Laundry List

I have the amazing luck of having an additional 2 weeks of vacation before I return to school and actually see students (September 9).  I would not give up these extra days of waning summer relaxation, but as I read everyone’s ‘back-to-school’ posts, in which people are describing how they are [successfully thus far] incorporating their new-found strategies and ideas – whether these are the result of good times at #TMC13, PCMI, or personal summer explorations – my level of anxiety about the coming year, and the changes I want to incorporate into my classroom, increases.

@sophgermain tells me I am already awesome (, @nathankraft1 tells me I don’t have to be THAT awesome (, @ddmeyer is making over lessons faster than I can figure out how to incorporate them in the classes I am not sure I am teaching this year (, and I am still clutching my notes [figuratively] from @fawnpnguyen’s epic post on Deconstructing a Lesson Activity ( with its myriad gold nuggets of pedagogical wisdom.    And Mr. Waddell ( has openly shared some early success and perceived [but not true] failure in his foray into the 2013-14 school year.

I set up a huge whiteboard in my dining room (thanks to an indulgent husband who allows me to take over large common spaces with my two loves  -besides him and my children, natch – teaching math and quilting).  And I have been making lists and editing them every day since I returned from Twitter Math Camp – see below.  (Did I mention one of my children attends art school?)


When you make too many lists, then even the lists give you anxiety.  So I am making here my final (ha!) laundry list of goals for this year of teaching.    

  • Notice, wonder, notice, wonder
  • Embed more formative assessment
  • Predict with visual patterns
  • Notice, wonder, notice, wonder
  • Incorporate 3-Acts
  • Estimate EVERY DAY
  • Try some counting circles
  • Notice, wonder, notice, wonder
  • Tweet & blog regularly

My hard-learned rule of thumb is to not try too many new things each school year (like more than one) because, well, too many new initiatives are hard to sustain successfully.   So I am thinking of all of these items as really one new initiative – CREATE CRITICALLY-THINKING, QUESTION-POSING, MATHEMATICALLY ENGAGED LIFELONG LEARNERS.  No small order, huh?

(Note: While it goes without saying, I’ll say it anyway –  my deepest thanks and gratitude to all of you who share so generously – I hope I can do the same.)


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