Video of the Week: "Why do honeybees love hexagons?"

I love hexagons, and honeybees do too. It's so beautiful to me how they fit together (tesselate). They're aesthetically pleasing and efficient. Take a look: 

Here are a few things I'm wondering: 

  • Where else do you see these tessellating hexagons? 
  • Why are hexagons the most efficient use of space for the honeybees? 
  • What's behind this perfect shape choice? Is it chance? Evolution? God? 
  • What other shapes can tesselate? 

I am a math teacher.

When I first started college, I entered as a math major, with a minor in English. I loved math. I loved the fluidity of how numbers worked. I loved how numbers could make sense of things. However, when I took Calc III the first semester of my freshman year, I quickly stopped loving math so much. It moved to theoretical, and if I'm honest, it was just hard. I soon changed my focus to English, keeping only a minor in math. 

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I entered the teaching field, then, focusing on English. I've always loved literature, and I love the plethora of ways I can creatively teach it.

However, since I went to college in Michigan, I was able to receive credentials in both my major and my minor subjects. Therefore, when staffing changed at my school a few years ago, I was asked to begin teaching a math class as well. 

At the time, I knew nothing about teaching math. However, I did know two really cool math teachers who both loved math, and more importantly, loved kids: John Stevens and Matt Vaudrey. At Back to School Night last night, I've realized just how much they've really impacted my math education philosophy. Here's what I've learned from watching their practice: 

Math should be fun. Math gets a bad wrap for being drill and kill and a bland lecture format. Although my math class still has moments of lecture, you'll often hear sound effects or hand movements or crazy wording to help us remember things.


Math is more than a worksheet. I love teaching pre-algebra because so much of it is "real world" math. I've learned to look for how students might use our mathematical concepts in their world with their ideas. We do big projects and little projects and get our hands dirty as much as possible. 

Mathematical excellence can occur with little to no homework. The more I talk with families, especially here in the Bay, I'm struck by the soul-killing and family-killing nature of math homework. We can practice skills in class a lot and have little to no homework every night. Turns out this creates a way more math-loving culture, too. 


Math can be a team sport. When I think back to my math classes, it's amazing how much of math class was listen to the teacher, do a worksheet by yourself. There's so much beauty to me in students working together to solve a problem. I love the mathematical conversations I hear in my room every day. 

The more time I spend processing the last several weeks of the beginning of the year, the more I realize that I am truly a math teacher. I'm not just a language arts teacher who teaches math anymore. I love watching my math students learn and create and work together and have fun. I love making crazy lessons for them that put our mathematical concepts to good use. I am a math teacher.

Video of the Week: "Where do new words come from?"

I'm a lover of words. Each year more and more words are added to our dictionary, but just where do these words come from? Take a look:

Here's what I'm thinking: 

  • When is the last time you looked something up in a paper dictionary? Is it bad that this "skill" is "dying"?
  • Take a look at what was added in 2017. Do any of these surprise you?
  • What are the different levels of authority present (or not present) between Merriam-Webster and Urban Dictionary? 
  • What words do you think will be added in 2018? 

Video of the Week: "HP - Little Moments"

Back to school time is the time for all the feelings, both for parents and for kids. This back to school ad from HP reminds me as an adult to never stop trying to break the hard exteriors of teens.

Here are the questions I'm thinking about asking my students after watching this video: 

  • Do you do what this girl does? Why do you torture your parents like that? 
  • Do your parents ever leave you little notes? How does that make you feel? 
  • How can you brighten someone's day with a little gesture like this dad does? 

Video of the Week: "Framing"

I love John Green as much as a teen girl. I love the stories he tells, and I especially love his honesty. And although I don't always love the behavior in which his characters engage, I appreciate his honesty of the teen experience and of the human experience as well. The same is true with this video. (Thanks to Darren Hudgins for bringing this one to the surface for me.)

Here's what I'm thinking after viewing John Green's honesty: 

  • Do you frame your online presence? What are you trying to convey with that framing? 
  • Should people frame their online presence? 
  • Green says, "In telling the truth, you tell among many true stories, which true story to tell." Do you agree with this statement? 
  • How does remembering this framing help give us perspective on our time on social media?