31 things I want to remember to do more of…with a downloadable calendar.

I am pretty proud of a 31 day changeable & repeatable monthly calendar I made to remind me of things I want to do more of in my classroom.  At the end of this post are links for you to download the print this calendar if you think it is as cool as I do…..but first, a little back story of where this calendar came from:

About a week and a half before my state math conference, Megan Schmidt @veganmathbeagle tweeted out the following:megan's inspiring tweet

Though I did not respond to potential math, this tweet did cause me to go down the rabbit hole of crazy pictures you find on twitter and Facebook.  As I looked at these photos, many represented a message to me as a teacher.  The photos caused me to reflect on my practice.  Since I am such a big fan of the power of a photograph to speak louder than words, I decided to see if I could add a last minute session to our state’s upcoming math conference, only a week away.  Never mind that I was already doing 4 sessions.  Never mind that as president of our organization, MCTM, I had countless other responsibilities I cardsdecided to do an additional ‘POP-UP’ session on these photos.

As I found photos and started writing down what they reminded me to do more of in my classroom, I decided to make a calendar to place next to my desk.   At some point I thought it would be good, despite having a full time job, to  pull together 31 photos and messages into a downloadable calendar in less than a week AND then organize it into a presentation.  I don’t recommend trying to do this at this pace, but thanks to my friends Morgan, Megan and Ali I pulled it off.

FRONT  day 1 picture side                                                                                

BACKDay 1 words

So check out day 1 of my calendar.  The front is a photo and the back is a message that the photo represents to me.  Each message is written to me, Sara VanDerWerf, so it will be interesting if you find them useful.  One of my favorite days right now is #6 which is based on a picture/article tweeted out by the LA Times 2 weeks ago mapping every shot Kobe Bryant ever made. (when you have time – check out the article, you can hover over any point and it tells you when he made it)   Check out my screen shot below:

M. jordan

Kobe took 30,699 shots in his career.  Some he made (purple) and some he missed (gold).  30,699 is close to the same number of lessons an average secondary teacher will teach in 35 years of teaching…..

best shooter ever

If you put all the cards together, add a binder clip and a command hook – it looks a little like this…..

As I post this, it is May 2nd.  Today’s picture and tomorrow’s pictured are shown below.  If you are interested in the messages about teaching math they inspired, download the calendar and print it back to back and make your own really cool calendar for yourself.



I would love to hear from you of ideas for additional reminders for the classroom OR send me a picture that might have a hidden message for our classrooms.  Comment below OR tweet me @saravdwerf or email me at sarav@mpls.k12.mn.us.



Sara VanDerWerf

I am Sara Van Der Werf, a 24-year mathematics teacher in Minneapolis Public Schools. I have taught math in grades 7-12 as well as spent several years leading mathematics at the district office. I currently teach Advanced Algebra at South High School and I'm also the current President of the Minnesota Council of Teachers of Mathematics (MCTM). I am passionate about encouraging and connecting with mathematics teachers. I'd love to connect via twitter.  Join the community.  Tweet me @saravdwerf.

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