Math = Love: 30 Awesome Facts You Should Probably Know About Ms. Hagan

Sunday, August 17, 2014

30 Awesome Facts You Should Probably Know About Ms. Hagan

Inspired by John Mahlstedt and his My Favorites presentation at #TMC14, I made a slideshow of "30 Awesome Facts You Should Probably Know About Ms. Hagan" for the first day of school.

I still need to blog about the first day of school, but that's a lot harder than just talking about myself.  So, I thought you might want to learn these 30 awesome facts about me, too.

So, here we go.  Hold on to your hats!  It's going to be an exciting ride that is chock full of random childhood photographs of yours truly.  

For a lot of my students, I may be the first vegetarian they have ever met.  

 Vegetarianism was never a conscious choice.  It just sort of happened to me.  My dad's family is vegetarian for religious reasons, but my dad isn't.  My mom's family eats meat.  When she was in her mid-twenties, she got sick from eating a bad hamburger and vowed to never eat meat again.  That was before I was born.  So, when my sister and I came along, we didn't eat meat either.  My parents made it clear to me growing up that I could choose to eat meat at anytime, but it honestly terrifies me.  There's so many rules and you have to handle it properly or you could die.

All year, my kids will quiz me on whether or not I can eat certain items.    I do eat eggs and dairy products.  Just no meat or seafood.

Students always seem to want to know how old I am.  This is probably due to the fact that I look like I'm still in high school.  And, I thought it would be best to just announce my relationship status on the first day of school.    

I can't believe I'm already starting my 3rd year in Drumright!  I always take a little time to explain where I'm from since I'm not from Drumright.  I didn't even know where Drumright was when I got the call to interview here.  I put stars on the map where I live now and where I grew up.  It's an hour and fifteen minute drive between the two towns.  #TMC14 people will recognize Jenks on the map!  

I talk about my sister a lot in class, so I wanted to introduce her day one.  

And, here's a random fact about me that you might not know.  

I guess I should explain this one.  Whenever I'm driving down the road, if I see a tractor, I feel compelled to try to guess the brand and model number of the tractor and then verify the results as I pass it.  Does that make me officially weird?  I come by it naturally.  Growing up, my dad would point at tractors out the window and ask my sister and me what brand they were.  

My family runs a tractor salvage/component remanufacturing facility/machine shop.  That means they build engines, transmissions, axles, final drives, shuttles, and more.  My parents started taking me to work with them every single day from the time I was a couple of months old.  I grew up around tractors.  My childhood pictures have backdrops of tractor engines and backhoe buckets.  In high school, I started working for my parents full-time during the summer.  I answered the phones, handled accounts payable and accounts receivable, built the company website, arranged the shipping of our engines across the country, and ran errands.  I continued working for them all through college.  My parents offered to give me a job following graduation, but my passion isn't in backhoes, loaders, and dozers.  It's in teaching.    

I took for granted my first year of teaching that students knew that all public school teachers are required to have a college degree.  I was able to attend TU on a full-ride scholarship for being a National Merit Scholar.  I hope that sharing the fact that I went to college on scholarship will help encourage my students to apply for more scholarships!  

Then, I did something super scary.  Something I've never really done before.  I told my students about my blog.  Am I insane?  A few students had already found it.  I don't write anything that I'm ashamed of here.  So, I don't think it should be a problem.  If I don't want a student to read it, I probably shouldn't be writing it.  

Like my warning?  Anything you say or do in my classroom may be posted on the Internet.  This year, I have 41 students who I have taught previously.  After hearing this announcement, many of them wanted to know if there was something about them on my blog.  

They were AMAZED that there are that may people out there in the world who would read a math teacher blog.  Then, I rubbed the fact that I have more twitter followers than them in their faces.  :)  This drives them INSANE.  

I showed them this picture from Twitter Math Camp of our INB party.  They wanted to know why we didn't have chairs at the conference... 

This is a question I've been asked several times by students.  When did you decide to become a teacher?  When I was around 8, somebody asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  My half-sister wanted to be a teacher at the time, so I copied her and announced that I wanted to be a teacher.  Unlike most kids, I never changed my mind.  Though, there was a short stint in the 7th grade where I toyed with the idea of becoming a journalist.  But, that was only because I made a mild crush on the journalism teacher.  I didn't decide what grade level/subject I wanted to teach until I was a junior in high school.  One day, I was looking up something to help me in my trig class, and I ended up on Math Teacher Mambo's blog.  I loved it.  Bookmarked it.  Told my teacher about it.  Came back and read every single blog post she had written.  Pretty soon, I started going through the comments to find other math teacher blogs to read.  I've been obsessed for a while!  The #MTBoS and I have long been friends!  

Another common question is if I have any pets.  I think the pictures speak for themselves on this one.  

I adore puzzles!  

And, if a student wants to bring me chocolate or leftovers from the food prep and nutrition class, I will not complain!  

Of course, I had to tell them about my travels.  

And, this is the point where non-math people probably start thinking I'm really weird.  I call this foreshadowing.  :)  

I get to go to school on my birthday for the second year in a row!  Woot!  My birthday almost always falls on Thanksgiving Break.  So, this is a special occasion indeed!  Last year, I ended up with two birthday cakes and a birthday cupcake from my students.  I blogged about the experience here.

 Since one of my students educated me last year about golden birthdays, I decided I should educate my students.  Your golden birthday is when your age matches the day you were born on.  My birthday is November 25th, so my golden birthday will be my 25th birthday.  #CannotWait

I also used this as a chance to introduce my students to the concept of Friday Letters which I am stealing from Rebecka Peterson.

I can't help but mention the current competition going on between my sister and myself.  We're competing to see who can read the most books during 2014.  I'll let the image speak for itself.  Let's just say the score is not pretty right now.  I need more time!  

Students also want to know what type of person you were in high school.  I went to a much bigger high school than the school I currently teach in, so we had the option of taking Academic Team (Quiz Bowl) as a class in lieu of athletics.  Academic team was my thing.  I wasn't in band.  I didn't play sports.  My sister and I both competed from 7th grade through our senior years of high school.  My senior year, I was named to the All-State team.  

I also tell students from Day 1 that I am super-involved in my church.  It's a tiny country church, so I wear a lot of different hats.  Pianist.  Sunday school teacher.  Vacation Bible School director.  Church camp sponsor.  Children's church teacher.  This year, my 14th year to go to camp, I climbed up 40 feet in the air inside the "fish net."  I made them take my picture climbing so I could prove to my students that I did it!  

Students usually figure this one out pretty quickly.  I type unnaturally fast.  When I started the 8th grade, I was probably the world's slowest typist.  But, I refused to look at my fingers when I took typing, and I slowly got faster and faster and faster until I was typing faster than anyone else in the school.  I've slowed down a bit because I'm out of practice.  But, I took a quiz the other day and typed 103 words in a minute.  That's not too shabby.  My students say that it sounds like I'm shooting bullets out of my fingertips when I type.  Apparently, that can be a little distracting during a quiz or test....  It is one of the most useful things I ever learned to do, though.

After riding public transportation for the first time in my life this summer in Denver, I started to think about all the things I have still yet to do.  I've never flown.  #TMC15 is going to be in LA though.  And, that's a pretty long drive.  I may just have to get over my fear of flying!  Though, driving would allow me to add several states to my list of states visited...  I haven't been on a cruise either.  And, I'd love to travel by train.  I've rode the train at Silver Dollar City and Dry Gulch USA, but I don't count those.  I want to ride a train that goes somewhere!  

I've never quite understood why students want to know what kind of car I drive.  First, I told them that my driving test grade was the worst test score of my life.  But, I have never been pulled over or wrecked, so I can't be that terrible of a driver.  I included pictures (from Google Images) of my first car and my current car.  I really hope they DON'T key my car!  

I've never broken a bone.  But, my sister has.  And, apparently both times were my fault.  The first time she was 3.  We were both on the teeter totter.  She fell off.  I think she should have been holding on better.  She claims it was my fault though.  Debatable.  The second time she was five.  I convinced her that it would be cooler if we sat on the back of the couch to color in our coloring books.  It's not my fault that she doesn't have the best balance in the world.

I like to be honest with my students that there are things I am not good at.  Swimming would fall under that category.  I probably won't drown.  But, you won't find me swimming laps.  I just can't do it.  Or, I should say, I haven't put in the effort to learn how to properly breathe and swim at the same time.  

Can you figure out which one I am in the picture?  This is my 4th grade class on Land Run Day.  I used to assume that everyone knew about the Land Run.  But, apparently that's something that people outside of Oklahoma don't necessarily learn about.  

I'm on the far right in the blue dress with the white apron.  Want to know what my prize was for winning my class' dress up contest?  I was deemed a Sooner in the Land Run.  I had to try to sneak past the guy with the gun and claim my land before the shot was fired to start the land run.  Do you know what happens when you do that?  People start chasing you, catch you, and throw you in jail.  If you know me at all, you know that I am NOT a rule breaker.  If I'm not supposed to go before a certain time, I don't go before that time.  While I was hanging out in jail, everybody else got to claim their land first.  I think I'm still traumatized by that experience.

What sports did you play in high school Ms. Hagan?

Ha.  Ha.  Ha.  Might was well tell you on Day Uno that I did not play any sports in high school.

I did serve a volleyball over the net this summer at church camp.  This was something that I was never able to do when we played volleyball in PE.  Well, to be honest, I was the girl who ran and screamed anytime the volleyball came near me.  I was the girl that you did not want on your team.

We'll conveniently ignore the 19 or so times that my serve did not go over the net, though, and focus on the one time it did!

I want to train and run a 5K.  I'm not a runner.  So, I figured that there was no better motivation than telling my students about my plan to run a 5K.  I did end up running the first day of school, so I guess that it did help.  

Love my last slide.  I am super excited about this school year.  Disclaimer: I'm almost as excited for this year as I am for my new pencil sharpener!  You might have seen the picture of it in my classroom pics for this year.  

It's super awesome, and it's from Classroom Friendly Supplies.  It gives you such a good pencil sharpening experience that I *had* to take a selfie with the first pencil I sharpened using it.  That's completely natural, right?  

I've got plans to write a full review.  Look for it in the next couple of days.  Until then, if you can't wait to order your new best friend, here's a discount code or 5% off a pencil sharpener.  It expires November 1st, so act fast!  


So, there you have it.  30 awesome facts that you should probably know about yours truly.  I hope you learned something!    


  1. You're ADORABLE.

    And I love this idea!

    Anisa @ Creative Undertakings

    1. Thanks Anisa! I had so much fun making this powerpoint! Probably #toomuchfun LOL

  2. Wow, that is great. I will be ordering that pink pencil sharpener, thanks! I loved reading about your travels in an earlier post and it was nice to get to know you in this post. I am not sure I am so daring with my students. Good for you!

    1. Thanks! It's kinda funny. When I was student teaching, I wouldn't answer any questions that students would ask me about myself. Now, I'm an open book. :) I think it's also partly due to the school I work at. We're super small, I have some students this year for the third year in a row. We get to know each other pretty well.

      You're going to LOVE the pencil sharpener!

  3. I am so inspired by all of your posts. It is amazing how we are the same age and teach the same levels of math. I am definitely incorporating a lot of your ideas this year including interactive notebooks. I am so excited to see how they benefit my students. I look forward to all of your posts. Thank you so much!! Hope to be as a great a teacher you are. :)

    Amber Fickes

    1. Hey Amber! Thanks for the kind words. Good luck with the interactive notebooks this year! I think your students (and you!) are going to love them! Let me know if you ever need any help with anything!

  4. There so much for sharing. Love it all!

    1. You're welcome! Thanks for reading my blog. It means a lot to me.

  5. I took pictures of my sharpened pencils after I got that sharpener too! Love it!!

  6. Good Morning Sarah! I didn't realize we have the same birthday! Well, obviously not the year, but definitely the day! I was so happy to meet and work with you during the convening the summer. You are awesome!

    1. Thanks Jen! I can't believe we're birthday buddies and didn't realize it! I enjoyed meeting you and working with you as well! Us Oklahoma math teachers are so lucky to have you and Levi working for us!

  7. Truly exciting blog. I majored in math at Northeastern-Tahlequah 55 years ago. Went to Baptist camp at Kiamichi 60 years ago. I was Methodist and should have gone to Camp Egan, but the girls at Kiamichi Baptist Camp were prettier. Thanks for good memories. Stay true to teaching.

    1. How cool! My sister is graduating from NSU-Tahlequah this week! Thanks for your kind words.

  8. I just heard your story on public radio. Congratulations on being one of the 50 Great Teachers!

    I was curious what you fascinated you most when studying math in college. I studied math and physics. What fascinated me was euler's formula, exp(ix) = cos(x) + i * sin(x), Fourier series, and Buffon's needle problem. Did you ever have you students calculate pi with a needle?

  9. I absolutely LOVE your blog! I just finished teaching sixth grade summer school math in Tulsa and will begin teaching in North Carolina next month. I especially love the ideas for promoting growth mindset and 100% student engagement. Thanks for the inspiration!

    1. You're very welcome! Good luck starting your new job!

  10. Now that I read yours, I thought it fair to share my own list. I've been in this "business" for 26 years now, so I've collected quite a list: .

    1. Oh my goodness! It took a while to read your entire list, but I have to say I am thoroughly impressed!