After recent talk about notice&wonder, sense-making, T said, “Sounds great, but I have to finish Ch4 by end of Nov or else…(1/2)

— Annie Fetter (@MFAnnie) November 24, 2014

…I don’t have time for that ‘habits of mind’ stuff because I have to cover too much content.” What say you? (2/2)

— Annie Fetter (@MFAnnie) November 24, 2014

I didn’t think I could reply in 140 characters (or even 280), so here goes:

I used to think the same way. I have to cover x, y, and z by the end of the year and I wouldn’t have enough time to do the Math Forum Problems of the Week or problem solving or (fill in the blank of your favorite thing we don’t get to). This year I decided that I was going to do the Algebra Problems of the Week with my Algebra 1 classes. Every 2 weeks, the new AlgPoW is released and on the first day of the week, I project the scenario for my students. Our current routine is that I read them the scenario, students list their noticings and wonderings as I read and for a moment or so afterwards. They then get about 2-3 minutes to share their noticings and wonderings with a partner. I then ask each group to share one notice, which I compile. Even if all of their noticings are up there, they have to tell me which notice they had and I add a * to indicate that more than one group had it. After each group has had a chance to contribute, I ask for any additional noticings, which I add to the list. We repeat this for their wonderings. This whole process takes about 15 minutes total.

This was the list of my students’ noticings and wonderings the first week of school:

This was the list of my students’ noticings and wonderings today:

My students have made incredible strides just in their noticings and wonderings over the course of the first 12 weeks or so of school. The quality of their noticings and wonderings is far superior to where they were at the beginning of the year. Now they are looking more for the mathematics and their wonderings are more mathematical than they were at the beginning of the year.

Do we solve every problem in class? No. What will happen next is I will give them the problem of the week that has the question. This week, they will get the PoW tomorrow. They are expected to work on it outside of class. Right now, I am working with them to focus on attempting and revising a solution. When we have work time in class, they can be working on the PoW. I have some students who diligently use their class time to work on the PoW so that they can bounce ideas off of other students or ask me for some direction. Other students will work on submitting it online. Out of my approximately 70 Algebra 1 students, about 20 of them consistently submit at least one draft to a PoW. This is probably the biggest area I am struggling with right now. I would like this number to be higher. Since it is my first year doing this, I am just kind of going with the flow right now.

What is my goal with giving my students the PoW? I want them to be exposed to mathematical situations. I want them to be able to find the pertinent mathematics in a problem situation and be able to use it to solve a problem. My hope is that by the end of the year, my students are more confident in attempting these types of problems because from what I have seen on the PARCC exam, these are skills they will need to be successful on them. But most importantly, they are skills that they will need to be successful in solving any type of problem in life. Will they encounter quadratic equations in their daily lives? Probably not. But will they encounter problems? Yes. Being a good problem solver is an important life skill. If I don’t cover all of the material in my course, yes, they’ll be lacking a little bit when heading to the next course. But if they are good problem solvers, they’ll be able to figure it out and apply what mathematics they do know to the situation. The mathematics will come. Meanwhile, I will keep plugging away at helping my students be better problem solvers. I know it is time well-spent. I can see the improvement in my own students in just over 12 weeks (we are doing our 7th Noticing and Wondering / Problem of the Week).

So, Teacher, wherever you are, give it a try. And I don’t just mean give it one try. One is not enough. This is where my students were after 2 PoWs. This is where my students were after 4 PoWs. And now you see where my students are today. 15 minutes of class time to do Noticing and Wondering every 2 weeks plus another 10 or so minutes of class time to pass out the problem and give some further direction (such as sharing all of the noticings and wonderings or having students look back at their own lists) isn’t a lot of time. You don’t need to give up a whole day of instruction. A little bit at a time will help your students out. If you have a PoW membership, you can find PoWs that will work with what you are teaching right now, which will let you work with two things at once – reinforcing your content and teaching problem solving skills. It took me three years to finally get there and I don’t regret doing it at all with my students. Just try it. I don’t think you’ll regret it.

]]>Most of my students could determine if a solution worked in an equation. I did goof and the second one did not work out as I had thought it would. What is most interesting to me is that 64% of my students could find the correct value for x, but would not use inverse operations to solve the problem. For example, on #3, rather than showing:

x + 572 = 893

– 572 – 572

x = 321

they showed:

x + 572 = 893

893 – 572 = 321

x = 321

In other words, they knew what operation to do, but they did not recognize that they needed to do the same operation to each side of the equation.

Any suggestions on how to approach instructing the students? Although what they did was correct (as far as getting the answer), I am concerned that without understanding the ideas of what an equation is and using inverse operations to solve them that they will struggle as we get to more difficult equations. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

]]>- I can use and interpret units when solving formulas.
- I can perform unit conversions.

I found some resources online I was happy with for actually doing the unit conversions, however, I did not find anything I was real happy with for using and interpreting units when solving formulas. So I developed this:

My intent was to introduce the idea, put the students into groups of four and have each student work through 2 problems, comparing with other students in his or her group who would have done the problems to see if they got reasonable answers. When they were satisfied they had good answers and units, they would get another half sheet. We did number 1 together on the SMART Board so they would see what I wanted to see as far as work went, showing all units throughout the process. I then directed them to work through another problem on that page and then compare notes, asking for the next sheet when they were ready.

Originally, my thought was to start them off on different half sheets (so they wouldn’t go to another group to get answers possibly) and try to rotate which sheets they got. Then I had the thought that students would not understand what I wanted them to show work-wise, so I opted to start all students on the same sheet. In my first class, I rotated who got what sheet next. After watching that in action, I decided that was not my best option and I revised for the next two classes what order I wanted to go in. The present order is in my document above.

We only got through 2 half sheets, which also surprised me. I guess I expected them to work quicker on their own. Part of our hold up today was getting the Unit 2 Learning Target page and divider page set up in our Interactive Notebooks and that took more time than I realized. I was surprised how many of them could not substitute into the formula even when given the variable and its value (such as D = 400 miles). It was not a huge amount, but it was enough that it bothered me. I had hoped to spend one day on this learning target, but after the first group of students, it was obvious to me that we needed to continue tomorrow. We didn’t get anywhere near enough practice. Many of the students who had completed problems on their own did not follow directions, not using units throughout the entire problem. This is one of my larger concerns. A couple of students commented that it was “harder” to do the problems this way – why couldn’t they just do it the way they were used to? I shared with them the idea of them understanding why the units for the final answer ended up whatever they are, but I don’t think they’re buying that.

My intent was to have students practicing the skill and not be lecturing at the SMART Board, walking them through step by step on example problems. I can tell that my students are not accustomed to this kind of work, both in groups as well as having to be a little more self-reliant. When they are looking at something they have seen before that they know well or are working with something they have just been taught, they are mostly good to go. However, put something in front of them that is different and enough don’t have an idea of what to do and the questions pile in.

As I am writing this, I am still pondering how I want to change things tomorrow. My goal is to have them get through 4-5 more of the half sheets. (I’m not sure if I want to put the BMI sheet in front of them or not.) I also would like for them to work through more of the problems on their own, including the units as I directed them to. Hopefully something will click in my head between now and class time tomorrow.

]]>

Here are the noticings and wonderings from this week:

I am very pleased with their growth over the last 6 weeks. The last notice and wonder we did (two weeks ago), I was not very pleased with. I did not feel they got the idea very well. After talking to Max, I brought back up their notices and wonders a couple of days later and we discussed which wonders were questions we could perhaps solve using mathematics. Then we looked back at their notices and talked about which notices would help them answer the questions that came up from the wonders. Even though I did not have quite as many students submit solutions to the problem, we had some better starts than the previous two weeks.

What I did not anticipate was how that exercise would change how my students worked through the Notice and Wonder exercise the next time. Even though it has been almost two weeks since we reviewed their noticings and wonderings, something from it has stuck with them I think. I am hoping that they will be able to take their more solid noticings and wonderings and move forward with solving the problem.

]]>My Algebra 1 students today had a class-wide reassessment over three learning targets: solving linear equations, solving linear inequalities, and solving formulas for a specified variable. I had rearranged my units this year so that the unit with solving equations and inequalities was first since on the initial benchmark I gave, students could not remember how to solve equations and many commented that they knew they had seen it before but could not remember how to solve. Given that some of the other units I do in the beginning of the year assume that students remember some basics of solving equations and that many students could not even give me that on their benchmark, it made sense to me to rearrange the unit order so this came first.

I know from their 8th grade teacher that last year they spent “a lot of” time solving linear equations. We spent more time than I would have liked to have on these three learning targets. I was disappointed that there were few students who mastered the skill the first time around and that students were still making mistakes that I felt they shouldn’t be. Things like combining 24-15a into 9a, or subtracting 3 from each side rather than subtracting 3x from each side (or writing that they were subtracting 3 from each side and meaning that they were subtracting 3x and treating it like they were subtracting 3x from the side of the equation with 3x and like they were subtracting 3 on the other side of the equation and not subtracting 3x). Don’t get me started on the arithmetic errors. They were allowed to use calculators, so they could double check their arithmetic. Although I am encouraged that students were trying to do the mental math, I still saw many computation errors (3 times 1 is 4 – did you know that?). I had students work through a test reflection and error analysis form that Tina Cardone so graciously shared with me. I was dismayed at how many of my students did not study. We did corrections, additional practice and I got around to as many students as I could to help them. We reassessed today. Although some did better, not as many moved forward as I hoped. At this point, I am going to continue to review the concepts as we move forward and will probably continue to include this learning target on future assessments until I am better satisfied on their understanding.

But I am frustrated tonight. I am seeing that my students are not retaining what they are learning, whether it is something they learned recently or not as recently. That concerns me greatly. We are being told that as we are setting up our curriculum map and deconstructing the standards that although we should be aware of prior skills that should have been taught at previous grade levels, we are not to reteach it if it was supposed to be previously taught. As far as our map goes, we are to assume it was taught and not include it. I should still check to see what their understanding is, do a brief reteach if needed, and move on to the learning target I need to teach for my course. So, since solving linear equations is an 8th grade skill according to Common Core, I should do a brief reteach and move on. A brief reteach was not enough and I am not sure how much good continuing to review will do. So I will continue to incorporate elements of the learning target as we move forward, reviewing as I can and moving forward.

I look at my students and I wonder if they really get it. Do they understand that what we are doing now will be present in all sorts of concepts as we move forward? I tell them that and we talk about the connections back to previous material. But do they really “get it?” Do they understand that if they don’t learn it now beyond just trying to pass the test that they are hurting themselves? That if they cannot recall prior knowledge that it is harder to do well in the course? I honestly wonder. Do they really realize that now that they are in high school they don’t move on to the next course unless they pass the one they are in right now? These freshmen will have to earn points on the PARCC exams which will help determine if they graduate from high school. If they cannot earn enough points on the PARCC exam in Algebra 1 towards graduation, they will have to make them up in later courses. How are they going to do better in a more difficult course if they cannot get through the basic algebra? I can share these concerns with my students but it is not real to them. Graduation, college, and jobs are so far off to them. Heck, for some, the Homecoming Dance is so far off to them and it’s 11 days from now. For some of my students, they are focused on what it will take to get them through the day (my district has greater than 50% of its students on Free and Reduced Lunch).

When students have come from an environment where they feel they haven’t had to retain information (whether it is true or not), how do you change that mindset? How do you impress upon them the importance of retaining prior knowledge so they can build upon it at a later point? I feel like I tie back to prior knowledge often so students can see the connections, but I wonder now if I am really doing as good of a job of that as I could be. When the students’ mind seems to be focused on the here and now (and maybe the near future), how do you get them to see the importance of learning something for longer than the time it takes to take the test? And, as always, how do you help students learn that lesson without sacrificing too much time since we have much content to teach as well? I don’t have an answer that I am happy with right now. I’m certainly looking for your thoughts, especially if you have been able to be successful where I don’t feel I have been.

]]>Today we were discussing dividing fractions. I began with Andrew Stadel’s “Give me more sandwiches.” As we were going over how to divide fractions, one of my students asked if we could divide fractions like we multiply fractions, where we would divide the numerators and divide the denominators. We talked about why that would not make sense. In the particular problem, we would of had 9 divided by 4, which would not have worked out evenly. When I asked my class for a first step, another student suggested to get common denominators. At this point, I remembered what someone (I cannot remember who! – UPDATE: Dave Coffey had blogged this 2 years ago) had shared a few years ago. I told my students to hold that thought and then we proceeded to solve the problem as we had done the first one.

Once we finished the problem, I worked through the same problem by first getting common denominators, and then dividing across.

The one thing I wish I would have done is written the fraction over 1 and then the final answer of the fraction. We talked through that but I didn’t write it down. We did the second problem both ways also. The students who had originated the thoughts said by the end of the second problem that they thought “my way” was easier. I responded that it probably is, but if that is the way it made sense to them, they were welcome to work it out that way.

I was really pleased with my students’ willingness to ask questions and to ask about other approaches today. It was a good class period.

]]>I will be honest, I have pretty much just put the problems in front of my students with very little instruction to date. We begin on Monday (or Tuesday) by doing Noticing and Wondering. First, students list what they notice and wonder on a piece of paper. Then, they share with their neighbor. Finally, we share out to the class and I record them on the white board. Here are my 3 classes’ Noticings and Wonderings for Kristina’s Code:

I haven’t done anything else with them at this point. After a couple of days, I then give the students the problem. I cannot remember why I didn’t go back to noticings and wonderings with the first problem we did. I did not go back to noticings and wonderings on Kristina’s Code because they received the paper copy of the problem on a day that I was not there. After some reflection and seeing first draft responses, I think it is important to go back to the noticings in particular to help students see where to start or what to look for in the problem. I give students a couple of days to submit a first draft response to me. Right now, I am giving them the option to turn in a written response or to submit online through the Math Forum’s interface. I did have more students submit online for the second problem compared to the first problem. I do not have easy access to a computer lab to get all students onto a computer. I do have four computers in my classroom, however, it usually takes about 5 minutes for students to log in and get to the internet, so sometimes using the classroom computers is not practical for me.

Once I receive the first drafts, I take about 2 days to respond to students. What I have done so far is to write at least one “I notice” and one “I wonder” on a post-it to the student if they have submitted a written response. If the student has responded online, I try to keep my reply to the length of the student’s original response if possible. I also try to do at least one “I notice” and one “I wonder.” The “I notice” is something that caught my attention about the student’s response. Sometimes, this is really hard. I try to pick something that is at least in the right direction. The “I wonder” is something I want my student to address in their second draft. I then pass back their first drafts and let my students know that I have responded online and give them a couple of days to revise their solution. The first time I did this, I went through with them briefly in small groups what I had done on the post-it and showed them the Math Forum interface for a second time, trying to encourage them to submit online. I will pass back their first drafts tomorrow from Kristina’s Code and will mention a couple of things as a whole they should be looking to add to their responses. I will also encourage them to submit or re-submit online.

At this point, that is all I have done with the PoWs. I did go over the solution from the last PoW with the students. I put up on the SMART Board 4 different students’ solutions from the Teacher Packet. I had them do a brief notice and wonder with two of the solutions. These solutions happened to be close to the quality of work that they had submitted to me. We talked about the four levels their solution could be: Novice, Apprentice, Practitioner, or Expert. We focused primarily on two things – communication of their solution and the solution itself. I did not rate any of the students solutions the first time around, but I did share where most of them fell (which was apprentice). I also shared with them that my goal for them was to submit a better quality solution than the previous problem. I wish I could say they met my goal. What I have seen so far is that most of them are at the same quality or lower than the last problem. I had one solution (so far) that was better quality and was actually a very strong solution to the problem on the first draft. I have a couple of solutions who communicated much better their thought processes but did not have correct solutions, which I’ll take as a win. Many solutions still had no explanations but at least had some work. I did also get less submissions this time around, which was a little disappointing.

Something I have not done with both of these PoWs is read through the teacher packet before bringing the problem to the students. Honestly, this has been due to not remembering it was there and being in a little bit of a time crunch as I have been preparing for my classes. Before I do the next PoW, I will definitely take some time to read through the Teacher Packet. Something else I definitely want to do with the next PoW is to better tie in the students’ list of noticings as we begin the problem. I think if they had looked at the list, they would have had a better first attempt at the problem. This may have also helped some students to actually attempt the problem. I have not introduced the scoring rubric yet to students and I am considering introducing the full rubric to them with the next PoW. I deliberately did not introduce it during the first problem. I am trying to gradually bring in parts of the process so that I hopefully do not overwhelm them.

I will say that I have found the PoW experience valuable so far. I think in the long run, it will help my students improve as problem solvers. One of the things I am still wrestling with in my mind is how to factor this into their grade. When we talked about it at EnCoMPASS, I seem to recall that many teachers do not factor it into their grades. Some did. I have notes from some conversations that I need to revisit and decide what I want to do with this both in the short term and long term. One of my concerns right now is increasing student participation in the PoWs. I was a little disappointed to see a significant drop off in student participation from the first problem to the second problem. Not every student completed the first problem and there was a smaller number who completed the second. I really don’t want to see a further drop off in student participation.

I do have a knowledge of the resources that each PoW offers, although I am probably not using them to their full potential. The Math Forum offers courses to help you become familiar with the PoWs, how to mentor students, and more. Right now, I feel like I need the most help with commenting to my own students, so I am planning on taking the Learning from Student Work course beginning October 2nd along with some of the other EnCoMPASS Fellows. If you’re interested in joining us, registration closes on October 2nd.

Although doing the PoWs has taken some time in class, I believe that problem solving is such a valuable skill and taking the time to work with problem solving will benefit my students in the long run. Like with anything, it takes time to develop. I am continuing to learn from the experience of teaching with the PoWs and continue to tweak how I am working with them in my class. I’d love to hear from those of you who are using the PoWs in your own classrooms so that I can learn and improve how I am using them in my classroom.

]]>I know others have put together weekly warm up pages and had their students turn them in at the end of the week. I briefly tried that in the middle of the year with little success. I’m not sure if that is a direction I want to go. My main concern is that students do the warm up. I don’t want to grade it. Any suggestions for setting up the classroom culture so that students do them would be appreciated, especially if after you read what I am considering doesn’t seem to set up such an atmosphere.

So, day by day, here is my thought for warm ups:

** Monday:** (or the first day of the week if we are off on a Monday) I am going to do the Math Forum Problems of the Week this year. Every other Monday, I will post the Scenario for the Problem of the Week and have the students write their noticings and wonderings on paper. Then they will share them with their seat partner. Each pair will share one notice or wonder with the class and we will put together their list to use later. On the other Monday, I am considering doing either a Brain Teaser or something else.

** Tuesday:** If we don’t have school Monday and it is a Problem of the Week start week, we’ll do Notice and Wonder. I am thinking maybe Visual Patterns here. Fawn Nguyen has done an awesome job assembling over 100 visual patterns for students to work with and figure out the 43rd term. Thanks James for reminding me about this great resource in your post.

** Wednedsday:** I had learned about John Stevens‘ Would You Rather website at the beginning of summer and heard more about it at Twitter Math Camp. I am going to dub this as “Would You Rather Wednesdays.” The idea is that students have to decide which scenario they would rather do and explain their reasoning. I think that John originally said he was targeting middle school , but I think my freshmen will enjoy it as well.

** Thursday:** Estimation 180. My students enjoyed doing this last year and I think it is worthwhile for them to work on their estimation skills. Andrew Stadel has done a phenomenal job putting this site together and I’m looking forward to another good year using it.

** Friday;** James also reminded me about the Friday letters that Rebecka Petersen shared as a My Favorite at Twitter Math Camp this summer. I think I am going to give students an option of that, KenKen, or possibly a couple review problems. Still a little hazy here.

So, that’s what I have. I’m still looking to firm up Mondays when I’m not doing noticing and wondering as well as possible suggestions for Fridays for students who don’t want to write a Friday letter. I look forward to your suggestions in the comments or on Twitter.

]]>My first reaction to the picture was, “Wow! I cannot believe that I got so heavy. I can really see that in this picture.” You see, I have been working with a nutrition coach to improve my eating and get to a healthier weight. I have lost about 45 pounds since just before Thanksgiving, 2013.

I still have a ways to go to reach my goal. I am closer to a healthier weight than when I began. My eating habits have changed. However, over the last few weeks (well, maybe most of the summer), I have stalled in my efforts.

The stalling is due to how I have been eating over the last few weeks. I did all right at TMC a few weeks ago, but in the last week at EnCoMPASS, I had very little control over my choices. I ate well this week. The food was absolutely delicious. I ate more dessert than I should have this week. I am sure that the food was a little more fat laden and calorie laden than I have been choosing to eat. However, I really enjoyed the food. I got to try some wonderful food this week and I am glad I ate what I did (for the most part). I am pretty sure that if I had access to a scale to check my progress this week that I would find that my weight has crept up a bit. And right now, I am okay with that. The experience was wonderful and it is not something I would do on a regular basis. I am on vacation this week with my family and I am sure that I will have some of the same issues this week, however, I have a bit more control over my food choices. By the time I return home, it will be good to get back into a more solid eating routine. Hopefully I won’t have done too much more damage to the scale and I can get back on track.

As I was drifting off to a nap this afternoon, I had thought of a blog post tied into my weight loss journey. As I look back at where I was in October, it’s not that I look horrible to me. But I can see that I am not where I would like to be. I have been at that point in my teaching journey as well. I’m not doing a horrible job, however, I am not where I would like to be. In fact, I have noticed that as my weight crept up, I took fewer pictures in general and specifically of myself. I have been that way with blogging over the last year. As I tended to drift back into what I knew how to do (instructing by telling students how to do something, using the few structures I was familiar with and comfortable with for practice such as Around the World), I blogged much less this past year. In both cases, I was not comfortable with where I was. I didn’t want to share or have a record of it. But in the process of not recording it, I don’t have any record of where I was at that point in time. In addition, I have very few pictures of my children when I wasn’t taking pictures of myself. Likewise, that means I don’t have a record of what I was doing with my students or their reactions since I didn’t blog about it.

I also thought about how I ate this past week. Although I know it was not my best week (and I was scolded a little bit by my nutrition coach as she looked at my eating online), I enjoyed what I ate. Although the food was not the most healthy, it was done well. Although this may be a bit of a stretch, I kind of thought about it being like direct instruction/lecture in the mathematics classroom. Although direct instruction may not always be the best thing, when done well, it can be helpful and the right thing at the time. In smaller doses than I am used to, it works in the classroom. It is okay to do direct instruction sometimes. In fact, in smaller pieces, it may work well. However, doing direct instruction often (especially as the go-to method of instruction in the classroom) isn’t as healthy for everyone involved, just like eating rich foods. As I continue to make changes in my eating habits and my teaching habits, I need to keep this in mind.

As I continued to move pictures out of my Dropbox today, I noticed how many more pictures I had taken in the last couple of months. I am much more comfortable in my own skin right now. I made a point to take pictures with connections I had made at Twitter Math Camp before I left. I didn’t do quite as good of a job with it at EnCoMPASS, but I did take some pictures. I have some more pictures of my kids within the last few months as well. I have found that I have missed taking pictures and I chose to clear out my Dropbox folder so that I can 1) clear out space on my phone and 2) clear out space on my Dropbox for more pictures.

As I have had time to reflect this summer and be present while at both TMC and EnCoMPASS, I am at a point that I am more comfortable with where I am heading as a teacher. I am certainly not where I would like to be, but again, I’m not there either with my weight. I am ready to blog more. I am comfortable sharing my thinking and where I am at with how I teach. So, I am finding that I am thinking about things to blog about again. I’m looking forward to seeing you more often here.

]]>I am not going to recap the institute ad nauseum. I do want to focus on some of my own takeaways.

**Learning**

One of my main goals in attending the Summer Institute this year was to learn as much as possible about The Math Forum Problems of the Week. Since this is a resource at my disposal, I want to be able to use it to the best extent possible. I mentioned in my last post that one of my two goals for this year is to incorporate more problem solving into my classes. This will allow me to do so. Our first session that we hung out with an online participant was spent exploring the available resources in the Problems of the Week. I was thoughtfully placed with Erin Igo and Sue Kouri, both of whom have used PoWs for several years. I learned a lot from them and had a good discussion about the website and some of the mechanics (for lack of a better word) of how to use them in the classroom.

We also spent some time looking at different upcoming Problems of the Week for the 2014-2015 school year. I spent some productive time with Mary Wren looking over the sequence we were given by Val Klein discussing what PoWs would make sense for the beginning of the year for Algebra 1. We spent some further time looking at student work for one of the problems and trying to categorize their responses and work with the software piece of this project. We had some valuable discussions later in the day about giving student feedback and I learned rather quickly that there are many things I had not considered about the feedback I give students. I appreciate the time that Mary and I spent together looking at problems and work and I hope we are able to find time to continue to bounce some ideas back and forth about the PoWs over the course of the year.

**Connections**

My other main goal this week was to spend time connecting with other members of the EnCoMPASS community.

Continuing a theme for myself that began at TMC14, I wanted to spend time participating in conversations with as many people as I could. Many times I was listening and not actively contributing content, but I was thinking about what was being shared and how I felt about it. I still have a lot to process from some of those conversations, but those of you who are reading this who were part of them, please know that they were valuable to me and I am curious to see where it will take me.

I am thankful to the late night crew, which consisted of (at various times): Andrew Stadel, Fawn Nguyen, Chris Robinson, Jeff Spoering, Justin Aion, Michael Pershan, Daniel Lewis and Justin Lanier (I think I got everyone). The conversations and wonderful times I will cherish always.

There were many wonderful conversations and connections I made across the week. I am also grateful to Arlene Smith, Laurel Pollard, and Natalie Perez who all sat with me at Tuesday’s dinner when I chose a table for four by myself. I made an especially special connection with Natalie over our children’s similarities and I am so grateful to her for some of the advice she shared and the conversations we shared as well.

**In ****Gratitude**

I wouldn’t have been at this institute if it weren’t for Max. Had he not reached out to me 3 years ago on my blog and began to challenge my thinking, I would not be where I am at professionally today. He continues to support me and answer my endless questions and pose many more for me to think about. Suzanne has also been part of those conversations at time and she, too, has helped me grow. I think I’ll be chatting with Annie more also, especially in the light of some questions I posed even before we officially started the workshop on Tuesday morning. I am looking forward to hearing more from Steve on Twitter this year, but I am especially grateful for his guidance of The Math Forum. I also appreciate the conversations I have had with him at various points. The Math Forum people are all wonderful, but I especially wanted to mention them.

**What’s Next?**

Well, from here, I head off for some much needed R and R. It’s time to get ready for the year and I have some goals in mind. I will be spending some time reflecting further on the week and refining my thoughts about the upcoming year. Thanks to everyone at the EnCoMPASS Summer Institute 2014 for all the ways you have helped me grow.

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