Viewing entries in

Are You Ready to Use Twitter for Personalized PD?


Are You Ready to Use Twitter for Personalized PD?

Are You Ready to Use Twitter for Personalized PD?

Summer is the time when educators reflect and recharge.

For most, the pace slows and allows time for thinking and planning, looking forward to the next school year.  Many teachers engage in different types of personalized professional development, but the best (and most accessible) personalized PD is actually as close as your phone or your laptop - it’s Twitter!

Here’s an easy way to begin or continue your own Twitter journey by building a network and finding new ideas and inspiration. It’s time to get started!

1.) Open a Twitter Account

It’s easy to do and will take only a few minutes to get started. Choose a screen name, write an engaging bio, and add a picture (no one will interact with you if your picture is an egghead), and you'll be ready to go. For a step-by-step guide to setting up your first Twitter account: click here.

2.) Start Searching Hashtags

A few favorites are #tlap (Teach Like a Pirate), #MTBoS (Math Twitter BlogoSphere), #Edtechteam, and #GAFESummit. These Tweeters share common interests and use a common hashtag to connect and broadcast their ideas.  Explore a few and see what you can learn.  As you look through the hashtag, follow people who are tweeting about topics that interest you. For a comprehensive guide to the most popular education hashtags: click here.

3.) Connect with Influencers

Have you read any inspiring education books lately?  Since the author is most likely using Twitter, you can search for the author’s name or the book title.  Look up the Twitter accounts for organizations that interest you such as NCTM or ASCD.  Follow them and then look to see who they are following or who is following them.  You can build a network that way too as you read content from these professionals.

4.) Participate in Chats

Many live chats occur during the course of a week or month as people who share interests gather in real time to discuss topics. They typically use a hashtag and respond to prepared questions. Twitter chats are fabulous places to interact and meet new friends and build your personal learning network (PLN). For a complete schedule of all education-related Twitter chats: click here.

5.) Attend Education Conferences from Home

Looking to attend an education conference without traveling? Conference-specific hashtags allow you to attend virtually!  During a conference, follow the hashtag (for example #ISTE17 or #NCTM17) and see what the attendees are tweeting.  Many times there are links to presentations that you can access in real time, allowing you can to interact with attendees and presenters as if you are there.  

6.) Build Your PLN

Twitter is the place where you will find your tribe, your inspiration, and your new ideas. Having the power to choose the people and sites you’d like to learn from, you can find like-minded friends and new resources for personalized professional development.  After a few weeks, you will wonder why you haven’t tried this earlier!

Jump in!  Get started.  PD on Twitter is available 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week. You decide how you will you use it and what you can learn.  You won’t be sorry!

By Mary Kienstra

Mary’s goal is to take the curriculum and shake it up, creating lessons that will engage and excite her students. She takes an unconventional approach to teaching, always encouraging student enthusiasm and excitement.  She believes that learning is best when it’s part of an experience, not a worksheet.  Mary’s career includes teaching math and reading to elementary age students, coaching, and blogging at  



If Teachers Were "Game of Thrones" Characters, Who Would You Be?


If Teachers Were "Game of Thrones" Characters, Who Would You Be?

Every profession has its stereotypes and teaching is no exception.

If you’ve been in education long enough, then you’ve surely seen several types of teachers over the years. Some are energized and inspiring, while others are calm and respected, and a few are simply out of touch and need to retire.

With a new season Game of Thrones just around the corner, let’s wonder how the most common types of teachers would resemble some of the show’s most iconic characters.

Check out the list below to see which character you and your colleagues relate to the most and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Hopefully, you’re not Joffrey.

1.) The Sweetie Pie

You can find this teacher in the elementary classroom. When she calls her students "her kids," she really means it, because she feels personally responsible for every one of them. While she may not be the best at school politics or serving as a disciplinarian, she's a true difference maker.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Margaery Tyrell

2.) The Rebel

This teacher plays by her own rules. While she marches to the beat of her own drum, she is dedicated to her craft and works hard for her kids. To this teacher, rules are simply guidelines that can be broken when they don't make sense. You can often find her speaking her mind at a staff meeting and encouraging her kids to stand up for what they believe in.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Arya Stark

3.) Loves to Talk

This teacher is extremely knowledgeable, witty, and always has a lot to say. He teaches through storytelling and knows how to capture his students' attention and ignite their curiosity. His students often take advantage of his eagerness to talk by asking him personal questions, knowing that he will spend long periods of class time answering them. 

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Tyrion Lannister

4.) Commands Respect

This teacher has gravitas but isn't flashy or attention-seeking. His natural demeanor draws respect from teachers, parents, and students alike. Inside the classroom, he is passionate, stern, and fair; outside of it, he is quiet, calm, and humble. He rarely has to raise his voice or get angry and students almost always behave well in his class.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Eddard Stark

5.) Love to Hate

This teacher is a tough grader, a blunt communicator, and has no tolerance for nonsense or excuses. She takes a tough love approach to working with students and will rarely accept a late assignment or extend a deadline. Despite her icy demeanor, she truly cares for the well-being of her students and sees no value in enabling them to be irresponsible. Many of her students see her as being overly uptight but learn to appreciate her toughness over time.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Cersei Lannister


Looking for some more fun math challenges to share with your kids?

6.) Seriously Serious

This teacher believes that classroom management is the key establishing an effective learning environment. Everyone in the school knows that he is not to be messed with. He is naturally intimidating and comes across more like a drill sergeant than a classroom teacher. He has zero tolerance for disobedience or misbehavior and uses the phrase "because I said so" often. While usually too uptight for his own good, this teacher earns the respect of many students, but there are always a few who would gladly egg his house on Halloween.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Stannis Baratheon

7.) Strong Silent

This teacher is usually calm and reserved, but unafraid to lay down the law every once in a while. She is not a pushover and her students respect her for being fair and consistent. While she is knowledgeable and a skilled teacher, she is not egotistical and maintains a student-centered classroom. Despite her strong classroom management skills, she is understanding and believes that it is always better to work with parents and students rather than against them.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Brienne of Tarth

8.) The Future Administrator 

This teacher is more like a politician and seems to be friends with everybody and nobody at the same time. His true ambition is to become an administrator, mostly for increasing his status and income. While he is generally likable, his colleagues find him to be disingenuous and do not not view him as a potential leader.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Petyr Baelish

9.) Can't Stop, Won't Stop

This teacher always has something to prove and works hard to be the best at everything he does. He is usually one of the first teachers to get to school in the morning and is often one of the last the leave. His students perform extremely well on exams and his class always wins the school fundraisers and competitions. While his lessons are always well-planned and effective, he is rarely satisfied and constantly looking for ways to improve, because being an educator isn't just his job, it's his passion.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Jon Snow


Looking for fun ways to get your kids WRITING about math?

10.) Cooler Than the Other Side of the Pillow

This teacher is super laid back and always quick with a joke. He's easy to talk to and doesn’t take himself too seriously. While his demeanor is easy-going, his instruction is effective, engaging, and fun. By carefully picking his battles and prioritizing learning outcomes over formal grades, this teacher is beloved by many students (although a small percentage of them dislike his lax attitude and prefer a more structured learning environment).

If this sounds like you, then you are...


11.) The Motivator

This teacher is a leader who inspires with her words and actions alike. She leads by example, puts what's best for her school before what's best for herself, and stands up for what she believes in. Students feel comfortable asking this teacher for advice, even ones who are not enrolled in her classes. While she would make a great administrator, she knows that her place will always be in the classroom, where she can focus on helping her kids reach their highest potential.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Daenerys Targaryen

12.) The Softy

This teacher is a nice person but lacks the management skills to be an effective teacher. While he truly cares about his students, his fear of confrontation makes him a pushover and students are constantly taking advantage of him. He is an enabler who struggles to gain kids' respect. You can often find him pleading with his students for their attention and cooperation.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Samwell Tarly

13.) The One Who Doesn't Like Kids

This teacher doesn't seem to like children and it's hard to say why he chose teaching as a profession in the first place. As a constant complainer and spreader of negativity, he is the reason why you avoid spending too much time in the teacher's lounge. His bitterness and bad attitude leads him to have very low expectations for students and parents will go out of their way to keep their kids from being enrolled in his classes.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Joffrey Baratheon

14.) Please Don't Retire!

This teacher is an absolute treasure. She has been teaching students for decades and is a true master of her craft. While there is nothing she hasn't seen before, she still finds tremendous joy in the everyday aspects of being an educator. Students and teachers alike value her wisdom and appreciate her bluntness and raw honesty. Fellow teachers aspire to make a fraction of the impact on the lives of their students that she has made on hers.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Olenna Tyrell

15.) Please (oh please) Retire!

This teacher is counting the days until his retirement and has been phoning it in for years. He is a poor educator and makes no effort to change with the times. He often complains that modern day students are lazy and disrespectful. You can find him planted behind his desk or making copies of worksheets that he has been reusing since the 1980s.

If this sounds like you, then you are...

Grand Maester Pycelle

What "Game of Thrones" character do you most resemble? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.



31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer


31 Essential Items That Should Be in Every Teacher’s Desk Drawer


Are you ready to make life easier for your future self?

A teacher's desk is a like a mini-home-away-from-home and keeping it supplied with the right stuff will ensure that you are prepared for anything that comes your way this school year. 

In this post I’ll share 31 essential items that your should always have in your classroom.

So, which ones are you missing?

First and foremost, keep these simple rules in mind:

• Classroom items have a habit of disappearing so avoid keeping anything too valuable in your desk.
• When it comes to food, be mindful of storing perishable items or things that will attract insects and critters.
• Be considerate when sharing your desk with someone else.
• Keep your desk locked if you can.

1.) Basic Supplies

This may be a no-brainer, but it's always important to keep your desk stocked with basic teacher supplies including colored markers, staples, and post-its.

2.) Plastic Utensils

Because sometimes you need to eat your lunch in peace, without making that etxra trip to the teacher's lounge.

3.) Water Bottles

Teachers are notoriously dehydrated individuals. Keeping water in your classroom will help you stay hydrated and healthy!

4.) Cough Drops

For those days when your throat is not up to the task of speaking.

5.) Tylenol

It's hard to think of many things that are worse than dealing with a classroom full of students while you have a headache.

6.) Gum and/or Mints

Millions of teachers suffer from undiagnosed coffee breath. Don't let it happen to you.

7.) Disinfectant Wipes

For all the snot, spit, and spills that cover the surfaces in your classroom.

8.) Sunscreen

You never know when you'll have to spend time outdoors before, during, or after school.

9.) Phone Charger

An extra phone charger is an absolute essential.

Do your kids love fun math puzzles (like these)? Get over 100 super fun, printable math puzzles and activities for Grades 3-8 with our best-selling PDF workbook:


10.) Duct Tape

You can fix almost anything using duct tape. It will come in handy more than you think!

11.) Hand Sanitizer

Always keep a small bottle just for yourself.

12.) Tissues

Kids are excellent at using up all of the tissues. Be sure to have a secret stash.

13.) Paper Towel

Because you're over-due for a coffee spill.

14.) Deodorant and Other Personal Hygiene Products

We all have our awkward moments; being prepared helps you get through them.

15.) Hand Lotion

Because chalk, markers, and glue are your hands' worst enemy.

16.) Vitamin C Supplements

Keep your immune system strong, especially when everyone around you is getting sick.

17.) Extension Cord

For those days when the technology isn't agreeing with you and improvising is required.

18.) Headphones

Have you ever tried listening to music or a podcast during your planning period?

Looking for fun ways to get your kids WRITING about math?


19.) Healthy Snacks

For those days when there's no time to sit down and eat.

20.) A Deck of Playing Cards

They're dirt cheap and have a variety of uses. Why not?

21.) Change of Clothes

It's always a good idea to keep a spare outfit for coffee spills, the gym, or after-school events.

22.) Tote Bags

For teachers who are always carrying stuff in and out of their classroom.

23.) A Good Book or Two


You never know when you'll have some down time to catch up on your reading.

24.) Umbrella

Why get soaked running to your car when you don't have to?

25.) Air Freshener

Because they're serving Sloppy Joe's for lunch in the school cafeteria today.

26.) Portable USB Stick

These are awesome for transporting and backing up large and/or important files.

27.) Money

Keep a few small bills in your desk for fundraisers and vending machines.

28.) Band-Aids

Seriously, there may be no greater essential than band-aids!

29.) Blank Birthday Cards


Because you will forget grandma's birthday again this year!

30.) Stamps

Because if you send grandma's card during your lunch break, it will make it to her on time!

31.) Takeout Menus and Coupons

For those extra long days when you need to pick something up on your way home from school.

What essential items do you always keep in your desk? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

(Never miss a Mashup Math blog--click here to get our weekly newsletter!)

By Anthony Persico

Anthony is the content crafter and head educator for YouTube's MashUp Math and an advisor to Amazon Education's 'With Math I Can' Campaign. You can often find me happily developing animated math lessons to share on my YouTube channel . Or spending way too much time at the gym or playing on my phone.