The beginning……goals and first results

The beginning of the school year is always a time of turmoil for me.  I’m so excited to get started and so nervous at the same time.  You’d think, after 30 years, that I’d be used to it.  NOT!

This year I was particularly excited to get started.  I get to work with Kate Nowak (@k8nowak)  – YAHOO – and  Arlene Smith (@smitee60ne) and I have decided to expand our project from last year and have even been accepted to speak at the NCTM conference in Boston in April about the project and peer-to-peer mentoring in general.  We’re using a new learning management system in our school and I’ve been pretty involved in that too.  All these new adventures made me anxious to see the kids and hopefully get them as excited.

On top of these, I had some goals for myself – 1.  Do less talking. Have students working in groups more and talking to each other more.   2 – Work on NOT repeating students answers.  Letting them own their answers and encouraging them to listen to each other.  3 – Getting students to be willing to share their answers and look for different ways to solve problems.

And that was where this post stopped a month ago and its been sitting in my drafts folder since!  To say I’ve been a little busy is an understatement.  I’ve done it to myself – I’m just too interested in too many things.  But I’d rather be that way then to be bored and doing the same old thing all the time.  So I,m back to this post finally and wanting to put this out there so my goals are public.  Working on holding myself accountable for what I said I wanted to do – so there it is.

How am I doing so far?  Well… so, so….

1.  Less Talking – did pretty well at this in the beginning of the year but have slacked a bit lately.  Some content feels like it lends itself better to discovery than other material does.  I also am coming to believe that some productive discussion isn’t a bad thing.  Just yesterday I felt like I talked more than I would like but they talked to and it was more about leading them in a discovery than telling them.  Maybe I need to reword that goal – Less of me TELLING them stuff.  More about that lesson later.

2.  NOT Repeating their answers – this is still my most challenging area.  My reasoning is that I always want everyone to hear whats said but that can be accomplished by them repeating. I just need to remind myself constantly!

3.  Getting them to share their answers – again, not bad at the beginning but they are still a bit afraid.  I don’t necessarily think they are afraid of what I’ll say but more what others will say.  They don’t want to appear dumb in a class where they perceive that everyone is smarter than them.  We’re still working on building a community of trust there.  I’d just pluck some out and share them without names but then we’d miss the interesting part of asking the person what they were thinking and how they approached the problem from the beginning.  Ideas for building this trust?

Anyway… almost a nine weeks in (how did that happen) and that’s where I am.  Where are you?