Next Level with MathReps

Recently I was in a 3rd-grade classroom doing a geometry MathRep. As I was walking around I noticed that one student wasn’t just writing the answer using just numbers, he was also putting it in word form. Needless to say, I thought this was great! Which then led to a discussion on different ways we could represent the answer. We talked about using tally marks, equations, and shapes.

I then went into another class and did the same lesson. Well, another student leveled it up yet again! I was having students state their answers out loud in complete sentences. As the students were being creative in reporting their answers on their paper, one girl wrote out the complete sentence! Yes! What a win. We celebrated her and her work.

Currently, I am a Tech TOSA (Teacher on Special Assignment) in my district. I love my job for so many reasons. One of which is the ability to go into classrooms and become inspired by the teachers I work with and their students.

If you are interested in this MathRep or others that are available, please head over to to view them all. The best part, they are all FREE! We have kinder through high school.

MathReps Love at CUE

March 16-18 was Spring CUE, a California educator conference. There were many great sessions to choose from. In addition to all the great sessions, I was able to reconnect with friends. The night before the conference a few friends and I were able to have a fantastic dinner at our traditional ‘night before the conference starts’ restaurant. And it did NOT disappoint.

EduProtocols Math Edition available on Amazon

When I say that there was lots of love for MathReps, I’m not kidding. It felt like it was everywhere. I was not the only person presenting on it. It was in sessions, in the exhibit hall with the vendors, and people talking about them. It was everywhere! The vendor one was cool. As a friend and I were checking out the different booths, she stops me, points to an interactive whiteboard, and says, “Hey, that’s your stuff.” She was right. It was a 3rd-grade MathRep. I chatted with the vendor for a bit. I introduced myself to the person who displayed it. He commented on how he enjoys showing it on the boards because it’s so user-friendly

I was able to present MathReps and Comic Strip Math on the last day. There was lots of interest and lots of great questions. Several attendees wanted to know where they could purchase the book. Fortunately, on the book image, I had a link to Amazon.

So, all in all, it was a GOOD conference!

I’m Back!

Photo by Maksim Goncharenok on

Well, it’s been a hot 🔥 minute since I’ve written anything on here. I’m not exactly sure where to begin so I think I’ll just jump right in with what’s new. But before that let me reintroduce myself. I’m a lot of things but primarily a teacher, author (The EduProtocols Field Guide Math Edition), and creator of MathReps. More recently, I have started embroidery, bread making, and homemade vanilla extract.

In no particular order:

  • The MathReps Facebook Group continues to grow
  • I’ve been doing a lot of work creating new MathReps for various grades
  • EduProtocols Plus has launched and has included me in the fun!
  • Jeremiah Ruesch and I have launched our EP+ Math Show
  • I’ve been terrible about posting my resources after presenting. I will be better at that. I’ve already updated my presentation page to include Spring CUE. Go me!
  • I’ve created a course for EduProtocols Plus on implementing MathReps

I intended this one to be a quick reintroduction/catch-up post. I will write more soon about some of the amazing things that I experienced at Spring CUE 23! Quizizz was amazing and loving the new updates – that’ll be one post on its own. There was LOTS of LOVE ❤️ for MathReps during the conference. It felt like it was mentioned or highlighted everywhere from sessions to hallway discussions to the vendor hall.

I would like to thank Kyle Anderson for inspiring me to blog again. He too took a hiatus, although a shorter one than myself, and is now back at it!


If you’re not familiar with #BookSnaps, go to Tara M Martin’s site. In short, students connect with a reading with thoughts, graphics, and images. This year, our district has been virtual (we will be going back the week of April 12, 2021) and this has given us the opportunity to explore different ways of delivering instruction.

NOTE: It has been so nice getting away from curriculum and helping teachers find what works for them and their students. Hello EduProtocols, MathReps, BookSnaps. I hope this trend of giving teachers autonomy continues.

Well, as a TOSA I am often invited into classes to help develop lessons and model some of the new pedagogy. Which I totally love! On Friday, I went to a 1st-grade class to do a #BookSnap. The kiddos did awesome! First, we read a book about ladybugs 🐞 . Then, using Nearpod the students annotated and connected with the reading. I chose a page to upload the image for them. I gave them a few prompts they could answer. And this was the result!

I want you to think about this. How often have we said or heard that 1st-graders can’t do (fill in the blank). They are too young. If anything, this past year proves that students of all ages can do whatever. We need to stop underestimating them. I’d also like to point out, that these students ARE NOT BEHIND. They have acquired different skills than they have in past years. In many ways they are AHEAD.

One of THOSE Teachers

I am one of THOSE teachers.

I will always fight for my students.

I will speak out when I feel something is wrong.

I will point out issues.

I. Will. Speak. Out.

I will fight for equity, fairness, and what is right. While I am labeled as ‘one of those teachers’ and it’s meant to discredit my words. It’s meant to silence me. It’s meant to send a message to others.

So, yes, I am one of THOSE teachers. I can only hope that the right people, those that CAN make a difference, ignore the label and do the right thing.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

NOTE: This is not about one thing in particular. I have been labeled this several times over the years and felt the need to express my frustration at this label which is meant to encourage others to ignore what I say.

2020: A Year in Review

I know most people feel that 2020 pretty much sucked. And to a certain extent, it did. However, for me it wasn’t so bad. Sure I missed my kiddos from March 13, 2020, on. Yes, I missed hanging out with friends and going to a music festival – it’s always around my birthday and a friend and I make a tradition of going. I absolutely missed going to see my family. It’s been over a year since I’ve been able to see my dad. I also missed going to conferences in person. And, I got fat! The sudden change in a routine did me no favors. Despite all this, I can say that 2020 wasn’t all that bad for me.

The Upside of 2020

Burying yourself in the sand is always fun!

The first few months were fine. Nothing extraordinary happened, personally. Sure there were concerns over the spread of Covid-19. Every time a student coughed another would shout out, “You’ve got Covid.” Clearly they didn’t understand the gravity of the situation – nor did we. As March progressed, things began to take a turn. March 13 was the last day I saw my class in its entirety. However, for me, it’s a bit more memorable than most. We had a field trip that day – to the beach. It may have been cold and overcast, but we still had fun. We were there learning about the environment with an organization (Save the Whales). Before we left, I got into a conversation with one of the volunteers. He was concerned about a shut down of schools. This was his only source of income and if schools shut down that would greatly impact his livelihood. I didn’t want to admit to him that I felt a shut down was inevitable. I felt for him. When we returned to school, I ran into another 5th-grade teacher. She asked if I had seen the email. I said, “No.” She proceeded to inform me that we would be out for a few weeks. Seeing as the following week was Spring Break it meant we would be out for approximately one week. Well, we all know how that turned out. As I had a bit of time before the end of the day, I was able to prepare my students. They had many questions for which I had no answers. Fast forward 10 months and we are still virtual. Our area has been hard hit.

Ah, my cheerleaders. Love these kiddos!

I know, that didn’t seem so positive. But think about it. The last day my students were together we were on a field trip. That’s pretty cool. Other positive things occurred this year. The EduProtocol Field Guide Book 3: Math Edition, of which I am a co-author, was completed and ready to release to the world in Spring 2021. When Covid lock down began, my dad insisted that we call each day. Before Covid, we spoke once every few weeks. We have a good relationship, just didn’t talk regularly. Then, my district saw the value in a new position (3 positions): Tech TOSA (aka Coach). TOSA stands for Teacher On Special Assignment. At any rate, this is a position I have been longing for over the past few years. It took a pandemic for my district to create this position. I have been able to work with so many teachers in our district. This is truly filling my bucket. I work from home. As an introvert, this has been awesome! My family stayed healthy, mostly, during 2020. Then my dad had to go and get pneumonia just before Christmas. That was anxiety on steroids for me (he has severe COPD). But, he went home! Then went back in on New Year’s – seriously, not doing anything for my anxiety. Good news is that he is doing well and slated to go back home soon.

None of this is not to detract from those who lost loved ones (350K deaths to date), those who lost jobs, homes, and/or other things. I realize I am one of the lucky ones and am thankful. I support local businesses as much as I can. When others talk about how crappy 2020 was, I stay quiet. Their experiences are valid and need to be heard.

So 2021

Well, here we are in the new year. I can only hope that things continue to trend in a positive direction. We now have 2 vaccines. While we still need to mask up and social distance, it is a step towards being together again. I look forward to going back home (Detroit), hopefully this summer, to see friends and family. I look forward to being in class with students – safely – and hopefully as a TOSA in the upcoming school year. I look forward to seeing all my EdTech friends at conferences IRL. I can’t wait to go to the annual music festival. As with the beginning of any new year, there is a lot of hope and optimism.

My Wish for You

May your 2021 be better and brighter than the past year. May all your hopes, desires, and dreams be fulfilled. May you be happy and healthy. Have a GREAT 2021!

TikTok Rabbit Hole

Initial Thoughts

Okay, so I’m super late to the TikTok party. Better late than never, as they say. In the beginning, my only experience with the app was through my 5th graders. During class parties, my students wanted to put on TikTok videos via YouTube to dance to. I let them and we had fun. Note: I only allowed ‘clean’ versions. They knew how to search for them so I let them. So that meant that I thought is was for dancing and learning new dances. While I love dancing, it wasn’t an interest I had so I ignored it and brushed it off. That, and I thought I was too old for the app. Yeah, that was a stupid thought.


Fast forward a year or two and I stumbled upon TikTok creators showing how they create optical illusion videos. Now this is something I am interested in. Not that I want to create them, but I appreciate the time it takes to create them and appreciate the creativity in general. My curious mind also likes knowing how it’s done. This phase began earlier this year in 2020. Let’s face it, we had a lot of time on our hands this year, at least I did. I didn’t always handle the pandemic and all its restrictions in the healthiest ways. This got me curious about all the other things that might be on the app.

Then, I watched as Holly Clark began to explore the app. I watched as she began to explore and share out some thoughts on other social media pages. As she is an educator that I greatly respect and know that she is an innovative educator, I was official starting to think about exploring this app even more. Dare I say, signing up.

The final ‘straw’ was a close friend and educator signed up. She began sharing her experiences. There were a variety of people on there and it was positive and welcoming. There were so many people (BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, BLM, and more) sharing their experiences, educating others, and having a voice that I hadn’t heard on other types of social media (admittedly, that is on me).

Taking the Plunge

Image by ElisaRiva from Pixabay

So a few days ago I took the plunge. I signed up. I am hooked! As I’ve stated, there were so many people sharing their experiences and helping others. I also have seen that there can be a great deal of racism and hatred on the app (some of those I follow report on it). So I don’t want anyone to think this app is all sunshine and roses; it’s not. However, I am choosing to follow those that are helpful, educational, and bring love and light to the world. As such, I have found myself following those that belong to the following communities: BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, Black, disabled, women, educators, and GenX to name a few.

Some things that I have noticed – based on who I follow. Remember, I am choosing to follow those who educate and bring positivity to the Internet. There are so many videos that have a closed caption feature. This is great for so many individuals, not just those with hearing impairment. So many people are sharing experiences and/or their culture. I’ve watched videos on how a woman with a non-verbal autistic 3-year-old son is helping to create a safe place for him and channeling his creativity into stickers. I watched an Indigenous man share how he handmade his headdress and bustle. I’ve listened to a non-binary trans person share simple ways I, and others, can be better allies. There is this beautiful Black woman who helps others understand how to care for curly, kinky hair (regardless of race). She even explained why young Black girls get beads in their braids. Clearly, I am learning a lot and enjoying my experience. I’ve also learned that as a white person, I can help elevate the voice of these wonderful individuals. I am trying to do my part.

Educational Potential

Of course I see educational possibilities in this. Many educators have talked about harnessing the power of this app in their classes. Many secondary teachers talk about allowing their students to show their learning of a subject matter via the TikTok app. Being an elementary teacher, this isn’t good practice as the app isn’t COPPA or FERPA compliant. Luckily, Matt Miller has created a safe mock version of TikTok using Google Slides. I used this with my 5th graders and they were very open to the experience.

Lots of educators are on the app sharing tips, tricks, extensions, and other useful resources. Thank you to all of you! But this got me thinking. What else can we use this app for? How can we harness this for classroom use aside from having students create videos? I will admit as a noob, these ideas might not be ‘new’ to those who have been on the app. But nonetheless these are my thoughts.

As I’ve stated, there are many people sharing their experiences and cultural history. These are things that I didn’t learn in the textbooks. Why not use the videos as sources to learn from? Hear me out (and I’ll explain how to share the videos with elementary/middle school students without using the app in class). I watched several videos on Indigenous people and their heritage and experiences. In 5th-grade students learn the four Indigenous regions across the United States (let’s ignore for the moment that within each ‘region’ the tribes that existed were unique and held their own traditions, customs, and language). What if…A teacher collected information from Indigenous people sharing this information? Yes, this can also be found on YouTube. However, part of the genius behind TikTok is that each video is one minute or less. Short, quick, to the point bits of information that students can easily digest. Another advantage of this app is that it’s visual. It’s engaging and because the videos are short students are less likely to ‘zone out’.

So how can one collect videos and share them without having students use the app. As I’ve stated, I’m super new to this so there might be an easier way. There is a feature to copy the link of any TikTok. There is also a feature to copy the embed code, but this will not work with Google Sites. Sites needs the HTML code and the code you will copy from TikTok is iframe. So, personally, I would copy the link and create a list somewhere. It can be on a Google Sheet, Doc, Slide, Wakelet, or your choice. I would NOT share this resource with students. Reason being, once the link is clicked not only does the actual video you want them to see appear, so do others that may/may not relate to the topic appear if they begin to scroll. Therefore, the viewing would be as a whole. Which has its advantage: class discussions. Is it a perfect system? No, so if you have a better idea please share out.

Edited to add: Contacting the creator to get their permission might not be a bad idea. From what I’ve seen, I would guess that most creators would be willing to allow permission and possibly even help you out.

Final Thoughts

Just like any social media app, it is what you make of it. If you want feel good material, follow those creators. I am. While I don’t have any content posted, I am gathering my courage to give it a go. There is so much to the app and there are so many on it that are willing to help and answer questions. If you were like me and thought that it was for young people and dancing, think again. While it is that, it is also so much more!

MathReps on Jamboard

It’s no secret my new love is Jamboard. I began exploring it a little over a year ago. I liked some of the features: ease of writing, collaboration, and simplicity. I did NOT love some of the features: no revision history, inability to lock background, and some other annoyances. Yet, it became one of my favorite Google Tools.

Within the last four months, Google has been quietly updating Jamboard. First came the text and shapes features. Then came the ability for creators to lock a background. Recently, I discovered that a keyboard shortcut allows you to view the revision history. PC – Alt Ctrl Shift H; Mac – ALT Command Shift H

With all these updates, teachers are using Jamboard more and more. Last week I was able to work in a 1st-grade classroom and introduce Jamboard and MathReps to the students and teacher. We used a MathReps that the students could feel success. This way, if the tool was too much for them, they could at least follow along. Well, the tool was NOT too much for them. It does help that our students have touchscreen Chromebooks to use during distance learning (and yes, when we eventually resume in class instruction). The students had fun, the teacher learned about a few new tools, and everyone left feeling successful. Some students started pressing buttons (this is a good thing) and discovered the shapes tool!

Check out their work:

More Fun!

I really am loving my job this year. I am fully aware at how blessed I am to be a Tech TOSA in my district. I have been working with a few teachers regularly this year and it is amazing. This is the first time our district has had coaches or TOSAs since the early 2000’s. Honestly, we are all figuring out this new role together. Myself and the other TOSAs: how to best help and support teachers. Teachers: How to best use us and what questions to ask. Personally, I think the teachers are doing an amazing job in their classrooms.

One teacher came to me before Thanksgiving Break and wanted to know the best way to create a class picture using Bitmoji or something similar. This is when I directed her to Pixton. Pixton is a comic based creation website where students can create, show learning, and share their comics (be sure to sign up for the educator account). Then, over the break she played around with it to create her avatar and begin her classroom pic.

The real fun started when I was in her room earlier this week and I tried to lead her class of 1st-graders through their creations. Let’s just say, they barely heard a word I said and went for it! The results were awesome! The kiddos had a great time – as evidenced by their total engagement.

The teacher was talking to a colleague about Pixton and how much fun the kids had. I got a DM from the second teacher. This teacher also taught 1st-grade. Same thing happened in that teacher’s classroom. The kids were so engaged that they didn’t hear a word I had to say.

Class Picture

While exploring we found some fun features. The students can have various backgrounds for their class picture including space, dinosaurs, and a Christmas theme. While the free version is limited with backgrounds and character choices, the students can use each other’s avatars in their comics. This is great for story telling, beginning – middle – end, explaining math or science. There are several possibilities with this.

Christmas Class picture
Create comics with your classmates and teacher.

Google Draw + Primary Learners + Distance Learning = Success

I love that I am lucky enough to work with teachers who go along with my crazy ideas. Last week, I had the idea that primary learners could learn to create a turkey using Google Draw in a virtual environment. And let me be very clear on this. These were 1st and 2nd graders many of whom do not have an adult sitting with them. Many are doing this on their own.

In this virtual environment, the students were assigned a blank Google Draw via Google Classroom. In two sessions we created turkeys. Many of the teachers were learning right along with the kids. I am thankful to work with a group of educators who have a growth mindset and celebrate the fact that they are learning with the kids (and openly share their learning with their students). I am also thankful that they never limit what their students can/cannot do in the creative world.

Honestly, this lesson went much better than I anticipated. I knew it would be a challenge and the students rose to the occasion sion. Sure, there were a few who couldn’t access the tool so they got to draw the turkey on paper and share with the class. The students learned to create a shape, copy it, paste it, move it, rotate it, color it, and in some cases insert a photo, background, use the draw tool, and explore different shapes to create their turkeys. I was so tickled, I decided to share our success. Enjoy! Thank you, teachers for allowing me to join you and giving permission to share!