The new year is close! Many folks are already back to school, but thankfully, I’ve got one more week of summer before the madness begins. With 3/4 of my preps this year completely new (and 2 of those in math, a subject I’ve never taught before), keeping my expectations for myself in check will be extra important. While I wouldn’t describe myself as a perfectionist, I definitely hold myself to a high standard and can pretty easily go from productive pressure to destructive frustration if I’m not careful. So I really appreciate that Julie shared the Stop, Continue, Start framework of goal-setting (thinking about using it with our 7th graders, too!). So without further ado…
- Ack! Here I was all excited about this and now I can’t think of anything! No doubt they’ll come to me in a flood as soon as I hit publish…
- Refining the use of SBAR in my classes – I need to spend some time this year working with students to develop a good system for reassessment. Reassessment didn’t really happen last year unless I made it happen for the student (reminders, appointments, etc all driven primarily by me). Suggestions welcome!
- Getting students to take more responsibility for their own learning. Some of that ties directly in with the previous goal, but this also extends to things like homework – especially in my math classes, where my plan is to have students responsible for grading their own homework, and really thinking about where their strengths and struggles are.
- Having fun. This is the best part about teaching middle school – they’re at the perfect age for being able to have real conversations and debates about meaningful issues, and yet they’re still totally willing to get silly and make up lengthy mythologies about your classroom mascot (I’ll have to introduce Trunky the Elephant here on the blog sometime).
- Teaching math! Okay, that’s not so much a goal as it is a reality, but I really want to do it justice. So thank you to all the math bloggers who so generously share their activities, successes, and challenges because I’ve so appreciated all that I’ve learned from you!
- Specifically teaching students how to ask productive questions – I’m excited about the SMART questions activity that Liz posted about and am working with my team to plan other ways to help students ask better questions.
- Using the group roles I established last year more consistently and effectively (thanks to Jason for the inspiration – I used his ideas to come up with this handout for my students – sorry, I haven’t figured out how to make the pdf show up on the page… I probably need a scribd account?)
This post is also supposed to be about classroom set-up, but unfortunately my classroom is still in summer-mode because there is a 2-day special summer camp meeting there next week, so I can’t set anything up until after that. Unfortunately I only have a couple phone pictures of my classroom, so I’ll have to post better pictures later, but my plans are…
- 4 students per table (and I have bigger tables this year, yay!)
- Move the couch to the room next door, but keep the carpeted area for discussions (the couch just causes in-fighting anyway, and without it there will be more room for everyone to sit circled up for discussions, which I use a lot in my science classes)
- Sign-out mini whiteboard by the door so I know where students are when they leave class (I’ve already made this with a DrSeuss whiteboard from the dollar spot at Target) – I got the idea from pinterest, of course!
- Make some sort of magnetic signs for my whiteboard that indicate what supplies students need to have out at the beginning of class (e.g., yes you need your notebook out, no you don’t need your ipad…)
- Continue to be excited about the newest fabric I put up to cover my bulletin boards – it’s loud and bright and not butcher paper!