Wednesday, 30 October 2019

PD Social: O34ME

The Carleton-Ottawa Mathematics Association (COMA) has a social event every year in September. I have previously blogged about 2014 (Marian Small and "Our relationships with parents and the public"), about 2015 (Kyle Pearce and "Making Math Contextual, Visual and Concrete"), about 2016 (Chris Suurtam and "What makes math education in Ontario great?"), and about 2018 (Marian Small with "Building Thinkers"). In 2017 I was trying to deal with CS.

I won't be blogging about COMA socials any more, namely because the chapter is rebranding to the "Ottawa Zone For Mathematics Educators" (O34ME, where O3 is the O-Zone). This first social, on September 26th, 2019, had Marian Small speak briefly. First about OAME2019 (my conference recap is here), and then about our political climate.


Welcome to a new venue as well!

Here's the social recap, where any errors in transcription are mine.


OAME Conference


Marian mentioned this was a departure from her usual talks, less about math, more business and politics. The business was her having chaired the OAME Conference in Ottawa. "The best news is so much positive feedback. From around the province."

Having decided as a group not to have a keynote (as there's not one good person for everyone), Marian thinks it was a good decision, and positive things were heard about the Featured Speakers. Saturday was a Desmos day, Eli Luberoff came and not only spoke, but brought others. Many attended on Saturday. No evening sessions (figured people wanted to be with their friends) and mostly good response to that. Had an awards ceremony rather than a banquet. Cathy Hall (a winner) was given a shoutout (in attendance).


I helped with registration
It was a partnership with University of Ottawa, they did sponsor us; costs were slightly lower and things which do that is good. We offered back to them, that we agreed to promote French more than would be normal for OAME. Thus the French featured speaker, and French sessions. Not as many signups as had hoped for, but Marian says it was the right move to make. The lunch lines went smoothly and there were great committee chairs and volunteers.

There's always complaints, but there weren't as many as normal. The best news of all is we made money, and our chapter gets half of it. "So whatever we're called now, we have more money." (Sidebar: And we're not for profit, so it goes back to members one way or another.)

Being in the political climate we are where, and some people weren't allowed to come, we did well. "I think we were happy." And with that, Marian addressed the political side of things.

For those not in Ontario, Doug Ford became the Conservative premier in 2018 (and I blogged about that insane process here).


The Politics



Marian said something along the lines of "I believe that it would be a bad world if everyone thought the same thoughts". We should have many opinions... but it would be nice if they were informed and enlightened opinions.

We as educators have a responsibility to stay clear and focused as well as polite and enlightened. We [Ontario] are a little better off than Alberta. Not a lot, but their education advisory board has no educators on it.

We have to try stuff. Marian had a CBC interview lately, remarking how we have many who talk, but who don't pay attention to the facts. Our government says math will "go back to basics" when their own EQAO report said the basics weren't the problem, it's problem solving that's the problem.

If you say this, they'll either ignore you or not ignore you, but that's all you can actually do.

The basics of Marian's OAME 2019 presentation was having a focus on understanding and thinking, not knowledge. If you have kids who don't understand, they'll forget after 3 weeks, and you have to teach it again. Whereas if they understand, then they retain it.

Problem solving is a basic kind of thing. We no longer live in an assembly line world, employers actually say they want people who can figure stuff out. So we have to teach that stuff. We're not doing it because we're into "discovery math" (which isn't even a thing), but rather, we're doing it because the world needs people who can think.

Regarding standardized testing, EQAO data can't be ignored, it's real, but you have the right -- in a polite and focused way -- to ask if they're measuring the right stuff. It measures grade level stuff that's appropriate in the curriculum. Is this the stuff that matters? That's a different question.


During EQAO, teachers can't translate the questions into regular English. "I understand why, but if [as a student] you can't ask, then we're not testing math any more. We're testing something else." And if there's a societal focus on collaboration, why do you sit by yourself to test when no one ever does that. In Quebec, part of their testing is collaborative, they talk and then go back and finish by themselves. Which is how the real world works.

We have the right and responsibility to do that. And EQAO results aren't from "discovery learning" (which isn't really happening), the issue here is they aren't talking about how the culture has changed. It matters a lot.

Marian starts wrapping things up with the comment "I have zero patience in the culture in which we live." If she was in one line, when another one was moving, she'd move. When she was growing up, if you were bored, you just sucked it up, and now parents support children in doing something.

There are very few teachers who can go out there and take all this on by themselves. It's emotionally draining. "I've done it, so I can tell you that." But if we do it together, Marian thinks it can work. As a collaborative effort. Part of our mission is making that happen. No change in any government, or textbook that anyone writes -- including her -- makes a difference.

Marian concluded her talk with some math to clarify the idea of focussing on understanding versus knowledge.

Knowledge would be "what is 4 times 8". She DOES want kids to know this. But for the understanding question, we'd want to have no numbers. For instance "how do you know 4 times 8 is more than 3 times 9?"

If you're more in grade 7 or 8, consider fractions. The difference between "add 5/8 and 3/4" versus "estimate 5/8 plus 3/4"... and if you just tell me the answer, I won't listen to you. There are also thinking questions, if you saw her OAME talk itself.

Conclusion: "We're not going to pretend things are great, because they aren't. We'll hope the ministry eventually sees, that unless they support teachers, nothing happens."


Summary



The Ottawa chapter change introduction plus Marian's talk took less than half an hour, but there was also social time, including me chatting with another teacher who brought up Caribou Math. There are actually money prizes, for a fee of only $15 per student for all contests of the year... I'm hoping I get a chance to research this more, which is partly why I'm putting it in this post. (Do you know more about it?)


Then there was a guess the items in the jar contest and door prizes; I headed out before 6pm because I have the little one at home. As to the talk itself, I felt it was relevant and possibly something educators need to hear in times like this. Would you agree?

Thanks for reading this post! I hope you were able to get something out of it; if so, or if you have any further thoughts, do drop a comment below.

Monday, 28 October 2019

Now Parenting: Oct 2019

Week 67
-Sunday with little one for 1+hrs until 2am. Traded 2.5 hr shifts in the morning.
-Managed to finish grading 3U tests. Also went shopping, did some windows.
-Bumpy night, needed to suck snot early. With us by midnight, had an odd dream*.
-Monday morn she let me trim her fingernails of the hand I couldn't access Sun nap.
-Mon daycare she went on slide all by herself! Also runny nose, disliked chewing.
-Busy Monday on my end but standard. Turned on heat. Unproductive evening.
-Tuesday 3.5 hrs sleep (1.5 before 1:30am, 2 hrs after 3:30am) and back pain.
-Tuesday afternoon Cappies Training (bypassing staff mtg), finished by 2:15pm.
-Crashed, Daycare was rough but she's happier by bedtime. I did work to 10:45pm.
-Very rough from 11-12am but then she managed okay. Except my health deteriorated.**
-Managed Wed, including doctor's apt for chicken pox vaccine. She signs duck.
-Downstairs by 10pm, over 6 hours sleep straight; even upstairs okay. Signs bus.
-Some play after dinner Thurs. Then forced self to do some work before sleep.
-Friday caught up except grading, completed ALP, shopping then busy at home.
-Sat overnight kept waking every half hour until she joined us after 2am.
-When I wasn't with Alexandra this day I was completing the "Summer's End" post.
-Was with her at brunch, over lunch, back at mall shopping, then before dinner.
-Managed to cut the lawn starting during her snooze in car, finishing after 4pm.
-Lotus Prince, "Asura's Wrath" #10,11 & its "DLC" #1-5

===
Item counts to Saturday (Oct 5):
Step Count 2016: About 55,800
-Writing motivation stalled, car broke down, went to AFEMO french math conference.

Step Count 2017: Over 60,000 (16 stars)
-School ratcheted my stress to 8, in Ink & Insights Top 10, took a plane home.

Step Count 2018: Over 62,250 (11 stars)
-Passport photo, Cappies stuff, on train with Alexandra for Thanksgiving.

STEP COUNT 2019: Over 76,000. 15 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2019: 163 New (14 sent)
 We have completed DAY 24.
RH Stress Level: 5 (ACS Standby)

=======
Week 68
-With little one Sunday morning to 9am+, grading at library from 12:30-2:30pm.
-Lunch together. She snoozed almost 2.5 hrs. Clothes basically worked out.
-All night in crib but with some disruptions (10:45, 2). At work, set test for MAP.
-Monday weirdly well, including meeting for minutes and arriving home by story.
-Tuesday morn many disruptions. Day was okay but too tired in the evening to work.
-Managed to finalize 3U test and MAP new trig task with no time to spare.
-Wednesday equally tiring but not physically. Stayed up past 12am to grade.
-Little one's coming into bed with us by 3am then sleeping until closer to 7am.
-Thurs morn walk-in. Caught up tests along with anime club and pep rally.
-Thurs did dishes and crashed before pickup. Again too tired for much work in eve.
-She let me cut her toes in bath, and then fingers in towel. Just did the worst.
-Slept 10-1am, little one wouldn't settle, slept 3:30am on with headboard wakeup.
-PD Day had streaming issues, did manage to finish task grading by ~3pm.
-Mom home early to pack, managed myself after, not a productive evening.
-Sat: She woke late (>7:15), we were already up doing final packings.
-Caught flight (w/ another baby 6 months) with carseat & stroller gate checked.
-Straight to sister's, played, stroll, Thanksgiving dinner, left 7pm.
-Rush to set things up, in bed before 10pm, she didn't sleep well after 11pm.
-Lotus Prince, "Have No Mouth/Must Scream" #1-7

===
Item counts to Saturday (Oct 12):
Step Count 2016: About 59,600
-Bought cheap calculators, in-laws in town, lacked clear direction.

Step Count 2017: Over 63,300 (14 stars)
-Pregnancy news, but school had made me dead inside plus no blog buffer.

Step Count 2018: Over 67,100 (10 stars)
-Read Alexandra first story, first Thursday group, progress reports & CanCon.

STEP COUNT 2019: Over 65,450. 16 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2019: 161 New (20 sent)
 We have completed DAY 29. 1 PD.
RH Stress Level: 7 (Starlight Breaker)

=======
Week 69
-Sun morn and late afternoon, I needed a break. Wrote political column.
-All went out for breakfast, then played, then after nap went to the park.
-Birthday dinner, sad bath, chatting then graded from 9pm to midnight.
-With Alexandra in morning, to airport before 10:30am (mini nap in car??).
-Strap for bag broke and trouble paying for parking, but home by 2pm.
-Lunch, then little one sleeps for almost two hours. I grade.
-Later dinner for her and us. Multi-task with grading from 8pm to 10:30pm.
-Busy Monday* to finish grading, get progress reports into system, shopping.
-Tuesday more prep on 4C stats. Overnight, up 12:15-1:30am then mom takes over.
-Wednesday much like Tues but rain and solo Alexandra to bed. Read comics.
-Thursday rain on AL birthday. She's home early, much play then I cook/bake.
-Takes almost an hour EACH to get little one to bed... after 9pm.
-She's up 1+ hr in the night (I relive AL), then late waking in morn.+
-Friday's okay, but I need to do bath/bed when Mom gets near a migraine.
-I update my queued files a bit more. New Nexus column went out today too.
-No CanCon, they capped attendance. Brunch with many after not lots of sleep.
-Afternoon at park, also writing "Time Train" comic review (1900 words).
-Videos: Caught up with Atop the 4th Wall again.

===
Item counts to Saturday (Oct 19):
Step Count 2016: About 53,450
-Dealt with figuring out benefits, and found my writing groove. Simpler times.

Step Count 2017: Over 61,600 (15 stars)
-Implosion from teaching CS, everything is off, there is no joy.

Step Count 2018: Over 79,000 (8 stars)
-AL birthday, interviews extend normal half day, some passing out downstairs.

STEP COUNT 2019: Over 70,300. 13 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2019: 90 New (9 sent)
 We have completed DAY 33. 1 PD.
RH Stress Level: 4 (Axel Shooter)

=======
Week 70
-Managed 6+ hrs sleep. With Alexandra for 3+ hrs. Brief crash, shopping.
-Some work, met in park to go to Works, first video call to home.
-She wants crib time during day? After sleep, watched local candidates video.
-Sleep was okay, she slept only against me after 3am. Until 7am.
-Dance rehearsal after school. Met family en route after 5pm to go voting.
-Watched results until near 11pm. With Alexandra from 12am-1:45am (after mom @.@)
-She doesn't want to be left in crib any more, with us to 6am. On call at work.
-Tired Tues night, both in bed by 10pm. Smoke alarm went off 5am (?!).
-Wednesday drew up new stats lessons for 4C AND 4U. Attempted video conversion.
-Need to Handbrake the file to mp4, to open in MPEG stream clip, to crop. Huh.
-Wed Oct 23rd Alexandra decided it was time to walk! At Daycare + later at home.
-Small bruise on forehead from door. Reasonable sleep but AL not feeling well.
-Long Thursday with P/T Interviews. Shopped on way home, arrived after 8pm.
-Friday, car in to get tires switched over. Also duty and anime club.
-Managed to finish new line song parody on Thurs/Fri. Put ppt together.
-Sat fell asleep in chair with Alexandra to 4am. Mom took point until before 9am.
-Group. Managed to complete 4U tests then and during snooze. Then to Carp.
-Family time and dinner out went well; she likes veggie spring rolls?
-Took 2.5 hours for little one to sleep after waking in carseat. AL cough sick.
-Lotus Prince, "Fragile Dreams" #1-7

===
Item counts to Saturday (Oct 26):
Step Count 2016: About 48,300
-Finished T&T mostly. Put away hose, etc. outside.

Step Count 2017: Over 61,600 (14 stars)
-Went on anti-anxiety/depression pills, reading book doctor recommended.

Step Count 2018: Over 69,750 (10 stars)
-Saline runs for cold, level 2 flow bottle, sleep troubles all around.

STEP COUNT 2019: Over 72,700. 12 stars.
SCHOOL EMAIL 2019: 99 New (11 sent)
 We have completed DAY 38. 1 PD.
RH Stress Level: 5 (ACS Standby)

*****
CONSTANT TO-DO LIST:
 -2019 Banner for TPolys
 -Write a TANDQ article on Polling and Bias
 -Write a post about types of praise/encouragement
 -Catching up with web serials/comics (from ~August 2018)
 -Read some of the books sitting at my desk

Sunday, 27 October 2019

OAME 2019 Summary

Continuing the tradition of OAME 2013, OAME 2014, OAME 2015, OAME 2016, and OAME 2018, we have this post. OAME 2019 (the annual conference for the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education) took place starting Thursday, May 16th... and it was local to Ottawa, so I was helping out behind the scenes with registration. (I dropped by OttawaU's campus briefly on Wednesday night, not longer due to a Cappies conflict, always something.)

This means I only went to five sessions, so they should fit in this post. One on Thursday (last slot), two on Friday and two on Saturday.


T5. "Find the fraud! Using Benford's law in the classroom."


Presented by Tim Sibbald, Nippissing. (Also Gazette editor, asked me about a cartoon. It's so rare anyone asks anymore... regrettably, personified math has become a low priority item compared to the rest of my life.)

To start, Tim had us guess at $100 with 16.6% interest. Actual: $100, $116.60, $135.96... at 15 years, it reaches $1000, so good to use as a demonstration. (Graph shown. We see at year 2 we're over a tenth of the way, but amount still starts with "1".)


Benford in 1930s noticed early log tables were really worn in the beginning pages. He determined 30% of numbers start with "1". What is the pattern? Consider 0 to 15 years (DOMAIN) gives 1 to 10 (RANGE). Then starting at 10 again.

So how long are we 1 <= y < 2? For 0 <= x < 4.51. And 4.5/15 = 9/30, about 30%. If $ comes out sooner, recall that's a MINIMUM percentage. The funny thing is, this also works with areas of rivers, which isn't exponential. Now "2" at 16.7%, so half of data starts with a 1 or 2.

Explanation: MSD (Most Significant Digit, or leftmost digit). Formally do Inverse: x = log_(1.166)_y

Imperfection: National Debt doesn't work, it's inconsistent. Inflation and 30% rates of mortgage. (Inflation rate is historically 2%.) Debate: Good enough for evidence? Over 30% is possible, is UNDER possible? (Changing the initial investment?)

Tim went further: What about OTHER DIGITS? The 2nd (not MSD)?
-Are we looking at 30% of 30%? Moves graph up so no change in ratio?
-If eg. a "2", we sum the intervals 1.2 to 1.299999... then 2.2 to 2.29999... etc.
-Law of Large Numbers. Eventually Gaussian distribution.
-The percentages for second digit are about EQUAL now! Note that ZERO does come into this now. Zero is about 11.97%, One is 11.39%, down to Nine at 8.50%.

What about OTHER STUFF?
-Baseball stats are exponential? (Following Benfords Law)
-What if interest was quadratic instead? ("If you're slightly baffled, the students will feel like they can engage.") What about root function? (Also 30%+ for ZERO, ignoring a zero before the decimal, so 0.###...)

-Two Statistics Branches: Inferential Stats (90% of a school text) and Modelling Stats (the other 10%). Test Benford when the parameters change. Structure when you do an inverse, if reciprocal interest, self-inverse.

So how to create bogus data? 
y = (1.05)^(t+random/10) in a spreadsheet?
-Effect still applies to things like quadratics. Envelope function. (Shows sketch of MSD1 between 100% and 30% over time.) 100% from 1 to 2, and 30% as minimum (horizontal asymptote).
-The longer the fraud, the more evidence you have.

After that session wrapped up there was the OAME AWARDS WITH WINE & CHEESESaw TMC Twitter folks there, we talked outside afterwards for a bit.


F3. "Moving Beyond Basics in Data Management to Reach Every Student"


Presented by Chris Papalia. This is the one I really wanted to get to, since I end up teaching Data every year, and want to get better at it.



-Chris has tried to change context (podcasts like freakonomics radio, news like 538), excerpts, spiralling and tech. Emphasizes projects over tests.
-"Thinking Classroom" in data? (Tell me a story.)
-Mystery Data: graph shows lots of data at a high number. Turns out each dot is a day. Distance on y-axis, number of steps on x-axis.

-Starts his course with the 1-var and 2-var data. Normal Distribution, still a challenge; NOT counting (perhaps too challenging to start).
-Google form for that first day of class, use that data (handedness, etc) later on. Have a question "try to make option B the 2nd most popular here".
-"The Canon" by Natalie Angier. Chapter 2. Faking heads/tails.
-Hans Rosling. Alan Smith TED talk.
-"Compound Probability Applets".
-Test alternatives.

There was much more at the bit.ly link provided, and I downloaded a number of things. This past September, I tried starting with an overview and one variable data. (Is it going better? Maybe?)


F5. "Project Based Learning" (+ bonus)


I was a late signup on this, because not much was happening with registration any more. Presented by Marieta Angjeli. She noted it was "not based on research", but was a natural extension of things she did. Student feedback asking for something more engaging/inclusive.

You have to commit. J-Curve. It will go worse before it gets better. We then got given a cylinder with strings sticking out of it. "orange toy". RULE #1: You have to come up with the problem.

"Before you start solving it, I want you to suggest what the problem is." ... Length of string, weight, what interior looks like?
-Realization comes: "they're not all the same, different boxes". Light rattle? Can trap object?
-Marieta admits she can't say "you're right, you're not right"... when she built them, she forget to mark which box had which design.
KEY POINTS: Process is more important than Product. Messy learning is what sticks.


-MDM 4U looked at "Mathematics of Mental Health". (If you feel grades is the only way to a good life, we have a problem.) First issues, what IS mental health?
-http://vroc.ca  "Virtual Researchers On Call"
-They thought Grade 12s would be more stressed, turned out to be Grade 9s. (bias of study, etc); looked at 10% of school, every class.
-Every Friday was PBL (Project Based Learning) time.
-http://view.wirewax.com/8078587

-To Grade 9s, a project for every unit (done Fridays). Still do tests. One project each, as it's hard to cross strands. Mural of Algebra Tiles for mental well being (find cost of tiles?). Needed Word Problem that connects to a problem in the community. For Measurement, cars project. She went through the various units.
-In 3U, for Desmos, image for Student Identity. Cultural Heritage.

(I had to pop off to see someone about a bookshelf and transporting it. When I returned they were looking at samples of the work. After a bit I went to catch the end of Marian Small's address:)

BONUS Marian:
Marian was looking at Application questions versus Thinking questions, and how Communication is packaged with Thinking. And difference between Thinking and Knowledge/Understanding? (Thinking has finite solutions, Knowledge is simply 'neg times pos is neg'.) -"In the end, it's our beliefs about what math is."

(Incidentally, bit.ly/oame_slowmath was written on the board.)

That wrapped up Friday (had to get home to the little one, with the bookshelf on the busses), and on to Saturday. When Alexandra turned 11 months old. Huzzah!


S1. "Talk! Talk! And More Math Talk!"


MATH TALK! was put on by Connie Hamilton, from Corwin Press. They had "Visible Learning" books for math (#VLMath) and a handout package.

-First: Differentiate between Prompt (mirror) versus Cue (microscope). One looks inside, nudge out while the other looks carefully at information in front of you.
-One cue: "A sound or visual that isn't your voice to cue students to give their attention."
-When we pose "What was", we don't notice turns, and talk could be dominated by one voice.
-Paraphrasing is good for listener and speaker. (We did an exercise talking to a person near to us.)

For a successful paraphrase? Helps to know it's coming. "A conversation involves both listening and speaking." It's typically the listening component that's absent.
-To be an effective speaker, be an effective listener.
-How does listening fit into the Ontario Math Processes?
-Shoulders should be squared to speaker. Have students communicate what someone ELSE said? (You listen with a different purpose, to communicate later, versus wondering what I'll say next in response.)

Professor Hattie, statistician, "a study of studies". Quantified as effect size.
-The average is 0.40, the "hinge point". Defined as "a year's worth of learning in a year". Dialogic instruction has an effect size of 0.82. A year's worth in half the time.
-Turns out just giving a hint isn't more effective in the end. Consider ACCOUNTABLE talk. Begin with a paraphrase and add. (eg. "I agree with, another way to look at, I used to think...")
-We thought of more talk stems ("This reminds me of") then shared them around the room. Shifted to just writing on the handout.

-What is your role during conversations? When you interrupt students, you change the dynamic, it becomes guided instruction. Only do it with purpose.
-Students can find misconceptions on their own, given time.
-Bring a chair, model learning. Look at group, not speaker, so they don't only talk to you.
-Something inanimate to break the silence (not your voice), easier to talk then. Also "It's the timer shutting down talk, not me."
-We lined up by birthdays to be grouped.

-Triad Protocol, can be done in as little as five minutes.
-Three roles: Questioner, Respondent and Summarizer (who does NOT speak). Three rounds, each shifting who takes on each role. If there's a chatty person, perhaps give them summarizer as first role.
-After questioner and respondent go, the summarizer has exactly HALF of talk time to sum up. (Eg. If given 90 seconds, have 45 sec)
-My summarizer notes were based on "how to use today to support", and there was some back and forth. (Do kids really want to talk math? Not really.) It segued into immersion schooling and oral traditions (we had an indigenous teacher in our triad).
-Possibly relevant, what language are we speaking in such talks? Someone's second language?
-Books were given out randomly. (Furthest trip to get here, etc.)

I'd kept the second slot free on this day. Went back to see about helping with packing up registration, and to catch up on grading papers.


S3. "Debates in Math Class? I object!" (AGAIN)


I'd signed up for this session before the April PD Day in 2019. So this was a repeat of the previous month. But I figured I'd still look at it with the lens of the other participants. Introduction was much the same, noting students "like junk mail more than the textbook" and debates idea coming from the dual characteristics of light.

-Credit card activity. Remarked on that "pre-approved rate" means this is the rate before we approve you... could go UP after approval. (Yikes.)
-Thought of comparing cards versus comparing a card and no card. (Who would a certain card be better for.) For instance, don't worry about low interest rates if you're always going to pay it off, look for other offers (eg. cash back).
-There's also comparing credit versus debit. Credit card purchases ARE refundable, while debit comes right out of the bank account.
-There is cancelling at 9 months before the bad interest rates kick in (after initial offer) and they bet on us forgetting to do that.
-Put Post-Its onto papers in this iteration. (I think that does work better.)


-Cars activity. Done faster than in April, less fine print. Depreciation was mentioned. Also, to challenge yourself, consider reasons for the other side.
-Rules for testing fuel economy have changed! This is why a newer car looks worse than the listing for an older one. (If the older were checked under the new standards, it wouldn't be as good.)
-Quadratic/Exponential graph activity was mentioned.
-Had time to look more in depth through the landlords activity this time. What they want/need versus the residents. Noted that (in Ontario) a landlord can't ask for a security deposit any more!
-"Those not engaged have a chance to talk." (don't recall the context)
-Mention also of classroom design/redesign problem, square or not.

When that finished, I went back to registration to see if any help was needed for teardown. Got a red "?" shirt, was told everything was in hand, so went to join up with my wife and daughter at the tulip festival (after their meeting for a tea picnic).

And that concludes another (belated) look at the Annual OAME Conference. Not sure how this will work next year, when it won't be local, but I will still have my daughter at home.

Did you learn anything interesting? See a possible extension? Or have any thoughts about related mathematics? Do feel free to drop a comment below. As always, thanks for reading.

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Feb PD in Apr: 2019

Our board has a day in February devoted to Professional Development delivered by teachers; it tends to be subject specific. Except the last few years that day has been in April, go figure. I blogged about it in 2013-14, then again in 2015-16 and in 2016-17. In Apr 2018 it was on my birthday, and I don't seem to have a post, but probably have notes somewhere. This brings us to 2018-2019.

The Math PD was April 12th, in the east end. I attended three sessions, not including the brief introduction, the snack, or the draw at the end.

Session A: "Debates in Math Class? I Object!"


Presented by Andrea Bortnowski & Evelyn Desforges. Four of us there, so we split into two groups of two. The debate thought originated with how physics teachers debate light as particle or wave (there's also a debate for electrons). One of the presenters got a credit card offer, used it in MAP 4C.

Should we "Get Card" or "No", arguing from perspective of Sell Many or Financial Advisor. Could assign or ask. I was part of the group of "sell many", so here's some arguments we came up with:
-5% cash back, no annual fee (up to $100).
-Can cancel card after 3 month rate expires
-High interest is fine if you know where you spend and manage that way. Just pay it off.
-Who writes stuff down or has cash, good record provided here.
-Better credit score.
-Extended warranty, purchase protection.
-25% off car rentals (need card to rent anyway, usually, just use this one).
-It's not "borrowing" money, you have to spend regardless ("don't avoid, use this tool").
-Teaches financial responsibility.
-The presentation? That's why we're here.
-The minimum payment? (compound interest) How long it takes to pay things off? ("'Til Debt Do Us Part" series)

Remarked that seeing the other side can give you a better idea of your own position. Moved on to new car (new lemon?) or used car. Specific data was provided for two cars (one each). I was in the used car group:
-Higher financing (TVM) but lower costs so less $ and less time too.
-Same down payment? Save money towards next car.
-Will drive a car for six years anyway?
-New car must go back to dealer. Old car scratches won't be obvious anyway.
-Saves money, like hidden costs - winter tires, insurance.
-Counterpoint: Seven years for the 7 year old car vs a 10 year old car?
-Options of Leasing, Walking. Safety features in new.
-Fuel economy?

Third topic: Are hybrid cars good? Given graph implies exponential but includes prior years.
-Shown calculations of sales 2010-2013.
-Two sides: Company vs Investors
-Quadratic regression is actually best, even though it looks exponential.

It was noted that the debates hasn't been done as an evaluation, only observationally. We then quickly looked at some other topics as we were running out of time:
-Statistics and Statements Made (also 3Cs). BBC Article
-Fitness of Canadians. Ask "How would you conduct your research?" in advance. Look for things not mentioned or things not done.
-Landlords vs Tenants debate. (Protect property and max profits, vs, living conditions and affordability.) See "The Ontario Tenancy Act".
-Related: Consider conditions (no zip lines). In Toronto, landlords cannot evict unless major renovations are being done. So they do this, and then raise the rates to come back.

More topics:
-Outdoor classroom design: Square or rectangle best? (Note could be against building. Argument is often for OPTIMAL, not BEST. Consider cereal boxes, not "optimal".)
-Quadratic Revenue Graphs. How accurate? (Not yes/no, but to what degree are they.)
-External variables here too, like marketing and demand.
-Other ideas are possible. Presented a quartic graph crop, looking sinusoidal for MHF debate. Apartment Buddies.
-Doesn't need to be yes/no - debate fastest way to prove something? Efficiency idea. (eg. a parallelogram is a rhombus)

Session B: "Social Justice, Indigenous Issues, Cultural Perspectives and Curriculum"


This wasn't a presentation slot, the idea was for teachers to come together and discuss a topic in various rooms. I'd originally considered staying here for a while then moving on, but ended up there for the duration. There were five of us initially, with some talking points on the board, then another person came. We began with one of the teachers arranging desks in a circle, to facilitate there not being a "presenter".

One participant mentioned "I don't know what I don't know".
Can we cover curriculum but in an interesting way, getting at why we have to learn things. Integers in context of carbon footprint? Play between independent/dependent variables - what does slope REALLY mean?
-Gapminder mentioned for data. Also numberless graphs.
-Chemical containments in water: sequences/series? (Models. Throwing cubes into a box?)
-Optimizations has plastic wrap.

-Spend time focussing on SUCCESS to improve, leaning on the positive (not the EQAO fails).
-Student ill-informed opinions is why we need - broader perspectives?
-As teachers are we uncomfortable with conflict? Everything isn't a debate. (History does look at sides or gun debates, not so much in math.)
-How RANDOM are RANDOM CHECKS?
-Some are not ready so we trend to majority?
-Where in curriculum does it fit? 2D? Grade 9 scatterplots and C-level data?
-"Math that Matters". Stocker but more like worksheets (potential).

Truth & Reconciliation was brought up. Report: 4th part/volume has numbers (like deaths). (Someone had taught in the North.)
-Treaty Day is in June (the 21st). The $5 has not been increased since first agreed upon (no inflation).
-Treaty land vs Unceded land.
-Agoke Post: Boil Water Advisory for 11 years.
-Fuel for planes to remote locations
-Remove context to force a talk?
-Have students make infographics? Demographics of college level vs. U-level

When that session wrapped up, there was a snack with placemats that had puzzles on them. A number were available at the end, so I have a number of unique ones that I haven't really made the time for yet. (My math puzzle of the month has not been a thing in 2019-2020...)

Session C: "Summative project technology best practices AND using Desmos instead of Fathom for stats."


Presented by Alison Lane. I wanted this one to have the time to play with the new features, as well as see what other teachers were doing with it. Supposedly Desmos can do box plots and histograms, paste a list of data, call it D then boxplot(D)... it is case sensitive. But turns out it never worked for me because I pulled from a spreadsheet? (Worked from Google Sheets only. Google keeps updating functionality?)

Shared more about the project. Presenter had requirement of "at least 30 data points" (or for sports, 60, easier to get) and one student had 30 Scooby-Doo seasons and voice actors. Gave two box plots to compare.
-Project could be pick name, you sign up to a slot.
-Google slides gives a random order after everyone handed it in?

More tips:
-Google Sheets for continuous graphs: Histogram is under "OTHER". Box plot works as "Candlestick Graph", highlights the quartiles (though no median cut).
-Was mentioned there's two StdDev spreadsheet calculation formulas (one for population).
-A google sheet could allow evaluation of ALL presenters between setups for next person, give all students access to one. (Critiques)
-What's used in project referencing? Considered APA referencing (more for science) versus MLA referencing (literature).
-Jane Fry is a data specialist at Carleton. Has spoken to Longfields class. (Lab assignment?)

And that was the OCDSB PD Day for 2018-19. Thanks for reading this far, hope you found something of use (or interest) in there. Any thoughts or future ideas, do drop a comment!

Monday, 14 October 2019

Considering Not Voting? Read.

This is not necessarily a column for people who have already made up their minds about who they'll vote for, although if that's you, you're perfectly willing to keep reading. It might be a column for people considering voting Conservative to spite the Liberals, because that's akin to cutting off your own foot to spite your big toe. But it's more for people who don't like the Liberal/Conservative bickering, and perhaps won't participate because of it.

Because there are more than two parties. And Andrew Scheer as the Prime Minister of a majority government? Would be a disaster, not only for Canada, but on a global scale. To be clear, not sold on Trudeau either (honestly, what Canada probably needs is a minority government of some form), what I'm saying is we need is people to actually come out and vote. Not strategically vote, just VOTE, damn it!

As Rick Mercer has said: "If your choice is a kick in the head, a punch in the head, or a slap in the head - you've still got to think about it and go, 'I'm going with a slap in the head'." Otherwise, everyone else will decide you get kicked in the head instead, and that's on you. Expect the rest of the world to shrug at you when you complain.

In summary, if you are not voting in the Canadian Election next week, you are not only minimizing your role in all of this, you are likely not thinking about Scheer or about some key pieces of GLOBAL information. Which is perhaps a kick somewhere worse than the head. Let's look at three key world issues.


1) Conservatives Want a Carbon Tax


You read that right - it's corporations who don't want a carbon tax. Oh, and for some reason, certain conservative premiers also don't want a carbon tax (Saskatchewan and Ontario launching court challenges with taxpayer money to that effect), and Andrew Scheer has said a carbon tax is bad too. This doesn't make sense.

In 2018, William Nordhaus and Paul Romer won the Nobel Memorial Prize in economic sciences for their work, which included that "the most efficient remedy for problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions is a global scheme of carbon taxes uniformly imposed on all countries".



Preston Manning, the former leader of the Reform Party (which later merged federally with conservatives) has told conservatives to stop attacking the market-based concept of carbon pricing. Michael Chong (formerly in the running for leadership of federal conservatives*) also supported the idea, and no one mounted an argument against him (beyond the equivalent of "but it sucks").
*: an earlier version stated it was Ontario conservatives, thanks Sonal

There's also this opinion piece, commenting on how Brian Mulroney (a conservative) won awards for being the greenest Canadian prime minister, and how carbon pricing grants flexibility, allowing individuals to decide how to respond to pricing. The complete opposite of being some intrusive regulation. The whole POINT of being conservative is not wanting to government to meddle, and carbon pricing is the best way to achieve that.

Carbon pricing is a better term to use, by the way, versus "tax". At best, it's an indirect tax (on transactions), not a direct tax, as income is irrelevant as to whether you have to pay. But the government also makes very little money off of this - 90 percent of the revenues are returned to the individual households. Meaning most Canadians (the lowest 80% of income earners, in fact - income is relevant for the rebate) get paid back more than they ever paid in the tax.

If you need help with claiming that on your taxes, here's an article.

The carbon tax isn't even mandatory in provinces where an alternative plan is in place. For instance, Ontario had a cap-and-trade plan, capping the amount of pollution companies in certain industries could emit. Doug Ford (supposedly conservative) scrapped that plan when he came into power, which incidentally broke the law, because he didn't consult the public about it.

Since then, Ontario has done "almost nothing" on their plan from a year ago, apparently more interested in forcing gas stations to put up little stickers about how carbon taxes suck and junk. They have to push this rhetoric, you see, because no one who's done any reading on the subject believes it.

Hell, British Columbia brought in their own carbon tax in 2008, and it's been working well for a decade. (Not necessarily boosting employment, but not hurting it either. More to the point, it's successfully lowered pollution.) If you didn't even know that, seems like carbon tax plans work as they should.

Why the HELL is Andrew Scheer against this?

Either he doesn't understand it (or understands he'd be in the top 20% to not get the best rebate), or he doesn't believe climate change is a problem (when it is), or he's pandering to a minority of Canadians to get votes. Which will work, unless YOU vote too.

If you want to be even more informed, here's what the parties have promised in terms of climate change.


2) White Guys In Control


None of Canada's premiers are currently women. The last time this particular event happened was between November 2002 and November 2008. There's some question as to whether Canada is going backwards with respect to equality.



Time magazine ran a piece in April about how the gender pay gap for doctors is getting worse. (It also mentions that there's racial differences.) More locally, female surgeons in Ontario earn 24% less per hour than their male peers. And it's not that they get paid less for similar procedures, it's that the highest-paid procedures have more male specialists... the Ontario study couldn't even include neurosurgery in some analyses because less than five women have that specialty.

Men are still making the rules, and for the most part are not being welcoming of women coming into male-dominated fields.

Recall Christine Elliot WON THE POPULAR VOTE in Ontario's conservative leadership race. By all rights, she should be the premier of Ontario now, not Doug Ford. Except she lost by one percentage point, because of how the ridings were broken up. Won the popular vote, lost the election... disaster ensues... doesn't seem like an isolated incident.

Now, for the past three federal elections combined, the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) has had the lowest proportion of women running, at 20 percent. Bloc Quebecois (BQ) was 29%, Liberals (LPC) were 33%, Green Party were 35%, and New Democrats (NDP) were 39%.

At the federal level, there's also something rather insidious going on in terms of "stronghold ridings". These are constituencies where a party has won the previous two elections with a margin of at least 10% of votes. These candidates tend to get more funding, to win again. There's an article here which goes into great detail about the situation; I'll try to provide quick summary.

Candidates in stronghold ridings are more likely to win regardless of gender (and likewise candidates in other ridings are more likely to lose). There are four times more men than women running in these stronghold ridings (again, this is across all parties), meaning although men represented only 68% of candidates, they made up 76% of elected officials. The voting itself wasn't a factor, men who won amassed an average of 24,105 votes versus an average tally of 23,538 votes for the women who won.

What mattered was the riding (and related, if it got more funding). In this federal election? Women represent 40% of candidates, but only 23% are in stronghold ridings.

Looking again at the past three federal elections, for Conservatives, only 14% of stronghold ridings involved women, for Liberals it was 22%, for NDP it was 30% and the Bloc comes out on top with 38%. (The Greens hadn't had enough MPs to be included in the analysis.) In the end, the Conservatives have elected the lowest proportion of women over the last three federal elections, at 16%.

And that's before we even get into cabinet positions. The National Post ran a cabinet comparison back in 2015, Harper's first cabinet as compared to Trudeau's first: Harper appointed 6 women to his team of 26. Trudeau picked 15 women for his group of 30.

I'm not going to get into other minority issues because I haven't read up on it enough. (Heck, I can't even figure out what's happening in New Brunswick between the NDP and Green parties.) But they're a problem too, and this is a growing issue in today's society. Both in Canada and the world.



And the Conservatives not only don't have a great track record on equality, I don't see Scheer reversing the trend. So maybe someone can explain to me why anyone other than white guys are keen on voting for other Conservative white guys? Your riding results may vary.


3) Money For Who


The Conservatives have the worst spending record, bar none. To again pull in a comment by Rick Mercer, the last Conservative finance minister who left the country's books in better shape than when he found them was Sir Samuel Tilly, who died in 1896. (This was during his "irony" rant about Stephen Harper spending 20 million dollars to learn about how to cut spending.)

It might be worth mentioning that none of the parties plan to balance the budget within their four years. The Conservative party and the Green party have a five year plan, and both are under scrutiny.

The Conservatives (who released their full platform less than a week ago, after the debates) are looking for $6.5 billion dollars through cuts and new revenue in the first year alone. Overall, more billions of dollars in cuts to government spending over the five year plans. About $14 billion were simply categorized as "Other Operating Expenses Reductions".



Is this all feasible? I'm not the right person to ask. Back to the global issues.

Scheer pledged during the campaign to slash foreign aid by 25 percent. But Trudeau is already spending less (as a proportion of the gross national income) than Harper did. Nicolas Moyer, CEO of the Canadian Council for International Cooperation has been quoted as saying we rank 15th in the OECD, and this would drop us to 19th. Also, past Conservative governments have been leaders on foreign aid.

What gives?

Even ignoring how that article I just linked to above also points out that Scheer's claim, "Canada is sending $2.2 billion to upper and middle income countries", is false... he claims he's doing it to give Canadians a tax cut.

Hold on. As this National Post article points out, if this is going to be happening, why not invest the money into our own human development crisis instead? Such as the mortality rate of indigenous children?

Other experts have wondered, why are the Conservatives seemingly using their own criteria, rather than recognized measures set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)? Is this Canada becoming more isolationist, and going the way of the United States?

The last thing we need on the global stage right now is a Canada First mentality.

Canada is also campaigning for one of two seats on the United Nations Security Council in 2021, but Scheer says that's not a top priority. Meanwhile, to be clear, Trudeau has been silent about committing to increasing spending to reach 0.7% of GDP, a target the United Nations set in 1970. Jagmeet Singh says he would increase foreign aid.

Me, all I really think about the foreign aid issue is that if it must be cut (and I don't see why), it shouldn't be merely to give us tax breaks. Hell, I want to pay taxes, I want to fund public services like education. (Incidentally, the federal Conservatives have been very silent about education.) I also want the rich to pay more taxes, but now I'm getting off topic.


SUMMARY


So there's three key reasons why a Conservative majority would be a major problem: Losing the carbon tax during an environmental crisis, moving backwards on equality issues, and cutting foreign aid for a tax break.

Trouble is, at this point, I am almost CERTAIN that this government will happen, much as it did in Ontario last year. More to the point, I am also certain it will happen with LESS than a majority of Canadians being okay with it. Including a number of conservatives.



So you - yes YOU - go and vote. Hold your nose if you have to.

If there's a particular issue you hold dear, here's a link to the Maclean's federal election platform guide, which has been regularly updating. If you don't like any of the party leaders, read up on your local candidates and cast your vote that way. But vote, damn you. Hell, if you agree Scheer in all that, vote conservative.

Because if we're going to become an isolationist country with a bunch of old white guys on cabinet who are fine with watching the world burn, I at LEAST want a majority of Canadians to have acknowledged it in advance, and said that they're okay with this.

Thanks for reading, be civil if you comment, and know that most of the things I post are not political in nature. But yes, I do want a better future for my one-year-old daughter.

Monday, 30 September 2019

Summer's End 2019

This post is basically a tradition since 2013. Meaning it also ran in 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2018. (In 2016 I wasn't teaching.) But to reiterate, the end of August is the true end of the year, no matter what the Gregorian Calendar claims. That's teaching life. Of course, this year I'm a little delayed, because it's not easy to find free time any more.

Turns out, when I'm not with little Alexandra, or doing teaching-related things, I tend to be relaxing by watching online videos, or doing edits and reviews for the websites I contribute to... this blogging site is even lower in priority than trying to catch up in my webcomics. But to answer the big question, I was ready to go back to work, if for no other reason than to get a chance to adjust to this next stage in parenthood.

So, what happened last year? It's taken a month to compile, and even now I'm still filling in the gaps on October 5th. (If I didn't post the intro to end September, I'd have lost the motivation.)


The main thing over the past year has, of course, been raising a daughter. From taking her on the train (Thanksgiving), to planes (March Break), to a boat (summer), she's been well travelled. My reading has consisted of things like "Baby Sign Language" (from November). My home upkeep has involved baby proofing. A major point of stress last June was finding Alexandra a daycare.

It's all good, her smiles are genuine; she's now my desktop background.

Oh, she also had her first swim classes, was invited to her first birthday, and had her nose clogged enough to necessitate turning bathrooms into saunas for a short stint at the end of February. But hey, this post is meant to be about me, so let's hit the usual categories.


WORK RELATED


At the start of last year (again, September), I tried to implement a "math puzzle of the week". By second semester, this had turned into a puzzle of "the month", but at least it still existed. I also had to handle the Student Achievement (Drysdale) awards early on, in addition to the usual dealing with math contests all year. (It involved being a sponsor and doing a runoff vote in November.)

First semester, I was only on a morning schedule, to support my wife and daughter at home. This also helped me to do some MAJOR revisions to the 3M course at the time, hitting a regressions unit early, before periodic functions. Essentially mixing things up a bit at the start so students had to consider the individual relationships. (My other course was data; I did some updates there too.)

Semester two, when I was full time, there weren't enough 3U textbooks for both my classes plus the other one running. So I supplemented with a PDF version, including making individual files of the 3U text questions I was assigning. (I ran into quota issues, because apparently google sites is completely independent of actual storage in the cloud or something.)

We had two consecutive snow days to end Semester One, necessitating the creation of a powerpoint that my MDM students could critique. (I couldn't even get into work on the second day.) I used my paid day off to finish March Break later, so that I could be there (in France) for Alexandra's 9 months day. We also lost one day per semester to a tornado and a massive snow dump respectively.

We did two performances at school, "Seussical" in early March, for which I did the usual line counts along with act comparisons early on, and then I helped with a number of February rehearsals. (I also brought my daughter to the final matinee performance, and she behaved really well.) The second performance, "Almost, Maine" in May, I helped out with as far as the show run (and Cappies), but wasn't involved with rehearsals.

OAME 2019 (the annual math conference) was local to Ottawa this year, and I was part of the registration group. I did get to one session Thurs, two on Friday and two on Saturday. (I also took a bookshelf on a bus.) I'm still the COMA secretary. Since I mentioned it last year, I just checked my Cubic Formula song and it's at 5,643 views... I haven't made time to respond to the few additional comments it's received.

I did another holiday math parody, but let's put that in Hobbies.


UPKEEP RELATED


We had to replace the Furnace in August (last month), after returning to town and finding a big puddle of water in the basement. (It was the AC control board, but there was also a crack.) The big TV has been moved upstairs, I think in late 2018. I managed to shred a bunch of old bills and things to tidy my office in the summer.

The only other housing item of note happened after March Break, when the others were still in France. I moved all the empty boxes under the stairs into the garage, moved my boxes of old binders to underneath the stairs, and moved a chunk of my office (including my old Windows computer) downstairs into the alcove where they had been. Including the large bookcase of anime items from the main room.

This was all part of the baby proofing, the remaining bookcases were bolted to the wall and chemicals got locked away. There really wasn't any time for much else; the cedars outside have officially died, and some spots on the hedges don't look great either, but they're low priority for me.

Me and Anne-Lise have made it out to a few movies when her relatives have been available to look after the little one. Mostly Marvel ones; the other movies were Wednesdays with the little one.


HOBBY RELATED


Much like last year, went to CanCon in 2018 (for less time than prior years) and blogged about it 10 months later. Went to Anime North in 2019 and was on a panel about History of Anime Fandom (also blogged about that trip). This led to be being interviewed on a podcast in August ("Zannen, Canada"), as that event, coupled with my old "Sailor Mercury" interview, makes me reasonably interesting.

Most of my writing this year was for the "Time Travel Nexus" - my "Drawing on Time" column. I wrote reviews for "Bill & Ted Save the Universe", finished my BTTF run (with "Hard Time Served"), did three "Jughead: Time Police" columns... and then 14 columns for "Steins;Gate". (Most covered two episodes. The first stood alone but then the trilogy was one episode. The "episode 25" OAV and Movie were separate columns. Each column averaged about 2,000 words.) This also necessitated doing timecodes for screen captures.

I've switched back from posts there every two weeks to monthly posts again.


HEATHER BRIGHT
Commission from Mouds_art
"Time Untied" had been sitting at around 52,000 words from 2018. It gained another 30,000 words or so, over 25k coming from last November's NaNo. The last time I worked on it was the end of January/start of February. I did get commission character art at Anime North, so it's in my mind. The "Ink & Insights" results had the judges suspect it was a sequel. Speaking of, an old thread on RoyalRoadL came back from the dead, and I still get some links to "Time & Tied" from there.

I participated regularly in the "Comic Tea Party" (formerly of StArt Faire) on Discord Thursday nights, until it ended on May 23rd. It moved to a week-long format, and I haven't carved time out of my schedule for that. Kind of spent so much time reading the new comic of the week that I wasn't keeping up with the others I liked. Hope to get back to discussions though.

I haven't worked on my own "Any ~Qs" webcomic at all. I did manage the usual holiday parody in December, including some art. I wrote a new parody at the end of August to debut in my classes ("Only When We Train"). And I did write a stand-alone story about the characters for the "AlphaworldZ" website in July. I have an idea for a 2019 banner but haven't gotten around to creating it. My run on Tapas concluded at the end of June with 11 subscribers.

On the serial website side, "Chanced Erasures" (Epsilon Story #5) continued from entry #6 through to #14. There was also one image art created for it in January, and a "Behind the Scenes" post at its conclusion. The site then shifted to "Balancing Act", the old Virga story that was 50k+ words. That has required several edits, which started at the end of January and continued through to mid-August, turning it first into a 4-Act, and then a 6-Act story.

A number of other words were added there. In particular, the Trixie-liking-James plot thread was morphed.

On THIS blog, the 500th post occurred ("Off Target"), which involved editing an older offline story to have a more PG-rating. I decided I didn't have time/interest in creating something from scratch.

To have a couple of images for it, I also used my Wacom Tablet for the first time back in August, meaning the first time I went all-digital with nothing "hand drawn". There is also a random R story from years back that's into it's 8th iteration, with more added to it on occasion; I suspect that won't see the light of day but it amuses me.

I completed my OAME 2018 recap in late Sept 2018; my OAME 2019 recap has been transcribed electronically but still needs some formatting and other work. There has also been all of my "Parenting" posts (replacing "Teaching"), some silly "Doki Doki Literature Club" poems I posted to Lotus Prince's videos (as he was playing in February), and for live RP our group got through a session of "Tales from the Loop". (Trek managed one session after.)

I put together two videos, one before my daughter's birthday to celebrate her first year, and one after, to commemorate the birthday itself. Mostly still images with music. And I have a skeleton of a story for my daughter's origin, which I need to flesh out and add images to.

I'm actually somewhat heartened by this section. I didn't think I'd managed to do much at all.


MISCELLANEOUS


Our TV connection seems to be intermittent, it fried some time in January after the "Doctor Who" New Years special and before "Discovery: Season 2" (so I never got to watching the latter). I wonder how cable survives these days, I don't have time for it. I switched to watching the "Daily Show" online, and stopped entirely after being away for the summer.


I was forced by Bell to upgrade to a flip-phone (sim cards are the latest thing, they don't support earlier stuff). Initialized it all before Anime North so that I could keep in contact with my wife. Still rarely use it. (My dad had to upgrade their car phone too.)

My pedometer bracket broke and had to be duct taped. It finally fell off and was lost forever in the airports when we went home for Easter... my parents bought me a new one for my birthday then, so there's barely a day missing in the record. There was a gap in the stars streak but I don't remember when.

During the three weeks in France/Channel Islands for my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary, I was able to catch up on some of my online reading backlog. I also read the "new" Hercule Poirot book "Closed Casket" by Sophie Hannah when offline. And one of my pictures of the Guernsey cow (that I got for my daughter) won their tourism promotion for July, so we had some neat items shipped to us, that was unexpected.

I've bought more yuri, some of which I've had time to read. ("Kase-san" & "Gakuen Polizi" hells yes, "Yuri is my Job" & "After Hours" ok, "Nameless Asterism" & "Bloom into You" not bad, "Citrus" no.) For comics, "Jughead's Time Police" is back, and "Life is Strange" has a continuation. And I attended a Dad power evening workshop in May which I guess goes here rather than in Upkeep?

Also, I cook most of the dinners (do meal planning) at home. Which I guess makes sense since I tend to do the shopping too.


WHERE TO NEXT


I want to post the math stuff from last year which is nearly done but needs TIME to be hammered into the final version of posts. Then I want to get Alexandra's Story finished up. If all that can happen in October, perhaps a return to "Time Untied" for November's NaNo is in order, and I have people wondering if I'll do a math holiday parody for December already. (And will I get the 2019 banner done before 2020?)

All that is going to eat up my free time until January. In particular because I'm dealing with the MAP 4C course, updating material from four years ago, and am remaining full time... I also seem to be part of a cross-curricular lesson study.

If we assume everything comes together for February 2020, and I'm caught up? Who knows. I do hope to actually graph out my stress metres to see if there's patterns I can use going forwards, it's part of the reason I'm still doing those. Not sure if it'll happen.

Honestly, as long as things keep working out on the family side, I think I'll be happy overall. And that's all I think I'm going to say this year. If you have any tips for me, PLEASE let me know. If you have any particular questions about teaching or parenting, I'll see what I can do? Thanks for reading my mental rambling.