Keep, Change, Start and Stop – Pondering the beginning of a new year

Seems I only post once a year these days!  At any rate… here’s where my mind is going right now.  Hoping that writing it down will help my mind focus a bit more!   I am quite anxious for thoughts, comments and ideas – so please feel free!! You all are my PLC!  I’m depending on you to clear my fogginess!

Keep – 

Standards Based Grading at all levels – I can’t begin to describe how liberating this process has been.  My kids love it – they know exactly what they need to work on and they really appreciate the opportunity to improve.  I love that I can look at their work with new eyes.  No more – “should I take off a point for that silly error?”  Looking at their work from this perspective has actually helped me focus more on their overall understanding and less on the individual pieces.

Math Forum Problems of the Week and peer-to-peer mentoring – I actually simply-orange-and-purple (1)want to use these even more this year.  Hopefully add them to my academic level (maybe this should have gone under “change”.)  My kids last year reported that the peer-to-peer mentoring really helped them understand and better express their mathematical thinking and I saw a big improvement in their writing from the beginning of the year to the end.  (See our presentation materials on this project HERE!)  Super excited that NCTM has partnered with Math Forum too!  Anxious to see where that partnership will lead!

Change – 

Interactive Notebooks for my academic level – I’ve used INB for the past two years but this year I let them slip.  I didn’t check them as often and that didn’t force kids to keep up.  I also want to add in more practice within the notebook as opposed to on separate sheets of paper.

– kids just don’t do it…. at almost any level.  How can I changeit so they might actually do it?  How can I limit it so it seems more doable but also gives them enough practice to solidify ideas and (unfortunately) procedures?  How can I set 418602591up homework to spiral content?   I think practice over a longer time would help the content “stick” better – just my thoughts.

Grading homework – Do I grade it?  Not grade it?  Kids assure me that if I would grade it they would do it – that’s a bunch of hogwash?  Do I give them just a work ethic grade for it?  Check it only if they want to reassess.  Or focus on classwork in their INB for a work ethic grade?  I know …lots of questions that I think we all have.

Group work – perhaps this should be expand instead of change.  I already do some of this but I want to expand it.  Similar to last years goal of “Talk less.”  Perhaps using Math Forum problems, Exeter problem sets, classwork and homework review as the bouncing off point for this work.

Start – 

A review at the beginning of the year – preferably one that doesn’t suck!2015-08-05 10.15.31

Interactive Notebooks in my honors class – How do I approach this with my honors kids?  Many already know how to organize at least somewhat.  How do I not make this seem like an “elementary” task?  I’m really drawn to this idea but want it to be a great resource for them but not make a ton of more work for me.

Big Blue Button Hangout office hours – I want to use our learning management system, Canvas, to host some Online office hours for my kids in the evenings.  Can someone add some hours to the day?

Stop – 

Homework review in class – spending 10 – 20 minutes reviewing homework that many kids haven’t done is just a waste of everyone’s time.  They aren’t getting anything out of watching/listening to me solve problems.  They need to solve problems.  I think I’m going to provide answers and give them 5-10 minutes to review in groups.  Perhaps having them decide on 2 or 3 problems that they want to review and assigning them to the groups to present.

As I mentioned previously, I have so much running through my head that its a little overwhelming.  I have lots I want to start and change but I know, from more experience than I care to admit, that I can’t do all of these.  I must prioritize and focus otherwise I’ll do none of them well.   HELP!  Kids come back in two weeks!  Can’t wait and I’m not ready all at the same time!

Again – would love your thoughts, comments and ideas!!




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