Things I Learned - Summer 2017


As I begin the final days of summer vacation, I find myself in a reflective mood. I think it started as we made our way home from our week-long family vacation in Rhode Island. The picture you see above is a photo of Blue Shutters Beach in Charlestown, RI. While my family read, I was content to sit and watch the ocean and think about the summer-behind and the school-year ahead. The long car ride home was also a good time to look back and look ahead.

So here is a list of random thoughts from the Summer of 2017:


  • I'm glad that I spent a lot of time playing with GeoGebra, especially the 3-D calculator. With the help of some #MTBoS friends, I was able to construct some pretty cool files.
  • The whole #MTBoS vs. #iteachmath debate was interesting. I do a lot more with math than teach it, so I'm sticking with #MTBoS.
  • College visits with my son were really fun. It so exciting to imagine where he will end up one year from now.
  • As I drove with my son to a concert in the Finger Lakes, it dawned on me that the next 12 months will likely be the last year that he spends the majority of his time in our home. One more year and off to college and beyond...
  • I am jealous of my daughter's musical talents. She is a wicked good viola player and she is also becoming a pretty decent ukulele player too.
  • Collecting vinyl records has become my latest hobby, to the point where I think I have an addiction. The music, the artwork & the sound quality is so much greater than what you can get on a digital download.
  • I am thankful that I work in a profession where I get an opportunity to reset. I can't think of any other profession that has that same perk, except for professional athletes. Now if only we had a similar pay scale.
  • I drank more coffee this summer than I usually do. But it was a nice way to start the day with a cup of joe on the couch watching the Today show.
  • My morning commute is less than 4 minutes one-way. I love it. That being said, I am sick of driving everywhere (college visits, to the stores, vacation, etc).
  • I find myself always looking for real-world geometry in housewares, architecture, and art work. It became something of a game for me during our getaways this summer. 
  • Building a deck was a lot of difficult work. I am pleased with the job and it was great to be more blue-collar than I am during the school year.
  • At the risk of sounding insensitive, I love living in the natural-disaster-free northeast. I'll gladly take the cold and the occasional snowstorm over the many weather events that plague other parts of the country.
  • Watching the Philadelphia Orchestra under the stars with my family on the lawn at SPAC is one of my favorite activities of the summer.
  • Twitter has become a great resource for me - sharing my work, finding new instructional tools to try, and so much more. It has helped to make me an empowered teacher.
  • I had the chance to watch my wife perform story time for her kids at the town library. She is amazing! I also realized that I miss reading to little kids.
  • Straws are a cheap and (dare I say) fun tool for building interesting and attractive geometric designs. 
  • Bill Withers is an under-rated singer and The Who's "Quadrophenia" is an under-rated album. Both have become favorites of mine.
  • Taking a "Twitter-vacation" for a week while I was in Rhode Island was difficult at first, but refreshing in the end. It was healthy to disconnect.
  • I wish administrators were more inspiring. It's sad that they seem to get bogged down by minutia. I guess the same can be said for many of my colleagues.
  • Stalking Infinite Campus (our school's student information system) does not make the rosters appear any quickly.
  • Tanglewood has become a place that I want to explore some more next summer. The same can be said for the Berkshires in general.
  • I only have to go back-to-school shopping three more times. Not sure if this makes me happy of sad.
  • Did I do too much math this summer? Did I recharge enough?
Well, time to get prepped for the start of school.

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