Monday, December 15, 2014

(blog): Last Friday's #NYCMathTweetUp Meet-Up

As promised yesterday, more about my weekend meet-ups.

On Friday Night, a gathering of #mathednyc took place at the offices of Offices of New Visions for Public Schools on West 13 Street in New York City, dubbed the #NYCMathTweetUp. I'm not sure how the capitalization worked with hashtags. Prior to the event, I read that n > 30 had RSVPed, where n is "the number of people interested". However, upon arrival, I discovered fewer than that made it there on a cold night, but this didn't discourage anyone.

The icebreaker game started as soon as we stepped off the elevator and filled in our name tag. We had to pick another tag from the tree with the name of another guest. I thought to jokingly call these hashtags, but they actually contained our Twitter handles instead. The goal was to locate that person and start a conversation. I joked that I might find my partner, but she might excuse herself because she was still looking for her partner. And I say "she" because I did, in fact, locate @khatrimath before the evening ended. I didn't have many comments to make at that point, except that I thought that the two of us were the only ones with math in our Twitter handles.

Guests were asked to bring a math activity that we could try out. I promptly forgot all about that. Not a problem, however, because (1) David Wees @daidwees supplied us with a page of New Visions Math Tweetup Puzzles, and (2) we didn't actually do any. But that was fine, because the conversations were flowing nicely. (I even stopped talking long enough to allow other to speak... a few times, any way ...)

The one major activity of the evening (after eating too many sliders) was an activity entitled Things That Suck. As educators, we divided ourselves into three camps -- Totally Sucks, Does Not Suck, and Need More Info/Might (Not) Suck -- on each of several burning topics, including Homework, Regents exams and Professional Development. This last one being the reason I tweeted that the evening was "like Professional Development, but, you know, fun", and why the first response to that was "the kind that doesn't suck", by the aforementioned @khatrimath.

The evening wound down and the conversation continued at a local establishment a few blocks away, where the picture I posted yesterday was taken.

Update: What the heck, I'll add a little about Saturday night, too. I was debating whether or not to add a little more about the Celtic Cross concert because the readers here are usually looking for mathy-geeky comics or math-education discussion. But I'm Irish, and I had a good time, so why not? It's not blog, right?

I uploaded a couple of videos to youtube. I'll link you to their cover of Little Talks, which I referenced in a comic last summer. Search on user cjburke23 to find a bunch more. It was a fun show, and I had a sneak peek at their playlist so that I'd know when to film songs I hadn't gotten before. Unfortunately, they strayed from the playlist a few times. After the end of the evening, the crowd was screaming for "One. More. Song. One! More! Song!", and they obliged (and even played two).

It was at this point, the lead singer, Kathleen Vessey Fee called me over (I was close to the front) and said, "Chris, give someone your phone!". Then she handed me the Cowbell and the stick to play it. Unfortunately, I didn't know anyone well enough to hand over my videocamera (it's not a phone) who wasn't also dancing. The thing is: I knew that this would likely happen, given that it was a birthday night out for me, and this was secretly why I invited a bunch of people. So there isn't any video of it (not that I'm aware of), but I played along on the Black-Eyed Peas Tonight's Gonna Be A Good Night, which then led into Taylor Swift's You Belong With Me.

It was at this point that the jaw of the young lady pictured below dropped halfway to the dance floor as did those of several of her friends, all of whom were surprised that I appeared to know the song and could sing along with it. So I got a picture with my first "groupie", Jill. The gentleman with her took it, so I'm safe. And it was about time we were introduced because she and her friends are regulars at these shows, and we've bumped into each other on the (very small) dance floor before.

So no math discussions that night, not even about the Guinness t-test, unless that was a taste test.

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