Sunday, August 21, 2011

School Year Goals 2011-2012

Since my #summerlist helped keep me on track somewhat this summer (I did get a lot done, but not quite all I wanted to), I thought it would help me stay on track if I did something similar for the school year. My list, however, is not going to be as lengthy. Hopefully, this will help keep me accountable and focus what I want to accomplish this school year. I have never done this before, but I have also never felt compelled to do this either. So, here goes nothing, I guess.

Goal 1 - Bellringers
I have never done a great job consistently starting the period. Some classes I have done a better job than others, but I have not really ever been consistent. This summer I came up with a plan for "themes" for bellringer activities:

  • Mental Monday
  • Testing Tuesday
  • What-We've-Been-Doin' Wednesday
  • Testing Thursday (or possibly Think-About-It Thursday depending)
  • Free-For-All Friday
Since I have my students keep 3-ring binders, I will have them set a section for Bellringers there. I think I will have papers designed for them to put them on, which will hopefully make them a little more interesting/fun.

Goal 2 - Incorporate Reasoning and Sense Making activities
I attended the NCTM's Institute on Reasoning and Sense Making this July in Orlando. I definitely left inspired to incorporate these activities into my classes. I have not totally figured out how often I intend to do this - part of this is that I didn't do much this summer as far as trying to find some rich(er) tasks to use in my classes. I think I will aim for at least once a grading period in each of my three preps (Math 1, Algebra 2, and Advanced Algebra 2). As a part of this, I will be adjusting some of the "structure" of my class as I talked about earlier.

Goal 3 - Work on my Questioning Skills/Helpfulness
Part of this goal will be incorporated in Goal 2, because I will have to work managing rich tasks in the classroom. I am presently reading 5 Practices for Orchestrating Productive Mathematics Discussions and that is already helping me to not only better grasp how to set up rich tasks in my classes, but I know from seeing the author speak at the aforementioned Institute that this book will help me to get a better idea of how to set up activities to improve student understanding. I am also intending to do some reading during the school year on how to ask good questions of my students and generally "being less helpful" as Dan Meyer puts it.

Goal 4 - Blog more often
Last school year, I was very erratic on my blogging. I have said previously that this blog is for me - it allows me to reflect on what I am doing. I haven't really done that until I started this blog. But what I have found through blogging and following others' blogs is that I learn a whole lot from the blogosphere. People are willing to share things that have worked (and not worked) in their classrooms and with having only 2 other math teachers to share with at school, hearing those experiences is invaluable. I hope that I am able to contribute some things this year that others can learn from as I have learned from other bloggers.

For the moment, that's what I am going to put in front of myself as goals for this school year. I know there are lots of other things that I would like to do, but I think by focusing on these four goals, I can make some good progress this school year. I am continuing to use Standards-Based Grading in my classroom (this is my second year) - between that and learning how to use the SMARTBoard, I had my hands pretty full with those two things last year. Since I have a pretty good grasp on both (and both can be things that are time consuming), I think four goals is a good place to start.


Anonymous said...

I love that you have set goals for yourself and I think that your goals are realistic. I may borrow a few. In TN we are required to have a starter now and we are graded on how soon we start the class and the pace. We are also measured on our closing and measuring mastery in each class setting. If we fail to do this, we are marked down. We have suprise visits so you have to be prepared daily. It is amazing how this has motivated most teachers here to go back to what Harry Wong taught us in The First Days of Schools. Good luck with this. It really helps to set the tone for your class.

Chris Luzniak said...

I like the themed "bellringers" (or as we call them "Try Nows"). I give all my students a KenKen every Friday, and though they struggle with it at the beginning of the year, it becomes the start of class they most look forward to. I give out a KenKen, put on some chill music, and the students are focused for a good 5-10 minutes. I also think KenKen has really improved their number sense and fluency. :)