Sunday, October 20, 2013

Math and Mickey

I found out last month that I would be presenting at the FCTM conference in Orlando. I was going to be the only one from my school going, so I suggested to my husband that he and the kids come along. The hotel is right next to Sea World, so I thought they could spend the day at the park while I was at the math conference.

Then we got a letter in the mail from Disney. We could upgrade the tickets we had from this summer to season passes for about $100 a person. My little guy is still free, so for $300 we could have passes good until June. The offer was too good to pass up. Sea World was out, Disney was in.

The plan was to leave right after work on Wednesday. My daughter was so excited she couldn’t sleep on Tuesday. After finally getting her to sleep, I was up until 2am packing/prepping. Then Wednesday the Irishman and I both ended up working later than planned. By the time we got on the road it was 8:00pm. When we got to Orlando just before midnight, the kids were suddenly wide awake. It was 1am before we got to bed.

My little guy woke up at 5:50am. We were exhausted. The kids were wired. I got them dressed, packed, and ready for the 7:30 bus. Unfortunately that meant that I threw on clothes to check in for the conference and attend the opening session.

I headed back to the room after that for a nice shower and to make the finishing touches on my presentation. I ate lunch and headed to my session.

I was worried that no one would show up. The presentation started at 12:45. By 12:30 it was standing room only. I was so nervous.

I am not a fan of session where you have to get up and move around. I don’t particularly like to chat with my neighbor. I teach that way in my classroom with my students, but it is not my thing at a conference. I decided to try having people backchannel using Todays Meet. It worked! In hindsight I wish I’d have stopped to talk about the comments in the middle, but live and learn. People actually logged in and took part in the discussion.

I am really happy with how the whole thing went. I titled my session “New Ideas in Technology for the Elementary Math Classroom.” I did finish a little early, but then again it started a little early due to the full room, so one seemed to mind. I’ve met some lovely people and had nice comments from others who were in my presentation. All in all, I’m considering it a success!

While I was presenting, my husband sent me this picture:


When the kids got back we had dinner in the room (we brought food) and explored the playground/mini golf. The room only has a shower, so we decided a quick swim in the pool and showering off there would work. (Don’t judge – you wouldn’t want to manage a 2 year old and a 3 year old in the shower here!)

As a special treat, we used the projector I brought along for the presentation to show the kids a movie.


They lasted about 15 minutes before falling asleep.


After getting about 5 hours of sleep the night before and then spending the day at Disney, they slept solidly. I can’t remember the last time we all slept to 7:30!

Today was another day of conference for me and Disney for them. I picked up a few new ideas I’ll be trying out soon. It looks like our old Wii may be coming to school with me for some golf subtraction fun! The Irishman and the kids aren’t back yet, but from the pictures I got I’d say it was a good day today, too.



I’m excited to get to join them at the park tomorrow after a couple of morning sessions. I’ve questioned our sanity a few times this trip, but in the end it has worked out really well!


I wrote this on Friday, but the hotel Wi-Fi wasn’t working and this is the first time I’ve had a chance to get online. We had a great time at the park on Saturday and a lazy day around the house today. I was all set for a productive teacher work day tomorrow, but it looks like I will have my little guy with me. It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also plan to purchase 18-36 pumpkins tomorrow for pumpkin week in the STEAM Lab. This could be interesting!


  1. It sounds exhausting, but the smiles on your little ones faces are priceless. Disney is the best with little ones. We are heading to Sea World soon for the Halloween Spectacular. So excited.

  2. Wow...sounds like you had a whirlwind of a trip, but so FUN!! I would have loved to be in your workshop! I always love to hear new ways to integrate technology into math and all subjects!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'