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
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.