Friday, August 22, 2014

Goals for 2014-2015 Academic Year

I go back to work on Monday for teacher workshops and getting the classroom ready for the new school year.  I have been lacking motivation to go and spruce up my room this year and I know that I will have a lot of work.  Fortunately, I did not have to take everything down off of my walls and bulletin boards.  So, it is more about trying to make the room look fresh for the new school year and I have plenty of ideas to make the freshness happen. 

Each year that I have worked with my principal, he has asked for the staff to write their personal goals for the academic year.  I have been working on what mine will be.  I've narrowed it down to theses three:

1) Blended Classroom:
At the end of last year, I felt that the goal for next year was going to be flipping the classroom.  That is still a goal, but it will be much more of a blended classroom than I originally thought it would be.  There are a lot of reasons for this. 

The biggest factor to sway me is that I am going to "unit-fy" the Saxon Algebra I book.  I found that as I "unit-fy" the text, there were places that I could actually give myself time back.  I especially found that there were lots of places to make a foldable that contained ideas from several lessons from the text. 

I will still make tutorial videos for students throughout the year.  I will also assign some of them.  I am just not quite ready to be fully flipped.  Maybe that will change as the year progresses.

2) Standards Based Grading:
I want to make strides to do this better this year.  I have spent a lot of time matching units, lessons, and standards and melding them together to hopefully be cohesive.  I have developed a self tracking sheet for students to keep in their INB this year.  I started units in Jumprope (it's a free on-line SBG grade book).  Still playing with the grade book and will see how it works.  I like the reports that it will make for me.  I think it will help parents transition into SBG.  I am also in the process of making syllabi for each unit.  All of this has meant less time for making foldables and putting together INBs.

However, none of this will work well unless I am more diligent about getting the corrected work back to the students.  Feedback is an area I have struggled with my entire career.  I need to improve and by focusing on making standards based grading work, feedback has to be timely.

3) Less Time Explaining; More Time Doing:
My last goal ties into the blended classroom.  I want to spend more time doing math and talking about math.  I have already gotten a subscription to Mathalicious and I want to subscribe to Yummy Math.  Both sites have lots of interesting problems, are real life based, and are very, very reasonable for the teacher budget.  Especially, if you are like me and will be paying out of pocket to access them.  

I want the students to do more thinking which means I really need to keep the classroom focused on collaboration.  I am hoping that the problems I find on both of these sites (and others sites I find throughout the year) will help me to foster that collaborative feeling.  Time will tell.  Plus, I can plan all I want, but until I have students in my room trying to do these activities, I won't know.

Well, those are my three goal.  I think that is enough.  I also feel like I will be able to measure them by the end of the school year.  Success is hopefully in my future!

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