I shared here a little bit about Twitter Math Camp (TMC) this summer, but this post is all about the stuff I learned and did while there.

As I’ve started going through stuff for this post, I’m reminded of how much I love TMC.  It’s the best.

Travel Day

My trip to TMC started on Tuesday.  I found Dianna and Teresa in the airport.

Once at the hotel in Cleveland, a group of us were in the lobby, and Bob was hungry.  Long story short, Casey assured him that if he said he was going to get food and left, people would follow.  It turned out to be somewhat of an adventure.

There were some food trucks by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for the Taylor Swift concert that night.  We thought we’d walk down there since there would be multiple options for people.  Turns out Taylor brings in a bigger crowd of “Swifties” than we realized.  Eventually we came across a really good Mexican restaurant so it was worth it in the end.

One of my favorite things from TMC this summer are getting to see all of the teacher moves of the presenters.  I don’t know if I just never picked up on these things as much my first year going or if now that I have five years under my belt as a teacher I’m picking up on these things more, but I love getting to see the little things that others do in their classrooms!

David Butler from Australia attended TMC last year in Atlanta, and wrote a really great post on it just prior to TMC.  He describes the TMC Attitude in this post.  In short, he describes that attitude as a combination of two things

  • “Everyone in every face-to-face session is there ready to learn something. Not just expecting it but looking out for it — they are actively seeking for something to learn.”
  • “Everyone is there ready to be part of the community.”

I would argue that every teacher at TMC has a similar goal as one of the Desmos’ goals:

Desmos Day

I love the Desmos precon.  There’s just something about the fact that Desmos finds value in flying 5+ of their employees to Twitter Math Camp to spend time with us, that makes me love Desmos even more.

I spent part of my day with Christopher Danielson.  He lead us through Marcellus the Giant.  I did this activity in my own class last year, so it was good for me to see how Christopher facilitated it as well as to have student responses to look through as we went through it.

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Christopher referenced this post in his presentation.


Later on in the day Eli gave an update on Desmos and things they have been working on.  The Desmos museum was new to me.

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The exciting new feature that was shared at TMC was Snapshots.  I’m SO excited to try this out this year.  You can learn more about it here and here.  It allows you to take a screenshot sort of students’ work and then you are able to select images to discuss as a class.  Students’ names are taken off the images so you can solely focus on the work.

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I also heard Julie and Jonathan talk about how they use Desmos on assessments.  Here are their resources.  Here were some of the tips they mentioned.

  • Some of the test is on paper and some on Desmos and will include in the instructions “You only get credit if you show it algebraically on your paper.”
    • 1 slide per question.  Even if there’s a question that is just on paper, include a blank slide in Desmos to keep the slide numbers and question numbers the same.
  • Have students type in their last name first so Desmos alphabetizes their names.
  • You can go into the activity and sign in as a student to enter correct responses so that you have a key.
  • Note that if a student doesn’t answer a question, their name doesn’t show up in the summary.

Morning Session:  Talk Less, Smile More

This year I went to “Talk Less, Smile More” led by Chris and Mattie.  It’s the third year they’ve done this presentation, and every year it’s one of the ones that I have on my list of possibilities for morning sessions.  Every year I back out of going because I’m afraid of what they might make me do.  “Talk Less, Smile More” leads me to think that they probably won’t do a ton of talking and they’re going to make me do all the talking activities they have their students do.  Talking in front of large groups of people, especially if I don’t know them very well, even if it’s just for a short time is not my thing.  (And what do you know, about an hour into the first day I was called on to share my response and I had no. idea. what to say.  The question was something along the lines of “My favorite movie is___________.” or “The most important math concept is______________.”  Fun fact about me, when it comes to picking out my favorite anything, I most likely won’t be able to do it.  I just can’t, so this was one of the worst questions ever for me to be asked to share in front of the group.  BUT, I survived.  I was put on the spot and made it through just fine -a good experience for me.)

Well this year I obviously went to the session.  I’m so glad I finally went because I took away many things I want to try.

Some of the structures Chris and Mattie shared with us were things I were familiar with, but it was good to participate in them myself.  Other structures were new to me.  Below is a picture of all the structures we participated in over the course of the three days.

Here are some debate-y words they shared.

Since Chris and Mattie have been giving this presentation, I have heard many people at TMC say “My claim is__________ and my warrant is_________.”  in conversation or others will ask, “but what is your warrant?”  I never knew where this was coming from…until now!  This is the format they have students use to debate in math class.  They mentioned that this structure helps students form their answers and that the “stuffier” the wording is, the more comfortable students are to share.

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Here are some more specific examples they shared in their session that I really liked.

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Here are some other things I got from their session.

  • Chris gives students a “life pass” at the start of each semester to place on their desk.  When this is on the student’s desk Chris knows not to call on them that day because something outside of school is going on.  I think students in his class have one pass per semester.

Jill was also at this session and made some passes for her classroom.

  • Alli shared how she uses “participation chips” in her class.  Students get a chip when they walk in and have to spend it that day.  She talked about how one advantage of doing this is that students who typically want to answer every question are now more selective in ones they are willing to answer because they don’t want to waste their chip on an easy question.
  • This website was mentioned, and I want to look more into it.
  • Rose shared this link to some Talking Points questions from Elizabeth.

Here is the link to Chris and Mattie’s resources from their session.  You can also search #talklessAm as well as look in the TMC Wiki from the past two years (2016 and 2017).

My Favorites

My Favorites are short 5-15 minute presentations to the entire group that happen throughout TMC.  I’m not going to share every presentation, but here are a few that stood out to me or were new ideas for me.

  • Casey gave a great presentation on her alphabet book she’s done the past three years at TMC.  Casey is absolutely amazing!
  • I really enjoyed Chris Nho’s presentation on problem solving.
    • “Come to a stopping point.  Maybe you just learned some things about the problem.  That’s fine.”
    • Chris also shared a poster from his presentation.

  • Chase shared some things his doing with Desmos and Estimation180.
    • #EstimationStation

  • I really liked the stickers that Allison uses with her students.
  • Megan’s love letter to elementary teachers was great.
  • I enjoyed hearing Annie talk about her phone calls home.
  • Kent has a great math games website.
  • Mattie shared about the MTBoS community.


All of the keynotes were excellent, but Julie’s was a message I needed to hear for myself right now.


Edmund Harris, John Golden, and Glenn Waddell:  Mathematics isn’t everywhere.  It is more awesome than that.

  • Pam Wilson:  Formative Assessment Lessons -Where do I begin?
    • Pam shared information from her session here.  A lot of her information is in that post, so below are other little things I took from her session
    • She has a Where’s Waldo “mascot” that her students hide around her classroom.  She likes how this brings the students together in her room.
    • She has a “creeper seat” that mechanics use for her classroom so she can help students without hurting her knees.
    • I loved her cube timer and may need one for my room this year.
    • One of her favorite exit ticket prompts
      • Something I’ve learned…
      • Something I’ve realized…
      • Something I’ve been reminded of…
  • Tom Hall:  Being Purposeful with Soft Skills

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  • Jonathan Claydon: Calculus for the Algebra Teacher

  • Amie Albrecht:  Mathematical Ideas from the Game of SET
    • Here are some resources Amie has shared.  Post 1 Post 2 and another article she shared.
    • I really enjoyed looking at the math behind SET.  This is a game I play nearly every week with my students.  We also got to play 4D set at game night.  SO FUN!!!

4D Set at game night!


And 5D set!


  • Chrissy Newell and Casey McCormick:  Making progress in K-8 geometry
  • Sara Van Der Werf:  The H-Word
    • Devalue the answers.  Give evidence that these are the correct solutions.
    • Give phrases to Google
    • Model the routine of doing homework for students.
      • If your kids aren’t doing homework, do they know how to do homework?  Have they been taught how to do homework?

Other Stuff

This made me smile:

These pictures were outside one of the restaurants in Cleveland, and I’d say they describe the people at TMC pretty well.  The people at TMC are on the same mission, and everyone there is willing to help others improve.

Lastly, here’s the TMC song.

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