach this skill and have students (especially in Problem-Solving, but all classes really) know it's NOT okay to blurt the answer (I need to have WAIT time and not tell them the answer so fast, too.) I have been a big proponent of vertical non-permanent surfaces (#VNPS), and my classroom is supposed to have more board space when I walk in next week, so if some kids do not want to always work in groups when up at the boards or in their pods, I have to be okay with that and support them, too.

Goal 2: I love this post from Megan Hayes-Golding,  Perfect Teacher Move to Support LGBTQ Students. Here is a snippet.
It really got me to think, if we could all just do one small thing to make all of our students just a little bit more comfortable, wouldn't you do it? I am going to try to go out of my way to make a student like Ev feel good. It might make the difference for one student. 

Goal 3: Last year, I had some games set up on the back table: Towers of Hanoi puzzles and Rubik's Race. My kids loved them and played them during Brain Breaks and before and after school/class. My goal is to have more kids playing next year. 
After reading Sara Vanderwerf's post on You Need a Play Table in Your Math Classroom, I bought these spiraling pentagons to leave on the back table for play. 


Play Goals:

Goal 1: I am going to get my yoga certification this fall, which will be fantastic and crazy all at the same time. I will basically be giving up entire weekends for 6 weeks, but I am looking forward to growing with the group I am going to be working with. And it will help me to heal as I am feeling the pain of my childhood best friend, who was diagnosed with ALS last year. Here is her blog, http://notgonnabeadebbiedowner.blogspot.com/ which is beautiful and unbelievably written, but also hard to read. She is so raw, and she blows me away with her strength and the things she notices.

Goal 2: I am hoping to go for a walk at night after dinner and listen to some podcasts. I finished my first podcast ever, S-Town, and now I'm listening to Serial. I'm also listening to some other ones, such as the one from Grammar Girl and others. I'm new to Podcasts and am a bit overwhelmed with all of the options! I also hope to listen to them in the car to and from work on most days.

Eat Goals:

Last year, I lost 15 lbs which was amazing. I've put some of it back on, so I hope to go back to the healthy diet I was following when the pounds came right off. It's 80% diet, 20% exercise for me, so now that I am finished with vacation and eating whatever I wanted (pretty much), I am hoping to get back on track!


Monday, July 31, 2017

How to Start a Ted-Ed Club in your School


From Ted-Ed Clubs: We want every student in the world to share an idea on the TED platform (because, quite frankly, we need help figuring some stuff out -- like redefined gender roles and feline Batman conspiracies).

As a Ted-Ed Innovative Educator, Cohort 3, I am lucky enough to have started a Ted-Ed club in my school...in fact, I am super excited to teach it as a class second semesterl!!

BUTTTT don't be scared that this is a daunting task...it's not...I promise! Ted-Ed has the entire curriculum ready for you to use (you get it once you get approved), and you only have to meet weekly, or whenever you can as a club.

TED is looking for fresh new student voices to share from the TED stage. Our student voice initiative, TED-Ed, is launching the TED-Ed Clubs Challenge to surface student stories from around the world. So far, more than 25,000 students have given TED-style talks in their schools and communities through TED-Ed Clubs. We are inviting students, ages 8-18, to share what they would say if the world were listening, and we want to include your answer!

Sign up for a quick video chat to learn more. You’ll speak directly with a member of the TED-Ed team to learn everything you need to know about the Challenge and how to get involved with this awesome global community. TED-Ed has asked that you mention my name, LISA WINER, when you sign up. As a TIE, this will hopefully get you through the process a little faster. I went to the TED Weekend event last year, where kids were invited to give their talk based on their TED-Ed Club TED Talk...and it was absolutely amazing to see what OUR kids can do!!

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Questions? Email me at lisa.winer@saintandrews.net

TED-Ed Club Resources:


  1. TED-Ed Clubs: Celebrating and amplifying student voices around the world video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U2PG_R4wl-0&feature=youtu.be



  1. What would you say if the world was listening video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3IKlF2dSQWU&feature=youtu.be





Monday, June 19, 2017

Cambridge Teaching Seminar and MathsConf10 - My Summer of Professional Development


I'm procrastinating packing for Europe. I'll be traveling for about three weeks without my son or my husband - mostly alone. Doing what? Well certainly traveling to countries that I have never been to, but the main reason for my trip is to attend two workshops in England: The day-long Complete Maths workshop (MathsConf10) in Rainham, London and the week-long Oxbridge Teacher Seminar entitled "Thinking Mathematically" in Cambridge. I am using my Patten Family Foundation Grant for Sustaining Teacher Excellence to fund most of the trip as well as a fellowship I received from Oxbridge.

I'm super excited because Jo Morgan (her award-winning blog is http://www.resourceaholic.com/) will be meeting me at the train station and will help me to navigate to Rainham the morning of MathsConf10, and then I will be taking workshops on:

Exploding Dots (WATCH THE ANIMATION!!),
Using Art in the Math Classroom from @c0mplexnumber,
Cambridge Math Espressos: Filtered Maths Education Research, just to name a few.

Also included in this workshop:
  • Speed Dating: sharing your favorite maths idea with others
  • "Tweet-ups" during lunch
  • Maths Cakes competition (unfortunately, I won't be able to bring one across the pond, but I will post pictures, I'm sure!)
After this workshop, I will take a train to Paris to visit a friend and to do an in"Seine" day tour of basically every site there. I didn't mention that the day I land, I will be doing the same thing in London. It will be a whirlwind few days, but then when I arrive back in London, I will be going on a tour of Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle. I've got tickets to Kinky Boots, and I do get some time to just discover a bit. 

I have a day planned to go to Bletchley Park, or "Home of the Codebreakers," which is where Alan Turing and his team cracked the Enigma Code. (The movie The Imitation Game is based on this.) We talk about this in Problem-Solving, and I really want to thank Jo Morgan for encouraging me to go to this. I think it will be great, and I can't wait to bring all I learned back to my students.

The next day, I travel to Cambridge for the weeklong seminar Thinking Mathematically. 
This seminar sounds super exciting because although it is mathematical, it sounds more humanities based, and therefore I will be using my right side of the brain in addition to the left. There will be talks on Brexit, the Cambridge system, how to re-read literature and why, readings with a poet laureate, how poets ended slavery, Oliver Cromwell and more, as well as a viewing of an outdoor Shakespeare play and of course, daily 4:00 pm tea. I'm sure there will be lots of networking here as well. 

Following this seminar, I will be lucky (as in, luck of the Irish) to meet my mother-in-law and sister-in-law for a few days in Ireland, as they were already planning a visit. 

I do feel lucky. I hope to post more about the math ideas I will have learned in the next few weeks.

By the way, the picture below is of our new Bengal kitten, Arthur, who has a knack for knowing exactly when I'm working and therefore when to plop himself right down on me when I'm doing so. (One of these days I'm expecting him to send unfinished emails as he is also always walking along my keyboard!)
Here's to summertime! Though I won't have the typical amount of summertime at home with my family, I am excited about this once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I'm so thankful to my family for being so supportive and for my school for providing me this amazing experience. 


Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Case of the Missing Fractals

I happened upon this 2014 lesson called The Case of the Missing Fractals when I was looking for something else, and wow what a gem! I am definitely going to share it with my students next year. One year I was lucky enough to start talking about fractals in my Pre-Calculus Honors class. I posed the question, what fractal will have 0 area as the number of iterations goes to infinity? And then,  and what fractal will have infinite perimeter as the number of iterations goes to infinity? This Ted-Ed lesson explains exactly that in a very cute way. Kids will be hooked as gumshoe "Manny Brot" answers riddles about fractals.

The "Dig Deeper" section in the lesson has terrific links, including another Ted-Ed lesson about Flatland shown below:
There are so many great lessons on ed.ted.com, and you can customize them as you see fit. 

What great Ted-Ed lessons have you found and used in your math classroom?

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DIY "Owl Miss You" Candy Jars for Graduates



Mason Jars for my seniors that say, "Owl miss you!" on the cap.

I had very hard-working seniors this year, and when I saw Elissa's tweet below, I thought, what a cute gift!
I thought about using Mason Jars and looked on Pinterest and got some good ideas:
I loved the owl idea and right away thought of Owl Miss You...my students know I love puns and use them too much...

Anyway, the Pinterest idea sparked some ideas, but I didn't have the time to paint the Mason Jars and really wanted something a little less complicated given the time I had.

I went to Michael's and either picked up or had the following:
  • Mason jars
  • Stock paper, multi colors
  • Googly eyes (self-adhesive if possible, but not necessary)
  • Two-sided tape or glue gun
  • Orange stock paper
  • Circular stickers to print on (I happened to have these at home ) Sorry I did not get a picture of the top down, where the stickers were. Circular stickers are not necessary - any size stickers will do.
  • Gold glitter paint (I used fabric paint.)
  • Tassels (actually found them at Target)
  • Gift Tags
  • Candy.
First, fill the jars with candy. 

Then, cut strips of stock card to wrap around the lid. I taped where the ends met, leaving a bit of overlap. I actually bought owl graduation stickers and placed them over the tape, but this part isn't necessary. 

Cut out a square cap from the same color you used for the wrap around. I actually used self-adhesive foam for the caps, but I wouldn't recommend because the tassels kept sticking to it. So, I would glue the stock card cap directly onto the mason jar cap, which already has the stock card around the lid, placing the string for the pre-written gift tag on the lid, before you glue the cap so it will hang on the side. One option is to make the lid paper a bit wider than the lid so that students can pull the cap on and off to retrieve their candy. If you do this, then the square would only be glued to the circular paper that is a bit over the lid.

Place the printed stickers on the top of the "cap" and put the end of the tassel under the sticker so it would stay in place and the tassel part would hang over the edge. I used the glitter paint to paint around the sticker to reinforce it...plus it brightened it up. If you don't want to use the stickers, click https://www.skiptomylou.org/graduation-cap-gift-card-holder/ to see how to make tassels and use a metal brad to attach it to the cap.

Use the glitter paint to paint each student's name, but then I leaned the jar on its side for a good 30 minutes so the paint wouldn't drip.

Cut out orange noses using orange stock paper.

Using the double-sided tape or a glue gun, glue the eyes and the nose on the jar, and you are done!




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Find Student-Taught Math Lessons and Riddles on Padlet #StudentTeachingStudents


I blogged about my Ted-Ed Project here, but I used Padlet to create a visually pleasing and easy way to sort the student-made videos. Click below to get a glimpse at all of them. 

Made with Padlet

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Good Final Project: Students Creating Videos to Teach Other Students

I am launching my Ted-Ed project #StudentsTeachingStudents, and I think it was pure luck that I had such an amazing group of students to work with this year. Each of my Algebra 2 Honors students created a short video of a concept of their choice that they learned in my class this year. They used Stop Motion, time lapse, iMovie, Explain Everything and Premier among other things. They edited and re-edited so that their videos could be watched by other students who would use their lessons to understand the topic at hand. They dropped their videos in the Ted-Ed “Create a Lesson” format, and came up with multiple choice and free response questions and included links that viewers could click on for enrichment or practice.

Here are a couple of examples.






Here's where to get these videos:

This YouTube channel, #StudentsTeachingStudents, hosts all of their videos. There are more to come. This will not be limited to just math, but right now, it's a start. 

This spreadsheet contains all of their Ted-Ed lessons, though some are still a work in progress.

This is a snapshot of what this student's particular Ted-Ed lesson looks like. Your students can watch the video, answer questions, and then find out more about the topic in the Dig Deeper section. You can customize the lesson how you would like, and you, as the teacher, can see their answers to the questions as well.

Dig Deeper example
Multiple Choice example - will tell you if you are correct.
Feel free to use these videos or lessons to help your students who were absent or who want enrichment or if you would like to flip your classroom. 

Also, if you would like to add to the library, no matter what your discipline is, please email me at lisa.winer@saintandrews.net.

Want to do this project with your students? Here are some resources:


  • What Makes a Good Student Taught Lesson? I created this, but I must thank Rushton Hurley, of Next Vista For Learning, who happened to be running a contest just as my students were making the videos. He helped me a lot with copyright issues (students should only use creative commons music, etc.), citations, and he has a great eye for how to make a lesson better, i.e., hold a slide for a few seconds if it has a formula on it. 
  • Form 1:  Students fill this out before they have finished their lesson. You may need to copy this and make it your own. I had students upload a picture of their outline, but I think you can only do that for your own Google group. It is KEY to getting students to commit to their outline and write it out - a script, if you will - so that they don't waste time shooting a video that you won't accept.
  • Grading Rubric - again thanks to Rushton for his guidelines, which helped me to format mine. 

Here is a little history on the project. 

A number of years ago, I went to the Anja S. Greer Conference on Mathematics and Technology at Philips Exeter Academy. This conference is phenomenal - I've been twice and would love to go back again. Alan November was a keynote speaker and spoke about students creating videos to help other students learn. It stuck with me in the back of my mind, but it seemed like a lot of work. I was right.

I am the faculty sponsor of a math club, and for a few years, I suggested that students create teaching videos instead of peer tutoring for community service. No one did.

Then last year, I saw an application for the Ted-Ed Innovative Educator (TIE), Cohort Three, and I decided to apply. I filled out everything very naturally, and then the question came...what project would you like to pursue if you became a TIE? In the back of my mind, I always envisioned students learning from other students. Even though it had been a few years and I hadn't done anything with my own students, I decided it was something I had really wanted to do, and the words flowed. 

I got the invite to be a TIE, and now I actually was nervous...this sounded so hard! But we had monthly video meetings and an amazing get-together, and over the course of about a year, the project evolved. I can't even tell you how every video call changed just one bit of what I wanted to do. And the Stop Motion workshop at Ted-Ed was mind-blowing...this never would have even been in my mind in the past. Almost one year and 12 one-hour conversations later,  here we are.  Special thanks to Sting and Lisa, from Ted-Ed, who helped me tremendously with my vision. 

It's not been easy for me nor for the kids. Students are used to turning in a project and being done, not being emailed half a dozen times to fix this or that. But I want their work to be accurate, and I want them to be proud.

I have a student who is fact-checking for me for community service. He told me that he wishes these videos were available to him when he was in my class - that they were so helpful. I've shown a couple of the videos to my classes and it's neat to see the students interested in the topic, knowing that their peers made it, and it's also great to see the sense of pride that comes across the student who made the video.

I'm really excited about this project, and I ask you to join me in having your students create videos for each other, and maybe even for the world.