Friday, September 25, 2015

Too Late to set 2015-2016 Goals?

I'd like to think it's not too late to set some specific goals for the 2015-2016 school year.

I stumbled upon a blog post (read as: I fell down the rabbit hole of math teacher blogs today) and thought that creating a similar blog would be super helpful!

Classroom Environment/Teaching

  • Greet every student by name, everyday. I want to say each student's name out loud each day. There's something about being directly spoken to. I'd like to think I do this regularly, but I'm afraid there are some students that might not have their name said by their teacher each time they see them.
  • Use sites like Estimation 180 and Which One Doesn't Belong? to get kids talking about math (possibly as warm-ups?) 
  • Create a culture where students aren't afraid of making mistakes in class. (Think of the clip "Making mistakes makes us smarter.")
  • Make the classroom more cozy. It needs posters, etc! 
  • I want to revive my positive notes. In the past, I used to make it a point to give a student a positive note each day. One student per day (or sometimes all five on a Friday because that's when I had time for it.) I'd love to have the positive focus be on their perseverance in math, etc., but I am also happy just giving them some positive feedback for anything I noticed throughout the week. This not only makes the students feel good - it really made me feel good too! 
  • I'm using a brand new curriculum in Geometry this year - and it's fully Problem-Based. So I want to keep improving in my teaching practice where this is concerned (this is probably WAY to general to get a bullet point, but important for me to think about!)
  • My school is using Canvas this year. I want to use this in a way that makes sense to my students and isn't too crazy for me! 
  • Read more Blogs! I just signed up for Feedly, so I have a place to keep all the blogs I want to follow (though I'm looking for more!) 
  • Tweet! Join #slowmathchat more often. Attend Global Math Department Tuesday meetings when relevant. 

What did I get from CCTM?

At every conference, I feel like I get great reminders. What SHOULD I be focusing on in the classroom? What small tips can I pick up that will help my teaching practice?

Today, Mindy and I headed down to the Denver Merchandise Mart for the CCTM (Colorado Council of Teachers of Mathematics) conference.

We started with a mini-session on Twitter - nothing new for us "pro" users, but still great to connect with other twitter users at a place like this!

My next two sessions both focused on tasks that were "rich." They promote productive struggle (thanks NCTM for that phrase...)

The first one directly relates to what I'm teaching right now in Geometry - working with figuring out the set of points that is equidistant from any two endpoints creates the perpendicular bisector of that segment. Definitely gave me a new problem to use next week -- we've been working with points only in the coordinate plane. But, I'm not certain my students would know what to do if I just gave them two points in space. I'm super interested to see what approaches they might take!

Second session felt a little like a sales pitch for IMP curriculum, but definitely brought out great conversations about what the culture of your classroom needs to include in order to have successful student dialogue and to allow students to feel comfortable presenting (and making mistakes!) in class.

My favorite stuff came just after lunch. We attended a BLAST! session (read as: it was only 30 minutes) on Twitter, Blogs, and Networking for Math Teachers. Considering that is the topic of the PLC I'm leading this year, it was super helpful!

Decided to sign up on Feedly to get all the awesome math blogs I love in one place. I haven't used an RSS feed or some such fancy technological contraption since college. I think I just got busy with life and teaching. But there are some amazing MTBoS folks blogging about super interesting things!

Needless to say, I've spent the last hour finding blogs to follow and following a ton more of the #MTBoS folks on Twitter. I think I need to be more vocal on social media this year. Look out for more blogs and tweets from me!