MTBoS Professional Development

Steph Reilly generously shared the letter she sent to her principal regarding Twitter Math Camp and I liked it so much I knew I had to send one to my admin team too. I made some VERY minor changes and emailed this one. The biggest change I made was in the final paragraph, where I tell them I’m emailing because I want to run a PD session for all 6-12 math teachers in my district (approximately 30 teachers).

I’m very luck to work in an extremely supportive and collaborative environment, but I do wish more of my colleagues were involved in the Math Twitter BlogoSphere (MTBoS). A few of them follow some blogs and we occasionally pass around links, but for the most part, I know most of them aren’t aware of all the awesomeness this community has to offer. Therefore, I was psyched when my district’s Instructional Leadership Director and STEM Director agreed to meet with me to hear a recap of TMC 13 and discuss running a PD session. We had a great 1.5 hour conversation regarding everything I have learned from the MTBoS and the best ways to get more teachers involved. The end result: The loved it! They really loved it! I’ll be running a 2 hour session on an early release day in November. What follows below is the general outline for the session as of right now, obviously I’m hoping for some feedback to make this the best session it can possible be!


I’m going to make a brief online survey for participants to take prior to the actual PD session. I want/need to know who else reads blogs, writes blogs, tweets, and/or knows about some of these websites. It will not be anonymous, I want to be able to address these teachers and ask them to share their experiences.

Also, in the blurb for this session that teachers will read in the master PD grid sent by admin, I’m going to label this as TECH FRIENDLY. Participants will be encouraged to bring smart phones/laptops so they can explore during the presentation, but we’ll also be in the school library so they can hop on computers during play time.

Intro (5-10 minutes)
A very brief explanation of how I got started in the MTBoS and my experiences at TMC13. I’ll provide participants with a list of a few blogs to read and individuals to follow on Twitter to get started.

MTBoS Highlights (approx 5 minutes each)
The following bullets are all websites or ideas that I think everyone needs to know about it. I consider them to be “Things that will change your teacher life dramatically” and “Things that you can implement tomorrow.” I’ll project the websites and walk everyone through the basics. Some I have used, some I have not, but want to. I know there are so many more, but we do have a limited time. Please let me know though if you think I’m missing a biggie.

Time to Play and Debrief (30-40 minutes)
After running through everything above, I think it’s important to give participants time to explore these sites on their own, but in a guided format. I will encourage them to choose at least two sites to investigate and to think about how they could start using them in their classroom. Hopefully we’ll have some time to come back together and share the things we are most excited about.

Conclusion: My Favorites (3-5 minutes each)
The MTBoS is all about sharing. I know that my colleagues have so much they could teach me, so I’m very eager to see what they might present. I’ll start with a few TMC ideas, such as Jenn’s 4 to 1, The Teaching Channel’s My Favorite No, and Nicole’s Orangamallows. I’ll also line up a few presenters ahead of time by directly asking some of my colleagues to think of something to share. My hope is that everyone gets a sense of what it’s like to be a part of this community, always sharing, always passionate, always there for each other.

So, that’s my plan so far. I can’t wait to hear your thoughts!


10 thoughts on “MTBoS Professional Development

  1. Wow! This is so inspiring, Heather! I need to present in two weeks to the whole faculty at my school, so I appreciate seeing your outline. I hope to also inspire other math teachers at my school to participate more. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is great! I think you have a solid plan and all the enthusiasm to deliver it successfully! What I have found from doing these kinds of sessions is that it’s fairly easy to get teachers to see the value of what you are talking about but it’s much more difficult to get them to actually jump in and stay in afterwards. Perhaps spending some time getting them set up with a reader like Feedly so that they have a manageable number of really good blogs to follow would be a good start. My experience is that I have gotten people on Twitter but they stop checking it after a few days and are “out”. I think starting with a reader might work better? Thanks for sharing and keep us posted!

  3. Heather – thanks for sharing this. I’ve been wary about pitching my [very large] math department because of the number of very conservative teachers therein, but with your fabulously well-documented and organized post, I’m feeling like I can take the leap! You are terrific!!

  4. That sounds fantastic! One thing I loved about TMC was being able to follow everyone else’s thoughts through #tmc13. I was wondering if I could introduce a hashtag for local math pd that people could post their thoughts and reflections to. It might give them a sense of how it works and a way to communicate throughout the year.

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