Using Google Classroom in Remote Learning #MTBoSBlaugust


I’ve been using Google Classroom for a while, but I’m using it in a very different way now. I set it to Hide Notifications for Classwork on the Stream. So my students should be going to the Classwork tab to see everything we do each day. I used the header template from Alice Keeler here.

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The Stream has been used only for announcements, such as noting where to click for our live meetings and reminders to fill out forms for the school. Here are some of my announcements.

I’m using topics to separate my Classwork page by day. The most recent days are always at the top. I have a Resources topic that stays at the bottom.

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In my Resources space at the bottom is a link to my Office Hours Google Meet, Desmos Graphing and Scientific Calculator, class website, our school’s schedule for remote learning, and Graph Paper (Cornell Notes-style) they can print if they have access to that.

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Here’s an example of one of our days. We are required to ask an Attendance Question each day. In order for a learner to be marked present for attendance, the only thing they need to do is answer that question (or interact with the class in some way). I used the Virtual Name Tent Desmos activity modified from Sara and Kristen and Corinne for the first five days. More on that later. And then the rest depends on the day. Here I have a homework assignment (Delta Math), challenge activity, completed notes, and recording. Other days and classes have had links to Quizizz, Desmos exploration activities, Jamboards, Google Docs homework assignments, and Google Forms.

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I saw a bunch of people on Twitter talking about using emoji to organize. I should ask my students, but I’m just assuming they are all seeing them. So here’s what I’m using for the different emoji:

  • 💻 Attendance Question
  • ⛺️ Virtual Name Tent
  • 📝 Homework
  • 📓 Completed Notes
  • ⭕️ Recording
  • 🔢 Office Hours

It’s funny because I’m noticing now how they come out different on WordPress as I’m typing here vs. what they look like on my Macbook Pro’s touch bar. My touch bar usually matches what I see on Google Classroom.

I had some students ask me about using emoji in the chat in our Google Meets and sent them to this page:

I know there are many ways to make Google Classroom work for remote learning, but I’ve been mostly pleased with this so far. Anything else I can do to make life easier for everyone?

Pourquoi nous ne pouvons pas programmer les choses pour multiples cours à la fois?!


Student Feedback After 5 Remote Learning Classes #MTBoSBlaugust #MTBoS2020


Jennifer @jenfairbanks8 has set up a monthly blogging challenge described here You should join! And if you’re just here to read, then I hope you get something out of it!

Double-dipping here for the blog challenges and late to both but a late blog post is better than no blog post!

Well, we’ve officially finished our first 10 days of school in remote learning, which means I’ve seen each of my classes 5 times because I see periods 1-4 and 5-8 on alternating days. We are required to give an “Attendance Question” in Google Classroom each day because live lessons cannot be mandated, but as long as the learners answer the Attendance Question (or interact with your class in any other way) for that day they are counted present.

My latest Attendance Question was “What is something another teacher is doing in remote learning that Mrs. Grayson should also do?” I almost said something like “How can Mrs. Grayson do better?” but honestly I’ve only probably interacted with 2/3 of my students in these last 10 school days so some don’t even know what I do…that feels really weird to say, but it’s the reality. I also gave the same question to my Advisory, who don’t have me as a teacher.

Most students said something like “nothing”, “idk”, or “no one is doing anything different/better”. But here were the other responses:

  • give students roughly 5 minutes to join
  • Make the attendance question easier to answer.
  • Doing assignments on classroom.
  • no group work, kills too much time
  • Office Hours, i think you might do them already but im not sure. (x2)
  • they post memes to cheer students up
  • give more examples
  • Presentations.
  • more videos than lives
  • start doing notes on how to do the problem instead of just doing practice problems
  • Maybe just have a little bit of leniency with grades since some students might have a difficult time learning certain material online.
  • maybe post loom videos sometimes
  • making students turn on the camera to know that they are actually paying attention
  • My old math teacher gave us prewritten notes to look at.
  • going over math problems that most people get wrong
  • record meet in case we missed it
  • Not going to quick with the class
  • some days are short, like 15 minutes
  • uhm having notes already made and putting them in google classroom idk
  • Some teachers post in the stream about when we have a live meeting which is really helpful.
  • Tell us the day of if we have a live or the night before send out a remind text.
  • Give announcements with when what’s due and what to remember
  • Alternative practice assignments
  • Less difficult things lol

Some of those things are under my control, some aren’t. Some I asked for clarification.

Also, 27 shared that they think I’m doing good so that’s a nice pat on the back for me. It’s hard work, people! I’m glad some are feeling that it’s going well for our class.

More reflection to come in another blog post because this #MTBoSBlaugust is not gonna fill itself!

Je suis si fatigué. Il est temps de faire un somme.

Pre-Class Survey 2020 #MTBoSBlaugust


Every year I give a survey in the first few days to get some info from my new learners. Every year I edit the one from before. This year’s got kind of long because some of the things I just ask one on one or on some other sheet of paper or notecard won’t be happening with us starting remote. Some things are entirely new for me (pronunciation, pic of smile, walk up song). I also use the math preference questions again mid-year and at the end of the year to see if things are changing. The reason I ask for their name so many times is because I use this with ForMule to send out a somewhat personalized email to parents/guardians after they submit it.

Here’s what I believe I will be giving this year. I have a couple days to change my mind. Clicking this link will ask you to make a copy once you verify your Google account.

On ne peut jamais connaître trop de sur étudiants.

#TMC16 Reflection Post 4: Day 4 and 5 #MTBoSBlaugust

Post 1, Post 2, Post 3, and TMC16 Notes in case you want them.

Day 4: TMC Day 3

I did not take great notes in the last two days of TMC. There was a lot going on, though.

In the morning for My Favorites Joel @joelbezaire showed us a game (Variable Analysis) I will try to play with my class at some point. It seems fun. I’m just already stressed about time. We also saw Gregory @mathtans show off his creativity with a song about the cubic formula to the tune of Sister Act. So awesome to see the creative side that some people have.

For lunch that day I went back to AfroDeli so I could talk with Lisa about warm ups. Bob also joined us and we ended up talking about a ton of other stuff – grading, vertical nonpermanent surfaces, teaching in general. It was awesome.

The only note I have about My Favorites in the afternoon was about Smarty Pins. It’s a geography/trivia game that could be fun. Maybe I’ll learn geography since I never learned it in school. The keynote was Dylan @math8_teacher. He shared a lot of things about his teaching experiences that were similar to mine. I think my 10% to get better at is parent contact this year. I’m going to try to blog about my thoughts on this later. I’m also hoping to blog more to help all teachers.

I then went to the session I was probably anticipating the most – Go With the Flow by Alex @AlexOverwijk. My room has a wall in the back that has all white boards and I just made 9 white boards this summer. I knew about Vertical Non-Permanent Surfaces before, but didn’t know enough details. I’ve now turned this into my #1TMCThing. I have had students all in groups at the VNPS once but I need to rearrange my room so it works better. I’m so excited to do more with this.

I then went to a flex session about social justice in math. Annie @Anniekperkins showed us how she talked about a different mathematician every Friday that wasn’t just some dead white guy. I really want to do this, too. I just gotta find a good way to do this in class. Like I said before – I’m a little stressed about time, but this would be worth it.

I spent the entire evening and night working with Bob, Rachel @rdkpickle, and Judy @JudyLarsen3 on our performance the next day. It was great working with these guys on the music. I was so excited to hear how the lyrics came out. I went back to the dorm after hours and hours of working to find Jennifer and Kathy in the lounge and we talked for a little bit. It was nice to meet back up with them.

Day 5: TMC Day 4

I’m going to be honest, I was pretty nervous to perform in front of all of the math teachers that I idolized. So I don’t remember much of the My Favorites, unfortunately. I was too busy being nervous. I wrote down Bootstrap for video game programming – this reminded me of a video game maker my brother used to use when we were little. I’d like to learn more about it some day.

The TMC16 Song performance was kind of a blur. I remember when I messed up. I also remember that it was a lot of fun. I’m very grateful that I met Sean and that he let me be a part of this event. Here’s a video (I’m the one playing on the trash can and music stand – we worked with what we had):

Then TMC was over. I had been smiling for pretty much five days straight. But then the sad feels came on. I didn’t want to go. I was driving back for six hours and then getting ready for a move. Wasn’t ready to face reality yet. When Jennifer and Kathy said they were going to Mall of America, I said I’d drive them. We worked our geometry skills to figure out how to fit all of us with our stuff and spent some time at Mall of America. This place was massive and I didn’t even cover a little bit of it. We saw some Ninja Turtles, Spongebob and Patrick, and a marker and ate lunch.

The drive back was much nicer than the drive there (because daylight), and I got home that night. I missed everyone, especially Jennifer and Kathy so much. I’m still missing TMC16. I’m going to see how scheduling works out but I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to make TMC17 because this year I started school August 1 and TMC17 ends July 30. I hope my school decides to start later next year.

TMC me manque.

#TMC16 Reflection Post 3: Day 3 #MTBoSBlaugust

I posted about Day 1 and Day 2 already. I also posted my notes.

Day 3: TMC Day 2

I got up early on Sunday to run around Minneapolis with some other tweeps. We went a little over 5K and saw a dam. There was a hill I struggled with, but it was great to get out and run. There wasn’t any pressure to keep up (Jennifer was way ahead of us), and everyone was welcome. Which is the same for everything at TMC.

The morning started with My Favorites and announcements. That’s where people saw my Sudoku dress. I’m hoping Jennifer’s mother-in-law will agree to take mathy fabric into dresses so we can all buy them.

During the My Favorites, Anna talked about Feedback Meetings. I would love to implement this. I just can’t imagine doing it with all of my students. I wonder if I can start with just one class. I have to work out some details, the biggest one being when do I meet with the students?

I ate lunch with Jennifer and Kathy after the morning session at a place that was very earthy and different. I had an Earth something…it was eggs with broccoli and cheese and I think potatoes – looked like I was eating the earth and it was pretty good. It took a little bit to get the food so Kathy and I left a little late, but still made it back in time for the My Favorites. Sam @samjshah talked about his Explore Math assignments that I definitely want to do some day. I think this year might be too soon with the new school, but I think it could fit perfectly with my Math Literature (college prep) math class. Will have to revisit this idea again.

Tracy @TracyZager gave the keynote this day and wow was it great. She talked about how we all have to learn from each other – elementary and secondary teachers alike. I loved this. I went to college thinking I’d become a high school teacher, then my first job was in 6th grade. I’ll admit that I wasn’t too thrilled that that was going to be my job, but I loved it. I learned so much about teaching in general, and then when I started teaching high school I was so surprised at the fact that I was the only one spending time getting to know students at the beginning of the year, or having students work in groups, or having students give me feedback regularly. These were all things that were standard at my first job in an elementary district for all teachers. I am now in a unit district (which I found out is not the same terminology in different states – it’s a district with elementary, middle, and high school in it). I am excited that this year I will have the opportunity to not only collaborate with teachers teaching the same course as I am, but also potentially collaborate with elementary and middle grades teachers. I could go on about this…maybe it’s another blog post.

I then went to Anna’s Make It Stick session. I haven’t read the book but I’d like to. I feel like this session mostly confirmed things I already believed, probably because I had read them from other #MTBoS blogs. Practice is important. I need to show students better ways to practice and study. I’m hoping that before our first assessment I will remember to have this discussion.

I then went to Lisa @lisabej_manitou and Jessica @algebrainiac1’s session about warm ups. I already talked about what I got from that a bit here. I am also presenting on this same topic on October again for ICTM. So this also helped me see how I could present this topic better.

That night there was a trivia night and Jennifer, Kathy, and I wanted to eat before it. We went to an Ethiopian restaurant – it was Jennifer and Kathy’s first time! Ethiopian is definitely an experience…and this was slightly different from my previous experiences. I made sure to let them know that, but it was refreshing to be with people who were willing to try new things like that. I’m used to people thinking I’m kind of weird for always wanting to eat different ethnic foods – I’m not really satisfied with eating the same thing all the time even if it’s great (which is hard for me because I barely know how to cook anything). They probably still thought I was weird, but they at least kept it to themselves 🙂

We didn’t do very well in the trivia night. We were a team made up of (mostly) TMC newbies so we named ourselves the TMC Virgins. I think I was able to contribute on a few questions but mostly couldn’t help – still had tons of fun, though! We all were contributing members on our team.

Afterwards, I met up with Bob @MrJanesMath to talk about playing percussion. We were trying to work out some logistics for a performance on Tuesday. It was really interesting to talk with him about teaching and music and band and percussion and how it was different or similar in Connecticut.

Maintenant, je ne veux que la cuisine éthiopienne.

#TMC16 Reflection Post 2: Day 2 #MTBoSBlaugust

I posted about my Day 1 with #DesCon16 here.

Day 2: TMC Day 1

Now, I already posted my notes I took in the sessions I went to here. So this will be more of what I want to do from them and also the more social stuff.

The day started with a New-to-TMC session where I realized that there were a ton of newbies like me. Glen @gwaddellnvhs and Julie @jreulbach were so nice to put that on for us. We then went to the chapel for the opening session. It was during this that I solidified my choice of a morning session and decided on Talk Less, Smile More with Chris @Plspeak and Matt @stoodle. This was amazing. I want to debate all day every day in my classes.

So my plan is to incorporate debate into my warm ups at least. I will have debates on Thursdays with Which One Doesn’t Belong and Would You Rather. I would like to also use it just regularly during class. I LOVE the claim/warrant bit of it. I’ve already tried it once and the students seem to latch onto it pretty well. I think this will help them on their assessments, too. I would love to do a full scale debate, but will probably not get to that this year. I also think the debate cards are a great idea and hope to use this in class. I also really need to make these for my walls and put them up on each wall:


I also worked in this morning session with some Algebra II teachers (even though I’m doing Integrated Math 2 but it does line up with some of it). Julie, Sara, Annie @Anniekperkins, Amy @sqrt_1, and I worked on creating some Algebra II stuff that incorporates debate. I look forward to working with these ladies during the school year to develop more debate-y questions.

We had lunch after the morning session at AfroDeli. It was really really good. I sat with Jamie @jrykse and two other teachers who are teaching in Indonesia, I think, and I can’t remember or find their names and I’m really sorry. It was so great to hear about different perspectives and different ways schools work (this was a theme for the entire TMC).

After lunch, it was my first My Favorites. These were the parts that I had most highly anticipated after reading about them from past TMCs. I will soon post a picture of me with my Varsity Math sticker.

The Keynote speaker that afternoon was José @TheJLV. He talked about social justice. It was really powerful and filled with funny gifs. I’m going to hopefully post something about social justice math soon.

I then went to Sara’s afternoon session on the Backwards Bike and Productive Struggle. Wow. I want to pretty much do everything from this session. She and her coworkers worked on something really hard (the backwards bike) every day and it taught them about struggling. I loved that the students saw this struggle. I really want to do something like this eventually. I’m also not sure when Sara said this, but she said that she got rid of all distractions around her room so the only posters she has up are ones she consistently refers to. This really hit home for me. When I first started teaching I was afraid of empty space on my walls. I printed out a million things and covered my walls. I almost never referred to anything I had put up. I’ve had less on the walls each year and now only have stuff on the walls that I have to have up or I will refer to often. I will post soon on how my room is looking.

I went to Becca @RPhillipsMath’s session on Every Kid, Every Day. I fully agreed with everything she was saying and I wish there was more time to hear her ideas.

There was Speed Dating afterwards that was run by Lisa’s Husband. It was awesome to meet other people that were there. I loved the categories.

Then, there was the new-to-TMC dinner. I met Sean @SweenWSweens (who I had used his math music in class) who asked me for something interesting about myself. I said I played percussion and he didn’t think that was interesting enough, but he did need a drummer for something later. I agreed to help and didn’t really know what I was getting into. I learned that some people, specifically Tina @TPalmer207, see words in color. I also learned about teaching and living at a boarding school (close to my hometown!) from Maggie @maggietennyson. I was learning so much about different people. It just kept blowing me away. And it was only Day 2.

We all went back to the dorm and hung out for a while until it was finally time to go to bed. It seriously felt like camp. I loved it.

Les gens étaient la meilleure partie de TMC.

My #TMC16 Reflection Post 1: #DesCon16 #MTBoSBlaugust

I’ve probably waited to long to do this reflection. I probably should have tried to reflect sooner than almost a month after TMC16 ended. But between moving and starting school within two weeks of me getting back, I just couldn’t get myself to do it. I figure late is better than never in this case. I’m going to do four posts, I think, since putting them all together would just be too long.

Day 1: Desmos Pre-Conference #DesCon16

I got in to Augsburg a little after midnight that night and tried to get into the dorm but the doors were locked so I found the button to call the front desk and he let me up. As I walked up the stairs, there were a bunch of kids in the lounge eating pizza and having fun, and that made me think I was in the wrong place because I thought Twitter Math Camp was for adults…but the front desk had my key and I went upstairs to my room. There was no roommate there, so I didn’t have anyone to feel bad for getting in so late. I passed out as soon as my head hit the pillow and woke up about 6 hours later to get ready for Desmos. I had carefully picked which mathy t-shirt I was going to wear for each day when I had packed, but changed my mind about 5 times before finally deciding on my “√-1 2³ Σ Π and it was delicious” t-shirt. I walked out of the dorm and saw Anna @TypeAMathLand walking alongside me and was too nervous to say anything before getting in line for breakfast. Lisa @lmhenry9 was in front of me and approached me to give me tickets to the baseball game I was going to. I got breakfast and found a table with a couple people at it and introduced myself. I didn’t know them and they were both first time TMC-ers, too. Then, Mary @mlangmyer ended up sitting with me and I had actually been to her session on literacy at MMC! Soon after, Anna ended up sitting at my table! That was cool. And then Kristen @Fouss ended up joining us! I was pretty star struck already.

Then there was Dan and video Eli and Michael and Christopher and Jenny and omg. They showed us some really cool stuff and had us play around with the calculator and Activity Builder. They showed us what other people had made in Desmos, card sorts and custom marbleslides, bundles in teacher.desmos, cool new teacher dashboard features (hiding student names and turning them into mathematicians), and hearing impaired options to make the graphs talk to you. I was blown away the whole time. And when I was in different rooms working, I was able to experiment on my own, ask questions, answer other people’s questions, and play with other people’s creations.

Sara @saravdwerf gave a very inspiring keynote about being an evangelist. I plan to write soon about what I am a chief evangelist for. I am excited because I already feel like this was me and now theres a name for it. She also spoke about Desmos and how students should be able to use Desmos on their phones in school. Omg wow. This is amazing. All of my students have phones – all of them can use Desmos whenever they want. I will post some time about my Desmos plans. I have not used it yet in the first 8 days of school and that is a shame and I want to use it. I will have students on Desmos next week if it’s the last thing I do.

The most amazing part of the day was that Dan Meyer recognized who I was.

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That evening Desmos was hosting a happy hour before the baseball game some of us were going to. I saw some other people walking there from the dorm and it was super packed. I saw three women who also seemed to be looking for somewhere to sit so we could eat before the game. I asked if I could join them and one of them turned out to be Jennifer @HHSmath, who I had been tweeting about running at TMC the few days before. She was with some other Boston-area teachers – Kathy @kd5campbell and Allison. They got some cheese curds that I didn’t realize was just a midwest thing. I ended up taking the train to the game with them. I don’t follow baseball too much and neither team was from Chicago, so I wasn’t all that invested in the game but still had a lot of fun. Jennifer, Kathy, and I left before it ended and Jennifer and I caught Pokemon on the train. I ended up kind of attached to Jennifer and Kathy for the whole TMC. I was extremely grateful that they let me hang out with them. I really hope I get to spend more time with them again.

J’ai hâte d’utiliser Desmos avec mes étudiants cette année!


Warm Up Plan for This Year #MTBoSBlaugust


I probably should have had a plan before the school year started, but here’s what I’m thinking for warm ups this year:

Monday – Estimation 180

Tuesday – Number Talk/Visual Patterns like what Sara says (even though she says to do it all in a row instead of once per week but oh well)

Wednesday – Notice and Wonder with 101qs

Thursday – Debate with Would You Rather Math and Which One Doesn’t Belong

Friday – Reflection (one good thing, what you learned, what you need help with) and a different warm up each week. Set, counting circles, graphing stories, other fun things from Lisa and Jessica’s TMC16 session. That could be a terrible idea or maybe it’ll be great. I don’t know. We’ll see.

I want to go back to having a sheet for warm ups. Here’s what I have so far. What do you guys think I should change? I’ll make it all pretty this weekend.

Daily Warm Up Sheet (docx)

Daily Warm Up Sheet (pdf)

M’aidez s’il vous plaît.