I’m lovin’ Desmos Classroom Activities!

desmosconicsI began using the Desmos graphing calculator with my students at Maryknoll in 2012 and have LOVED it, but I didn’t really explore the Desmos Classroom Activities in-depth until this year. It all began at our Northshore School District Summer Institute this past August with Dan Meyer when he had us do the Central Park activity. I was hooked.

At a district PD session last week, teachers started off with a quick Desmos graphing calculator overview and learned how to create sliders. Next we explored the iPhone 6s Opening Weekend Sales activity to see an example of a task that was adapted using the Desmos Activity Builder, and we read Dan Meyer’s post, Desmosify Your Worksheet. Then teachers choose a lesson of their own and turned it into a Desmos Classroom Activity. Here are a few examples:

Teachers used these activities with students this week and were very happy with the results. One of the reported advantages was that graph windows are preset for students so they could focus on the mathematical concepts being studied rather than getting sidetracked by technical issues.

The sliders also made exploration MUCH easier. In the past, using these lessons with a standard handheld graphing calculator meant that students had to enter several equations to explore the effect a coefficient has on the graph. Now the sliders allow a student to view numerous graphs instantly.

If you haven’t yet explored the Desmos Classroom Activities or tried out the Activity Builder for yourself, I highly encourage you to do so!

My Kukulu Kaiaulu 2013 Conference Experience

I have spent the past two days at Kukulu Kaiaulu 2013 Technology Conference listening to wonderful minds and getting inspired. What a great way to end the school year!

Keynote speakers:

  • Nirvan Mullick, creator of Caine’s Arcade. If you have never seen this, you really should because it is completely amazing.
  • Laura Zander, owner of Jimmy Beans Wool. She is a fantastic speaker, hilariously entertaining, with a wonderful message of encouraging others to discover the intersection between what they’re good at and what they’re passionate about.
  • Dr. Michael Wesch, a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. In his keynote, he explored the environments and conditions in which imagination thrives, why those environments are increasingly scarce in our schools and society, and what we can do about it.



You can find more information about these keynote speakers and my conference experience on Storify.

[View the story “My #ksedtech 2013 Conference Experience” on Storify]


Strawpoll is an easy-to-use polling software that allows your to quickly gather information from your students.  Just enter your question and answer choices, decide whether you want the question to be single-answer or multi-select, and then create! The URL for your new poll will be displayed and ready for use. To view the results of your poll, just visit the poll URL and click “results” on the bottom right corner of the page.

Here’s a poll I created this morning for my Precalculus students at the beginning of class regarding the previous lesson:


Hope you find this to be a useful tool!

Managing the “To Do” List

I always seem to be looking for new, better, easier-to-use organization tools beacuse let’s face it, teachers have a lot of planning to do and projects to manage. On a typical day, I have 45 students (which I know is incredibly low by secondary standards), seniors to mentor for their final exhibition, tasks for the math department, tasks for my associate dean or administration, parents to communicate with, 18 advisory students to track and advise, papers to grade, websites to update, and the list goes on. And this doesn’t even include my personal life (yes, I manage to have one).

My newest tool to help me organize all of this chaos is Todoist. One reason I like it is that it is accessible; Todoist is available for almost any platform and is accessible from all my devices. I have the plug-in in Outlook at work which lets me set reminders straight from email, the Chrome app as my startup page on my work laptop, and the android app on my personal cell, all synced. Another reason I like it is because it is easy, no huge learning curve and very intuitive. Third, it is free; there is a paid version which I have not tried, but I am quite happy with the free version so far.

If you are looking for an organization tool, give Todoist a try and let me know what you think.






Cell phones in the classroom?

In an age where teachers and students alike seem to be increasingly annoyed by the fight over cell phones in the classroom, is there a way to harness this technology and integrate it into the classroom appropriately? In an age where school budgets are declining, school technology is aging, and many students come to school with the latest and greatest right in their own pockets, it seems foolish to not look at ways in which cell phones can be used to help both students and teachers alike.

Please share the ways in which you use this technology in your own classroom. 🙂


Qipit is a free online tool that allows you to copy documents, whiteboards and handwritten notes with your camera phone or digital camera to store, fax, email or publish. Just take a picture of a document with your camera phone and send the picture from your phone or via email to copy@qipit.com. You’ll receive a link to the online PDF copy of your document, all for free. I have other ways to share my whiteboard slides and notes, but this would be a great tool for students.

I found out about Qipit from the article 10 Useful Web Applications You Don’t Know About

Tech gifts for the holidays

Rick Broida at Cnet gives a list of dirt-cheap tech gifts for the holidays: