Saturday, August 12, 2017

My 10th First Day!

My goal this week was to publish my #SundayFunday blog BEFORE it was due. I'm all about making progress, you see...

Click the picture above to find out more info about the Sunday Funday weekly blogging challenge! It has definitely been a help to get me to start formalizing my ideas for the start of another school year - my 10th this year, actually!

This week, the prompt is about first day lesson plans. I meant to grab my planner from last year to see what I did, but luckily I have a Google Slides from Day 1 last year, so I can review what I did, and add to it the new ideas I have for this year.

  • "Mrs. Reycer, by the Numbers" - I got this idea from someone in the #MTBoS last year, and I loved it! I create a slide with some numbers - each one has a different meaning for me. Students can guess, and that can be fun...but I end up telling them lots about me using those numbers! I also end up using it on Back to School Night to introduce myself to families.
  • Name Tents from Sara Vanderwerf. I used these last year and LOVED them. It helped me learn about students right away and give feedback daily for a week. I have seen in others' plans that they may ask specific questions...I'm not sure how I'll prompt them just yet, but I know I'll be using them. 
  • Mental Math - I'll give two (not at the same time) multiplication problems to have students figure out in their head and I'll ask them to share how they figured out the answers. I'll compile those different methods on the board, getting as many as I can. I generally use this activity to talk about being flexible with numbers. 
  • What is PrBL? (For my Geometry Class) I'll talk briefly about how this class might be different from other math classes they have experienced. For the first week, I won't assign homework - I will be observing how they handle the problems in class together and getting them used to the different types of problems.
  • Exeter square problem (Taken from Math 2 - will use in my Geometry Class): "It isn't too hard to see that a square can be cut into four smaller squares. And, as the picture shows, it is also possible to divide a square into seventeen smaller squares. In addition to four and seventeen, what numbers of smaller squares are possible? The smaller squares can be of any size whatsoever, as long as they neatly fit together to form one large square."
  • Problem Set (will use instead of the two above bullet items for Algebra 2 Honors. And I haven't edited at all yet from last year...though I likely will) - Students will work in pairs or groups of 3 to complete the math problems. I'll circulate and help/ask questions and students will present those solutions on Day 2.
  • Exit Ticket: Have students write down a fact about them with a number (like my "Mrs. Reycer, by the numbers") and not share it with anyone but me. I'll turn this into a matching game that we'll do on Friday of the first week. As a ticket out, students will also comment on their Name Tents and turn them in.
  • Homework: What is Math? from Sara Vanderwerf
On Day 2 I will talk about What is Math? and What do mathematicians do? (from the link just above)

That's the plan for now! Some is the same as last year and some has been modified...and may still be modified once I read even more blogs about what everyone else is doing too! 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Goals for 2017-2018

I generally set goals at the beginning of the school year, but the #SundayFunday blogging prompt has got me thinking about them a little early. (Consider joining me for #SundayFunday - a weekly blogging prompt where you can get inspiration!)

I have spent the past year really focusing in on creating a curriculum for Algebra 2 Honors as well as trying to make some significant changes to the way we use our Problem-Based curriculum in Geometry Honors. While curriculum is always important, this year my hope is to make small changes with that and instead focus on student relationships. All my goals are centered around that theme. (As a caveat, I feel like I do always spend time working on relationship building....I simply want to center my goals around that theme this year!)

Something I used to do, but that got pushed to the back burner last year was to write cards to all my students. I started with having a list of all my students and through the course of the school year I made sure to write cards to every person. I also included a lot of teachers/staff/faculty in my card-writing. I LOVE getting cards/letters from people. There is still something about hand written card (compared to an email) that makes me happy. I am reviving this again this year!

I want to be more obvious with language changes in my classroom this year. I followed along a conversation on Twitter during/after #TMC that I believe was started by something Glenn Waddell said and/or presented. I want to make sure when I address my students, they don't have to think about their gender. No more, "hey guys." I want it to be my goal to use non-gendered language when asking for the attention of the group (or even smaller groups).

My other language shift is inspired from Tracy Zager's book (Becoming the Math Teacher you Wish you'd had). When students use language calling problems "easy" or "hard," etc as they're doing them, that can shut down other students who might not think they're so easy. I haven't done a great job with shutting this down in the past, but I want to have open, honest conversations with my classes about using this language. I loved the conversation that transpired in the book. I'm hoping that by being transparent about my desire to stop using that language, that it will be easier for students to not use it or to correct themselves when it happens.

Lastly (though not the last change I will make...but the final goal I'm setting for now), I want to seriously rethink homework. The biggest shift in my thinking has actually come from becoming pregnant. I've been spending a lot of time thinking about the tiny human that is about to join our lives and what I want for him. The students at my school can be assigned 30-45 minutes of homework PER class, PER night. That is crazy. I really want these kids to also be kids. I want them to have time to have a meaningful conversation with their families. I want to make sure that if I'm assigning homework, it is necessary. It doesn't mean I'll never assign it again. I simply want to be more thoughtful about it.

That's all for now...I'm going to #pushsend because I definitely meant to blog this yesterday!