This month, I'm participating in a blog challenge called Blaugust. To see the list of participating blogs, click on the logo above. I would encourage to you please cheer on our participants with either a tweet or a comment on their blog during this month. It can be hard to blog on a daily (or even regular) schedule! :) If you would like to join the blogging challenge, you can still sign-up anytime!
I know that theoretically, time moves at a steady pace. I also know that in real life, it doesn't. Each year goes by faster and faster and the time from August 1 until the first bell rings to start the school year has to be the fastest time period of the year.
After a busy weekend filled with last minute purchases and document creations, I have just a few hours of summer vacation left. I still have SO MUCH left to do but I needed to pause and think about this year's goals.
(Note: The 5 goals listed are my *big* goals of the year, and does not include the normal on-going goals like better connections with my students, etc)
Goal #1 - Thinking
Earlier this summer, one of my EduReads was Daniel Willingham's "Why Don't Students Like School?" Two take-aways from this book was that "Memory is the residue of thought" and "Whatever kids think about is what they will remember".
My plan: I have already started gathering rich problems for Geometry and plan to use them often. I want to get past the surface structures and really make sure my kids are thinking. I have my "Making Thinking Visible" resources handy as well. A huge part of this is going to be mindset as well, so I plan to use Jo Boaler's Week of Inspirational Math to help me out!
Goal #2 - Vocabulary
Both Geometry and Statistics are very vocabulary heavy courses and as a result, some students do not do as well as they could because of the language barrier of unfamiliar terms holds them back.
My plan: I am working on a warmup structure for both courses to do short vocabulary based exercises and quizzes. In addition, I've already shared the Vocabulary Knowledge Rating Charts for both courses and the Glossary for Geometry, so this plan is already underway. :)
Goal #3 - Number Sense
This goal is primarily for my Geometry students, but like many secondary math teachers, I have long lamented the lack of numeracy skills by my students. However, I'm done griping about it and ready to DO something about it! My main book chat this summer was on Tracy Zagar's "Becoming the Math Teacher You Wish You'd Had" and she talked about the importance of Estimation and Sense-Making - traits that are sorely lacking in my classroom!
My plan: I will implement Number Talks, mostly through Math Monday warmups after we get through the introduction phase. I started reading Making Number Talks Matter and I'm about halfway through. As my own arithmetic skills aren't the best, I'm really excited to work with my students on this one! In addition, we will "Estimate, then Calculate" on many things because it drives me batty when a kiddo tells me an angle is obtuse, then tells me its measure is 34 degrees... ummm....
Goal #4 - Parent Communication
This is a weakness of mine. I really, really, REALLY hate talking on the phone. What should be a 2-3 minute conversation almost always ends up as 30+ minutes and then I have lost valuable planning time. However, I recognize the importance of parent communication, so I am vowing to be better at it!
My plan: Our attendance system has an "email class" option, so I want to use this feature at least once a month to email out a newsletter to my parents to let them know who I am and what we are learning in class. I haven't really fleshed this one out completely and my newsletters may be totally lame at first, but I am way better with email than I am with the phone! :)
Goal #5 - Feedback and Intervention
This goal really needs its own blog post and maybe it will eventually! :) One of my frustrations last year was that I had a few kids slip through the cracks, which led me to re-read Robyn Jackson's "How to Support Struggling Students" this summer. In addition, Tracy Zager's book talked about that feedback is useless if kiddos don't have time to process and DO something with that feedback.
My plan: When I give students feedback, I need to be intentional about giving them time to process and apply that feedback. I want to have an idea of where they are PRIOR to an assessment by utilizing some of Jackson's strategies throughout instruction, but also having "red flags" in place to trigger interventions as needed to veer us back onto the right course.
What are your goals for the new year?