Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflections on 2016, Part II: Running

People kept telling me that I ran a lot this year. Like a lot a lot. Upon reflecting, it is probably an accurate statement. I completed 16 different events this year: Rocks and Roots 10k, Brokeman’s Winter Warm up half marathon, Rocks and Roots 20k, Possum 30k, The ORRRC Xenia ½ marathon, Glass City Toledo Marathon, ORRRC Tie Dye 32 miler, Columbus Zoo 5k, Brokemans Wild Things 4 miler, Not Your Momma’s 50 km, Running with Scissors double marathon, Hot Chocolate 15km, New Albany 4 miler, Run Santa Run 5k, Big Foot 10 miler, and the Yeti Run.

They were all my favorite. Especially Yeti. 

Looking at that list I’m pretty much in awe - It was about 3 years ago that I ran my second half marathon and swore I would never run that distance again. It was just over a year ago I finished my first marathon. I found a picture of my 2014 bibs (EDIT: it was actually my bibs from 2013 AND 2014) on facebook and in the comments section I was ecstatic that it had four 5k bibs, a 10k bib and 2 half marathon bibs. Now I have run a marathon distance or more six different times (four of those times in 2016.)

Not Yo Momma's 50k - the most difficult 50k I've run to date.

Oddly enough I became friends with Erika in 2014. Pure coincidence I’m sure. Sidenote, Erika is running the Pistol Ultra 100 miler on New Years eve/day - so proud of her! You can read about her adventure here.

Still, the year was not ‘perfect.’ I had two did not finish results (DNF) this year: The first was at the January Rocks and Roots which was supposed to be a 20k but due to the fact I could not feel my feet (literally) after the first 10k, I chose to stop. The second was the Scissors double marathon where I “only” ran moved forward 41.1 (66km) of the 52.4 miles. You can read more about that here. 

I still gave myself a present.

However, I also fell in love with pacing this year, leading the 11 minute pace group during the Columbus Hot Chocolate 15k. It was great helping people achieve their goals since so many people had helped me achieve mine over the past year. Case in point, I ended the year with my fastest 5k ever thanks to my great friends Becky and Erika. It would have been an even faster time if I could have kept up with them past mile 2.5.

All in all I have logged over 1360 miles (about 2200 km) of running this year. For some perspective, that is about the distance from Cleveland to Denver. Looking forward, I have a number of activities and events in 2017. So far I have at least three half marathons, one full marathon, and two 50 kilometer runs on my calendar by the first week of June. Yes I said at least.

Here we go again.

A big thank you to all of my friends and family that supported me with encouragement, candy, a sarcastic comment, or all of the above. My wife and two daughters are just brilliant.  They push me, encourage me, cheer me on, and fully support me in all of this.  I truly would not be able to do this without them.

I love all of my running buddies and I'm proud of every mile we logged together! I will need all of your support, encouragement, and more in the coming weeks!

I’m looking to share many more miles and stories with all of you in 2017!

Happy Running :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Reflections on 2016, Part I: Teaching

Sorry I have been gone - about a month ago I decided to take a break from blogging. There were so many things coming up - our school was moving, holidays were coming up, and then when I was going to get back into it we had a death in my family. Blogging became the item that fell off my plate as I just didn’t feel up to the task.

Since then I’ve done quite a bit of reflecting. I have a two-part blog coming up: one for teaching and one on my running. Today we focus on the teaching!

I had two goals for the first half of my 2016-17 school year: Integrate cross-curricular lessons into as many of my own lessons as I could and gamify my seventh grade math classroom.

I’m really happy how well I’ve done with that first goal. Working with my co-teacher I have managed to put both language arts and social studies into my science lessons. During math we have talked about how math has evolved through time, how Romans used math, and how Rome fell because they didn’t have the number zero in their system. More directly, I tied my rates and ratios unit to maps for scaling and we were able to integrate lots of the social studies standards into the math curriculum.

Riots erupt when plebeians use exact change and see a balance due.

I also got to focus on argumentative writing in math to help language arts. Shelby introduced me to Which One Doesn't Belong at AMLE 2016. This became a focus in my class as it hit MANY of the Standards of Mathematical Practices. Students had to choose an item and write to defend why their answer was correct. From there they had to write counter-arguments as well.

Of course we also went to the math art gallery!

My second goal took on a life of its own. Students fell in love with the gamification process. They were in guilds which competed to help save Mathemagicland. Classes had individual and group awards, followed the leader board, and were rewarded with spells and items which gave advantages to their group. What I really loved is that some students found pretty wicked combinations with the game cards - ones that I didn’t see until they put them into play!

You never know if you are light or dark side until you play a game.

My gamification took a break the same time my blogging did, but the students are excited to return to Mathemagicland in January.

I had a number of other highlights throughout the first half of the school year, but my biggest was going to and presenting at the AMLE 2016 National conference in Austin, Texas. While there I met so many amazing educators. These people are not only passionate about education, but also about middle grades. It was wonderful putting a face and having a meal with people I have interacted with over twitter for the past year or more. I got to watch these people present their knowledge, and many of the ideas I saw I am using in my classrooms now! I’m proud to say that a number of them came to see me present as well (despite the fact I was in the same time slot as educational gurus such as Dru Tomlin, Dave Burgess, and Rick Wormeli.)

Apparently Rick was nervous about me. 

I’m excited to get back to school in January. For those that don’t know, we’re moving into a new building (as in newly built) in January. We have taken a few tours of the building, but have yet to see the space with amenities such as furniture, paint, or in some cases, walls.

I also promise to be back blogging and sharing some of my great and not-so-great ideas in 2017. I hope everyone is having a relaxing and recharging holiday break. Look for my running recap blog on Thursday!