Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dear Chicago, You Exhaust Me!

Hi friends!  I just returned from the Differentiated Instruction Conference in Chicago!  It was my last hurrah with some of my current colleagues before starting fresh in a new district, and it was a great conference!  Of course, I had absolutely NO Internet service the entire time, because I refused to pay the $15/day fee, and this made my blogging addiction so much more apparent.  I was definitely going through withdrawal, and it wasn't pretty.  I couldn't even pull it up on my smart phone!  So, I suppose I'm going to have to catch up on all of your great posts over the next several days.  I'm sure that I missed a TON!  The Lesson Plan S.O.S. ladies and I tried to orchestrate a little Meet & Greet, but it just didn't pan out.  Someday maybe... :)  I think that might be the next "conference" I attend.  What you do you think about a blog convention in Hawaii?!  Haha!

As I type, I am quite honestly trying my hardest to think creatively and logically, but I am extremely grumpy today! I hope it doesn't come out too much in this post.  :)  Remember my little surgery last week?!  I had a 27-year-old baby tooth extracted last Thursday.  I thought it was going to be no big deal except for the anesthesia and initial haze.  Well, I ended up with what my surgeon refers to as "a good old fashioned dry socket" by Monday.  By the time I got back to Ohio, I was at that point where I didn't care what they did to my mouth as long as they made it stop hurting.  They packed it, and the pack fell out within two hours while I was shoveling Panera's cheddar & broccoli soup into my mouth like I'd never eaten before in my life.   I was jolted awake at 3 am this morning, so I took a Vicodin, and popped onto Pinterest.  Yes, I was on Pinterest at 3 am.  Frowning.  Scowling.  Clicking.  Clicking.  Clicking.  They can't get me back in to the office until 4 pm today, so in the meantime, my intellectual capacity is...meh.  I'm also a little apprehensive about braces on Monday... and my impending tooth implant.  {My adult tooth never came in!} If I were a Care Bear, I would totally be Grumpy Bear today.  So, naturally, I'll have to share lots of the ideas I've learned later since I have absolutely no ambition to create anything on my growing list or to type a dissertation today (aside from what has just turned into "A Week in the Life of Amanda"). Ha!   Just know that I have read your comments about writing, and I will post about that later tonight once I have my happy pack installed again.  I'll post about the fabulous literacy activities I picked up in Chicago throughout the weekend and next week!  :)

In the meantime, here are a few nuggets (conference notes) from Dr. Rick Duvall about integrating math and writing:

* Rick Duvall recommends beginning every math lesson with poetry.  You may consider Lunch Money and Other Poems about School.  It looks fabulous!

* Research shows that children’s literature provides a meaningful context for mathematics & celebrates mathematics as a language. Children’s literature also demonstrates that mathematics develops out of human experience. It also addresses humanistic and affective elements of mathematics. It fosters the development of number sense.  It integrates mathematics into other curriculum areas. It restores a aesthetic dimension to mathematical learning.  It supports the art of problem posing, not just problem solving.

* Making Writing Work in Math: Kids need to do, do, do.  They need to explore through manipulatives & have concrete experiences.  Then, kids need to talk a lot & share with others.  Let them talk it out first.  Then, write, write, write. Lastly, allow kids to share their writing for accountability. 

* Give students the opportunity to utilize writing to internalize algorithms.  Allow them to  practice a lot with base-10 blocks etc, then use Smartboard (if possible), discuss, & model.  Next, allow kids to talk & write.  Give them a problem.  Have them solve it.  Then write out how it was solved step by step.  Use Math Notebooks for writing.

* Writing to Reflect: What are you thinking about circumference?  {Pose these kinds of questions to have kids reflect on their learning.}  Allows for natural favorite kind!

* Have kids create story problems then trade them.  Have kids solve each other’s problems in their notebooks.

* Have kids write “ Noticings” about mathematical concepts. Tie metacognition lessons into math instruction. Really emphasize real world connections. Numbers have meaning.

* Writing for Accountability: Layer in a written component in centers/workshop approach.

* Write what you learned in a poem form etc.  Overlap curriculum. How can you bring what you learn in L.A. and content areas into math reflections. 

* Writing to Respond to Literature: Where the Sidewalk Ends- The Googies are Coming {Think about context clues, address antonyms/synonyms etc. Bring in visualization.  Recognize patterns & do some language building.  Kids describe which adjectives describe them and then figure out how much they would cost if the Googies were going to buy them.  {cute idea}

* Check out a bibliography on his website.  It’s broken down by mathematical concepts.

You can find more info here: &

I'll never forget my MES team, but I'd like to forget what Chicago did to my bangs! :)


  1. Hey Amanda!
    So sorry we didn't get a chance to meet up :( Next time!!! There is nothing worse than being in pain...hope your appointment goes well!!! :)
    PS...Can you even believe this weather Chicago is having??? (Well, the rest of the nation, too!!) Looks like you had a great time at the convention!

  2. poor thing! I STILL have my wisdom teeth and refuse to give them up (for now anyhow). What if that is actually all the wisdom I have left!?
    On a math side-our Math Expressions seems to be right on target with Duvall! That's comforting! It's full of math talk...lemme tell ya! I am still tying to get the hang of it, but I do love it! I learned so much about how I do math this past year! haha!
    Good luck with the dentist! Sadly, I have been awaiting a new post!

  3. Welcome back. I'm a baby about pain. I also have a dentist phobia. I'm so sorry you're going through that. Hopefully, it'll be in the past soon.

    ❤Jodi from...
    ★★The Clutter-Free Classroom★★
    Helping Teachers Get Organized

  4. I love your blog!!

    I put a link to your blog in one of my recent posts:

  5. Sounds like a great week! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

    Lifelong Learning

  6. This is my first visit to your blog. I found you thru the list of the Top50K.

    I'm just back from SDE's national ITK out in Vegas -- where I presented a couple of workshops and had an amazing week.

    My goal this summer is to work at getting my blog out to a wider reading audience of educators on my work as author/illustrator, so I thought I'd start with the best.

    Besides that I consider myself a Buckeye. What with living in central OH for well over thirty years! I look forward to learning much from you!!

  7. LOVE, LOVE your blog--Just was moved to third grade. I followed lots of K and first grade ones!

    I follow all 12 blogs!!

  8. Well it is great to see that I am following a Buckeye teacher blog.. I live in Coshocton! 8-) I hope that you get relief for your dry socket! Those are mighty, mighty painful.. I had 3 of them when I* had my wisdom teeth taken out. Keep on blogging please 'cause I am going to keep on reading! Best wishes.
    Randy Sue

  9. Had a great time in Chicago. And I love your blog!!

  10. Thanks for the well wishes everyone! Diane, I'm going to miss you sooooooo much!

  11. I hope you are feeling better today! I had dry sockets when I had my wisdom teeth extracted. :-( Not fun! As for the braces...I just got mine on in February and it's not that bad! My teeth have pretty much already straightened out! Just remember to take advil before each appointment. :-) Good luck!