Okay, I’ll be the first to admit. I’m god awful at setting routines. I thought to myself approximately 6 months ago, as I sat on the sofa 41 weeks pregnant trying to convince my daughter to make her grand entrance to the world, that I would be ‘productive’ during maternity leave. What’s that? Did I just hear the collective mothers of the internet laugh at me? Yeah, I was naive and operating under the misguided
belief delusion that I would get some school work done while lil one slept. Fast forward to present day, and I’m one week away from the official start of the school year. I need to get my act together. Lil girl is in daycare two days a week, so I want to utilize this baby-free time effectively and set up some routines for the 2016-2017 school year.
My goals small, all things considered. I will have, in essence, three new preps this year: Algebra 1, PreCal, and Advanced Functions and Modeling. While I’ve taught AFM before, I am redoing the curriculum. Trying to officially make the move from Algebra 2 2.0 to a unique course that prepares my students for either college level math or the real world, depending on their plans post high school. My math department has decided that PreCalculus needs an overhaul (I agree with this sentiment) to better align with the PreCal topics taught in other (read: Traditional) public high schools in the state. And I haven’t taught Algebra 1 since my student teaching days. Bearing that in mind, for the 2016-2017 school year, I promise myself that I will:
Promise 1: Actually use a paper planner to record thoughts/deadlines/important dates
I tell myself every year that using the calendar app on my computer is sufficient. Its not. I never go back and look at the notes I leave myself because, well, its just too tedious. I have to remember what day I taught what, and then double click, no wait, wrong day…scroll…scroll…what was I doing again? So after much thought, and finding the concept of a Bullet Journal online, I have created my own planning template. Inspired by a tweet from @mathequalslove I just placed the online order to have it printed up on nice paper and bound at Office Depot. I figure if it looks nicer than what I could do with the copy machine at school, and not in a 3-ring binder, then I will be more inclined to use it.
The planner starts with the a year overview. A place where I can write down important dates for the school year like faculty meetings, math department meetings, exam days, and holidays.
I’ve then got a weekly overview for each course. My math department likes to use this table-format for pacing purposes from year to year. Since we all switch courses so often, it is a courtesy to a future teacher of the course with a general guideline for the year. Because we are in North Carolina, and an inch of snow will cause sheer panic and destroy any pacing template I’ve done in the past, I decided to make my pacing guide big enough to fit Post-It Notes Page Markers so I can move topics around without the need for white out/an eraser.
And then I have a weekly lesson planning section where I can put in more detailed notes about the day’s lesson, what went well, what I need to fix, and what plans I have for the next time I teach the topic. Consider this section a place for mini journaling (which will help me with my next promise). I decided to leave the section for the dates at the top blank so I can use the same template year to year without the need for editing. Also, it is WAY cheaper to get a black and white cop of the planner made, and I have plenty of pretty colored pens that will add the date nicely!
Then the attendance sheets
Promise 2: Become a Blogging Member of #MTBoS
I think it was Sam Shah who posted about the types of #MTBoS participants. I have fallen into the category of ‘The Stalker’. That is to say, I read a LOT of blogs by MTBoS tweeps. I
steal borrow a LOT of their lesson ideas or handouts. I mean half of my interactive notebooks for Algebra 2 last year were inspired by Sarah Carter’s (@mathequalslove) notebooks she posts about. Not to mention my, hands down, favorite end of the year lab for AFM which I outright copied the concept for from Jon Orr. His CSI Crime Scene Lab was such a great idea, one I couldn’t dream of having, that I couldn’t resist making my own version of the hook video.
When I read about all the wonders Desmos had created by adding the Activity Builder feature I could resist and had to try it out. With some success, and failure (earlier blog post). I think I audibly giggled with delight when I got an email from the, one and only, Dan Meyer asking if Desmos could use a version of my activity. *Swoon* #MathBloggerIdol
So I started dipping my toe in the #MTBoS water this summer. Replying to some tweets. Joining in a few conversations. Testing a few Desmos Activities when asked and providing feedback. But I’m ready to take the next step: I’m going to promise myself to blog at least once a month. I have been hesitant to blog about my lessons in the past because I’ve felt like they aren’t worthy of the #MTBoS. I mean, I’m relatively new in the game of teaching, and my lessons aren’t all something to write home about. But a thred I read from Dan and Meg Craig really stuck with me:
So here I am #MTBoS. Ready to start blogging!
Promise 3: Have first semester planned out by the start of school
This is my
slightly unrealistic goal, but I’m trying to set my goals high, well at least for the two courses I am sole responsible for: Algebra 1 and AFM. I’ve already paced out the first semester of AFM and started on the notes packet for Unit 1 (Prerequisites to Modeling with Functions). And I’m hopeful that I can reuse most of my departments resources for Algebra 1 this year. So if I use the next 15 baby-free days (thanks to Daycare!) between now and the start of school. I hope I can get this done!