“WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE”

Imagine this…It’s 5 AM. Friday morning. Driving on the freeway. Darkness. Headlights are passing by. “Why are people awake at this hour?” You’re trying to drink your cup of coffee and wake up but you can’t fight back the yawns. The sun slowly starts to come over the horizon. Your eyes begin to squint. All of a sudden, something amazing happens…Your head starts moving back and forth without you knowing. Your ears hear one of the most iconic opening guitar riffs of all time playing on your stereo…and then…

Welcome to the jungle
We’ve got fun ‘n’ games
We got everything you want
Honey, we know the names
We are the people that can find
Whatever you may need
If you got the money, honey
We got your disease

Talk about an adrenaline rush! The timing of this song couldn’t be more perfect as I was driving to Palm Springs for CMC-S two weeks ago. Yes, this song was on repeat in my mind throughout the rest of the conference, and I couldn’t help but realize that the lyrics of the song sum up my experience. CMC-S 2015 was just like this great Guns ‘N Roses song — epic.

Where do I begin?

SPEAKERS

If you ever have the opportunity to go to a math conference, you HAVE to see the following people present — and that’s non-negotiable.

Some of these speakers I met for the first time at CMC-S 2015, and others I have the privilege of calling my friends. Each and every one of them are great, friendly people who will make you want to be a better math educator. Please note that this is not my exhaustive list. There are many others who I didn’t have the opportunity to see or meet. Two days isn’t enough…

TAKEAWAYS

  1. #MTBoS was definitely the cat’s pajamas all weekend long. It was the buzz in every session I went to and every conversation I had during the two-day conference. What was fascinating is every person — at some point — mentioned that the Math Twitter Blogosphere community has helped them grow more than anything else in their teaching career. The message was and has always been clear… “We are stronger and better together!” Not only that, everyone in the MTBoS community believes in this statement! I cannot articulate into words what it was to hear that message consistently. It’s something so powerful that cannot be replicated by reading the words in a blog or a tweet — you really have to experience it. All I can say is…wow. I believe now more than ever that the sky is truly the limit and #MTBoS is the driving force. 
  2. Every session put a great emphasis on the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice and how they need to be at the forefront of everything we do as math teachers for all of our students. I couldn’t agree more. In the words of Cosmo Kramer, I like to think of the 8 SMPs as the “straw that stirs the drink.” It’s what makes learning mathematics a beautiful work of art. They are the heart and soul of the mathematics classroom and the skills we want our students to take with them into the real world when they leave our classroom. We need to continue to get the word out! 
  3. The Ignite Session was unreal and I will make sure not to miss one at future Math Conferences. What a great segment in the conference and an entertaining experience! There were lots of laughs and a few tears shed, all of which made you want to go out and change the world. It’s now a goal of mine to have an opportunity to be one of Ignite speakers. And great job of emceeing, Mr. Brian Shay. You definitely made the night more fun!

GRATITUDE

To all who presented, those I met, and those I got to hang out with at CMC-S…

Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for pushing me to ask myself the question, “What’s next?” Thank you for make me see the hidden gems in our students’ mistakes. Thank you for teaching me that a mathematical argument is more than just volume — it takes eloquence, style, and tone. Thank you for reminding me that it’s not our job as math teachers to simply create content, but to implement the content well. Thank you for encouraging me to do more lesson planning, not lesson pacing. Thank you for helping me realize all students have the right to productively struggle. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for sharing your story. Thank you for helping me believe in myself and that I have something valuable to contribute.

Meow…just like the song, when people ask me, “How was your time at CMC-S?,” here’s what I would tell them…

Fun is an understatement.
I got more than I wanted and needed out of the conference
I met incredible people along the way.
I left inspired, wanting more, and wondering more.
I know CMC-S will not disappoint in the future.
I will be back.


In the words of the greatest rock band of all time, AC/DC…“For those about to rock, I salute you.”

\m/  \m/

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